Uncategorized

Peter Foster: Climate Change As A Moral Issue

Date: 24/03/15 Peter Foster

Talk in the House of Lords, Committee Room 3 – London 24 March 2015

Thomas Kuhn, in his classic book on the structure of scientific revolutions, points out how difficult scientific paradigms are to shift. He suggests they become even more so when there is a moral element involved. I will suggest that projected catastrophic man-made climate change is less a scientific theory with a moral element than a moral crusade that has recruited a scientific theory.

The great global warming fandango is – at root — the latest example of politically expedient demonization of the capitalist system. First let me provide some background on how I came to this issue, and pay tribute to a very important academic advisor to the GWPF: David Henderson. Two of David’s works — his Reith lectures, Innocence and Design, and his book, The Role of Business in the Modern World – were both inspirational for my own recent book: Why We Bite the Invisible Hand.

I became particularly fascinated by what David calls “Do It Yourself Economics.” This consists of a set of common, but erroneous, assumptions about the way economies work. These include “Unreflecting centralism,” the notion that things are always best planned from the top. A firm faith in local preference and national champions. And the conviction that new technology creates long-term unemployment.

I was inspired to probe exactly why people should not just get economics wrong, but all tend to get it wrong in the same way. There seems to be a structure to human economic ignorance. Where does it come from? For a long time before I read Innocence and Design, I had been puzzled by how people seemed to take for granted the stunning benefits of capitalism, benefits that seemed to me to be “right in front of their eyes”?

Eventually I realized that I was being naïve. What is in front of our eyes is entirely a function of what is behind them: that is, our minds. I eventually became convinced that to understand our minds — and in particular their quirks and limitations — we have to understand in what circumstances those minds were formed. I believe that the answer to the conundrum of Do It Yourself Economics lies in the controversial field of evolutionary psychology. What we see – both physically and conceptually – is determined, and constrained, not merely by biological but social evolution. Indeed, we have to talk about coevolution.

The crux of the issue is that in recent millennia, and in particular the past two or three centuries, society has been evolving at light speed relative to biology. People are inclined to believe that there is a world “out there,” but it is a world that is peculiar to us. For example, there are no “colours” in nature. Colours are our brain’s interpretations of different wavelengths. Our perceptions of people and social relations can also be subject to quirky assumptions.

I approach this issue in my book via an old joke. A man goes to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist shows him a series of Rorschach ink blots. The man interprets each ink blot as some form of sexual perversion. At the end of the session, the psychiatrist tells the man, “You have a sex problem.” “Me?” says the man indignantly. “You’re the one who’s showing all the dirty pictures!”

The man who sees the dirty pictures would be routinely considered an example of “abnormal psychology,” but increasingly psychologists have come to realize that “normal” psychology is filled with misinterpretations of the way the world works. One of the big problems of capitalism — as an emergent natural order that has appeared in the biological blink of an eye — is that people can have their cake and condemn it too. Or perhaps condemn their cake and eat it too.

We don’t have to understand how markets work to thrive within them any more than we need to memorize Gray’s Anatomy in order to stay alive. The question is why we might not just fail to appreciate the workings and results of capitalism, but be inclined to condemn it. According to evolutionary psychology, our minds were mostly formed in that very very long period when we lived as hunter-gatherers, in groups of perhaps at most 150 people, when there was no extensive commerce, little division of labour, and no voluntary employment; when working for others meant literally being a slave. And when there was no technological advance, no money, and no economic growth.

I believe that we are still haunted by the assumptions of such a world, and thus easily confuse employment with exploitation, income and wealth inequality with inequity, and the command of economic resources with dangerous political power. These aren’t so much economic perceptions as moral ones, since morality is significantly rooted in the sharing of, and struggle for, resources; in tribal solidarity, but also in predation and the demonization of outsiders. Morality is fundamentally collectivist and groupish, and is inclined to condemn economics as being hard-hearted because it is based on personal preferences, which are easily parodied as the rule of individualistic greed. Morality is certainly about right and wrong, good and bad, but it’s also about the irresistible urge to tell other people how to live their lives, and to condemn – even kill – outsiders.

The most moral people in the world are suicide bombers.

When it comes to the assumed depredations and dangers of those who command economic resources — that is, “the rich” — it’s as if people can’t tell the difference between Bill Gates and Genghis Khan. Or between the Forbes 400 and the court of Louis XIV. The big difference is that the Forbes 400 created their wealth, and countless millions of jobs in the process. They didn’t steal it (Unless, of course, they got rich through government favours or bail-outs, which really was the old-fashioned way).

Do It Yourself economics is the economics of the small self-reliant tribe, which of course is nothing like the extended order of commerce on which modern economics is based. I believe that the insight that we are essentially hunter-gatherer moralists with cell phones makes it easier to understand persistent convictions about corporate conspiracy. It also helps explain naïve Do It Yourself Economic beliefs in grand, centrally-planned solutions to allegedly global problems.

But there is also another critical factor in the equation: the exploitation of economic ignorance and moral misapprehension in pursuit of power. Capitalism has been seen since before Marx as a “dirty picture.” That dirty picture has been extraordinarily useful in political terms.

 

I should note that when opponents of the Alberta oil sands – including President Obama — talk about “dirty oil,” they are not talking about any need for soap and water. They are using dirty in the “dirty picture” sense, as morally reprehensible. Which brings me specifically to climate as a moral issue.

========================o0o========================

Two recent Global Warming Policy Foundation papers have touched on climate and morality, one by Peter Lee and one by Andrew Montford. Professor Lee differentiates between those who regard the environment in an Eden-like sense, as a pristine system which is corrupted by man, and those who believe that Nature is here for man’s use.

(The elevation of pristine Nature is in fact often synonymous with hatred of man, which goes with the desire to control him, and his wicked ways. That hatred is particularly strong towards the parody of capitalist man – homo economicus – as a short-sighted, rational maximizer with no concern for his environment or other people beyond their commercial use to him).

Professor Lee acknowledges that pragmatic approaches to poverty, and adaptationists approaches to climate “will not satisfy those… who have unstated ideological ambitions such as anti-capitalism or wealth redistribution enmeshed with their ideas for the mitigation of climate change.”

I would suggest that those ideological ambitions may not just be unstated. Those in their grip may be either unaware of them, or at least reject the notion that they are in any way ideological. It is a peculiarity of the liberal left since Marx to believe that ideology is for others. They, by contrast, are motivated by nothing but “inconvenient truth.” When Professor Lee concludes with “a plea for balance, transparency, honesty and achievability” in climate policy, I suspect that he realizes that his plea is falling on deaf ears. But then deaf ears are in fact an aspect of evolved moral psychology. I’ll get back to that shortly.

Andrew Montford’s latest paper notes how the “sanctimonious slogans” of “intergenerational justice” don’t seem to fit with the realities of inefficient, bird-mangling windmills, and biofuel policies that starve the poor. Andrew rightly suggests that “A public debate on the damage being done by climate change policy is long overdue.”

The problem is that the Church of Climate has no interest in such a debate. Indeed, from its perspective, even to listen to opponents is to dignify wicked people. In my book I tell how, In 2009, I attended a conference in New York City organized by the Heartland Institute. At the end of one of the sessions — on the unfolding disaster of European “green” energy policies (Benny Peiser was on the panel) — a young man spoke up from the back of the room, declaring that he had never witnessed “such hypocrisy.” How, he asked, could the panellists sleep at night? Benny – obviously puzzled — asked the young man with which parts of their presentations he disagreed.

“Oh,” said the young man. “I didn’t come here to listen to the presentations.”

And that is very significant.

Moral Intuition: Excerpt from The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

In his 2002 book The Blank Slate: The Modern denial of Human Nature, Pinker describes the ways scientists betrayed the values of science to maintain loyalty to the progressive movement. Scientists became “moral exhibitionists” in the lecture hall as they demonized fellow scientists and urged their students to evaluate ideas not for their truth but for their consistency with progressive ideals such as racial and gender equality.

Nowhere was the betrayal of science more evident than in the attacks on Edward O. Wilson, a lifelong student of ants and ecosystems.

It seemed clear to Wilson that what rationalists were really doing was generating clever justifications for moral intuitions that were better explained by evolution. Do people believe in human rights because human rights actually exist, like mathematical truths, sitting on a cosmic shelf next to the Pythagorean theorem just waiting to be discovered by Platonic reasoners? Or do people feel revulsion and sympathy when they read accounts of torture, and then invent a story about universal rights to help justify their feelings?

In the dog story (one of the questions asked in Haidt’s research, where responders told him what they felt about a family eating a pet that had died in an accident), for example, many people said that the family itself would be harmed because they would get sick from eating dog meat. Was this an example of “informational assumptions” that Turiel had talked about? Were people really condemning the actions because they foresaw these harms, or was it the reverse process—were people inventing these harms because they had already condemned the actions?

They said things like “I know it’s wrong, but I just can’t think of a reason why.” They seemed to be morally dumbfounded—rendered speechless by their inability to explain verbally what they knew intuitively.

These subjects were reasoning. They were working quite hard at reasoning. But it was not reasoning in search of truth; it was reasoning in support of their emotional reactions. It was reasoning as described by the philosopher David Hume, who wrote in 1739 that “reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.”

If morality doesn’t come primarily from reasoning, then that leaves some combination of innateness and social learning as the most likely candidates…We’re born to be righteous, but we have to learn what, exactly, people like us should be righteous about.

The Azande (Sudanese tribe) believed that witches were just as likely to be men as women, and the fear of being called a witch made the Azande careful not to make their neighbours angry or envious. That was my first hint that groups create supernatural beings not to explain the universe but to order their societies.

=================================

Confluence

It’s ironical that as I become decrepit, I experience also the most exciting intellectual era of my life. Stephen Hawking Smoked My Socks is published, my mindset declared, and now I’m exposed to powerful streams of thought that marry with the Socks thesis and move it forward. New ways of thinking about human behaviour and the relationships between science and belief, and economics and morality build a tide of understanding that I could never have foreseen.

In Socks, I laid out the following propositions for review by my peers:

  • Human behaviour is the outcome of three influences: Instinct, belief, and free will.
  • Belief and instinct are two sides of the same coin; belief is instinctual.
  • Instinct matures as we evolve as organisms.
  • Free will, such as it may be, including rational thought, plays a very small part in what we ultimately do, both individually and socially.
  • Our whole social construct and tribalism are produced by evolution to enhance the survival of our species, and are written into a genetic template in our cells.
  • Homo sapiens is a highly socialised, territorial species, and inter-tribal conflict and warfare are natural consequences of this.
  • The more natural our social model, that is, the more closely aligned to our instinctual character, the more successful it will be, and vice versa.
  • Beliefs are promulgated from a self-perceived moral high ground.
  • Beliefs always precede our articulated reasons for believing; justification and rationalisation of our point of view are invariably post hoc.
  • Models are hypo-stacks (hierarchical stacks of hypotheses).
  • Reality and truth are independent of any observer.
  • Truth is obtained by matching pure reason to physical reality.

After completing Socks, my thinking turned to social organisation, and the crucial role played by economics in our evolution. In the process of attempted a dialogue on economics with my good friend and advisor Ian Campbell-Gillies, he pointed out that economics, or any other social system for that matter, without morality makes no meaningful contribution to the improvement of our species. Instinctively, I felt he was right, but that led me forthwith to the whole notion of morality and how it affects us. I was disturbed to discover that I knew very little about morality; I didn’t really understand what it was, where it came from, and how it affects us.

It was economics that pointed me in the right direction. Economic systems are in fact sets of morals. The father of capitalism, Adam Smith, was a 17th century moralist whose first book was entitled The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Only after that did he write his magnum opus, On the Wealth of Nations. Suddenly I had a glimmer of understanding. I knew I was looking in the right place, but it was a moral psychologist who let it all click into place, and illustrated to me where the glaring deficiencies of Socks lay.

Free-market capitalism bought further clarification to the table of arguments, and added support to the following principles put forward rather too timidly in Socks:

  • The populants of any animal species are never equal. Inequality is a natural and inviolable property of natural procreation and evolution.
  • The direct consequence of inequality is intra-special competition and, in humans, specialisation of labour.
  • Free market commerce and the investment of capital evolved naturally from pre-historic trade and barter; socialism, by contrast, is an intellectually derived, artificial model. Free market capitalism aligns with human nature, warts and all; socialism is diametrically opposed to human nature.
  • Competition naturally determines rewards, sets values, and punishes misfits. It also balances varying individual abilities by trade (the exchanging of units of value).
  • Human beings are not primarily rational animals. Irrationally-derived motivations drive us and determine our behaviour.
  • Human beings are uniquely able to create and sustain an “extended order”, that is, to form groups of common purpose beyond that defined by primitive kinship, and this has been achieved without weakening completion, groups, or territoriality.
  • The uninhibited market place is the most embracing and relevant expression of democracy, and consequently, of moralities. It is the backbone of the extended order.

Peter Foster, in his at-times over-zealous book, Why We Bite the Invisible Hand, quotes quite liberally from Jonathan Haidt, and although Haidt is too “progressive” for him, the cited passages did enough to prompt me to buy Haidt’s masterpiece, The Righteous Mind. The missing piece in the Ardrey/Climate/Friedmann/Marx/Mohammed jigsaw puzzle suddenly fell into place. Morals are a primary evolutionary instinct, and contain, define, and sustain beliefs. Beliefs are simply expressions of moral precepts. Morals, beliefs, and indeed instincts, are as much outcomes of evolutionary maturations as the mind itself. To be honest, it’s so clear in hindsight but I would not in a million years have realised it on my own. I owe Dr Haidt a tremendous debt of gratitude.

Moral psychology and evolutionary psychology, both empirical fields of study with an extensive and rigorous experimental base, added these vital illuminations to ideas put rather clumsily in Socks, or in some cases, corrected conceptual errors in Socks. Most of the following passages are quoted verbatim from Jonathan Haidt, without express permission; I cite them in terms of fair usage to promote the readership of his works.

  • Intuition first, strategic reasoning second.
  • Beliefs, points-of-view, and convictions are held in righteousness; we preach always from a moral high ground.
  • Morals bind and blind; when a group of people makes something sacred, the members of the cult lose their ability to think clearly about it. Sacredness binds people together, and then blinds them to the arbitrariness of the practice.
  • The evolutionary purpose of morality is to cement our membership of social groups; the extended order is our higher goal.
  • Morality differs around the world, even within societies; it is the first step toward understanding your righteous mind.
  • Human social behaviour is analogous to an elephant and a rider, where the rider is our mind and the elephant our intuitive, instinctive self. The purpose of the rider is to serve the elephant.
  • The human mind is a story processor, not a logic processor.
  • Anyone who values truth should stop worshipping reason; you can’t change people’s minds by utterly refuting their arguments.
  • Groups create supernatural beings not to explain the universe but to order their societies.
  • The very ritual practices that atheists tend to dismiss as costly, inefficient and irrational turn out to be a solution to one of the hardest problems humans face: cooperation without kinship.
  • People who devote their lives to studying something often come to believe that the object of their fascination is the key to understanding everything.
  • Moral matrices bind people together and blind them to the coherence, or even existence, of other matrices. This makes it very difficult for people to consider the possibility that there might really be more than one form of moral truth, or more than one valid framework for judging people or running a society.
  • Everyone cares about fairness, but there are two major kinds. On the left, fairness often implies equality, but on the right it means proportionality —people should be rewarded in proportion to what they contribute, even if that guarantees unequal outcomes.
  • We are obsessively concerned about what others think of us, although much of that concern is unconscious and invisible to us.
  • Conscious reasoning functions like a press secretary who automatically justifies any position taken by the president.
  • In moral and political matters we are often groupish, rather than selfish. We deploy our reasoning skills to support our team, and to demonstrate commitment to our team.
  • Can, want and must: When we want to believe something, we ask ourselves, “Can I believe it?” Then we search for supporting evidence, and even if we find a single piece of supporting pseudo-evidence, we have permission to believe. We have a justification, in case anyone asks. In contrast, when we don’t want to believe something, we ask ourselves, “Must I believe it?” Then we search for contrary evidence, and if we find a single reason to doubt the claim, we can dismiss it.
  • Intuitively, we behave more like politicians seeking votes than scientists seeking truth. Scientists tend to behave this way too, despite their claim of objectivity.
  • The most important principle for designing an ethical society is to make sure everyone’s reputation is on the line all the time, so that bad behaviour will bring bad consequences all the time.

There is really much more to say, and the list of unpublished thoughts grows longer in bursts and then dies with my fading memory. But try I must. We are exposed to a wide array of clever thinkers, and some, I’m afraid, are too clever for their own good. How do we choose which path to follow so that we can build something meaningful and coherent in all this chaos? It occurs to me that my journey brought me to the current intersection with Jonathan Haidt in a very important way. Haidt refers to moral receptors as “tasting” the idea before we reject it or rationalise it. We encourage certain concepts more than others, and in that way build up a buttress of biases.

I was strongly influenced recently by Peter Foster’s book, Why We Bite the Invisible Hand, and the references contained therein. It was Foster who led me to Adam Smith and Milton Friedman on the plus side of economic theory, as well as to John Maynard Keynes on the negative. And along with Adam Smith, he brought me to the other unsung genius of centuries past, 18th century moral philosopher David Hume. But something unusual happened; I was going along with Foster quite nicely when he brought up the name of Jonathan Haidt, but in a condescending, somewhat critical way. That would normally cause an acolyte to reject the cited person too. But it didn’t. Quite the contrary.

I looked at the Haidt quotes with some puzzlement; what was Foster actually grumbling about? I called Haidt up on the Internet and found some critiques of his books, including the four-year-old The Righteous Mind. Despite a title that stuck in my craw, I bought the book and began to read it at the same time as the other two latest additions to my library, Ayaan Ali’s powerful work on Islam, Heretic, and Robert Spencer’s well-worked socio-political biography called simply The Truth About Muhammad. You can imagine what a mouthful of spicy ideas was being spooned into my head!

Before long, I was focussing on Haidt’s book to the exclusion of the others, which now lay at my bedside with forlorn book-markers pointing accusing fingers at me. It took me right up until chapter seven in The Righteous Mind to finally get what upset Peter Foster. Of that, more later. I am deeply impressed with Jonathan Haidt’s approach to the mysteries of human behaviour, and I’ll tell you why. Firstly, he is an empiricist who has conducted rigorous experiments to illuminate each point he makes in the book. He has done the hard yards himself, sometimes alone but more often in collaboration with other leading researchers in the field. He is not the least bit woo woo! Secondly, the book contains hundreds of footnotes and detailed references that the reader can check at his leisure. He lays it all out for us to look at. That’s the mark of a great scientist and a truly remarkable book.

Now, let’s get back to the irritation (it was no more than that) in which Peter Foster wrapped the Haidt quotes. Like me, Peter Foster is convinced about the virtues of free market capitalism as the socio-economic system best suited to human aspirations, such as they may be. Foster displays a clear grasp of Adam Smith’s invisible hand directing the flow of human endeavour, and to be quite frank, he’s one of the few human beings I’ve come across who does. Foster also understands the role of personal greed and selfishness in spreading the greatest good to the largest slice of humanity; but, in my opinion, he doesn’t totally get it. The reason, I think, is because he canonises the idea, and that blinds him to the broader view of Jonathan Haidt.

From The Righteous Mind, chapter seven – The Moral Foundations of Politics:

“Behind every act of altruism, hedonism, and human decency, you’ll find either selfishness or stupidity. That, at least, is the view long held by many social scientists who accepted the idea that Homo sapiens is really Homo economicus. ‘Economic man’ is a simple creature who makes all of life’s choices like a shopper in a supermarket with plenty of time to compare jars of apple sauce. If that’s your view of human nature, then it’s easy to create mathematical models of behaviour because there’s really just one principle at work: self-interest. People do whatever gets them the most benefit for the lowest cost.”

Neither Foster nor Haidt is wrong on this issue. It’s a matter of emphasis. In my view, Haidt has the better of it, because he takes a wider stance. Self-interest is certainly a fundamental motivator, as we would expect from success-based evolution, but it is not alone. Haidt goes on to illustrate just how wrong the total self-interest model is by showing us a ten question list he used in his research, where the answers can be materially manipulated by the inclusion of tweaks that introduce moral “flavours”. My own reaction as a reader confirms the results he got in the field: People are motivated by six prime moral precepts that very nearly dictate what our reactions will be. We get an intuitive flash from each of these six triggers that sets the agenda for the post hoc mental discussion we have with ourselves afterwards.

Arguably the most shocking realisation brought to me by these elite authors—Darwin, Ardrey, Haidt, Pinker, Foster, et al—is that there is no such thing as universal human rights. In fact, put to scale, there is no such thing as universal anything about Homo sapiens, certainly not amongst our rational concepts at any rate. No actual human rights! That rocked me back on my heels like I’d just been swatted by Mike Tyson. Now, in hindsight, it’s perfectly clear—of course there aren’t universal human rights, but it’s staggering how deeply etched into my psyche the notion was. Our intuitions, coming as they do from a swarm of double helixes manufacturing proteins in our cells, can and do fool us utterly. It felt as if the last vestige of liberal moral posture had been snatched from my soul and tossed into the furnace of natural contrition.

But, at the same time, it was immensely liberating. At last, I was free to grasp the nuances of the human moral matrix—the tribes, the conflicts, the superstitions, the kindness and the cruelty, all operate in equilibriums as definite and as beautiful as the ordering of galaxies.  I must add that part of the relief I felt was the understanding that I’m as human as anyone else, and my elephant leans whither it will; there is no need me for to apologise for having opinions.

The danger I’m all too aware of in quoting passages selected from the Haidt thesis is that they lack the proper context. Haidt’s rigorous approach to citing and evaluating evidence is exemplary, and I must urge you to read the book before you decide how you’re going to judge human behaviour.

In summary then, we realise that morality is relative, not absolute. If we take a moral position in any political effort, we exert our own personal morality. This may conflict with the morals of those we seek to influence. What is required to solve this dilemma is a social system that seamlessly incorporates and expresses all individual morality, and allows the moral matrix most favoured by the social group to percolate to the top. Any attempt to force a particular moral standpoint at the expense of general consensus will ultimately fail.

Now what is left is for someone younger than I to pick up these disparate threads and weave them together into a coherent model of human behaviour, one that we can learn from to ultimately protect our species from suicide, or, if that’s not a good thing, at least to improve our behaviour to some significant degree.

Over to you.

Today’s essay: WHITE LIVES DON’T MATTER

 
In almost every police shooting we see on American TV, the victim is black. Those are the only cases that are reported, and the only cases acted upon by the Black Lives Matter movement. Does either the media reporting or the public activism in the streets reflect the reality of the situation? Are black people being deliberately killed by police in preference to killing white people?

Actually, it is the diametric opposite of reality on the ground.

Police in the USA shoot and kill twice as many white people as black.

In 2015, The Washington Post launched a real-time database to track fatal police shootings, and the project continues this year. As of Sunday, 1,502 people have been shot and killed by on-duty police officers since Jan. 1, 2015. Of them, 732 were white, and 381 were black.

An attempt is made to obfuscate the actual figures by invoking the ratio of blacks to whites in the general population, as if that bears on the matter. It does not; the argument is statistically invalid. The correct statistical base is the ratio of blacks to whites amongst those who were confronted by armed police. You’ll find that it is the reverse of the ratio in general population (the statistics vary considerably with time, type of situation, and geographic location, but at worst, there is numerical equality of blacks, whites, and Hispanics).

That in itself is cause for concern, but that is not the point. Where more blacks than whites were confronted, yet more whites than blacks were killed, the argument that blacks are killed by police more frequently and more preferentially than whites fails completely.

In all situations in the USA in the last decade where police officers are looking at a suspect over the barrel of a gun, they are more likely to pull the trigger if the target suspect is white and restrain themselves if the target is black.

And then look at the ratio of whites to blacks amongst the shooters compared with whites and blacks in the police generally, and you have another statistical nuance. Both white and black police officers show a tendency to shoot whites rather than blacks in any given confrontation.

Now we come to the real issue: Media bias. During the time that the US media have been so graphically reporting homicide by police on black victims, more than twice as many whites were killed by the same police forces. None was reported in the media. They were completely ignored as if white lives are less important than black lives.

That is racial bias of the worst, most insidious kind.

Shocking resignation letter

Top US scientist Hal Lewis resigned from his post at the University of California after admitting that global warming was a big scam, in a shocking resignation letter.

The following is a letter to the American Physical Society released to the public by Professor Emeritus of physics Hal Lewis of the University of California at Santa Barbara

Sent: Friday, 08 October 2010 17:19 Hal Lewis
From: Hal Lewis, University of California, Santa Barbara
To: Curtis G. Callan, Jr., Princeton University, President of the American Physical Society
6 October 2010

When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago).

Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence – it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists. As recently as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the first APS study of a contentious social/scientific issue, The Reactor Safety Study, though there were zealots aplenty on the outside there was no hint of inordinate pressure on us as physicists. We were therefore able to produce what I believe was and is an honest appraisal of the situation at that time. We were further enabled by the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky, Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond reproach. I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere. In the end the oversight committee, in its report to the APS President, noted the complete independence in which we did the job, and predicted that the report would be attacked from both sides. What greater tribute could there be?

How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.

It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it…

I do feel the need to add one note, and this is conjecture, since it is always risky to discuss other people’s motives. This scheming at APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it. Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don’t think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club.

Aggression and Happiness

Excerpt from “On Aggression” by Konrad Lorenz (this work led to Lorenz winning the Nobel Prize):

If, in the Greylag Goose and in man, highly complex norms of behaviour, such as falling in love, strife for ranking order, jealousy, grieving, etc., are not only similar but down to the most absurd details the same, we can be sure that every one of these instincts has a very special survival value, in each case almost or quite the same in the Greylag and in man.  Only in this way can the conformity of behaviour have developed.

The more complex and differentiated two analogously constructed and similarly functioning organs are, the more right we have to group them in the same functional conception and to call them by the same name, no matter how different their phylogenetic origin may be. When Cephalopods, like the Octopus, Squid, and Cuttlefish, on one hand, and vertebrates on the other have invented, independently of one another, eyes built from the same principles as the lens camera, and when in both cases these organs have similar constructional units such as lens, iris, vitreous humor and retina, no reasonable person will object to calling both the organ of Cephalopods and that of the vertebrate an eye—without any quotation marks. We are equally justified in omitting the quotation marks when speaking of the social behaviour patterns of higher animals which are analogous of those of man.

All that I have said in this chapter should be a warning to the spiritual pride of many people. In an animal not even belonging to the favoured class of mammals we find a behaviour mechanism that keeps certain individuals together for life, and this behaviour pattern has become the strongest motive governing all action; it can overcome all “animal” drives, such as hunger, sexuality, aggression, and fear, and it determines social order in its species-characteristic form. In all these points this bond is analogous with those human functions that go hand in hand with love and friendship in their purest and noblest form.

=======================================

The Hunting Hypothesis

“The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen.”
Published in 1976, Robert Ardrey’s The Hunting Hypothesis came ten years after his landmark volume, The Territorial Imperative. Like the earlier book, it is so full of meaning and relevance that quoting from it is difficult. So I have quoted from the opening pages in the hope that it entices you to ferret out a copy of the book and read it from cover to cover. Those who have read Socks will surely find the following passages from Ardrey ringing all sorts of bells for them:

Why is man man?

“As long as we have had minds to think with, stars to ponder upon, dreams to disturb us, curiosity to inspire us, hours free for meditation, words to place our thoughts in order, the question like a restless ghost has prowled the cellars of our consciousness.

“Why is man man? What forces divine or mundane delivered to our natural world that remarkable creature, the human being? No literate, civilised people or illiterate primitive tribe has failed to heed the ghost. The question inhabits us all, as universal in our species as the capacity for speech.  Did we enter this world carried on the back of a sacred elephant? Were we coughed up on a pebbly shore by a benevolent, immaculate fish? How frequently, in our oldest myths, the animal participated in the Creation. Even the garden called Eden had its snake.

“Our primitive perceptions of the contribution of the animal to the human presence have been confirmed by the sciences. But the sciences have not revealed why a sapient species should consistently have been attracted by those explanations of our nature that make a minimum of sense. Even the thoughtful Greeks rejected the quite sensible suggestion of an early thinker, Xenophanes, that if cattle had hands and could paint, they would paint their gods in the likeness of cattle. It was too much for the Greeks, who promptly shelved Xenophanes.

“Perhaps it is a portion of the human paradox that we apply our immense capacities for observation and logic to everything but ourselves. The American geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky has defined those three traits distinguishing the human being as our capacity to communicate, an awareness of death, and our awareness of self. Few would strenuously disagree. Yet what Dobzhansky does not add is a capacity for misunderstanding which rivals our capacity to communicate; an awareness of death which has remained at a virtual standstill since Cro-Magnon man began painting his dead with red ochre some thirty thousand years ago; and a self-awareness which, despite or because of our hopes and our fears, has become in modern times more and more closely synonymous with self-delusion.

“Not in our powers but in our paradoxes shall we search for the essence of man. There is little that lacks logic in the life of the rhesus monkey or the English robin or the Canadian beaver or, so far as we can judge, the extinct woolly rhinoceros. All make sense; it is Homo sapiens that does not. And perhaps that is why our sciences have so conspicuously failed, despite all their tools and their dedication, to advance very far our knowledge of ourselves. As nature abhors a vacuum, so science fails to enjoy the inconsistent.

“Towards the close of African Genesis (1961) I wrote:

‘Had man been born of a fallen angel, then the contemporary predicament would lie as far beyond solution as it would lie beyond explanation. Our wars and our atrocities, our crimes and our quarrels, our tyrannies and our injustices could be ascribed to nothing other than singular human achievement. And we should be left with a clear-cut portrait of man as a degenerate being endowed at birth with virtue’s treasury whose only notable talent has been to squander it. But we are born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were armed killers besides. And so what shall we wonder at? Our murders and massacres and missiles, and our irreconcilable regiments? Or our treaties whatever they may be worth; our symphonies however seldom they are played; our peaceful acres however frequently they may be converted into battlefields; our dreams however rarely they may be accomplished? The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses.’”

Capitalism and Morality

When I set out to research a book on economics, I had not heard of the correlation between morality and capitalism, and I must say my initial reaction was one of sheer incredulity. It seemed like a long stretch, to say the least. Before long though, I realised that one cannot properly argue any social system, real or imagined, without discussing also morality. The association of economics and morality, in whatever form either may manifest itself, is now central to my formative book, Capitalism – The De-Regulation of Pressure. It speaks directly to the threat posed by population pressure, and there can be arguably no more relevant call to morality than the seemingly insoluble problem of the weight of numbers in our future as a species.

Ants are probably the most successful of all the several million species of living things on Earth. They are so successful, in fact, that their total biomass is the same as the biomass of human beings. What can we learn from ants?

This passage is an excerpt from my book, Stephen Hawking Smoked My Socks (Muse Harbor Publishing, 2014):

Nevertheless, in a frame of reference that’s limited to the last two or three thousand years, we can make some useful projections of our future on the planet. As a biologist friend said over lunch the other day, we are now able to see evolution of the gene itself, a maturation of the code, and it is happening fairly rapidly (quickly enough for measurable changes to the code in 50 elapsed years). How significant this is, I don’t know, given that genetically, we are nearly identical to primates, and very, very similar even to bacteria. But I suspect that we are still constrained by the basics of the code that defines our species, and slightly more broadly, defines all living things. We can learn a lot about those constraints by studying less-sophisticated species. How do different species adapt to changes in their environment? In the 1970s, the docudrama “The Helstrom Chronicle” (a story about competition for the world about us) created a buzz in cinemas around the world. The narrator, biologist Nils Helstrom, uttered the following memorable line: “Human beings compete for the world by trying to adapt the environment to suit themselves; insects do it by adapting themselves to suit the environment. Insects will win.”

Cosmology: Dickensian Misery

(This note is an excerpt from chapter two: The Hubble Universe in the book, The Static Universe by Hilton Ratcliffe, C. Roy Keys 2010)
Before we move on to other pastures and fresh contemplation, we should discuss the “subsequent work” so often alluded to but seldom decently identified in articles and papers about the Hubble Law. Surely there have been more recent tests, using modern equipment? Indeed there have; several in fact. All those that I have seen are unanimous in their support for the Hubble Law and concomitant expansion. Did the later redshift-luminosity data succeed where Hubble’s original effort had failed? That question haunted me. The way to check it out would come to me quite unexpectedly on a dark and windy night in the mountains. Professor Paul Jackson, a retired physicist and trusted confidant, lives in an intriguing, charmingly Heath-Robinson, self-built home on the inland slope of KwaZulu-Natal’s Karkloof range. From time to time I visit him there, usually to take advantage of some fresh mountain air, good farm cooking, and solid advice.
The night in question was Dickensian in its misery. The freezing wind howled through the whipping pines behind us, and anyone outside must have been convinced that ice, not fire, would signal Armageddon. Inside though, I was as snug as a bug in a rug, quite unaware of the impending epiphany. My bedroom doubled as Paul’s study, and I was delighted by the prospect of exploring his pregnant bookcase. I pulled a large, dog-eared book from the shelf and settled down to read.
One of the standard texts in the field is the definitive volume The Principles of Physical Cosmology by eminent Princeton physicist Dr Jim Peebles.[1] The context of what follows will be taken from Dr Peebles’ concise summary of the expansion concept on page 71: “The expansion of the universe means that the proper physical distance between a well-separated pair of galaxies is increasing with time, that is, the galaxies are receding from each other. A gravitationally bound system such as the Local Group is not expanding … the homogeneous expansion law refers to galaxies far enough apart for these local irregularities to be ignored.” There you have it, in a nutshell, from the pen of one of the most revered spokesmen of consensus cosmology. Expansion, and indeed any consistent sign of it, can only exist at extremely great but apparently indeterminate distances.
Like the persistent whine of a determined and hungry mosquito, the notion of non-locality hovered subliminally in the recesses of my mind, and as we shall soon see, improperly tinted my spectacles on this occasion. On page 50 of that book, figure 3.13 is a graphical representation of the correlation in a sample of elliptical galaxies of their velocity dispersion (represented by σ, the Greek letter sigma) with their apparent luminosity.[2] There is, without doubt, a linear trend through the scatter of data points in the plot, so for the sake of argument, let’s assume that there is a real trend in the data. Theory relates velocity dispersion to cluster mass, and mass in a body of incandescent stars is proportional to intrinsic brightness (because, simply put, more mass means more stars, and therefore more light). What does this actually tell us? Certainly not what I thought at the time, and somewhat less than Dr Peebles implies.
My weariness must have blurred my concentration somewhat, because (as Paul later pointed out) I mistakenly took the diagram to represent a direct extrapolation of the relationship Hubble tried to establish in 1929 (redshift versus measured brightness of galaxies), whereas Dr Peebles plots the velocity dispersion of stars within galaxies without invoking redshift of the galaxies themselves. It doesn’t particularly worry me that I made a mistake; I often do, and gladly admit my error as soon as it is revealed to me. In this case, it was the principle involved that pitched a curve ball at the science I was tracking, and gave me a positive clue to the Achilles’ heel of redshift cosmology.
I consider it vital that we take due cognisance of a pervading habit in any zealous search for observational evidence. This treatment of observationally acquired data sets has haunted relativistic cosmology since its inception: Commencing with the eclipse data reported by Sir Arthur Eddington in 1919 [3] and punctuating the development of Big Bang Theory all the way through to the latest claims being made in the first decade of the 21st century, evidence is somehow found in observational measurements that either does not meaningfully exist in the unadulterated data, or if a pattern is found, does not refer to or in any way validate the preferred theoretical model. Objectively inconclusive results are given meaning that closer analysis reveals to be pointing in another direction completely. It’s a dangerous game. Like a cornered dog, synthetic evidence can bite you, and in the case of establishing a trend of luminosity versus redshift, it bit. What I needed to do was find the wound. I did find it, some time after my return from the Jacksons, and further careful inspection of my own copy of The Principles of Physical Cosmology provided the crucial and long-sought breakthrough.
What struck a chord for me was that the galaxies in Dr Peebles’ sample are ellipticals from the Virgo and Coma clusters. We all know that the postulated expansion of space does not occur locally, and “local” includes the Virgo cluster and almost certainly also the Coma cluster. With unsubstantiated optimism, the standard theory alludes to a threshold for expansion at around 100 Mpc from the Earth, meaning that for the first 350 million light years or so, space does not expand. Any perceived pattern in these data cannot indicate expansion, in terms of Big Bang Theory. This would be an utter train smash for the Hubble law if only I could find proof in the form of a published data table or graph.
It wasn’t hard. It’s right there in black and white on page 86 of Dr Peebles’ book. Figure 5.4 bears the caption, “Test of Hubble’s law using Tully-Fisher distances.” [4] Before we continue, I wish to acknowledge Dr Peebles’ self-deprecating honesty in the statement, “The distances in figure 5.4 are expressed in megaparsecs, but this is based on the still somewhat controversial calibration of the absolute magnitude-δν21 relation”.[5] We shall be discussing this controversial uncertainty in the next chapter.
The plot in the diagram shows the Hubble relationship established in the supposed redshift-distance correlation for a sample of galaxies in the vicinity of an object popularly identified as the Great Attractor. Although it has never been seen (it would in any event be obscured by the Milky Way’s disk), it has been invoked to explain the peculiar streaming motion of galaxies in the neighbourhood. A team led by Lyndon-Bell discovered in 1988 that peculiar velocities in this region are puzzlingly large, around 600 km sec-1 for the entire Local Group, and this could only be explained by the presence of an extremely massive object somewhere in the direction they were headed (Aside: this also caused a bad headache elsewhere in consensus cosmology, because the anisotropy—a local effect—shows up persistently in the CMBR, which of course is expressly forbidden by underlying theory).
The crucial significance of this geographical location is twofold: Firstly, it is local (all galaxies on the plot are <100 Mpc); and secondly, the presence in this locale of a structure massive enough to divert entire clusters of galaxies from the mooted Hubble flow is in defiance of the Cosmological Principle, and therefore rules out Hubble expansion in the region being observed. Despite the fact that all parties to the debate would agree that the galaxies represented in the graph occupy a volume of space that is definitely not expanding, Professor Peebles is quite clear in his conclusion about this particular plot: “We see that, even with the anomaly in the direction of Centaurus, Hubble’s law is quite a good description of the redshift-distance relation.” [6]
There you have it. Bingo! The Hubble law shows up in non-expanding space, and would therefore manifest in a static Universe. Hubble’s 1929 discovery and all the subsequent developments upon it are clearly invalid as indicators of universal expansion. As I perused further in The Principles of Physical Cosmology, I quickly saw that there is an abundance of such observational evidence refuting the notion of redshift-verified expansion, but of course I need only one substantive example to make my point.
At the risk of labouring the point, here’s the principle: Any correlation in observational data, perceived or real, between redshift and brightness cannot be taken to indicate expansion if it is also seen in static space. In fact, by their own logic, Standard Model theorists should concede that observationally, a linear relationship between the redshift of local galaxies and their apparent luminosities indicates quite the opposite: A static universe, not an expanding one.
[1] P J E Peebles The Principles of Physical Cosmology (Princeton University Press, 1993).
[2] Velocity dispersion is the spread of velocities of stars or galaxies in a more or less spherical cluster. It is estimated from the radial velocities of selected component objects in the group, and once established can give the cluster mass by means of the virial theorem.
[3] In my opinion, it is argued with merit that it started well before Eddington’s blatantly censored Principe and Sobral eclipse data. The Michelson-Morley experiment of 1887 is a case in point. However, we cannot afford to be distracted by peripheral arguments right now.
[4] The Tully-Fisher relation is a robust correlation between internal rotational velocity in spiral galaxies (a function of stellar abundance) and their intrinsic luminosity. See chapter 5 for further discussion.
[5] The term δν21 refers to the width of the atomic hydrogen 21cm radio line from the galaxy disk, a standard measure of rotation.
[6] P J E Peebles, op cit.

“DISCOVERY” OF GRAVITATIONAL WAVES by Hilton Ratcliffe

On Thursday, 11 February, 2016, a group of some one thousand scientists co-authored a paper announcing that the LIGO interferometric array had after more than a decade of fruitlessly accumulating data , positively identified the signature of gravitational waves coming from a deep space event. This was a phenomenon predicted by Albert Einstein in 1915 in a landmark paper henceforward known as The General Theory of Relativity. I have known for some time that results are being attributed to observations made with instruments that were inherently incapable of doing so. My scepticism is well known, and I consequently received dozens of requests to publish my view of the matter. In general, layman’s terms, here it is.
My analysis:
On September 14, LIGO observed a “chirp” lasting about a fifth of a second. Analyses of the signal suggest that it was produced by the cataclysmic collision of two black holes a billion light years away. Question: The almighty collision between two supermassive bodies produces a wave lasting just a fifth of second? The instruments that comprise LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) were set up to try to achieve a specific goal, consequent to the predictions of General Relativity Theory. The mirrors in the interferometer are set 4km apart. The expected variation in that distance would be 10^-18 metres or 10^-15 millimetres. In layman’s language, they are looking for a change in distance over the four kilometre separation of ONE THOUSAND TRILLIONTH OF A MILLIMETRE!
The change in distance equates to a required design sensitivity of the LIGO interferometer of one part in 10^21. That is, a resolution of ONE PART in ONE BILLION TRILLION.
Let’s try to put the expected variation into some sort of comprehensible perspective. The diameter of a hydrogen atom is obtained experimentally at 10^-7 mm. Therefore, Ligo seeks to measure a distance that is ONE HUNDRED MILLIONTH of the diameter of a hydrogen atom. Put another way, if the change were one hundred million times greater than the one they claim to have measured, it would be the same as adding or subtracting a SINGLE ATOM to or from the four kilometre distance separating the mirrors.
That is probably unimaginable to most people, so let’s try to add further perspective.
The best precision mirror surfaces are polished to match the ideal, nearly parabolic surface to about 25 nanometres – about 3 ten-thousandths of the width of a human hair. That is incredibly fine tolerance, but let’s compare it with the difference in length that LIGO claims to measure. A nanometre is a unit of spatial measurement that is 10^-9 meter, or one billionth of a meter. Take it down one level – a nanometre is a millionth of a millimetre.
The most precisely polished astrophysical mirrors, like those used in LIGO, can have peaks 25 nm above and below the theoretical surface plane of the mirror. 50 nm is a BILLION TIMES bigger than the gravitational wave signature. In practical terms, it is impossible to measure the distance between the two mirrors in each interferometer (actually said to be 3999.5 metres) to the required tolerances, so they have had to take an average, which is guesswork.
There are other conditions which change the distance between the mirrors by many orders of magnitude greater than the anticipated gravitational wave fluctuation. There is change in ambient temperature as the array goes through day and night cycles, and therefore expansion and contraction. Waves caused by seismic fluctuations are ever present, disturbing the separation. There are also anthropogenic waves, resulting from trucking, blasting, mining, and railroads, for example.
Then there are the influences affecting the light and its frequency that lie between the source of the radiation being measured and the Earth. There are all manner of objects, systems, and force fields in inter-galaxian space. These are not precisely known; some are completely invisible to us, yet they have a profound effect on light signals that simply cannot be quantified by measurement.
The LIGO instruments have all sorts of protective devices shielding them from extraneous kinetics and noise, but to filter those impediments out without fiddling with the sought-after signal, the LIGO scientists would have to guess their magnitude. That is not an empirically sound way to arrive at an accurate answer.
Ligo cost over $620 million US to construct. Research grants and operating costs take that figure to well over one billion US dollars. Hold that thought.
To summarise, paraphrasing the words of Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg in reference to Edwin Hubble’s initial interpretation of galaxian redshifts, “…it seems they knew the answer they wanted to get.”
Reference:

Jefferson’s Quran (1786)

After the Library of Congress was burned down by the British during the war of 1812, Thomas Jefferson, then in retirement at Monticello, offered once more to be of service to his young nation. Jefferson was a voracious reader and a distinguished intellect. Along with hundreds of books that matched his varied interests was a well-worn two-volume set that he believed offered his nation a warning.
As a student of the law, Jefferson was curious about the laws of many kinds, including those that had a voice in exotic lands, or claimed to carry the word of God. When I first heard that one of our nation’s Founding fathers owned one of America’s earliest copies of the Quran, I endeavoured to do some research on it. I was curious as to why Jefferson, a man famously curious and cosmopolitan, but also sceptical of organized religion, had it in his possession.
We do know that he is the only Founding father to have a basic understanding of Arabic. And we do know that he would be the first American President to go to war with Islamic radicals.
It is clear, however, that Jefferson was, to put it mildly, suspicious of Islam. He compared the faith with Catholicism, and believed that neither had undergone a reformation. Both religions, he felt, suppressed rational thought and persecuted skeptics. When combined with the power of the state, religion would corrupt and stifle individual human rights. Islam, to Jefferson’s mind, provided a cautionary tale of what happened when a faith insisted on combining religious and political power into one.
But Jefferson was neither a bigot nor an Islamophobe. The irony of Jefferson’s observations about Islam is that they were made in service of an argument that would ensure that Muslims – along with Jews, Christians, atheists, and adherents of every other faith – would have full citizenship as Virginians, and ultimately as Americans.
Jefferson believed that everyone should have the right to worship, or not to worship, as they choose. It was, unfortunately, not a view shared by Muslims he eventually encountered.
In March, 1786, after America had won its independence, Jefferson was serving as minister to France. One of the thorniest problems he had to confront was the rising power of the Barbary States, four North African territories that sponsored marauding pirates who were increasingly confiscating thousands of dollars of American shipping and enslaving hundreds of US citizens in prisons across the Mediterranean.
In London, Jefferson and his fellow diplomat John Adams met with the ambassador from the pasha of Tripoli, a man named Abdul Rahman, to resolve the growing dispute. The war that existed between his nation and America, the ambassador explained, “was founded on the Laws of their Prophet.” The capture of US ships and people was a just and holy war, sanctioned by the Quran.
Jefferson and Adams took meticulous notes of the meeting. “It was written in their Koran,” the two Americans noted, “that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in battle was sure to go Paradise.”
Jefferson needed only reference his own two-volume translation of the Quran to understand that everything in the ambassador’s explanation of the Barbary States “holy war” against America was accurate and faithful to Islam’s holy book.
The Quran’s Sura 9, verse 29, explains the Islamic duty to make war on non-Mulims:
Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (Islam) among the people of the scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”
Sura 47, verse 4 sanctions the taking of captives as spoils of war:
“So when you meet (fight Jihad in Allah’s Cause), those who disbelieve smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them). Thereafter (is the time) either for generosity (free them without ransom), or ransom (according to what benefits Islam), until the war lays down its burden. Thus you are ordered by Allah to continue in carrying out Jihad against the disbelievers till they embrace Islam or at least come under your protection, but if it had been Allah’s Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them without you. But He lets you fight, in order to test you, some with others. But those who are killed in the Way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost.”
I started this story because I want you to follow the path of Thomas Jefferson, a path that starts with reading the primary sources and original texts of Islam in an effort to better understand how millions of Muslims interpret their faith.
Every day around the world, Islamist fanatics are plotting ways to kill us. They do so under the banner of a supremacist ideology that pits Islam against the rest of the world and commands the murder of those who do not willingly submit.
The ultimate irony is that, fifteen years after 9/11, we’re actually further away from understanding the threat than we were in the days following the most brutal attack in our history.
jefferson quran– Condensed excerpt from the introduction of the book ‘It IS about Islam” by Glenn Beck (2015).