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Alternative Medicine | HowStuffWorks

Posted: July 29, 2016 at 3:12 am

It seems alternative medicine is sweeping the country. Newspapers, magazines, books, TV — it’s starting to look like a fad. But the truth is, alternative medical treatments have been around in this country for centuries and promise to be with us for as long as people need healing.

There are traditions that go back millennia, and there are relatively new schools of thought based on recent discoveries. Some are still the primary health care systems in their native lands, and some have struggled to be recognized throughout their existence. The one thing they have in common, though, is that in this country, they have been relegated to the margins of medicine.

To understand what alternative medicine is, you have to know what it’s an alternative to. In the United States, the medical establishment consists of a system of medical schools, hospitals, and M.D.s that many would call traditional medicine. But there is really nothing traditional about it. In fact, traditional medicine would be a better description of many of the alternative therapies in this article — time-honored beliefs and practices relied on for generations.

Conventional would be a better word to describe modern Western medicine, often called allopathic medicine. It is predominant in most of the Western world because it is the convention, the mode of thinking that is currently in vogue. That is not to say that allopathic medicine is just a fad. It is a valuable resource for health and healing, but it is not the only one. It is one system among many.

All of this may seem like a pointless discussion of words — allopathic, alternative, conventional, traditional — but the way we talk about them can mean a great deal. People’s access to health care options — and even who will pay for what — depends on what people say about different modes of therapy.

However, more and more, patients, insurance companies, and even conventional doctors are recognizing the value of alternative therapies. Meditation managing high blood pressure without drugs, biofeedback treating bowel disorders without surgery, and mind/body medicine giving hope and quality of life to the terminally ill are just a few examples of the benefits of alternative medicine that conventional medicine simply cannot offer.

Nothing can replace a well-informed health care consumer, and no one knows this better than doctors and practitioners. Knowing your options is part of being well informed, but so is communicating with your practitioner effectively. In the pages that follow, you will dozens of articles describing how to treat various conditions with alternative medicine. Use these articles to access information and practitioners; use it to discuss options with your health care provider; share it with family and friends who might be looking for alternatives. Become well-informed and turn that power into good health. Let’s get started on the next page with an examination of alternative medicines for women’s health issues.

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Alternative Medicine | HowStuffWorks

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Ai – Definition and Meaning, Bible Dictionary

Posted: July 25, 2016 at 3:51 pm

AI

a’-i (`ay, written always with the definite article, ha-`ay, probably meaning “the ruin,” kindred root, `awah):

(1) A town of central Palestine, in the tribe of Benjamin, near and just east of Bethel (Genesis 12:8). It is identified with the modern Haiyan, just south of the village Der Diwan (Conder in HDB; Delitzsch in Commentary on Genesis 12:8) or with a mound, El-Tell, to the north of the modern village (Davis, Dict. Biblical). The name first appears in the earliest journey of Abraham through Palestine (Genesis 12:8), where its location is given as east of Bethel, and near the altar which Abraham built between the two places. It is given similar mention as he returns from his sojourn in Egypt (Genesis 13:3). In both of these occurrences the King James Version has the form Hai, including the article in transliterating. The most conspicuous mention of Ai is in the narrative of the Conquest. As a consequence of the sin of Achan in appropriating articles from the devoted spoil of Jericho, the Israelites were routed in the attack upon the town; but after confession and expiation, a second assault was successful, the city was taken and burned, and left a heap of ruins, the inhabitants, in number twelve thousand, were put to death, the king captured, hanged and buried under a heap of stones at the gate of the ruined city, only the cattle being kept as spoil by the people (Joshua 7; 8). The town had not been rebuilt when Jos was written (Joshua 8:28). The fall of Ai gave the Israelites entrance to the heart of Canaan, where at once they became established, Bethel and other towns in the vicinity seeming to have yielded without a struggle. Ai was rebuilt at some later period, and is mentioned by Isa (Isaiah 10:28) in his vivid description of the approach of the Assyrian army, the feminine form (`ayyath) being used. Its place in the order of march, as just beyond Michmash from Jerusalem, corresponds with the identification given above. It is mentioned also in post-exilic times by Ezra 2:28 and Nehemiah 7:32, (and in Nehemiah 11:31 as, `ayya’), identified in each case by the grouping with Bethel.

(2) The Ai of Jeremiah 49:3 is an Ammonite town, the text probably being a corruption of `ar; or ha-`ir, “the city” (BDB).

Edward Mack

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Victimless Crime Constitutes 86% of The Federal Prison …

Posted: July 21, 2016 at 2:24 am

When we talk about the war on drugs, which is increasingly turning into areal war, we often overlook the fact that the criminals involved in the drug trade arent actually violating anyones rights. When a drug dealer is hauled before a judge, there is no victim standing behind the prosecutor claiming damages. Everyone participating in the drug trade does so voluntarily.However, there area lot more crimesfor which this is also true. Millions upon millions of Americans have been thrown into cages without a victim ever claiming damages. It is important to look at the burden this mass level of incarceration places upon our society.

In light of that, let us review some statistics which demonstrate just how destructive the mass incarceration of victimless criminals has become to our society.The 2011 federal prison population consisted of:

Drug offenses are self-explanatory as being victimless, but so too are public-order offenses, which also fall under the victimless crimes category. Public order offenses include such things as immigration, weapons charges, publicdrunkenness,selling lemonade without a license,dancing in public,feeding the homeless without a permitetc..

The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world. Presently756 per 100,000of the national population is behind bars. This is in contrast to an average world per-capita prison population rate of145 per 100,000(158 per 100,000 if set against a world prison population of 10.65 million), based on 2008 U.N. population data. In other words, the U.S. incarcerates its citizens at a rate that is 5 times the world average.

In 2008, according to the Department of Justice, there were 7,308,200 persons in the US corrections system, of whom 4,270,917 were on probation, 828,169 were on parole, 785,556 were in jails, and 1,518,559 were in state and federal prisons. This means that the U.S. alone is responsible for holding roughly 15% of all the prisoners in the world.

In other words, 1 in 42 Americans is under correctional supervision. This constitutes over 2% of the entire U.S. population. That percentage jumps up drastically if we limit the comparison to working aged adult males, of which there are around 100 million. Over 5% of the adult male population is under some form of correctional supervision, alternatively stated, 1 in 20 adult males are under correctional supervision in the U.S.

According to 2006 statistics, 1 in 36 adult Hispanic men are behind bars, as are 1 in 15 adult black men. If we limit the data to black males between the ages 20 to 34,1 in 9 are behind bars. Keep in mind that 86% of those men in federal prisons are there for victimless crimes. They have not stolen any property, damaged any property or harmed anyone directly by their actions. Of course, if you are reading this and live in the US, you are paying for all those people to subsist on a daily basis. Roughly34% of all prisoners in the U.S. are incarcerated for victimless crimes.

In California in 2009 it cost an average of $47,102 a year to incarcerate an inmate in state prison. In 2005 it cost an average of $23,876 per state prisoner nationally. In 2007, $228 billion was spent on police, corrections and the judiciary. That constitutes around 1.6% of total U.S. GDP.

Of course, being the good economists that we are, we must not just look at the cost to incarcerate and police, but also at the opportunity cost to society that putting all those able-bodied men behind bars creates. When a man is put behind bars he is obviously incapable of contributing anything to society. He becomes a complete burden to society while producing nothing in return for the expenses he creates. He becomes a black void of resource destruction. Its important to remember that moneys value is directly related to the consumer goods that a society produces. If a society produces nothing of value, the money it uses will also be worth nothing of value. If a huge portion of able bodied workers is locked behind bars, society is effectively penalized twice once for the resources that are diverted into the prison industry and it is penalized again for the opportunity cost of the lost labor of those prisoners.

I find some dark humor in the fact that those who engage in victimless crime dont create any real victims until they are put behind bars, at which point they cause the State to steal $47,000 a year from the tax paying public. In our justice system today, victims are victimized twice; once by the perpetrator of the crime against them, and the other by the State which then forces the victim to pay for the punishment of their assailant. Clearly our societys notion of justice is logically ridiculous. Its apparently not OK for someone to steal from you, but its perfectly acceptable for the State to steal from you if the State is going to use that money to punish the person who stole from you. what kind of asinine system of justice is that?

What is justice? Isnt justice making a victim whole once again? Isnt justice punishing a criminal for the damages he imposed upon his victims?I propose that the only real justice that can be enacted in a free society is monetary punishment in the form of taking the perpetrators property and handing it to their victim, or ostracism by defamation of character.

I know some people will cry that under such a system violent criminals will be left free to roam the streets, but isnt that what our system is doing now? Consider that if a man commits a violent crime today, he is put behind bars for some arbitrary length of time with hundreds of other violent criminals, after which he is released back on to the streets. Do you think that criminal is going to be more dangerous to society after spending years locked in a cage with other violent criminals or less dangerous? Numerous studiesshow that prison eitherincreases, or has no impact on, recidivism. Thus, it all comes down to punishment. Isnt being branded a criminal, along with monetary punishment to make a victim whole once again, enough? How difficult do you think your life would be if you were convicted of murder, everyone knew about it and half your assets and income were being handed to your victims family? The rest of your life would be a living hell.

Putting people behind bars does nothing but squander resources. It deprives society of able-bodied workers and costs society massive amounts of resources which are stolen from the general public through the coercive theft of taxation. Consider how much richer American society would be today if it had an additional 5% of the male population working to produce goods and services in the private sector labor force.

Economist David Friedman has put together a fantastic presentation on how society could be organized in such a way as to eliminate all victimless crime while simultaneously eliminating the necessity of the State to steal from the victims of crimes to pay for their assailants punishment. After youre done watching Friedmanspresentation, check out thisfantastic comicput together by the Real Cost of Prisons project.

If you are interested in learning more about private law and private defense, listen to thisseries of essaysby economist Robert Murphy andthis lectureby economist Hans Hoppe.

The statistics cited in this article can be verified atDrug War Facts.org

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Space exploration New World Encyclopedia

Posted: at 2:17 am

Space exploration is the physical exploration of outer space, by both human spaceflights and robotic spacecraft. Although the observation of objects in space (that is, astronomy) predates reliable recorded history, space exploration became a practical possibility only after the development of large, liquid-fueled rocket engines during the early twentieth century. Common rationales for exploring space include advancing scientific research, uniting different nations, and ensuring the future survival of humanity.

Space exploration has often been used as a proxy competition for geopolitical rivalries, particularly the Cold War. The early era of space exploration was driven by a space race between the Soviet Union and the United States. The launch of the first human-made object to orbit the Earth, the USSR’s Sputnik 1, on October 4, 1957, and the first Moon landing by the American Apollo 11 craft on July 20, 1969, are often taken as the boundaries for this initial period. After the first 20 years of exploration, focus shifted from one-off flights to renewable hardware, such as the Space Shuttle program, and from competition to cooperation, as with the International Space Station. From the 1990s onward, private interests began promoting space tourism. Larger government programs have advocated manned missions to the Moon and possibly Mars sometime after 2010.

Space exploration programs have received various criticisms, on cost or safety grounds, but there are many advocates as well, and public opinion in many countries is usually supportive of these programs. In any case, space missions have resulted in a variety of important discoveries, including the effects of low gravity on humans, the presence of Van Allen belts around the Earth, images of the far side of the Moon, and the absence of intelligent life on Mars. Current discussions revolve around the possibility of space colonizationthat is, the establishment of human settlements on extraterrestrial objects.

The first successful orbital launch was of the Soviet unmanned Sputnik 1 (Satellite I) mission on October 4, 1957. The satellite weighed about 83 kg (184 pounds), and is believed to have orbited Earth at a height of about 250 km (150 miles). It had two radio transmitters (20 and 40 MHz), which emitted “beeps” that could be heard by any radio around the globe. Analysis of the radio signals was used to gather information about the electron density of the ionosphere, while temperature and pressure data was encoded in the duration of radio beeps. The results indicated that the satellite was not punctured by a meteoroid. Sputnik 1 was launched by an R-7 rocket. It incinerated upon re-entry on January 3, 1958.

This success led to an escalation of the American space program, which unsuccessfully attempted to launch Vanguard 1 into orbit two months later. On January 31, 1958, the U.S. successfully orbited Explorer 1 on a Juno rocket. In the meantime, the Soviet dog Laika became the first animal in orbit on November 3, 1957.

The first human spaceflight was Vostok 1 (Sunrise 1) , carrying 27 year old cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961. The spacecraft completed one orbit around the globe, lasting about 1 hour and 48 minutes. Gagarin’s flight was a demonstration of the advanced Soviet space program, and it opened an entirely new era in space exploration: Manned space flights.

The U.S. launched its first man into space within a month of Gagarin’s flight, with the first Mercury flight by Alan Shepard. Orbital flight was achieved by the United States when John Glenn’s Mercury-Atlas 6 orbited the Earth on February 20, 1962.

Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, orbited the Earth 48 times aboard Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963.

China launched its first taikonaut into space 42 years later, with the flight of Colonel Yang Liwei aboard the Shenzhou 5 (Spaceboat 5) spacecraft.

The dream of stepping into the outer reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere was driven by rocket technology. The German V2 was the first rocket to travel into space, overcoming the problems of thrust and material failure. During the final days of World War II, this technology was obtained by both the Americans and Soviets as were its designers. The initial driving force for further development of the technology was a weapons race for inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to be used as long-range carriers for fast nuclear weapon delivery. In 1961, when the USSR launched the first man into space, the U.S. declared itself to be in a “Space Race” with Russia.

Other key people included:

The earliest discoveries included the fact that humans could survive in zero gravity. Once the Russians had progressed to flights that were longer than a few hours, space adaptation syndrome appeared; where the sickness and disorientation due to the removal of gravity caused physical symptoms.

In space stations, the effects of zero gravity on bones and skeletal muscles has become more evident, where the human body becomes progressively more optimized for zero-gravity to the extent that return to the Earth becomes problematic and humans become progressively more adapted to the weightless environment.

Americans were the first to discover the existence of the Van Allen belts around the Earth. These belts contain radiation trapped by the Earth’s magnetic fields, which currently prevent habitable space stations from being placed above 1,000 km.

Russians were the first to take pictures of the far side of the moon, which had never been visible to humans. It was discovered that the far side was somewhat different, more heavily cratered.

U.S. Apollo missions returned rocks from the Moon, supporting the theory that the Moon was once part of the Earth.

Contrary to fanciful early reports from astronomers viewing Mars, no canals, and certainly no advanced lifeforms are present on the surface of that planet, but the presence of microscopic organisms has not been ruled out.

Space colonization, also called space settlement or space humanization, implies the permanent, autonomous (self-sufficient) human habitation of locations beyond Earth, especially on natural satellites such as the Moon or planets such as Mars. It would rely on significant amounts of In-Situ Resource Utilization.

Many past and current concepts for the continued exploration and colonization of space focus on a return to the Moon as a “stepping stone” to the other planets, especially Mars. Traditional concepts also called for the construction of orbital shipyards for the construction of inter-planetary vessels. Unfortunately, such concepts were prohibitively expensive, with estimated costs of $450 billion or more.

During the 1990s, however, aerospace engineer Robert Zubrin developed the “Mars Direct” plan, emphasizing the utilization of Martian resources. In his widely acclaimed book Mars Direct, Zubrin explained how human beings could be sent to Mars within 10 years, using existing or foreseeable technologies, at a cost of between 20-30 billion dollars.

Other efforts have included the Ansari X Prize, which offered a 10 million dollar prize to any private, non-government organization that could develop a spacecraft capable of launching three human beings into space, returning them safely to Earth, and repeating the feat within 2 weeks. The X-prize was a resounding success with the launch of Space Ship One, which was developed from scratch for only 25 million dollars, a tiny fraction of the cost of a single space shuttle launch. This development was accompanied by other prize incentives, and plans for routine space tourist flights.

Although only the United States, Soviet Union/Russian, and Chinese space programs have launched humans into orbit, a number of other countries have space agencies that design and launch satellites, conduct space research and coordinate national astronaut programs.

Did you know?

Critics of space exploration usually point out the costs, limitations, and risks of human spaceflight. It is more expensive to perform certain tasks in space by humans rather than by robots or other machines. People need large spacecraft that contain provisions such as a hermetic and temperature-controlled cabin, production of breathable air, food and drink storage, waste disposal, communications systems, and safety features such as crew escape systems and medical facilities. There is also the question of the security of the spacecraft as whole; losing a robot is nowhere near as tragic as human loss, so overall safety of non-human missions is not as much of an issue.

All the extra costs have to be weighed against the benefits of having humans aboard. Some critics argue that those few instances where human intervention is essential do not justify the enormous extra costs of having humans aboard. However, others argue that many tasks can be more effectively accomplished by human beings.

Some, including the late physicist and Nobel prize winner Richard Feynman, have contended that space missions have not achieved any major scientific breakthroughs. However, others have argued that, besides the large (and otherwise unavailable) amount of planetary data returned by spacecraft, there have been many indirect scientific achievements, including development of the modern computer, lasers, and so forth.

The results of research carried out by space exploration agencies, such as NASA, is one of the reasons supporters justify government expenses. Some even claim that space exploration is a necessity to humankind and that staying in its home planet will lead humanity to oblivion. Some of the reasons are lack of natural resources, comets, nuclear war, and worldwide epidemic. Stephen Hawking, renowned British theoretical physicist, said that “I don’t think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.”[1]

Some critics contend that in light of the huge distances in space, human space travel will involve no more than visiting earth’s closest neighbors in the Solar System, barring any actualization of the theoretical concept of faster-than-light travel. Even such limited travel would consume large amounts of money and require complex spacecraft accommodating only a handful of people. Supporters of human space travel state that this is irrelevant, because its real value lies in providing a focal point for national prestige, patriotism, and international cooperation. They suggest the Clinton administration’s close cooperation with Russia on the International Space Station (ISS) gave Russia something to take pride in, becoming a stabilizing factor in post-communist Russia. From this point of view, the ISS was a justifiable cash outlay.

Some people also have moral objections to the huge costs of space travel, and say that even a fraction of the space travel budget would make a huge difference in fighting disease and hunger in the world. However, compared to much more costly endeavors, like military actions, space exploration itself receives a very small percentage of total government spending (nearly always under 0.5 percent), and space-exploration advocates frequently point out that long-term benefits could outweigh short-term costs. In addition, the successful launches of Space Ship One, a privately constructed, reusable space plane developed for only $25 million, has diminished the impact of cost-based criticisms.

Overall, the public remains largely supportive of both manned and unmanned space exploration. According to an Associated Press Poll conducted in July 2003, 71 percent of U.S. citizens agreed with the statement that the space program is “a good investment,” compared to 21 percent who did not.[2] NASA has produced a series of Public Service Announcement videos supporting the concept of space exploration.[3]

This is not to say that space exploration advocates do not criticize existing programs. Some supporters of space explorations, such as Robert Zubrin, have criticized on-orbit assembly of spacecraft as unnecessary and expensive, and argue for a direct approach for human exploration, such as Mars Direct.

Twenty-first century space advocates continue to work towards more advanced spacecraft, rotating space stations, lunar bases, and colonies on Mars. Some of these visions may come true, though significant obstacles remain.

All links retrieved October 14, 2015.

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Space exploration New World Encyclopedia

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Delaware Liberal

Posted: July 14, 2016 at 4:35 pm

His disgusting politics are well known, but the many other ways he is disgusting have always been a matter of speculation. Until now.

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Here is Bernie endorsing Hillary and Hillarys speech immediately after (which was one of her better speeches this campaign). It was as if I had written the endorsement speech myself, and I give much credit to the Senator for writing and delivering it. Yes, I have, in Danas words, trashed the Senator throughout the campaign, much as Dana and others have trashed Hillary. But it is time to move on, to let it go (cue Frozen soundtrack), and to come together. And thanks to Hillary and Bernies combined efforts in reaching agreement on the platform, we have the beginnings of a Democratic juggernaut that shall obliterate all Republicans.

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Dont you just hate it when youre a Democratic candidate for US Congress from Delaware, and something like this happens?:

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has ramped up her criticism of Donald Trump in recent days, going so far as to say late Monday that the businessman is a faker who must release his tax returns. He is a faker, Ginsburg said in an interview with CNN. He has no consistency about him. He []

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The News Journal released the results of their poll last night, which shows the race being much closer than the common wisdom (including mine) would have suggested. Heres the numbers:

Kevin Kelly 18% Mike Purzycki 14% Dennis Williams 13% Theo Gregory 11% Eugene Young 9% Norm Griffiths 8% Robert Marshall 2% Maria Cabrera 2% Undecided 21%

The margin of error on this poll is 5.8 and reached landlines only. This surveyed likely Democratic voters. This polly also asked about registration and primary practices where we find that this group of likely Democratic voters think that it should be easier to switch parties to vote and that primaries should be open.

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I may return to my old haunt just to see this:

Progressive Democrats for Delaware Democratic Primary Candidate Forum New Castle County 7 p.m. Wednesday, August 3rd 19 E. Commons Blvd, 2nd Fl. New Castle DE 19720

For NCC Executive: Tom Gordon and Matt Meyer.

NCC Council President: Penrose Hollins, Dave Roberts and Karen Hartley-Nagle.

Come out and bring your questions for county government!

Mark your calendars!

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I remember saying this some weeks ago and being laughed at by the Sanderistas here. Now that Bernie agrees with me that the Democratic Party has the most progressive platform ever, who is laughing now? Hell, even Jeff Weaver is on board.

Here is more on just how liberal and progressive the Democratic platform is, and that we do have Bernie to thank for it. His campaign, in the end, did exactly what I wanted it to do: keep Hillary on the left by giving her the incentive to stay there. Without Sanders or any serious challenge from progressive quarters, I am not sure Hillary would have moved dramatically to the center or right because American politics doesnt work like that anymore. There are no moderates to win over in that middle ground. Everyone is polarized and turning out your own base is the way to win. But the Sanders challenge helped Hillary shed the last vestiges of 90s caution and to be vocal about her progressive positions.

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Carney inexplicably STILL wants to cut the state budget, not grow it. In spite of all of the evidence to the contrary, he still views debt as an anathema, and growth killing austerity as a virtue. He basically still believes in the utter failed Republican economics of trickle down. It makes no sense, and in the era of very cheap borrowing, it is the exact opposite of what we should actually be doing.

And whats worse, the markets have taken notice.[See Swiss Negative Yield Bonds] Smart money is beginning to adjust to the new normal and accept the fact that deficit hawks and austerity evangelists like Carney are determined to strangle economic growth with their wrongheadedness which would be simply goofy at this point, were it not so pernicious. Here is Paul Krugman on the topic:

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I dont think Im reading between the lines to say that Carneys plan is more of the same giveaways (both monetary and regulatory) to large corporations: John understands that the role of government in promoting a strong economy is to create an environment where businesses can thrive and invest in Delaware. That means moving faster []

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He had a poll done by Public Policy Polling and the result (as reported in the NJ) is at Gordon 33%, Meyer at 30%, Undecided at 38? This is a statistical tie.

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The filing deadline is this Tuesday, July 12 at 12 noon. After Tuesday, parties may file candidates, but individuals cannot file on their own separate from the party. The deadline for withdrawing ones candidacy and getting ones filing fee returned is this Friday, July 15 at 4:30 pm. Friday is also the deadline for candidates to switch from one race to another. Ill likely be out campaigning for the candidate of my choice (Bryan Townsend) at the Tuesday deadline, so please keep us posted on any last minute developments.

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Dallas police were doing everything right and then the shooting started

The Dallas PD have been doing the hard work to engage their communities, to up the training for officers (especially in de-escalation skills), be more open and less of an occupying army:

As the Dallas Morning News reported last year, Dallas police have shifted to a stronger focus on deescalation techniques since David Brown became police chief in 2010, with dramatic results. In 2009, there were 147 excessive force complaints against police officers; by 2014, those complaints dropped by 64 percent. And as of November, when the article was published, there had been just 13 such complaints in 2015.

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Ive been too depressed to read much, but this is so worth it. (Thanks to Dorian Gray for the link) And yet, two pieces of writing published on conservative news sites on Friday morning, as well as an extraordinary Facebook Live chat with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, suggest that the combination of Thursday nights []

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This was all prepared in advance, but it shrinks and fades into specs of trivia and meaningless gossip in view of our ongoing inhumanity toward each other. I ask myself what I can do to try and stand up against a world that seems on a trajectory toward less decency and less humanity, and I come up empty.

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John Daniellos bulk mail form letter was the kind of move one would expect an 84 year old man to make. He may have been the winningest, most effective, most Republican-hating Chair in the world, but it is time to move on. According to Mike Matthews (via FB) it has been time for him to []

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Delaware Liberal

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What Is Darwinism? – Christian Research Institute

Posted: at 4:27 pm

What is Darwinism- Summary

The debate between creationism and Darwinism is often depicted as a dispute between naive biblical literalists, who ignore the overwhelming evidence for evolution, and scientifically enlightened intellectuals. But this is a caricature that serves the purpose of helping to perpetuate a world view hostile to Christian faith: atheistic naturalism. The debate hinges on five key terms: creationism, evolution, science, religion, and truth. Instead of trying to Christianize evolution we ought instead to challenge the assumption that atheistic naturalism is true.

The popular television game show Jeopardy reverses the usual order of things. Instead of being asked a question to which they must supply the answer, contestants are given the answer and asked to provide the appropriate question. This format suggests an insight that is applicable to law, to science, and indeed to just about everything. More important than knowing all the answers is knowing what question is being asked.

That insight is the starting point for my inquiry into Darwinian evolution and its relationship to creation, because Darwinism is the answer to two very different kinds of questions. First, Darwinian theory tells us how a certain amount of diversity in life forms can develop once we have various types of complex living organisms already in existence. If a small population of birds happens to migrate to an isolated island, for example, a combination of inbreeding, mutation, and natural selection may cause this isolated population to develop different characteristics from those possessed by the ancestral population on the mainland. When the theory is understood in this limited sense, Darwinian evolution is uncontroversial and has no important philosophical or theological implications.

Evolutionary biologists are not content merely to explain how variation occurs within limits. They aspire to answer a much broader question how complex organisms like birds, flowers, and human beings came to exist at all. The Darwinian answer to this second question is that the creative force that produced complex plants and animals is essentially the same as the mechanism producing variations in flowers, insects, and domestic animals before our very eyes. In the words of Ernst Mayr, the dean of living Darwinists, Transspecific evolution [i.e., macroevolution] is nothing but an extrapolation and magnification of the events that take place within populations and species.

Neo-Darwinian evolution in this broad sense is a philosophical doctrine so lacking in empirical support that Mayrs successor at Harvard, Stephen Jay Gould, in a reckless moment once pronounced it effectively dead. Yet neo-Darwinism is far from dead. On the contrary, it is continually proclaimed in textbooks and the media as unchallengeable fact. How does it happen that so many scientists and intellectuals, who pride themselves on their empiricism and open-mindedness, continue to accept an unempirical theory as scientific fact?

WHAT IS DARWINISM- DEFINING THE ISSUES

The answer to that question lies in the definition of five key terms creationism, evolution, science, religion, and truth. Once we understand how these words are used in evolutionary discourse, the continued ascendancy of neo-Darwinism will be no mystery, and we need no longer be deceived by claims that the theory is supported by overwhelming evidence. As we shall see, there are powerful vested interests in this area that thrive in the midst of ambiguity and confusion. Those who insist on defining terms precisely and using them consistently may find themselves regarded with suspicion and hostility, and even accused of being enemies of science.

Creationism

The first word is creationism, which means simply a belief in creation. In Darwinist usage, which dominates not only popular and professional scientific literature but also the media, a creationist is a person who takes the creation account in the Book of Genesis as true in the most literal sense. The earth was created in a single week of six 24-hour days no more that 10,000 years ago; the major features of the geological record were produced by Noahs flood; and there have been no major innovations in the forms of life since the beginning. It is a major theme of Darwinist propaganda that the only persons who have any doubts about Darwinism are young-earth creationists of this sort, who are always portrayed as rejecting the clear and convincing evidence of science to preserve a religious prejudice. The implication is that citizens of modern society are faced with a choice that is really no choice at all. Either they reject science altogether and retreat to a premodern world view, or they believe everything the Darwinists tell them.

In a broader sense, however, a creationist is simply a person who believes in the existence of a creator who brought about the world and its living inhabitants for a purpose. Whether the process of creation took a single week or billions of years is relatively unimportant from a philosophical or theological standpoint. Creation by gradual processes over geological ages may create problems for biblical interpretation, but it creates none for the basic principle of theistic religion. Creation in this broad sense, according to a 1991 Gallup poll, is the creed of 87 percent of Americans. Is creation in this sense consistent with evolution?

Evolution

The answer is no, when evolution is understood in the Darwinian sense. To Darwinists evolution means naturalistic evolution, an insistence that science must assume that the cosmos is a closed system of material causes and effects, which can never be influenced by anything outside of material nature, such as God. In the beginning, an explosion of matter created the cosmos, and undirected, naturalistic evolution produced everything that followed. Thus, no intelligent purpose guided evolution. If intelligence exists today, that is only because it has itself evolved through purposeless material processes.

At bottom the theory must be based on chance, because that is what is left when we have ruled out everything involving intelligence or purpose. But theories invoking only chance are not credible. One thing everyone acknowledges is that living organisms are enormously complex far more so than, say, a computer or an airplane. That such complex entities came into existence simply by chance is clearly less credible than that they were designed and constructed by a creator. To back up their claim that this appearance of intelligent design is an illusion, Darwinists therefore need to provide a building force that is mindless and purposeless. Natural selection is by far the most plausible candidate.

If we assume that random genetic mutations provided the new genetic information needed, say, to give a small mammal a start towards wings, and if we assume that each tiny step in the process of wing-building gave the animal an increased chance of survival, then natural selection ensured that the favored creatures would thrive and reproduce. It logically follows that wings can and will appear as if by the plan of a designer. Of course, if wings or other improvements do not appear, the theory explains their absence just as well. The needed mutations didnt arrive, or developmental constraints closed off certain possibilities, or natural selection favored something else. There is no requirement that any of this speculation be confirmed by either experimental or fossil evidence. To Darwinists just being able to imagine the process is sufficient to confirm that something like that must have happened.

Biologist Richard Dawkins calls the process of creation by mutation and selection the blind watchmaker, by which he means that a purposeless, materialistic designing force substitutes for the watchmaker deity of natural theology. The creative power of the blind watchmaker is supported only by very slight evidence, such as the famous example of a moth population in which the percentage of dark moths increased during a period when the birds were better able to see light moths against the smoke-darkened background trees. This may be taken to show that natural selection can change organisms, but not that it can create organisms that were not already in existence.

Even such slight evidence is more than sufficient, however, because evidence is not really necessary to prove something that is practically self-evident. The existence of a potent blind watchmaker follows deductively from the philosophical premise that nature had to do its own creating. There can be argument about the details, but if God was not in the picture something very much like Darwinism simply has to be true, regardless of the evidence.

Science

That brings me to my third term, science. We have already seen that Darwinists assume as a first principle that the history of the cosmos and its life forms is fully explicable on naturalistic principles. This reflects a philosophical doctrine called scientific naturalism, a necessary consequence of the inherent limitations of science. What scientific naturalism does, however, is transform the limitations of science into limitations on reality, in the interest of maximizing the explanatory power of science and its practitioners. It is, of course, entirely possible to study organisms scientifically on the premise that they were all created by God, just as scientists study airplanes and even works of art without denying that these objects are intelligently designed. The problem with allowing God a role in the history of life is not that science would cease, but rather that scientists would have to acknowledge the existence of something important that is outside the boundaries of natural science. For scientists who want to be able to explain everything, this is an intolerable possibility.

The second feature of scientific naturalism that is important for our purpose is its set of rules governing the criticism and replacement of a paradigm. A paradigm is a general theory, like the Darwinian theory of evolution, which has achieved general acceptance in the scientific community. The paradigm unifies the various specialties that make up the research community, and guides research in all of them. Thus, zoologists, botan-ists, geneticists, molecular biologists, and paleontologists all see their research as aimed at filling out the details of the Darwinian paradigm.

If molecular biologists see a pattern of apparently neutral mutations, which have no apparent effect on an organisms fitness, they must find a way to reconcile their findings with the paradigms requirement that natural selection guides evolution. This they can do by postulating a sufficient quantity of invisible adaptive mutations, supposedly accumulated by natural selection. Similarly, if paleontologists see new fossil species appearing suddenly in the fossil record, and remaining basically unchanged thereafter, they must perform whatever contortions are necessary to force this recalcitrant evidence into a model of incremental change through the accumulation of micromutations.

Supporting the paradigm may even require what in other contexts would be called deception. As Niles Eldredge candidly admitted, We paleontologists have said that the history of life supports [the story of gradual adaptive change], all the while knowing it does not.2 Eldredge explained that this pattern of misrepresentation occurred because of the certainty so characteristic of evolutionary ranks since the late 1940s, the utter assurance not only that natural selection operates in nature, but that we know precisely how it works. This certainty produced a degree of dogmatism that Eldredge says resulted in the relegation of paleontologists to the lunatic fringe who reported that they saw something out of kilter between contemporary evolutionary theory, on the one hand, and patterns of change in the fossil record on the other.3 Under the circumstances, prudent paleontologists understandably swallowed their doubts and supported the ruling ideology. To abandon the paradigm would be to abandon the scientific community; to ignore the paradigm and just gather the facts would be to earn the demeaning label of stamp collector (i.e., one who does not theorize).

As many philosophers of science have observed, the research community does not abandon a paradigm in the absence of a suitable replacement. This means that negative criticism of Darwinism, however devastating it may appear to be, is essentially irrelevant to the professional researchers. A critic may point out, for example, that the evidence that natural selection has any creative power is somewhere between weak and nonexistent. That is perfectly true, but to Darwinists the more important point is this: If natural selection did not do the creating, what did? God is obviously unacceptable, because such a being is unknown to science. We dont know is equally unacceptable, because to admit ignorance would be to leave science adrift without a guiding principle. To put the problem in the most practical terms: it is impossible to write or evaluate a grant proposal without a generally accepted theoretical framework.

The paradigm rule explains why Goulds acknowledgment that neo-Darwinism is effectively dead had no significant effect on the Darwinist faithful, or even on Gould himself. Gould made that statement in a paper predicting the emergence of a new general theory of evolution, one based on the macromutational speculations of the Berkeley geneticist Richard Goldschmidt.4 When the new theory did not arrive as anticipated, the alternatives were either to stick with Ernst Mayrs version of neo-Darwinism or to concede that biologists do not know of a naturalistic mechanism that can produce biological complexity. That was no choice at all. Gould had to beat a hasty retreat back to classical Darwinism to avoid giving aid and comfort to the enemies of scientific naturalism, including those disgusting creationists. Having to defend a dead theory tooth and nail can hardly be a satisfying activity, and it is no wonder that Gould lashes out with fury at people such as myself who call attention to his predicament.5 I do not mean to ridicule Gould, because I have a genuinely high regard for the man as one of the few Darwinists who has recognized the major problems with the theory and reported them honestly. His tragedy is that he cannot admit the clear implications of his own thought without effectively resigning from science.

The continuing survival of Darwinist orthodoxy illustrates Thomas Kuhns famous point that the accumulation of anomalies never in itself falsifies a paradigm, since to reject one paradigm without substituting another is to reject science itself.6 This practice may be appropriate as a way of carrying on the professional enterprise called science, but it can be grossly misleading when it is imposed on persons who are asking questions other than the ones scientific naturalists want to ask. Suppose, for example, that I want to know whether God really had something to do with creating living organisms. A typical Darwinian response is that there is no reason to invoke supernatural action because Darwinian selection was capable of performing the job. To evaluate that response, I need to know whether natural selection really has the fantastic creative power attributed to it. It is not a sufficient answer to say that scientists have nothing better to offer. The fact that scientists dont like to say we dont know tells me nothing about what they really do know.

I am not suggesting that scientists have to change their rules about retaining and discarding paradigms. All I want them to do is to be candid about the disconfirming evidence and admit, if it is the case, that they are hanging on to Darwinism only because they prefer a shaky theory to having no theory at all. What they insist on doing, however, is to present Darwinian evolution to the public as a fact that every rational person is expected to accept. If there are reasonable grounds to doubt the theory such dogmatism is ridiculous, whether or not the doubters have a better theory to propose.

To believers in creation, Darwinists seem thoroughly intolerant and dogmatic when they insist that their own philosophy must have a monopoly in the schools and the media. Darwinists do not see themselves that way, of course. On the contrary, they often feel aggrieved when creationists (in either the broad or narrow sense) ask to have their own arguments heard and considered. To insist that schoolchildren be taught that Darwinian evolution is a fact is in their minds merely to protect the integrity of science education; to present the other side of the case would be to allow fanatics to force their opinions on others. Even college professors have been forbidden to express their doubts about Darwinian evolution in the classroom, and it seems widely believed that the Constitution not only permits but actually requires such restrictions on academic freedom.7

Religion

To explain this bizarre situation, we must define our fourth term: religion. Suppose that a skeptic argues that evidence for biological creation by natural selection is obviously lacking, and that in the circumstances we ought to give serious consideration to the possibility that the development of life required some input from a preexisting, purposeful creator. To scientific naturalists this suggestion is creationist and therefore unacceptable in principle, because it invokes an entity unknown to science. What is worse, it suggests the possibility that this creator may have communicated in some way with humans, perhaps with real prophets persons with a genuine knowledge of God. Such persons could be dangerous rivals for the scientists as cultural authorities.

Naturalistic philosophy has worked out a strategy to prevent this problem from arising: it labels naturalism as science and theism as religion. The former is then classified as knowledge, and the latter as mere belief. The distinction is of critical importance, because only knowledge can be objectively valid for everyone; belief is valid only for the believer, and should never be passed off as knowledge. The student who thinks that 2 and 2 make 5, or that water is not made up of hydrogen and oxygen, or that the theory of evolution is not true, is not expressing a minority viewpoint. He or she is ignorant, and the job of education is to cure that ignorance and to replace it with knowledge. Thus, students in the public schools must be taught at an early age that evolution is a fact, and as time goes by they will gradually learn that evolution means naturalism.

The proposition that God was in any way involved in our creation is effectively outlawed, since naturalistic evolution is by definition in the category of scientific knowledge and what contradicts knowledge is implicitly false, or imaginary. That is why it is possible for scientific naturalists in good faith to claim on the one hand that their science says nothing about God, and on the other to claim that they have said everything that can be said about God. In naturalistic philosophy both propositions are at bottom the same. All that needs to be said about God is that there is nothing to be said of God, because on that subject we can have no knowledge.

Truth

Our fifth term is truth. Truth as such is not a particularly important concept in naturalistic philosophy. The reason for this is that truth suggests an unchanging absolute, whereas scientific knowledge is a dynamic concept. Like life, knowledge evolves and grows into superior forms. What was knowledge in the past is not knowledge today, and the knowledge of the future will surely be far superior to what we have now. Only naturalism itself, and the unique validity of science as the path to knowledge, are absolutes. There can be no criterion for truth outside of scientific knowledge, no mind of God to which we have access.

This way of understanding things persists even when scientific naturalists employ religious-sounding language. For example, the physicist Stephen Hawking ended his famous book A Brief History of Time with the prediction that humanity might one day know the mind of God. This phrasing gives some friends of mine the mistaken impression that he has some attraction to theism. In context, Hawking was not referring to a supernatural eternal agent, but to the possibility that scientific knowledge will eventually become complete and all-encompassing because it will have explained the movements of material particles in all circumstances.

The monopoly of science in the realm of knowledge explains why evolutionary biologists do not find it meaningful to address the question whether Darwinism is true. They will gladly concede that the theory is incomplete and that further research is needed. At any given point in time, however, the reigning theory of naturalistic evolution represents the state of scientific knowledge about how we came into existence. Scientific knowledge is by naturalistic definition the closest approximation of absolute truth available to us. To ask whether this knowledge is true is to miss the point, and to betray a misunderstanding of how science works.

WHAT IS DARWINISM- CHRISTIANS AND DARWINISM

So far I have described the metaphysical categories by which scientific naturalists have excluded the topic of God from rational discussion, and thus ensured that Darwinisms fully naturalistic creation story is effectively true by definition. There is no need to explain why atheists find this system of thought control congenial. What is more difficult to understand at least at first is the strong support Darwinism continues to receive in the Christian academic world. Attempts to investigate the credibility of Darwinist evolution are regarded with little enthusiasm by many leading Christian professors of science and philosophy, even at institutions that are generally regarded as theologically conservative. Given that Darwinism is inherently naturalistic and therefore antagonistic to the idea that God had anything to do with the history of life, and that it plays the central role in ensuring agnostic domination of the intellectual culture, one might have supposed that Christian intellectuals (along with religious Jews) would be eager to find its weak spots.

Instead, the prevailing view among Christian professors has been that Darwinism or evolution, as they tend to call it is unbeatable, and that it can be interpreted to be consistent with Christian belief. In fact Darwinism is unbeatable as long as one accepts the thought categories of scientific naturalism that I have been describing. The problem is that those same thought categories make Christian theism, or any other theism, absolutely untenable. If science has exclusive authority to tell us how life was created, and if science is committed to naturalism, and if science never discards a paradigm until it is presented with an acceptable naturalistic alternative, then Darwinisms position is impregnable within science. Yet the same reasoning that makes Darwinism inevitable also bans God from taking any action within the history of the Cosmos, which makes theism illusory. Theistic naturalism is self-contradictory.

Some hope to avoid the contradiction by asserting that naturalism rules only within the realm of science, and that there is a separate realm called religion in which theism can flourish. The problem with this, as we have already seen, is that in a naturalistic culture scientific conclusions are considered to be knowledge, or even fact. What is outside of fact is fantasy, or at best subjective belief. Theists who accommodate scientific naturalism therefore may never affirm that their God is real in the same sense that evolution is real. This rule is essential to the entire naturalistic mindset that produced Darwinism in the first place.

If God exists He could certainly work through scientifically explainable processes if that is what He wanted to do, but He could also create by some means totally outside the ken of our science. Once we put Him into the picture, there is no good reason to attribute the creation of biological complexity to random mutation and natural selection. Direct evidence that these mechanisms have substantial creative power is not to be found in nature, the laboratory, or the fossil record. An essential step in the reasoning that establishes that Darwinian selection created the wonders of biology, therefore, is that nothing else was available. Theism says that something else was available.

Perhaps the contradiction is hard to see when it is stated at an abstract level, so I will give a more concrete example. Persons who advocate the compromise position called theistic evolution are in my experience always vague about what they mean by evolution. They have good reason to be vague. As we have seen, Darwinian evolution is by definition unguided and purposeless, and such evolution cannot in any meaningful sense be theistic. For evolution to be genuinely theistic it must be guided by God, whether this means God programmed the process in advance or stepped in from time to time to push it in the right direction. To Darwinists evolution guided by God is a soft form of creationism that is to say, it is not evolution at all. To repeat, this understanding goes to the very heart of Darwinist thinking. Allow a preexisting supernatural intelligence to guide evolution, and this omnipotent being can do a whole lot more than that.

Of course, theists can think of evolution as God-guided whether naturalistic Darwinists like it or not. One problem with having a private definition for theists, however, is that the scientific naturalists have the power to decide what the term evolution means in public discourse, including the science classes in the public schools. If theistic evolutionists broadcast the message that evolution as they understand it is harmless to theistic religion, they are misleading their constituents unless they add a clear warning that the version of evolution advocated by the entire body of mainstream science is something else altogether. That warning is never clearly delivered, because the main point of theistic evolution is to preserve peace with the mainstream scientific community. Theistic evolutionists therefore unwittingly serve the purposes of the scientific naturalists by helping persuade the religious community to lower its guard against the incursion of naturalism.

We are now in a position to answer the question, What is Darwinism? Darwinism is a theory of empirical science only at the level of microevolution, where it provides a framework for explaining phenomena such as the diversity that arises when small populations become reproductively isolated from the main body of the species. As a general theory of biological creation Darwinism is not empirical at all. Rather, it is a necessary implication of a philosophical doctrine called scientific naturalism, which is based on the nonscintific assumption that God was always absent from the realm of nature. Evolution in the Darwinian sense is inherently antithetical to theism, although evolution in some entirely different and nonnaturalistic sense could conceivably (if not demonstrably) have been Gods chosen method of creation.

To return to the game of Jeopardy with which we started, let us say that Darwinism is the answer. What, then, is the question? The question is: How must creation have occurred if we assume that God had nothing to do with it? Theistic evolutionists err in trying to Christianize the answer to a question that comes straight out of the agenda of scientific naturalism. What we need to do instead is challenge the assumption that the only questions worth asking are the ones that assume that naturalism is true.Phillip E. Johnsonis Professor of Law at the University of California. He is the author of Darwin on Trial and Reason in the Balance, and also the forthcoming Defeating Darwinism By Opening Minds (InterVarsity Press).

NOTES

1This article was originally delivered as a lecture at a symposium at Hillsdale College in November 1992. Papers from the Symposium were published in the collection, Man and Creation: Perspectives on Science and Theology, ed. Michael Bauman (Hillsdale, MI: Hillsdale College Press, 1993).2Niles Eldredge, Time Frames (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1986), 144.3Ibid., 93.4Stephen Jay Gould, Is a New and General Theory of Evolution Emerging? Paleobiology 6 (1980): 119-30, reprinted in Maynard Smith, ed., Evolution Now: A Century after Darwin (New York: W. H. Freeman, 1982).5See Stephen Jay Gould, Impeaching a Self-Appointed Judge, Scientific American, July 1992, 118-22. Scientific American refused to publish my response, but the response did appear in the March 1993 issue of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith: The Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation.6Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2d ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970), 79.7This issue is discussed in my article, What (If Anything) Hath God Wrought? at the web site (http://www.arn.org).

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What Is Darwinism? – Christian Research Institute

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History of Evolution | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Posted: July 12, 2016 at 6:25 am

The word “evolution” in its broadest sense refers to change or growth that occurs in a particular order. Although this broad version of the term would include astronomical evolution and the evolution of computer design, this article focuses on the evolution of biological organisms. That use of the term dates back to the ancient Greeks, but today the word is more often used to refer to Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. This theory is sometimes crudely referred to as the theory of “survival of the fittest.” It was proposed by CharlesDarwin in On the Origin of Species in 1859 and, independently, by Alfred Wallace in 1858although Wallace, unlike Darwin, said the human soul is not the product of evolution.

Greek and medieval references to “evolution” use it as a descriptive term for a state of nature, in which everything in nature has a certain order or purpose. This is a teleological view of nature. For example, Aristotle classified all living organisms hierarchically in his great scala naturae or Great Chain of Being, with plants at the bottom, moving through lesser animals, and on to humans at the pinnacle of creation, each becoming progressively more perfect in form. It was the medieval philosophers, such as Augustine, who began to incorporate teleological views of nature with religion: God is the designer of all creatures, and everything has a purpose and a place as ordained by Him.

In current times, to some, the terms “evolution” and “God” may look like unlikely bed fellows (see the discussion on teleology). This is due primarily to today’s rejection by biologists of a teleological view of evolution in favor of a more mechanistic one. The process of rejection is commonly considered to have begun with Descartes and to have culminated in Darwins theory of evolution by natural selection.

Fundamental to natural selection is the idea of change by common descent. This implies that all living organisms are related to each other; for any two species, if we look back far enough we will find that they are descended from a common ancestor. This is a radically different view than Aristotles Great Chain of Being, in which each species is formed individually with its own purpose and place in nature and where no species evolves into a new species. Evolution by natural selection is a purely mechanistic theory of change that does not appeal to any sense of purpose or a designer. There is no foresight or purpose in nature, and there is no implication that one species is more perfect than another. There is only change driven by selection pressures from the environment. Although the modern theory of biological evolution by natural selection is well accepted among professional biologists, there is still controversy about whether natural selection selects for fit genes or fit organisms or fit species.

Evolution by natural selection is a theory about the process of change. Although Darwin’s original theory did not specify that genes account for an organism’s heritable traits, that is now universally accepted among modern evolutionists. In a given population, natural selection occurs when genetically-based traits that promote survival in one’s environment are passed onto future generations and become more frequent in later generations. Organisms develop different survival and reproduction enhancing traits in response to their different environments (with abundance or shortage of food, presence or absence of predators, and so forth) and, given enough time and environmental changes, these small changes can accumulate to form a whole new species. Thus for Darwin there is no sharp distinction between a new variation and a new species. This theory accounts for the diversity of Earth’s organisms better than theological design theories or competing scientific theories such as Lamarck’s theory that an organism can pass on to its offspringcharacteristics that it acquired during its lifetime.

Evolution by natural selection works on three principles: variation (within a given generation there will be variation in traits, some that aid survival and reproduction and some that dont, and some that have a genetic basis and some that dont); competition (there will be limited resources that individuals must compete for, and traits that aid survival and reproduction will help in competition); and heritability (only traits that aid survival and reproduction and have a genetic basis can passed onto future generations).

Evolution is not so much a modern discovery as some of its advocates would have us believe. It made its appearance early in Greek philosophy, and maintained its position more or less, with the most diverse modifications, and frequently confused with the idea of emanation, until the close of ancient thought. The Greeks had, it is true, no term exactly equivalent to ” evolution”; but when Thales asserts that all things originated from water; when Anaximenes calls air the principle of all things, regarding the subsequent process as a thinning or thickening, they must have considered individual beings and the phenomenal world as, a result of evolution, even if they did not carry the process out in detail. Anaximander is often regarded as a precursor of the modem theory of development. He deduces living beings, in a gradual development, from moisture under the influence of warmth, and suggests the view that men originated from animals of another sort, since if they had come into existence as human beings, needing fostering care for a long time, they would not have been able to maintain their existence. In Empedocles, as in Epicurus and Lucretius, who follow in Hs footsteps, there are rudimentary suggestions of the Darwinian theory in its broader sense; and here too, as with Darwin, the mechanical principle comes in; the process is adapted to a certain end by a sort of natural selection, without regarding nature as deliberately forming its results for these ends.

If the mechanical view is to be found in these philosophers, the teleological occurs in Heraclitus, who conceives the process as a rational development, in accordance with the Logos and names steps of the process, as from igneous air to water, and thence to earth. The Stoics followed Heraclitus in the main lines of their physics. The primal principle is, as with him, igneous air. only that this is named God by them with much greater definiteness. The Godhead has life in itself, and develops into the universe, differentiating primarily into two kinds of elements the finer or active, and the coarser or passive. Formation or development goes on continuously, under the impulse of the formative principle, by whatever name it is known, until all is once more dissolved by the ekpyrosis into the fundamental principle, and the whole process begins over again. Their conception of the process as analogous to the development of the seed finds special expression in their term of logos spermatikos. In one point the Stoics differ essentially from Heraclitus. With them the whole process is accomplished according to certain ends indwelling in the Godhead, which is a provident, careful intelligence, while no providence is assumed in Heraclitus.

Empedocles asserts definitely that the sphairos, as the full reconciliation of opposites, is opposed, as the superior, to the individual beings brought into existence by hatred, which are then once more united by love to the primal essence, the interchange of world-periods thus continuing indefinitely. Development is to be found also in the atomistic philosopher Democritus; in a purely mechanical manner without any purpose, bodies come into existence out of atoms, and ultimately entire worlds appear and disappear from and to eternity. Like his predecessors, Deinocritus, deduces organic beings from what is inorganic-moist earth or slime.

Development, as well as the process of becoming, in general, was denied by the Eleatic philosophers. Their doctrine, diametrically opposed to the older thoroughgoing evolutionism, had its influence in determining the acceptance of unchangeable ideas, or forms, by Plato and Aristotle. Though Plato reproduces the doctrine of Heraclitus as to the flux of all things in the phenomenal world, he denies any continuous change in the world of ideas. Change is permanent only in so far as the eternal forms stamp themselves upon individual objects. Though this, as a rule, takes place but imperfectly, the stubborn mass is so far affected that all works out as far as possible for the best. The demiurge willed that all should become as far as possible like himself; and so the world finally becomes beautiful and perfect. Here we have a development, though the principle which has the most real existence does not change; the forms, or archetypal ideas, remain eternally what they are.

In Aristotle also the forms are the real existences, working in matter but eternally remaining the same, at once the motive cause and the effectual end of all things. Here the idea of evolution is clearer than in Plato, especially for the physical world, which is wholly dominated by purpose. The transition from lifeless to living matter is a gradual one, so that the dividing-line between them is scarcely perceptible. Next to lifeless matter comes the vegetable kingdom, which seems, compared with the inorganic, to have life, but appears lifeless compared with the organic. The transition from plants to animals is again a gradual one. The lowest organisms originate from the primeval slime, or from animal differentiation; there is a continual progression from simple, undeveloped types to the higher and more perfect. As the highest stage, the end and aim of the whole process, man appears; all lower forms are merely unsuccessful attempts to produce him. The ape is a transitional stage between man and other viviparous animals. If development has so important a work in Aristotle’s physics, it is not less important in his metaphysics. The whole transition from potentiality to actuality (from dynamis toentelecheia) is nothing but a transition from the lower to the higher, everything striving to assimilate itself to the absolutely perfect, to the Divine. Thus Aristotle, like Plato, regards the entire order of the universe as a sort of deification. But the part played in the development by the Godhead, the absolutely immaterial form, is less than that of the forms which operate in matter, since, being already everything,, it is incapable of becoming anything else. Thus Aristotle, despite his evolutionistic notions, does not take the view of a thoroughgoing evolutionist as regards the universe; nor do the Neoplatonists, whose highest principle remains wholly unchanged, though all things emanate from it.

The idea of evolution was not particularly dominant in patristic and scholastic theology and philosophy, both on account of the dualism which runs through them as an echo of Plato and Aristotle, and on account of the generally accepted Christian theory of creation. However, evolution is not generally denied; and with Augustine (De civitate dei, xv. 1) it is taken as the basis for a philosophy of history. Erigena and some of his followers seem to teach a sort of evolution. The issue of finite beings from God is called analysis or resolution in contrast to the reverse or deification the return to God, who once more assimilates all things. God himself, although denominated the beginning, middle, and end, all in all remains unmixed in his own essence, transcendent though immanent in the world. The teaching of. Nicholas of Cusa is similar to Erigena’s, though a certain amount of Pythagoreanism comes in here. The world exhibits explicitly what the Godhead implicitly contains; the world is an animated, ordered whole, in which God is everywhere present. Since God embraces all things in himself, he unites all opposites: he is the complicatio omnium contradictoriorum. The idea of evolution thus appears in Nicholas in a rather pantheistic form, but it is not developed.

In spite of some obscurities in his conception of the world Giordano Bruno is a little clearer. According to him God is the immanent first cause in the universe; there is no difference between matter and form; matter, which includes in itself forms and ends, is the source of all becoming and of all actuality. The infinite ether which fills infinite space conceals within itself the nucleus of all things, and they proceed from it according to determinate laws, yet in a teleological manner. Thus the worlds originate not by an arbitrary act, but by an inner necessity of the divine nature. They are natura naturata, as distinguished from the operative nature of God, natitra naturans, which is present in all thin-S as the being- of all that is, the beauty of all that is fair. As in the Stoic teaching, with which Bruno’s philosophy has much in common, the conception of evolution comes out clearly both for physics and metaphysics.

Leibniz attempted to reconcile the mechanical-physical and the teleological views, after Descartes, in his Principia philosophitce, excluding all purpose, had explained nature both lifeless and living, as mere mechanism. It is right, however, to point out that Descartes had a metaphysics above his physics, in which the conception of God took an important place, and that thus the mechanical notion of evolution did not really include everything. In Leibnitz the principles of mechanics and physics are dependent upon the direction of a supreme intelligence, without which they would be inexplicable to us. Only by such a preliminary assumption are we able to recognize that one ordered thing follows upon another continuously. It is in this sense that the law of continuity is to be understood, which is of such great importance in Leibnitz. At bottom it is the same as the law of ordered development. The genera of all beings follow continuously one upon another, and between the main classes, as between animals and vegetables, there must be a continuous sequence of intermediate beings. Here again, however, evolution is not taught in its most thorough form, since the divine monad, of God, does not come into the world but transcends it.

Among the German philosophers of the eighteenth century Herder must be mentioned first of the pioneers of modern evolutionism. He lays down the doctrine of a continuous development in the unity of nature from inorganic to organic, from the stone to the plant, from the plant to the animal, and from the animal to man. As nature develops according to fixed laws and natural conditions, so does history, which is only a continuation of the process of nature. Both nature and history labor to educate man in perfect humanity; but as this is seldom attained, a future life is suggested. Lessing had dwelt on the education of the human race as a development to the higher and more perfect. It is only recently that the significance of Herder, in regard to the conception and treatment of historic development, has been adequately recognized. Goethe also followed out the idea of evolution in his zoological and botanical investigations, with his theory of the metamorphosis of plants and his endeavor to discover unity in different organisms.

Kant is also often mentioned as having been an early teacher of the modern theory of descent. It is true he considers the analogy of the forms which he finds in various classes of organisms a ground for supposing that they may have come originally from a common source. He calls the hypothesis that specifically different being have originated one from the other “a daring adventure of the reason.” But he entertains the thought that in a later epoch “an orang-outang or a chimpanzee may develop the organs which serve for walking, grasping objects, and speaking-in short, that lie may evolve the structure of man, with an organ for the use of reason, which shall gradually develop itself by social culture.” Here, indeed, important ideas of Darwin were anticipated; but Kant’s critical system was such that development could have no predominant place in it.

The idea of evolution came out more strongly in his German idealistic successors, especially in Schelling, who regarded nature as a preliminary stage to mind, and the process of physical development as continuing in history. The unconscious productions of nature are only unsuccessful attempts to reflect itself; lifeless nature is an immature intelligence, so that in its phenomena an intelligent character appears only unconsciously. Its highest aim, that, of becoming an object to itself, is only attained in the highest and last reflection-in man, or in what we call reason, through which for the first time nature returns perfectly upon itself. All stages of nature are connected by a common life, and show in their development a conclusive unity. The course of history as a whole must be conceived as offering a gradually progressive revelation of the Absolute. For this he names three periods-that of fate, that of nature, and that of providence, of which we are now in the second. Schelling’s followers carried the idea of development somewhat further than their master. This is true especially of Oken, who conceives natural science as the science of the eternal transformation of God into the world, of the dissolution of the Absolute into plurality, and of its continuous further operation in this plurality. The development is continued through the vegetable and animal kingdoms up to man, who in his art and science and polity completely establishes the will of nature. Oken, it is true, conceived man as the sole object of all animal development, so that the lower stages are only abortive attempts to produce him-a theory afterward controverted by Ernst von Baer and Cuvier, the former of whom, standing somewhat in opposition to Darwin, is of great interest to the student of the history of the theory of evolution.

Some evolutionistic ideas are found in Krause and Schleiermacher; but Hegel, with his absolute idealism, is a more notable representative of them. In his system philosophy is the science of the Absolute, of the absolute reason developing or unfolding itself. Reason develops itself first in the abstract element of thought, then expresses itself externally in nature, and finally returns from this externalization into itself in mind. As Heraclitus had taught eternal becoming, so Hegel, who avowedly accepted all the propositions of the Ephesian philosopher in his logic, taught eternal proceeding. The difference between the Greek and the German was that the former believed in the flux of matter, of fire transmuting itself by degrees into all things, and in nature as the sole existence, outside of which there was nothing; while the latter conceived the abstract idea or reason as that which really is or becomes, and nature as only a necessary but transient phase in the process of development. With Heraclitus evolution meant the return of all things into the primal principle followed by a new world-development; with Hegel it was an eternal process of thought, giving no answer to the question as to the end of historical development.

While Heraclitus had laid down his doctrine of eternal becoming rather by intuition than on the ground of experience, and the entire evolutionary process of Hegel had been expressly conceived as based on pure thought, Darwin’s and Wallace’s epoch-making doctrine rested upon a vast mass of ascertained facts. He was, of course, not the first to lay down the origin of species one from another as a formal doctrine. Besides those predecessors of his to whom allusion has already been made, two others may be mentioned here: his grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, who emphasized organic variability; and still more Lamarck, who denied the immutability of species and forms, and claimed to have demonstrated by observation the gradual development of the animal kingdom. What is new in Charles Darwin is not his theory of descent, but its confirmation by the theory of natural selection and the survival of the fittest in the struggle for existence. Thus a result is brought about which corresponds as far as possible to a rational end in a purely mechanical process, without any cooperation of teleological principles, without any innate tendency in the organisms to proceed to a higher stage. This theory postulates in the later organisms deviations from the earlier ones; and that these deviations, in so far as they are improvements, perpetuate themselves and become generic marks of differentiation. This, however, imports a difficulty, since the origin of the first of these deviations is inexplicable. The differentia of mankind, whom Darwin, led by the force of analogy, deduces from a species of apes, consists in intellect and moral qualities, but comes into existence only by degrees. The moral sensibilities develop from the original social impulse innate in man; this impulse is an effort to secure not so much individual happiness as the general welfare.

It would be impossible to name here all those who, in different countries, have followed in Darwin’s footsteps, first in the biological field and then in those of psychology, ethics, sociology, and religion. They have carried his teaching further in several directions, modifying it to some extent and making it fruitful, while positivism has not seldom come into alliance with it. In Germany Ernst Haeckel must be mentioned with his biogenetic law, according to which the development of the individual is an epitome of the history of the race, and with his less securely grounded notion of the world-ether as a creative deity. In France Alfred Fouillee worked out a theory of idea-forces, a combination of Platonic idealism with English (though not specifically Darwinian) evolutionism. Marie-Jean Guyau understood by evolution a life led according to the fundamental law that the most intensive life is also the most extensive. He develops his ethics altogether from the facts of the social existence of mankind, and his religion is a universal sociomorphism, the feeling of the unity of man with the entire cosmos.

The most careful and thorough development of the whole system took place in England. For a long time it was represented principally by the work of Herbert Spencer, who had come out for the principle of evolution even before the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species. He carries the idea through the whole range of philosophy in his great System of Synthetic Philosophy and undertakes to show that development is the highest law of all nature, not merely of the organic. As the foundation of ill that exists, though itself unknowable and only revealing itself in material and mental forms, he places a power, the Absolute, of which we have but an indefinite conception. The individual processes of the world of phenomena are classed under the head of evolution, or extension of movement, with which integration of matter, union into a single whole, is connected, and dissolution or absorption of movement, which includes disintegration of matter, the breaking of connection. Both processes go on simultaneously, and include the history of every existence which we can perceive. In the course of their development the organisms incorporate matter with themselves; the plant grows by taking into itself elements which have previously existed in the form of gases, and the animal by assimilating elements found in plants and in other animals. The same sort of integration is observed in social organisms, as when nomadic families unite into a tribe, or subjects under a prince, and princes under a king. In like manner integration is evident in the development of language, of art, and of science, especially philosophy. But as the individuals unite into a whole, a strongly marked differentiation goes on at the same time, as in the distinction between the surface and the interior of the earth, or between various climates. Natural selection is not considered necessary to account for varying species, but gradual conditions of life create them. The aim of the development is to show a condition of perfect balance in the whole; when this is attained, the development, in virtue of the continuous operation of external powers, passes into dissolution. Those epochs of development and of dissolution follow alternately upon each other. This view of Spencer suggests the hodos ano and hodos kato of Heraclitus, and his flowing back of individual things into the primal principle.

Similar principles are carried out not only for organic phenomena but also for mental and social; and on the basis of the theory of evolution a remarkable combination of intuitionism and empiricism is achieved. In his principles of sociology Spencer lays down the laws of hyperorganic evolution, and gives the various stages of human customs and especially of religious ideas, deducing all religion much too one-sidedly from ancestor-worship. The belief in an immortal ” second self ” is explained by such phenomena as shadows and echoes. The notion of gods is suppose to arise from the idea of a ghostly life after death. In his Principles of Ethics he attempts a similar compromise between intuitionism and empiricism, deducing the consciousness of duty from innumerable accumulated experiences. The compelling element in moral actions, originally arising from fear of religious, civil, or social punishment, disappears with the development of true morality. There is no permanent opposition between egoism and altruism, but the latter develops simultaneously with the former.

Spencer’s ethical principles were fruitfully modified, especially by Sir Leslie Stephen and S. Alexander, though with constant adherence to the idea of development. While the doctrine of evolution in Huxley and Tyndall is associated with agnosticism, and thus freed from all connection with metaphysics, as indeed was the case with Spencer, in spite of his recognition of the Absolute as the necessary basis for religion and for thought, in another direction an attempt was made to combine evolutionism closely with a metaphysics in which the idea of God was prominent. Thus the evolution theory of Clifford and Romanes led them to a thoroughgoing monism, and that of J. M. F. Schiller to pluralism. According to the last-named a personal deity, limited in power, exists side by side with a multitude of intellectual beings, who existed before the formation of the world in a chaotic state as absolutely isolated individuals. The process of world formation begins with the decision of the divine Spirit to bring a harmony of the cosmos out of these many existences. Though Spencer’s influence in philosophical development was not so great in Germany as in England, the idea of development has continued in recent years to exert no little power. Space forbids more than a mention of Lotze’s teleological idealism; Von Harttmann’s absolute monism, in which the goal of the teleological development of the universe is the reversion of the will into not-willing; Wundt’s metaphysics of the will, according to which the world is a development, an eternal becoming, in which nature is a preliminary stage to mind; and Nietzsche’s individualism, the final point of which is the development of the superman.

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North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) | Britannica.com

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Alternative title: NATO

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), military alliance established by the North Atlantic Treaty (also called the Washington Treaty) of April 4, 1949, which sought to create a counterweight to Soviet armies stationed in central and eastern Europe after World War II. Its original members were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Joining the original signatories were Greece and Turkey (1952); West Germany (1955; from 1990 as Germany); Spain (1982); the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland (1999); Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia (2004); and Albania and Croatia (2009). France withdrew from the integrated military command of NATO in 1966 but remained a member of the organization; it resumed its position in NATOs military command in 2009.

The heart of NATO is expressed in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, in which the signatory members agree that

an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all; and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

NATO invoked Article 5 for the first time in 2001, after terrorist attacks organized by exiled Saudi Arabian millionaire Osama bin Laden destroyed the World Trade Center in New York City and part of the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C., killing some 3,000 people.

Article 6 defines the geographic scope of the treaty as covering an armed attack on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America. Other articles commit the allies to strengthening their democratic institutions, to building their collective military capability, to consulting each other, and to remaining open to inviting other European states to join.

Barkley, Alben W.: North Atlantic Treaty signingEncyclopdia Britannica, Inc.After World War II in 1945, western Europe was economically exhausted and militarily weak (the western Allies had rapidly and drastically reduced their armies at the end of the war), and newly powerful communist parties had arisen in France and Italy. By contrast, the Soviet Union had emerged from the war with its armies dominating all the states of central and eastern Europe, and by 1948 communists under Moscows sponsorship had consolidated their control of the governments of those countries and suppressed all noncommunist political activity. What became known as the Iron Curtain, a term popularized by Winston Churchill, had descended over central and eastern Europe. Further, wartime cooperation between the western Allies and the Soviets had completely broken down. Each side was organizing its own sector of occupied Germany, so that two German states would emerge, a democratic one in the west and a communist one in the east.

In 1948 the United States launched the Marshall Plan, which infused massive amounts of economic aid to the countries of western and southern Europe on the condition that they cooperate with each other and engage in joint planning to hasten their mutual recovery. As for military recovery, under the Brussels Treaty of 1948, the United Kingdom, France, and the Low CountriesBelgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourgconcluded a collective-defense agreement called the Western European Union. It was soon recognized, however, that a more formidable alliance would be required to provide an adequate military counterweight to the Soviets.

By this time Britain, Canada, and the United States had already engaged in secret exploratory talks on security arrangements that would serve as an alternative to the United Nations (UN), which was becoming paralyzed by the rapidly emerging Cold War. In March 1948, following a virtual communist coup dtat in Czechoslovakia in February, the three governments began discussions on a multilateral collective-defense scheme that would enhance Western security and promote democratic values. These discussions were eventually joined by France, the Low Countries, and Norway and in April 1949 resulted in the North Atlantic Treaty.

Spurred by the North Korean invasion of South Korea in June 1950, the United States took steps to demonstrate that it would resist any Soviet military expansion or pressures in Europe. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the leader of the Allied forces in western Europe in World War II, was named Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) by the North Atlantic Council (NATOs governing body) in December 1950. He was followed as SACEUR by a succession of American generals.

The North Atlantic Council, which was established soon after the treaty came into effect, is composed of ministerial representatives of the member states, who meet at least twice a year. At other times the council, chaired by the NATO secretary-general, remains in permanent session at the ambassadorial level. Just as the position of SACEUR has always been held by an American, the secretary-generalship has always been held by a European.

NATOs military organization encompasses a complete system of commands for possible wartime use. The Military Committee, consisting of representatives of the military chiefs of staff of the member states, subsumes two strategic commands: Allied Command Operations (ACO) and Allied Command Transformation (ACT). ACO is headed by the SACEUR and located at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Casteau, Belgium. ACT is headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, U.S. During the alliances first 20 years, more than $3 billion worth of infrastructure for NATO forcesbases, airfields, pipelines, communications networks, depotswas jointly planned, financed, and built, with about one-third of the funding from the United States. NATO funding generally is not used for the procurement of military equipment, which is provided by the member statesthough the NATO Airborne Early Warning Force, a fleet of radar-bearing aircraft designed to protect against a surprise low-flying attack, was funded jointly.

A serious issue confronting NATO in the early and mid-1950s was the negotiation of West Germanys participation in the alliance. The prospect of a rearmed Germany was understandably greeted with widespread unease and hesitancy in western Europe, but the countrys strength had long been recognized as necessary to protect western Europe from a possible Soviet invasion. Accordingly, arrangements for West Germanys safe participation in the alliance were worked out as part of the Paris Agreements of October 1954, which ended the occupation of West German territory by the western Allies and provided for both the limitation of West German armaments and the countrys accession to the Brussels Treaty. In May 1955 West Germany joined NATO, which prompted the Soviet Union to form the Warsaw Pact alliance in central and eastern Europe the same year. The West Germans subsequently contributed many divisions and substantial air forces to the NATO alliance. By the time the Cold War ended, some 900,000 troopsnearly half of them from six countries (United States, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Canada, and the Netherlands)were stationed in West Germany.

Frances relationship with NATO became strained after 1958, as President Charles de Gaulle increasingly criticized the organizations domination by the United States and the intrusion upon French sovereignty by NATOs many international staffs and activities. He argued that such integration subjected France to automatic war at the decision of foreigners. In July 1966 France formally withdrew from the military command structure of NATO and required NATO forces and headquarters to leave French soil; nevertheless, de Gaulle proclaimed continued French adherence to the North Atlantic Treaty in case of unprovoked aggression. After NATO moved its headquarters from Paris to Brussels, France maintained a liaison relationship with NATOs integrated military staffs, continued to sit in the council, and continued to maintain and deploy ground forces in West Germany, though it did so under new bilateral agreements with the West Germans rather than under NATO jurisdiction. In 2009 France rejoined the military command structure of NATO.

From its founding, NATOs primary purpose was to unify and strengthen the Western Allies military response to a possible invasion of western Europe by the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies. In the early 1950s NATO relied partly on the threat of massive nuclear retaliation from the United States to counter the Warsaw Pacts much larger ground forces. Beginning in 1957, this policy was supplemented by the deployment of American nuclear weapons in western European bases. NATO later adopted a flexible response strategy, which the United States interpreted to mean that a war in Europe did not have to escalate to an all-out nuclear exchange. Under this strategy, many Allied forces were equipped with American battlefield and theatre nuclear weapons under a dual-control (or dual-key) system, which allowed both the country hosting the weapons and the United States to veto their use. Britain retained control of its strategic nuclear arsenal but brought it within NATOs planning structures; Frances nuclear forces remained completely autonomous.

A conventional and nuclear stalemate between the two sides continued through the construction of the Berlin Wall in the early 1960s, dtente in the 1970s, and the resurgence of Cold War tensions in the 1980s after the Soviet Unions invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and the election of U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1980. After 1985, however, far-reaching economic and political reforms introduced by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev fundamentally altered the status quo. In July 1989 Gorbachev announced that Moscow would no longer prop up communist governments in central and eastern Europe and thereby signaled his tacit acceptance of their replacement by freely elected (and noncommunist) administrations. Moscows abandonment of control over central and eastern Europe meant the dissipation of much of the military threat that the Warsaw Pact had formerly posed to western Europe, a fact that led some to question the need to retain NATO as a military organizationespecially after the Warsaw Pacts dissolution in 1991. The reunification of Germany in October 1990 and its retention of NATO membership created both a need and an opportunity for NATO to be transformed into a more political alliance devoted to maintaining international stability in Europe.

After the Cold War, NATO was reconceived as a cooperative-security organization whose mandate was to include two main objectives: to foster dialogue and cooperation with former adversaries in the Warsaw Pact and to manage conflicts in areas on the European periphery, such as the Balkans. In keeping with the first objective, NATO established the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (1991; later replaced by the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council) to provide a forum for the exchange of views on political and security issues, as well as the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program (1994) to enhance European security and stability through joint military training exercises with NATO and non-NATO states, including the former Soviet republics and allies. Special cooperative links were also set up with two PfP countries: Russia and Ukraine.

The second objective entailed NATOs first use of military force, when it entered the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995 by staging air strikes against Bosnian Serb positions around the capital city of Sarajevo. The subsequent Dayton Accords, which were initialed by representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, committed each state to respecting the others sovereignty and to settling disputes peacefully; it also laid the groundwork for stationing NATO peacekeeping troops in the region. A 60,000-strong Implementation Force (IFOR) was initially deployed, though a smaller contingent remained in Bosnia under a different name, the Stabilization Force (SFOR). In March 1999 NATO launched massive air strikes against Serbia in an attempt to force the Yugoslav government of Slobodan Miloevi to accede to diplomatic provisions designed to protect the predominantly Muslim Albanian population in the province of Kosovo. Under the terms of a negotiated settlement to the fighting, NATO deployed a peacekeeping force called the Kosovo Force (KFOR).

The crisis over Kosovo and the ensuing war gave renewed impetus to efforts by the European Union (EU) to construct a new crisis-intervention force, which would make the EU less dependent on NATO and U.S. military resources for conflict management. These efforts prompted significant debates about whether enhancing the EUs defensive capabilities would strengthen or weaken NATO. Simultaneously there was much discussion of the future of NATO in the post-Cold War era. Some observers argued that the alliance should be dissolved, noting that it was created to confront an enemy that no longer existed; others called for a broad expansion of NATO membership to include Russia. Most suggested alternative roles, including peacekeeping. By the start of the second decade of the 21st century, it appeared likely that the EU would not develop capabilities competitive with those of NATO or even seek to do so; as a result, earlier worries associated with the spectre of rivalry between the two Brussels-based organizations dissipated.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization: flag-raising ceremony, 1999NATO photosDuring the presidency of Bill Clinton (19932001), the United States led an initiative to enlarge NATO membership gradually to include some of the former Soviet allies. In the concurrent debate over enlargement, supporters of the initiative argued that NATO membership was the best way to begin the long process of integrating these states into regional political and economic institutions such as the EU. Some also feared future Russian aggression and suggested that NATO membership would guarantee freedom and security for the newly democratic regimes. Opponents pointed to the enormous cost of modernizing the military forces of new members; they also argued that enlargement, which Russia would regard as a provocation, would hinder democracy in that country and enhance the influence of hard-liners. Despite these disagreements, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland joined NATO in 1999; Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia were admitted in 2004; and Albania and Croatia acceded to the alliance in 2009.

Meanwhile, by the beginning of the 21st century, Russia and NATO had formed a strategic relationship. No longer considered NATOs chief enemy, Russia cemented a new cooperative bond with NATO in 2001 to address such common concerns as international terrorism, nuclear nonproliferation, and arms control. This bond was subsequently subject to fraying, however, in large part because of reasons associated with Russian domestic politics.

Events following the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 led to the forging of a new dynamic within the alliance, one that increasingly favoured the military engagement of members outside Europe, initially with a mission against Taliban forces in Afghanistan beginning in the summer of 2003 and subsequently with air operations against the regime of Muammar al-Qaddafi in Libya in early 2011. As a result of the increased tempo of military operations undertaken by the alliance, the long-standing issue of burden sharing was revived, with some officials warning that failure to share the costs of NATO operations more equitably would lead to unraveling of the alliance. Most observers regarded that scenario as unlikely, however.

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North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) | Britannica.com

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North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) | Britannica.com

Posted: at 5:27 am

Alternative title: NATO

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), military alliance established by the North Atlantic Treaty (also called the Washington Treaty) of April 4, 1949, which sought to create a counterweight to Soviet armies stationed in central and eastern Europe after World War II. Its original members were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Joining the original signatories were Greece and Turkey (1952); West Germany (1955; from 1990 as Germany); Spain (1982); the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland (1999); Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia (2004); and Albania and Croatia (2009). France withdrew from the integrated military command of NATO in 1966 but remained a member of the organization; it resumed its position in NATOs military command in 2009.

The heart of NATO is expressed in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, in which the signatory members agree that

an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all; and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

NATO invoked Article 5 for the first time in 2001, after terrorist attacks organized by exiled Saudi Arabian millionaire Osama bin Laden destroyed the World Trade Center in New York City and part of the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C., killing some 3,000 people.

Article 6 defines the geographic scope of the treaty as covering an armed attack on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America. Other articles commit the allies to strengthening their democratic institutions, to building their collective military capability, to consulting each other, and to remaining open to inviting other European states to join.

Barkley, Alben W.: North Atlantic Treaty signingEncyclopdia Britannica, Inc.After World War II in 1945, western Europe was economically exhausted and militarily weak (the western Allies had rapidly and drastically reduced their armies at the end of the war), and newly powerful communist parties had arisen in France and Italy. By contrast, the Soviet Union had emerged from the war with its armies dominating all the states of central and eastern Europe, and by 1948 communists under Moscows sponsorship had consolidated their control of the governments of those countries and suppressed all noncommunist political activity. What became known as the Iron Curtain, a term popularized by Winston Churchill, had descended over central and eastern Europe. Further, wartime cooperation between the western Allies and the Soviets had completely broken down. Each side was organizing its own sector of occupied Germany, so that two German states would emerge, a democratic one in the west and a communist one in the east.

In 1948 the United States launched the Marshall Plan, which infused massive amounts of economic aid to the countries of western and southern Europe on the condition that they cooperate with each other and engage in joint planning to hasten their mutual recovery. As for military recovery, under the Brussels Treaty of 1948, the United Kingdom, France, and the Low CountriesBelgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourgconcluded a collective-defense agreement called the Western European Union. It was soon recognized, however, that a more formidable alliance would be required to provide an adequate military counterweight to the Soviets.

By this time Britain, Canada, and the United States had already engaged in secret exploratory talks on security arrangements that would serve as an alternative to the United Nations (UN), which was becoming paralyzed by the rapidly emerging Cold War. In March 1948, following a virtual communist coup dtat in Czechoslovakia in February, the three governments began discussions on a multilateral collective-defense scheme that would enhance Western security and promote democratic values. These discussions were eventually joined by France, the Low Countries, and Norway and in April 1949 resulted in the North Atlantic Treaty.

Spurred by the North Korean invasion of South Korea in June 1950, the United States took steps to demonstrate that it would resist any Soviet military expansion or pressures in Europe. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the leader of the Allied forces in western Europe in World War II, was named Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) by the North Atlantic Council (NATOs governing body) in December 1950. He was followed as SACEUR by a succession of American generals.

The North Atlantic Council, which was established soon after the treaty came into effect, is composed of ministerial representatives of the member states, who meet at least twice a year. At other times the council, chaired by the NATO secretary-general, remains in permanent session at the ambassadorial level. Just as the position of SACEUR has always been held by an American, the secretary-generalship has always been held by a European.

NATOs military organization encompasses a complete system of commands for possible wartime use. The Military Committee, consisting of representatives of the military chiefs of staff of the member states, subsumes two strategic commands: Allied Command Operations (ACO) and Allied Command Transformation (ACT). ACO is headed by the SACEUR and located at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Casteau, Belgium. ACT is headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, U.S. During the alliances first 20 years, more than $3 billion worth of infrastructure for NATO forcesbases, airfields, pipelines, communications networks, depotswas jointly planned, financed, and built, with about one-third of the funding from the United States. NATO funding generally is not used for the procurement of military equipment, which is provided by the member statesthough the NATO Airborne Early Warning Force, a fleet of radar-bearing aircraft designed to protect against a surprise low-flying attack, was funded jointly.

A serious issue confronting NATO in the early and mid-1950s was the negotiation of West Germanys participation in the alliance. The prospect of a rearmed Germany was understandably greeted with widespread unease and hesitancy in western Europe, but the countrys strength had long been recognized as necessary to protect western Europe from a possible Soviet invasion. Accordingly, arrangements for West Germanys safe participation in the alliance were worked out as part of the Paris Agreements of October 1954, which ended the occupation of West German territory by the western Allies and provided for both the limitation of West German armaments and the countrys accession to the Brussels Treaty. In May 1955 West Germany joined NATO, which prompted the Soviet Union to form the Warsaw Pact alliance in central and eastern Europe the same year. The West Germans subsequently contributed many divisions and substantial air forces to the NATO alliance. By the time the Cold War ended, some 900,000 troopsnearly half of them from six countries (United States, Unite
d Kingdom, France, Belgium, Canada, and the Netherlands)were stationed in West Germany.

Frances relationship with NATO became strained after 1958, as President Charles de Gaulle increasingly criticized the organizations domination by the United States and the intrusion upon French sovereignty by NATOs many international staffs and activities. He argued that such integration subjected France to automatic war at the decision of foreigners. In July 1966 France formally withdrew from the military command structure of NATO and required NATO forces and headquarters to leave French soil; nevertheless, de Gaulle proclaimed continued French adherence to the North Atlantic Treaty in case of unprovoked aggression. After NATO moved its headquarters from Paris to Brussels, France maintained a liaison relationship with NATOs integrated military staffs, continued to sit in the council, and continued to maintain and deploy ground forces in West Germany, though it did so under new bilateral agreements with the West Germans rather than under NATO jurisdiction. In 2009 France rejoined the military command structure of NATO.

From its founding, NATOs primary purpose was to unify and strengthen the Western Allies military response to a possible invasion of western Europe by the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies. In the early 1950s NATO relied partly on the threat of massive nuclear retaliation from the United States to counter the Warsaw Pacts much larger ground forces. Beginning in 1957, this policy was supplemented by the deployment of American nuclear weapons in western European bases. NATO later adopted a flexible response strategy, which the United States interpreted to mean that a war in Europe did not have to escalate to an all-out nuclear exchange. Under this strategy, many Allied forces were equipped with American battlefield and theatre nuclear weapons under a dual-control (or dual-key) system, which allowed both the country hosting the weapons and the United States to veto their use. Britain retained control of its strategic nuclear arsenal but brought it within NATOs planning structures; Frances nuclear forces remained completely autonomous.

A conventional and nuclear stalemate between the two sides continued through the construction of the Berlin Wall in the early 1960s, dtente in the 1970s, and the resurgence of Cold War tensions in the 1980s after the Soviet Unions invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and the election of U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1980. After 1985, however, far-reaching economic and political reforms introduced by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev fundamentally altered the status quo. In July 1989 Gorbachev announced that Moscow would no longer prop up communist governments in central and eastern Europe and thereby signaled his tacit acceptance of their replacement by freely elected (and noncommunist) administrations. Moscows abandonment of control over central and eastern Europe meant the dissipation of much of the military threat that the Warsaw Pact had formerly posed to western Europe, a fact that led some to question the need to retain NATO as a military organizationespecially after the Warsaw Pacts dissolution in 1991. The reunification of Germany in October 1990 and its retention of NATO membership created both a need and an opportunity for NATO to be transformed into a more political alliance devoted to maintaining international stability in Europe.

After the Cold War, NATO was reconceived as a cooperative-security organization whose mandate was to include two main objectives: to foster dialogue and cooperation with former adversaries in the Warsaw Pact and to manage conflicts in areas on the European periphery, such as the Balkans. In keeping with the first objective, NATO established the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (1991; later replaced by the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council) to provide a forum for the exchange of views on political and security issues, as well as the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program (1994) to enhance European security and stability through joint military training exercises with NATO and non-NATO states, including the former Soviet republics and allies. Special cooperative links were also set up with two PfP countries: Russia and Ukraine.

The second objective entailed NATOs first use of military force, when it entered the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995 by staging air strikes against Bosnian Serb positions around the capital city of Sarajevo. The subsequent Dayton Accords, which were initialed by representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, committed each state to respecting the others sovereignty and to settling disputes peacefully; it also laid the groundwork for stationing NATO peacekeeping troops in the region. A 60,000-strong Implementation Force (IFOR) was initially deployed, though a smaller contingent remained in Bosnia under a different name, the Stabilization Force (SFOR). In March 1999 NATO launched massive air strikes against Serbia in an attempt to force the Yugoslav government of Slobodan Miloevi to accede to diplomatic provisions designed to protect the predominantly Muslim Albanian population in the province of Kosovo. Under the terms of a negotiated settlement to the fighting, NATO deployed a peacekeeping force called the Kosovo Force (KFOR).

The crisis over Kosovo and the ensuing war gave renewed impetus to efforts by the European Union (EU) to construct a new crisis-intervention force, which would make the EU less dependent on NATO and U.S. military resources for conflict management. These efforts prompted significant debates about whether enhancing the EUs defensive capabilities would strengthen or weaken NATO. Simultaneously there was much discussion of the future of NATO in the post-Cold War era. Some observers argued that the alliance should be dissolved, noting that it was created to confront an enemy that no longer existed; others called for a broad expansion of NATO membership to include Russia. Most suggested alternative roles, including peacekeeping. By the start of the second decade of the 21st century, it appeared likely that the EU would not develop capabilities competitive with those of NATO or even seek to do so; as a result, earlier worries associated with the spectre of rivalry between the two Brussels-based organizations dissipated.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization: flag-raising ceremony, 1999NATO photosDuring the presidency of Bill Clinton (19932001), the United States led an initiative to enlarge NATO membership gradually to include some of the former Soviet allies. In the concurrent debate over enlargement, supporters of the initiative argued that NATO membership was the best way to begin the long process of integrating these states into regional political and economic institutions such as the EU. Some also feared future Russian aggression and suggested that NATO membership would guarantee freedom and security for the newly democratic regimes. Opponents pointed to the enormous cost of modernizing the military forces of new members; they also argued that enlargement, which Russia would regard as a provocation, would hinder democracy in that country and enhance the influence of hard-liners. Despite these disagreements, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland joined NATO in 1999; Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia were admitted in 2004; and Albania and Croatia acceded to the alliance in 2009.

Meanwhile, by the beginning of the 21st century, Russia and NATO had formed a strategic relationship. No longer considered NATOs chief enemy, Russ
ia cemented a new cooperative bond with NATO in 2001 to address such common concerns as international terrorism, nuclear nonproliferation, and arms control. This bond was subsequently subject to fraying, however, in large part because of reasons associated with Russian domestic politics.

Events following the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 led to the forging of a new dynamic within the alliance, one that increasingly favoured the military engagement of members outside Europe, initially with a mission against Taliban forces in Afghanistan beginning in the summer of 2003 and subsequently with air operations against the regime of Muammar al-Qaddafi in Libya in early 2011. As a result of the increased tempo of military operations undertaken by the alliance, the long-standing issue of burden sharing was revived, with some officials warning that failure to share the costs of NATO operations more equitably would lead to unraveling of the alliance. Most observers regarded that scenario as unlikely, however.

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Egoism – New World Encyclopedia

Posted: July 10, 2016 at 5:57 pm

Egoism is the concept of acting in ones own self-interest, and can be either a descriptive or a normative position. Psychological egoism, the most well-known descriptive position, holds that we always act in our own self-interest. In contrast to this, ethical egoism is a normative position: it claims that one should act in ones self-interest as this makes an action morally right, such that the claims of others should never have weight for oneself unless their good can serve ones own good. Similarly, rational egoism maintains that, in order to act rationally, one must act in ones self-interest, and the fact that an action helps another person does not alone provide a reason for performing it, unless helping the other person in some way furthers ones own interests.

All these positions deserve to be critiqued: psychological egoism in that people find the greatest happiness and meaning in states where they are self-giving, for example when in love, parenting a child, or contributing to society; and ethical egoism by the challenge of numerous philosophical and religious ethical systems that place self-interest within the context of contributing to the greater good.

Psychological egoism holds that every human has only one ultimate goal: his or her own good (where this good can variously be defined as welfare, happiness or pleasure). This description is verified by widespread and frequent observations of self-interested behavior. For instance, we often motivate people to act in certain ways by appealing to their self-interest in the form of rewards and punishments, while acts which appear altruistic are often shown to be motivated by self-interest. Likewise, one can find a non-altruistic explanation for the apparently altruistic behavior of organisms in general. Worker bees are an interesting case in point: although they seem to act solely for the sake of their hive with no concern for their own welfare, sociobiologists offer an account of this behavior in terms of their genes survival. They hypothesize that natural selection favors altruistic behavior in either cooperative relations in which all members benefit (reciprocal altruism) or familial relations (kin altruism). Both forms of altruism are concerned with the survival of ones genes: acts of reciprocal altruism increase ones chances of survival, and therefore ones genes chances of survival, while ensuring the survival of ones relations ensures the survival of a percentage of ones genes. For a worker bee, ensuring the survival of her sister worker means that she has ensured the survival of half of her genes. Thus, sociobiologists typically claim that, on a genetic level, altruism cannot exist. However, psychological egoism is a stronger position, as it claims that, regardless of what happens on a genetic level, the individual him or herself is motivated by thoughts of self-interest. Thus, while it allows for action that does not accomplish its goal of maximizing self-interest, as well as action that is at odds with ones intentions (a weak will), most forms of psychological egoism rule out both altruistic behavior and acting solely out of respect for ones duty. Importantly, psychological egoism allows for goals other than ones own self interest, but claims that these goals are then means to realizing ones own well-being.

There are in turn two forms of psychological egoism. Exclusive egoism makes the strong claim that people act exclusively out of self-interest, and therefore altruistic behavior does not, in fact, exist. On the other hand, predominant egoism makes the weaker claim that people seldom act unselfishly, and when they do so, it is typically only because their sacrifice is small and the beneficiaries gain is much larger, or when they are partial to the beneficiary in some way: when the beneficiaries are, for example, friends, lovers or family.

Exclusive egoism allows for no exceptions; this means that one instance of someone who does not act exclusively out of self-interest is sufficient to show that exclusive egoisms thesis is empirically false. Imagine a soldier throws himself on a grenade in order to prevent other people from being killed. His motivation for this act of self-sacrifice might quite plausibly be his desire to do his duty or to save the other peoples lives, while attempting to explain his action in terms of self-interest would appear to be a wholly implausible move. The exclusive egoist may want to defend her position by arguing for some kind of ulterior self-interested motive, such as pleasure. Perhaps our soldier believes in an afterlife in which he will be rewarded ten-fold for his apparently selfless act on earth, or perhaps, if he had not hurled himself on the grenade, he would be overcome by guilt and a concomitant sense of self-loathing. In both cases then, he is, at least from his perspective, acting in his self-interest by acting in this apparently selfless manner. There are two problems with this response. The first is that, while it might explain many instances of apparent self-sacrifice as motivated by egoistic concerns, it does not necessarily cover all cases. The psychological egoist must argue that all instances of ostensible altruistic behavior are in fact motivated by self-interested desires. If, for instance, our soldier disagrees with this, and claims that his action was truly altruistic in motivation, the exclusive egoist must respond that he is lying or is deceiving himself. At this point, however, exclusive egoism turns out to be trivially true, which means that it is unfalsifiable, since there is no empirical instance that could in principle disprove the hypothesis. As with the trivially true statement all ostriches that live on Mars have gold and purple polka dotted wings, this version of psychological egoism provides no useful information and therefore fails as an empirical theory. It does not allow us to distinguish, for instance, between our soldier and the soldier who thrusts a child onto the grenade in order to save himself. Whereas we generally think that the latter is behaving selfishly, while our soldier is acting in a selfless manner, exclusive egoism maintains that both soldiers are equally selfish, because both are acting in their self-interest.

Alternatively, the psychological egoist might opt for a non-trivial response to the soldier counter-example. She could argue that, as infants, we have only self-regarding desires; desires for our own well-being, for instance. However, as we grow older, we find that desiring things for their own sake eventually satisfies our self-regarding desires. We then come to desire these things for their own sake. For example, I might detest exercise, but also find that exercising results in physical well-being; after a while, I will begin to desire exercise for its own sake. This would preclude the common objection to psychological egoism, that one must desire things other than ones welfare in order to realize ones welfare. However, then the psychological egoist will have moved away from exclusive egoism. It may be true that our soldier would not have had a present desire to save others, unless saving others was connected in the past with increasing his welfare, but this does not mean that his present desire is selfish. At this point, the psychological egoist could adopt the weaker stance of predominant egoism which allows for exceptions, and thereby forestall counter-examples like our heroic soldier; moreover, predominant egoism is both an empirically plausible and non-trivial position.

In her novel, Atlas Shrugged, Russian emigre Ayn Rand sketches the portrait of a man who feels responsible for himself and no one else. John Galt is the archetype of the individual who practices what Rand calls the virtue of selfishness: a man for whom true morality consists in resisting the temptations of self-sacrifice, sympathy and generosity. In the fictional figure of John Galt we find the embodiment of egoism as an ideal. Similarly, the move from psychological egoism to ethical egoism is a move from a descriptive to a normative position. Ethical egoism claims that for ones action to count as morally right it is both necessary and sufficient that one act in ones self-interest. Precisely how one acts in ones self-interest is a matter of some divergence among ethical egoists. As with psychological egoism, ethical egoism comes in both a maximizing and a non-maximizing flavor: the former holds that self-interest must be maximized for an action to count as ethical, while the latter simply claims that one should act in ones self-interest and thus leaves the possibility for acting in others interest open. There is also a distinction between short-term and long-term interests: I might gain a short-term benefit by stealing from my friends, but experience a long-term loss when they discover the theft and I lose those friends. In addition, ethical egoism can also apply to rules or character traits, as well as acts. Finally, acting in ones self-interest means acting for ones own good, but this good can variously be defined as ones happiness, pleasure or well-being. There are various permutations of these conceptions, but considering that the arguments for and against them are generally relevantly similar, I will very broadly define ethical egoism as the thesis which states that in order for ones actions to count as ethical, one should act to promote ones self-interest, where self-interest is taken to mean ones own good.

There are several arguments in support of ethical egoism. Ethical egoists occasionally appeal to the findings of psychological egoism as support for their normative claims; however, regardless of whether psychological egoism is true or not, the jump from a descriptive to a normative position is fallacious, as one cannot use supposed existing conditions as justification for how one ought to behave. A more valid move is to argue that, as psychological egoism is true, it is impossible to motivate people on non-egoistic grounds. Thus, ethical egoism is the most practical moral theory, or the most capable of motivating people to act ethically. However, as we have seen, exclusive egoism just seems false, and substituting it with predominant egoism loses the crucial claim that it is impossible to motivate people to behave altruistically. On the other hand, if psychological egoism is true, it follows from psychological egoism that I cannot intend to perform an action which I believe is not in my self-interest. However, if I am wrong, and this action is in my self-interest, then ethical egoism stipulates that I should perform an action that I cannot intend. The appeal to psychological egoism therefore fails to ensure its practicality.

However, this is not necessarily a shortcoming of an ethical theory, as part of the value of an ethical theory may lie in its offering us an ideal for us to live up to. Setting aside the appeal to its supposed practicality, ethical egoists might alternatively claim that ethical egoism best fits our commonsense moral judgements. For instance, it captures the intuition that I should not let others exploit me, and unlike consequentialism, allows me to keep some good for myself, like a house, even though giving this house to someone else might benefit him slightly more. Moreover, it stipulates that it is often in ones best interests to ostensibly take other peoples interests into account so as to secure their cooperation. I derive a much larger long-term benefit if I act generously and compassionately towards my friends, for example, than if I steal from them, even though theft might provide the greatest short-term benefit to me. Nevertheless, it appears that ethical egoism is also at odds with some of our most deeply held ethical beliefs. It mandates that one should only ever help someone else if doing so benefits oneself, which means that one is not morally obligated to help those who cannot help or hinder one. Imagine I can easily save a drowning child, but none of the players in this scenario can offer me any beneficial cooperation in return for saving the child (like praise) or negative retaliation for failing to help (like scorn). Further, say that I am indifferent to the situation presented to me, and regardless of what I do, I will feel no sense of guilt or pleasure, then ethical egoism will remain silent as to whether I should save the child. Moreover, if there is some slight uncompensated sacrifice I will have to make, like getting my shoes wet, then ethical egoism will tell me to refrain from saving the drowning child. However, we generally think that, in this case, there is a moral obligation to save the child, and ethical egoism can neither explain how such a duty might (validly) arise, nor generate such a duty. Ethical egoism therefore appears to be morally insensitive to situations which we ordinarily think demand great moral sensitivity. We can further see that ethical egoism will potentially generate counter-intuitive duties in situations where the individual in need of help cannot reciprocate (like physically or mentally disabled people) or where the sacrifice one might need to make is not compensatable. Ethical egoism will, for instance, condemn the action of the soldier who throws himself on the grenade as ethically reprehensible, precisely because it entails an irreversible sacrifice (loss of life) for the soldier, while we ordinarily think it is an ethically admirable action, or at the very least, not a morally repugnant one.

Furthermore, a number of critics have argued that egoism yields contradictory moral imperatives. There are generally two inconsistency charges against ethical egoism. The weaker of the two lays this charge: say ethical egoism recommends that X and Y buy a particular item of clothing on sale, since buying this item is, for some reason, in the self-interest of each. But there is only one remaining article; hence, ethical egoism recommends an impossible situation. However, the ethical egoist can reply that ethical egoism does not provide neutral criteria: it advocates to X buying the article of clothing for X, and advocates to Y that Y buy the article for Y, but ethical egoism has nothing to say on the value of X and Y buying the same article of clothing.

The second inconsistency argument claims that, in any given situation, the ethical egoist must aim to promote her own self-interest, but if her brand of egoism is to count as an ethical theory, she must simultaneously will that everyone else also act to promote their own self-interest, for one of the formal constraints on an ethical theory is that it be universalisable. Say I am a shopkeeper, and it is in my best interest to sell my products at the highest practically possible profit, it will generally not be in my clients best interests to buy my products at these high prices. Then if I am an ethical egoist, I am committed to recommending a contradictory state of affairs: that I both sell the products at the highest possible price and that my customers pay less than the highest possible price. The ethical theorist, however, can respond that, although she morally recommends that the customers pay less than the highest possible price, this does not necessarily mean that she desires it. Jesse Kalin provides an analogy with competitive sports: in a game of chess, I will be trying my utmost to win, but I will also expect my opponent to do the same, and I may even desire that he play as good a game as possible, because then the game will be of a far higher standard. If the analogy with competitive gaming holds, it is therefore not inconsistent for me to recommend both that I attempt to sell my products at the highest possible price and that my customers attempt to buy them at lower than the highest possible price.

However, this move to making an analogy with competitive games cannot preclude the worry that ethical egoism is not sufficiently public for it to count as an ethical theory. What is meant by this is that ethical egoism is at odds with public morality (which generally appears to value altruism) and one can therefore imagine many cases in which the ethical egoist might find it in her interests not to profess ethical egoism. Imagine I am an ethical egoist and I donate a large sum to a charity because it gives my company a good image and I receive a large tax deduction for doing so. Then it is most definitely not in my best interests to reveal these reasons; rather, it is to my advantage that I pretend to have done so out of a spirit of generosity and kindness. Leaving aside worries of duplicitous and unreliable behavior, it does not seem as if ethical egoism can truly be made public without the ethical egoists interests being compromised. Yet it seems as if an ethical theory requires precisely this ability to be made public. Moreover, although it meets the formal constraints of an ethical theory it must be normative and universalisable as noted above, it also fails to provide a single neutral ranking that each agent must follow in cases where there is a conflict of interests. Just what makes for a moral theory, however, is contentious, and the ethical theorist can subsequently respond to any argument against ethical egoisms status as an ethical theory by claiming that the failed criteria are not really constraints that an ethical theory must adhere to. A more elegant solution, however, is to move to rational egoism, which might provide the ethical egoist with non-ethical reasons for adhering to ethical egoism.

Rational egoism maintains that it is both necessary and sufficient for an action to be rational that it promotes ones self-interest. As with ethical egoism, rational egoism comes in varying flavors. It can be maximizing or non-maximizing, or can apply to rules or character traits instead of actions. Certain versions might claim that acting in ones self-interest is either sufficient but not necessary, or necessary but not sufficient for an action to count as rational. However, as with ethical egoism, relevantly similar objections to and defenses for the various species of ethical egoism can be made. The salient common feature amongst all variants is that all claim that the fact that an action helps another person does not alone provide a reason for performing it, unless helping the other person in some way furthers ones own interests. Stronger versions might also hold that the only underived reason for action is self-interest.

In support of their thesis, rational egoists most commonly appeal to the way in which rational egoism best fits our ordinary judgements about what makes action rational. However, as we saw with the soldier counter-example, both psychological and ethical egoism fail to make sense of his action, and rational egoism will similarly generate a counter-intuitive response to this example. It will classify his action as fundamentally non-rational because it has permanently violated his self-interest. However, we would ordinarily characterize his action as rational, because it realizes his strong non-self-interested preference to save the lives of others. In other words, we take the safety of others to be a legitimate motivation for his action, whereas his hurling himself on a grenade in order to save a chocolate cake would ordinarily be seen as non-rational. Yet rational egoism would not allow us to distinguish between these two cases, because it does not recognize the demands of others as alone providing one with reason to act in a certain way.

Rational egoism furthermore appears to make an unjustified weighted distinction between ones own self-interest and the good of others. Imagine I decide that I should act to increase the good of brown-eyed people over that of others. Justifying this preferential treatment on the grounds that brown-eyed people just are more deserving of preferential treatment is not rational. James Rachels argues that ethical (and here, rational) egoism, makes a similarly unwarranted or arbitrary move, because it claims that I ought to act in one persons interest (myself). The rational egoist might want to respond that non-arbitrary distinctions can be made by ones preferences. The fact that I like oranges and not apples makes my decision to buy apples rather than oranges non-arbitrary, and similarly, my preference for my own good makes my commitment to achieving my own good non-arbitrary. However, as we have seen, there are cases (as with the soldier example) where I might lack a preference for my own welfare. In these instances, rational egoism cannot give me a reason to pursue my self-interest over that of others. Nevertheless, rational egoism might hold that, in these cases I am wrong, simply because we must take it as a ground assumption that our own good comes before that of others. In other words, the preference for ones own good needs no further justification than the fact it is ones own good that one is pursuing. When it comes to the preferential treatment of brown-eyed people, we generally do not accept their being brown-eyed as a good reason for their preferential treatment, but when it comes to acting for our own good, we seem to take the fact that it is our own good as a reasonable justification for doing so; we do not ask why acting in ones own good is pertinent.

However, although this may be so, this argument does not demonstrate that acting to promote ones own good is always sufficient or necessary for an action to count as rational. There are instances where we take an action to be rational, but where the agent makes no reference to pursuing his own good as justification for performing the action. The villagers of Le Chambon provide us with a real-life example of this. Le Chambon was a pacifist French village responsible for saving the lives of several thousand Jews from the Nazis, often at a great risk to the inhabitants. The reason they gave for this altruistic behavior was that it was simply their duty to help anybody in need. Here, no reference is made to their own good (and indeed, their own welfare was often severely jeopardized by their actions), and we generally take their concern for the others welfare as a good reason for their actions.

At present, there seems to be no good reason to accept the theses of psychological, ethical or rational egoism. Nevertheless, egoism in general presents us with a useful insight into the moral life by pointing out that, contra what many of us might suppose, morality and self-interest do not necessarily conflict. Indeed, there may be many cases in which there are good self-regarding reasons for acting ethically and egoism forces us to question whether we pay sufficient attention to legitimate self-interest when assessing moral situations.

A small selection of literature in popular culture dealing with ethical egoism and altruism.

All links retrieved September 14, 2013.

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Egoism – New World Encyclopedia

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