Richard Dawkins’ The Blind Watchmaker, first published in 1986, was written to counter arguments made in favour of creationism by the eighteenth century theology William Paley’s Natural Theology, published in 1902.
Paley is perhaps best remembered today for his watchmaker analogy, intended as an argument in favour of the existence of an intelligent designer, or god. This was first seriously challenged by Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection (the consequence of, or process by which “favourable” traits become prevalent and “unfavourable” traits become rarer), made well known in his The Origin Of Species first published in 1859. Dawkins further decimates Paley’s theory, arguing instead for a “blind” watchmaker, as highly complex systems can be produced by a series of small, cumulative – yet naturally selected – steps, rather than relying on a supernatural designer.
If you walk up and down a pebbly beach, you will notice that the pebbles are not arranged at random. The smaller pebbles typically tend to be found in segregated zones running along the length of the beach, the larger ones in different zones or stripes. The pebbles have been sorted, arranged, selected. A tribe living near the shore might wonder at this evidence of sorting or arrangement in the world, and might develop a myth to account for it, perhaps attributing it to a Great Spirit in the sky with a tidy mind and a sense of order. We might give a superior smile at such a superstitious notion, and explain that the arranging was really done by the blind forces of physics, in this case the action of the waves. The waves have no purposes and no intentions, no tidy mind, no mind at all. They just energetically throw pebbles around, and big pebbles and small pebbles respond differently to this treatment so they end up at different levels of the beach. A small amount of order has come out of disorder, and no mind planned it.
Dawkins explains that, of course Continue reading
The Origins of Society
“…the lower classes of the people… [are] by far the most numerous in all countries and in all ages…”
— James Steuart, 1767
Every society is founded on a common principle. A group of people is more capable of producing more together than each person would be individually. Industrialized production and specialized labour are some examples of how the group size contributes to a larger per-person output of the social product. In this organization, the worker’s ability to labour is bound to the other workers. Since their machinery requires many hands to function, they require each other to produce as much as they require their tools. How well each labourer is able to perform their task, then, is necessarily tied to how well all workers as a whole are labouring. Where Capitalism reigns, there are even greater dependencies; not only is the labourer bound to themselves as a class, but they are bound to the class of proprietors. The worker rely on the owners of the bakeries and the mills for their sustenance; and they must rely on an employer as a labourer.
The Capitalist class has its own Continue reading
Far too long has the subject of Satanic magic and philosophy been written down by wild-eyed journalists of the right-hand path.
–Anton Szandor LaVey, The Satanic Bible.
While not a “wild-eyed journalist of the right-hand path” (whether defined in Tantric, Blavatskian or newage terms), I have, over the past few months, shared some rather amusing sensationalist news stories written by those who are. I thought it only fair to take the time to write a short piece on “real” Satanism and go beyond highlighting some of the more absurd stories that rise up out of the deep.
This is a little tricky as Satanism is a broad term these days encompassing a variety of religions. There’s “traditional” Satanism which does involve devil-worship and Luciferianism which (sometimes) runs along similar veins. However, there’s also “modern” and LaVeyan Satanism which does not, as these Satanists are atheistic, holding the self in the highest position of reverence.
For years I managed the website for the Satanic Continue reading
Ye Olde Morality
Most Westerns are familiar with the Ten Commandments that Moses brought down from Mount Sinai – the ten “thou shalt not”s. This system of ethics as set forth literally in stone by God and delivered through Moses is practically the perfect symbol of what I propose to call “old morality.” Old morality consists essentially in the belief that there is an absolute law of conduct, often rewarded with promises of heaven or some kind of pleasure and punished with verdicts of various types of suffering, even eternal suffering in a fiery “Hell.” This notion of absolute morality is most apparent in the Jewish religion, with its ten commandments (Judaism actually has 613 commandments in total), but it also appears in both Christianity and Islam (the “five pillars of Islam”). Both of these religions are characterized by their insistence on sin and the punishment of hell following sinful actions. These types of absolute morality are also apparent in many forms of Buddhism where they have “sila,” which consists usually of five “thou shalt not”s. In some forms of yoga, there are what is called “yama” and “niyama” which are essentially five “thou shalt”s and five “thou shalt not”s.
Now, this old morality being by definition founded on a notion of “absolute moral conduct,” is also necessarily quite inflexible. Not only did Moses invoke God as the source and authority of his commandments, but they were set in two gigantic tablets of stone.
In the course of history, one might say that these commandments, Jewish and otherwise, were necessary for that particular time. It can be agreed that many of these guidelines were (and still can be) effective if employed in the right circumstances, in the right cultures. For example, Continue reading
On Being a Pagan, by Alain de Benoist
Ultra, 0972029222, 240 pp. (incl. notes and index), 2004
Originally published in 1981 as Comment peut-on etre paien?, the book was translated into English by Jon Graham and republished in 2004 by Ultra as On Being a Pagan.
I can only imagine that new title and cheesy image of Odin on the cover are intended to lure Neopagans and new agers anticipating fanciful stories harking back to the good ol’ days of yore, yet the paganism of de Benoist is decidedly not a “return to the past”, nor an attempt to regain some “lost paradise”. Instead this book offers something far more profound. Continue reading