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Archive for March 24th, 2012

There is yet another scandal brewing concerning the Catholic Church in the Netherlands following allegations, which were published last weekend in the NRC Handelsblad newspaper.
It not only sounds ludicrous as a medical procedure, but in moral terms it’s downright barbarous: castrating young men to “cure” them of their homosexuality. Yet this was how the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands treated gays in the 1950s, according to the Dutch newspaper, which claims at least 10 men were forced to go under the knife at the church’s behest. The Dutch parliamentarians are now called to demand an inquiry into the issue, raising questions about whether the church received political cover to take such extreme measures.
The newspaper said the castrations were regarded both as a treatment for homosexuality as well as a punishment for those who accused clergy of sexual abuse. The newspaper said 20-year-old Henk Heithuis had been surgically castrated on the instructions of Catholic priests in 1956 after he told police he was being abused at the Harreveld boarding school in Gelderland. Although the monks were convicted of the abuse, Heithuis was nonetheless sent to a Catholic psychiatric hospital and then castrated. He died two years later in a car crash. How did that conveniently occur? The more we know of the Church the more unsavory and murkier it gets. The Dan Brown’s book pales into insignificance as we get to read of the thugs who are dressed in purple and given a tiara impose their own free will on others. These unctuous fools mouth moral primers for the followers while they practice altogether different.
I can see the opulence of the Cathedrals where monkeys in their cloth rising to give homilies to a congregation of dead. The skeletons receive sacraments by habit and go to their own ways no better than how they went in. This circus shall go on unless the State take concerted steps to treat it as a criminal organization breeding teachings detrimental to good sense and public decency. It is as virulent in their extreme view of treating human lives as trifle as much as Jihadists who coerce children to be suicide bombers are. The West for all its liberal traditions allow these elements to go with impunity taking terrible toll in perverting natural good sense and causing incalculable damage.

tailspin: The newspaper also adds there are strong indications that at least nine other young men were castrated around the same time, either for whistle-blowing or for supposed homosexuality.( Time.com – Mar 23, 2012)

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Is Free Will an Illusion? Scientists, Philosophers Forced to Differ

In a series of new articles for the Chronicles of Higher Education, six academics from diverse fields offer fresh perspectives from the standpoints of modern neuroscience and philosophy. Ultimately, they voted 4-2 in favor of the position that free will is merely an illusion.
The four scientists on the panel denied the existence of free will, arguing that human behavior is governed by the brain, which is itself controlled by each person’s genetic blueprint built upon by his or her life experiences. Meanwhile, the two philosophers cast the dissenting votes, arguing that free will is perfectly compatible with the discoveries of neuroscience.
Who’s at the steering wheel: you, your genes, your upbringing, fate, karma, God?
Everyman has a POV a point of view that is blatantly ignored while we watch a documentary film. Little does our mind tells that the moment the cameras were set up and began churning the entire newsreel had been shunted off to a point of view of someone. The cameraman reported his point of view and by editing and voice over, music the report that came to you was not events as happened but a blow by blow account of another.
Before I get to the main topic let me also touch upon the persistence of vision that is essential for us to register the newsreel into our consciousness. The sequence of frames rearranged by the one who edited the news forces us to accept our inability to distance ourselves from the particular slant given to it. While our eyes are sorting out rest of the body is also at work. Human physiology brings entire nervous system to respond shock, delight well the entire gamut of emotions. These are altogether new and are not true in terms of the totality of events played at the specific spot.

The big corporations that bring news coverage have to find sponsors. Hence their corporate aims have to be pooled together so the news teams can keep on reporting live for the masses. If any news touching on India were to be shown on the west there shall be beggars, filth and other stereotypes that feed the popular conception.
To sum: one man’s point of view is an amalgam of myth, prejudice and truth. Two half-truths don’t make it whole truth.
Now the news clip from LiveScience:
Jerry Coyne, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago, defined free will as the possibility that, after making a decision, you could have chosen otherwise. But a “decision,” Coyne argues, is merely a series of electrical and chemical impulses between molecules in the brain — molecules whose configuration is predetermined by genes and environment. Though each decision is the outcome of an immensely complicated series of chemical reactions, those reactions are governed by the laws of physics and could not possibly turn out differently.
A counterargument came from Hilary Bok, a philosopher at the Johns Hopkins University, who said scientists misunderstand the question of free will when they argue that decisions are governed by the activity of brain cells. Free will, in her opinion, is being capable of stepping back from one’s existing motivations and habits and making a reasoned decision among various alternatives. “The claim that a person chose her action does not conflict with the claim that some neural processes or states caused it; it simply redescribes it,” she wrote.
Alfred Mele, another philosopher at Florida State University, also believes the concept of free will is compatible with the findings of neuroscience. He cited a 2008 study in which volunteers were asked to push either of two buttons. According to the study, brain activity up to 10 seconds before the decision was consciously reached revealed which button the volunteer was more likely to press.
Though the study is widely viewed as evidence against free will, Mele pointed out that the study participants’ brain activity accurately predicted their eventual decision only 60 percent of the time. In his view, this suggests people can consciously choose to override their brains’ predispositions. (Ack: LiveScience.com – Mar 21, 2012)
benny

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