Saturday, October 16, 2010

Assholes Bring Their Asshole-ness To Church (PART ONE of TWO)


An asshole brings his ass-hole-ness to church with him.”

-Patricia Calloway

I. Young Travelers, Inc.

Now broadly being discussed in the mass media is the "problem of the youth" -- young people: the 'problem' being how thoughtless, lazy, irresponsible, nihilist, selfish, and unfocused they appear to be.

It's a stereotype, to be sure; but stereotypes often are simply archetypes cynically over drawn, stretched, and over generalized, usually for nefarious purposes, as when a politician seeks to substantiate a social or racial stereotype in order to justify an expenditure (say for instance, increased defense spending to combat the 'naturally violent' threat of Islamic countries). Said expenditure may not necessarily remediate a difficulty or rationally address a need but will definitely enrich the politician and/or his own constituents. Archetypes (literally, prototypes or ideal models from which items or ideas in a series are made) are the kernel of observational, epistemic, statistical, and material truth that the stereotype wraps itself around.

So, although it is by no means utterly true of all the youths, it is observationally and materially true that an alarming number of young people in these post movement times (do let's call them, for the sake of the pleasure of the text, 'young travelers,' which is as valid a nomen as any other, and maybe a bit less patronizing than some)

do not vote in large enough numbers; that they sometimes appear to have no drive to challenge injustice, to organize, and to fight to alleviate dismal social conditions for all, nor even to achieve a sense of rigor for themselves, or to train themselves to hard work academically. Their aggregate literacy rates are falling; too many don't read, speak or attempt to acknowledge the existence of languages other than their own, and similarly, don't consider, seek information about, or attempt to acknowledge the existence of countries other than their own--some, indeed do not seem very cognizant of the existence of the English language they themselves are attempting to speak and failing to write. They do not regularly read books and thus are unaware of the significance of history or of how history underlies both the pleasant and unpleasant events of the present within which they dwell; large numbers primarily seek distraction, entertainment, and pleasure rather than intellectual, ethical, and aesthetic challenge and development. The only thing the bulk of such mass mediated and consumption-driven youths seem willing to make an effort to do is to attain money and material possessions, both of which they are mightily impressed by though loath to put themselves out to attain.

If any of this is true, if any of it is in fact archetypal rather than stereotypical, it's certain to be largely the result of the growing dominance and influence of the mass media, the advertising industry, and the increasingly alarming, deliberate destruction of this country's educational system coupled with the implacable murder by corporate takeover of what used to pass as a free press and as investigative journalism. As far as education goes in America, the National College Board's July 2010 Report on College Completion Rates revealed that although the U.S. was number one in the world in college completion in 1986, the country is now number twelve. Our competitive ranking in world markets has drastically fallen partly due to so-called 'free market' policies that have lain U.S. markets open to being raided by China and by the European Union. Proposals are growing in popularity to totally eliminate public education and replace it with a privatized for-profit, corporate-driven national school system. Coupled with other backward-looking devolutionary proposals, coming mostly out of the Republican Party and its handlers such as The Heritage Foundation--proposals to eliminate the minimum wage, social security, and unemployment insurance, these reactionary public policies and debates signal a burgeoning backwardness, if not an escalating infantilism. Again, much blame can be heaped at the feet of the mass media, whose actions and whose indulgences have provided a primary cause for growing immaturity among Americans and within American cultural discourse.

With this causality in mind, a disturbing reality manifests itself in rising levels of ignorance and indifference that are making Americans in general, young and old, participants in a sort of sociological version of paedomorphosis, because our mass media is an incredible force for neoteny. Paedomorphosis [pedomorphosis in vernacular] is a biological principle introduced in 1922 by scientist, Walter Gerstang(1). I think in fact that the power of mass media to slow (neotenize) and to even to control the rate and timing of social maturation, and particularly of African American male psychic maturation is quite destructive. Infantalization is not a survival trait for Black men, but is, rather, a boon for Capitalism. This reality is very apparent in social signs, such as hyper consumption, the sharp increase in pop culture's fetishizing of homoeroticism since 1950 (which is a characteristic sign of cultures or sub cultures marked by hyper patriarchy and by drastic gender segregation), the adolescent values we now see being demonstrated in American electoral politics, and the continuing degeneration of American political discourse, and, of course, the social delinquency of American youth.

Mass media and advertising have as their sole commercial purpose the imperatives of entertaining target audiences and of selling goods and services by provoking mindless consumption for the sake of profit and profit alone. A mature, challenging, serious and engaged educational system would be intended to nurture and to protect democracy by reproducing informed, responsible, and critical citizens, yet the educational system as it is, seems now to be setting the cycle of deveolopmental acceleration to a virtual creep and in some ways to a virtual standstill. The resultant culture of the young is distorted horribly and is producing young men and women who are focused more upon shopping than on rebuilding and strengthening unions, protesting unjust wars, organizing themselves to protect the environment, calling for national strikes to turn back the advance of privatization of the public sphere and of public policy, fighting for the civil rights of Gays and Lesbians, seeking an end to inhumane torture practices shamefully set in place as a cornerstone of our foreign policy, or increasing funding for the poor to obtain access to education. Too many of the young travelers are, in short, assholes who like to go shopping.

Which is not to say one ought to have anything against shopping--it's just that an asshole brings his assholeness shopping with him, to be sure.

II. Religion Only Makes The Situation Worse—The Nation of Islam as Cult

Again, I write not to be overly generalist about it (for certainly, as a university professor I have ample opportunity to meet a great many young people who are the exception to all this). Yet, to the extent that these things are true, at least in regard to an uncritical cohort of young travelers who seek to consume rather than think, much reflective of a similarly uncritical, consumption oriented cohort of their own elders, these young travelers' attitude toward religion seems to be not any more laudable than their attitude toward everything else, which is one of the things, religion is, I mean, that inspire among young travelers, and particularly African American young travelers, unthinking consumption without the application of appropriate critical faculties.

For example, one of my African American monday night English composition students, a proudly self-professed follower of The Nation of Islam (NOI), who has been making what I could kindly call less than temperate comments in class about race, gender, and history, is a perfect example of a young man situated in urban America living under late Capitalism in a post-democratic and post-economic environment of social and intellectual collapse. In that context, in fact in spite of it, he is an exceptional young traveler who is intelligent, bright, and even personable, but who because he has not read widely enough nor thought deeply enough about a sufficient number of historical traditions constituting the material world around him, says obnoxiously ignorant and even offensive things in class that earn him the ire of classmates and that I imagine would earn him the ire of Mother Teresa Herself were she alive and spry, and were she unfortunate enough to be registered in my Monday night English composition course. More details later about this poor unfortunate student, and his having come under the sway of a troubling book published by The Nation entitled, “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews.”

While it is never a good idea to thoughtlessly consume any religious or pseudo-religious belief without critical safeguards in place, this young man has chosen to consume the dialectically unconscious rhetoric of a particularly odious religious sub group (NOI's core beliefs, besides being outlandish, radiate outward into peripheral beliefs and practices and shared group values that ignore revolutionary theory of any and all sorts, and constitute a strikingly false representation of Islam).

The Nation of Islam, you see, is not true Islam, but is a small, American racialist fundamentalist cult under the leadership of a Cain-like usurper, Louis Farrakahn, who in 1975 seized the ideological means of production and much of the wealth and property of NOI away from the group's natural inheritor, the seventh son of its temporal leader, Elijah Muhammad, who had himself died in 1975. The son, the late Wallace/Warith Deen Muhammad, envisioned taking the cult forward into an acceptance of Sunni Islam and the larger tenets of legitimate, globally established Islamic faith; into a future embracing the five pillars of Islam, the faith's classical message of universal brotherhood and sisterhood. W. Deen's hope for The Nation of Islam was an internationalist perspective that would have provided intellectual empowerment for American Black people. The 'five pillars' (or five essential obligations for the faithful--a cornerstone for all Muslims worldwide) are, in no specific order:

  1. prayer, while facing Mecca, five times daily;

  2. professing The Faith (belief in one God, his prophets, and the prophet, Muhammad);

  1. love and caring for the needy, the poor;

  2. self purification by the fast (the celebration of Ramadan);

  3. obligation to take the hajj.

Each of the things that W. Deen sought in 1975-76 (unification with true Islam, adherence to the five pillars of The Faith, internationalism—and thus rejection of Fardism and of his father Elijah's cult in favor of an embrace of intellectual empowerment) were the very things that Elijah's former padawan, Malcolm X, had led the way in pursuing when he had returned from his hajj to Mecca (The Hajj being one of the pillars of true Islam) having realized how false Elijah's cult was. When Malcolm had returned to the United States he'd publicly repudiated the cult, renamed himself El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, had established his own genuine Islamic organization (called "Muslim Mosque, Inc.), had announced plans to establish lasting relations between his American group and Africa's Muslim leaders, and had subsequently been murdered by Nation of Islam shooters in 1965.

Louis Farrakahn, a valued Lieutenant of Elijah who had clashed with Malcolm and had benefitted from Malcolm's death, refused W. Deen's legitimizing vision of 1975, just as he had earlier despised and rejected Malcolm's vision of legitimacy for Black American Muslims in 1965. It can and has been reasonably argued that Farrakahn and his contingent within the inner circles of leadership balked at intellectual empowerment of the Black masses or at least of the rank and file within the organization—empowerment that would surely have resulted by releasing them from servience to the cartoon-like founding mythologies of W.D. Fard and of Elijah Muhammad's cult of divinity. The cult of divinity arose from the fundamental (founding) myths of the NOI, myths that constituted the iliterate backwardness of a lumpenproletariate pseudo-religious “Fardism”:

°Myth: The Founder, W.D. Fard, was a 'Messenger of God' (fact: Fard, a citizen of Afghanistan appeared in Detroit in 1929 after having served three years in San Quentin prison in California, for illicit drug sales. He established a business in fine-fur sales in Detroit, telling tales to Black customers of their 'homeland' and of his having arrived from Mecca. He later founded a 'Moorish' Temple in Detroit, which became The NOI's 'Mosque 1'.

°Myth: One of Fard's early followers, Elijah Poole, son of a Georgia Preacher, was 'taught by Master Fard Muhammad night and day for three years and four months' according to Farrakhan, and Fard's mission was to come to America from Mecca to find the “lost-found tribe of Shabazz'--Africaqn Americans to teach them of their divinity as the lost first tribe of human civilization, a Black civilization. Poole declared Fard, who disappeared without trace in 1934 “The Mahdi” (the Shia and Sunni figure of redeemer who will come to Earth just before the Day of Judgement, who will, with Jesus by his side, rid Earth of evil) and the manifestation of the true living God-Allah on Earth; that he had not 'disappeared' but had arisen into the sky to board the 'mother plane'--the wheel in the sky (fact: Elijah Poole, known today as Elijah Muhammad, studied under Fard and took his place as 'Messenger' and leader after Fard's disappearance, repeating many of Fard's tales, emphasizing Fard's racialist interpretation of Islam; declaring White people 'blue-eyed devils'; popularizing the mythology of Black supremacy and of White inferiority, and promising that Blacks would be rescued from America's destruction. Meanwhile, according the U.S. Government surveillance records and information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Fard had not ascended, but had traveled to New Zealand where, according the the FBI, he lived until 1960).

°Myth: A “Wheel in the Sky” (or massive 'plane') which has been hidden in the sky behind clouds since 1929 was pointed out to Elijah by Fard, who told his padawan that smaller planes would someday be released by the wheel to attack and destroy America, but that Blacks would be rescued from this destruction. (fact: Elijah took over “The Fruit of Islam”—a cadre of Black bodyguards established by Fard—and built the Temple into a cult with major nexes in Detroit, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. By the time Elijah took in an ex convict named “Detroit Red” (Malcolm Little, who had been converted to The Nation in prison and renamed himself 'Malcolm X') NOI was poised to break into the American consciousness thanks to journalist Mike Wallace's TV news report, “The Hate That Hate Produced,” and thanks to Malcolm himself, who brought an astonishing wwave of national attention to NOI due to media coverage of Malcolm himself, as Elijah's spokesperson.

Thus, Farrakahn was ascendant when Malcolm died in 1965, first among the young lieutenants gathered about Elijah. Most of this inner circle favored, instead of

Malcolm's vision of empowerment, the more authoritarian, more patriarchal, and more lucrative, much more ideologically safe position of retrograde motion away from the religious legitimacy Malcolm had introduced and had convinced a number of “The Fruit” to follow, in establishing the splinter group, “Muslim Mosque Inc.” By 1975 Farrakahn was no longer simp

ly a lieutenant but had assumed leadership at the right hand of Elijah as his first disciple and chaperone. Following the February 1975 death of Elijah Muhammad, Farrakahn moved to take control of The Nation. at the same time that W. Deen, heir de jure, was proposing NOI seek legitimacy, the same legitimacy Malcolm had sought, Farrakahn was busily preparing to support and reinforce The Nation's founding cult of Elijah, using his control of NOI ideological organs and his influence among the inner circle of the NOI National Headquarters (Mosque Maryam, a former Greek Orthodox church purchased in 1972 by Elijah shortly before his death).

In 1976 Muhammed renamed the NOI “The World Community of al-Islam in the West”. In 1978 it became “The American Muslim Mission” and by 1985 it was called “The Muslim American Society.” In 1978 Farrakhan officially left W. Deen's auspice to re-establish the NOI in the image of Elijah.

A myth had begun in 1972: that Elijah Muhammad was still alive. This myth was a cornerstone of the cult of Elijah, and Farrakahn was most likely the source and greatest strength behind this then burgeoning and still-burgeoning folk tale that Elijah's death had been faked and/or was a misconception of the unenlightened; that Elijah had covertly hidden himself away so that Farrakahn could take his place, or has literally risen from the dead and is at large now in the world as a sort of demigod. Another variation of the myth is that Elijah now lives aboard “The Great Wheel (or 'plane') in the Sky”--a craft peopled by Black angels waiting to destroy America at the appointed time of God, as revealed in the prophesies of Elijah. Lest it be doubted how instrumental Farrakahn truly is in the sustaining of these folk myths, he has as recently as the 2010 occasion of the annual 'Savior's Day' speech claimed to have gone aboard “The Wheel” in a vision, and to have seen Elijah on board waiting the appointed hour of America's destruction and of Elijah's descent back to Earth to join with Jesus as the 'Mahdi' who will rid the Earth of evil.

It is historical fact that Farrakhan wrested control of a goodly portion of NOI away from W. Deen between 1975 and 1978, turning decisively backward to preserve the original group's religio-mythological cult status, taking thousands of followers with him. While W. Deen presided over what was one of the largest if not the largest mass conversions to Islam in U.S. History, Farrakhan managed to seize a large portion of the group's material resources, it's properties in Chicago, bank accounts, businesses, its name (NOI) and its rhetorical organ (the newspaper, "Final Call"). Warith Deen took a portion of those organs, a portion of property, a percentage of “The Fruit” and rank-and-file along with him to found the American Society of Muslims (as well as other religiously legitimate Sunni Islamic groups descended from NOI).

Farrakhan meanwhile began a process of publicly domesticating and partially sublimating the more bucolic, deviant, and feudalist elements of the cult's mythos, while 'soft peddling' NOI's very un-Christian and un-Islamic primitive accumulation, corporate style acquisitive capitalism, political conservatism, anti-semitism, anti-science nativism, and homophobia. He has, since the decisive year of 1988 (when the Mosque Maryam was re-purchased, rededicated, and named “Maryam”) made every effort to legitimize himself as a mainstream Black nationalist minister with wide appeal to a predominantly Black Christian nation through outreach, beneficent programs of self help for Black Americans (very much modeled along the lines of Marcus Garvey's 'Negro Improvement Association), outreach and conversion sects within the prison system (converting record numbers of Black men to The Nation's sect) and even as an advisor to politicians such as Jessie Jackson, foreign leaders such as Muammar Gaddafi, and Black intellectuals such as Cornel West. While he has by no means softened his 'frozen Malcolm period' of racial critique of White America, particularly when pressed by interviewers and by whites who challenge his racialist dogma, he has perfected the uses of indirect statement, implication, irony, and coded speech to mask what is far more overt in his rallies, founder's day and Saviors' day speeches, and sermons to the cult itself.

Racialist dogma implying the 'White Devil' myth, and continued Fardist notions of Black supremacy aside, this method, soft peddling, even extends to the very character of The Nation's self presentation to American Blacks, however. African Americans, particularly young ones, who are of overwhelmingly Christian origin and background training in their beliefs, are coming to the Nation in great numbers. Even non-believing Christians who decline to convert to Black Muslim belief are broadly open to, and supportive of Farrakhan's words, actions, businesses, and his mantle of 'leadership' of The Black Community. How is this possible? The 'method' is fairly straight-forward, and pragmatic in its intention:

°NOI represses to near non-existence its identity as an Islamic religious group (the word, “Islam” is downplayed in favor of language drawn deliberately from The Old Testament).

°Islamic Hadith is replaced by overtly Christian passages from the Bible.

°The Holy Koran itself is occluded in Farrakhan's teachings and speeches by his highly personalized Biblical interpretations.

°When passages from and references to The Holy Koran are cited at all, the Koran is always mentioned in unison with The Bible, creating the impression that the two books are one and are interchangeable.

°Farrakhan emphasizes folk tales, apocalyptic prophesy, revenge motifs, the escape myth promising Blacks' avoidance of Armageddon, and the Fardist fantasies of White inferiority, all of which have an almost primal appeal to oppressed, illiterate and poor, segregated Black masses.

°'Conspiracy theories' are heavily emphasized by NOI in its newspapers, newsletters, and in sermons and speeches, leaning healiy upon paranoia rather than history, the use of words such as 'secret' and 'conspiracy' rather than material analysis, and upon pseudo-science and superstition rather than scientific inquiry. Illiteracy is NOI's natural medium and though it is the founder of several schools and a university, intellectual rigor is reserved for the inner core; superstition and innuendo are the forte of the rank-and-file for reasons I have mentioned elsewhere.

°Farrakhan appropriates overtly classical Black vernacular of the forties and fifties and also the Ebonics of the 60's and 70's, managing in some contexts to sound like your grandmother: he can appeal to your Christian grandmother because she is thinking to herself, 'He thinks just like me.' He can appeal to you because you are thinking, 'He sounds just like my grandmother.' In some contexts, again, he can also appeal to young people followers of hiphop culture (witness Public Enemy's countless dubs and samples from his speeches, as well as to mainstream middle class Blacks (his message of acquisitive Capitalism is overtly demonstrated in his ostentatious regalia and in his wealthy display of creature comfort and of the trappings of money, placing him on par with current evangelical preachers of 'the gospel of wealth' on the Christian side of American popular culture.

According to the core mythologies of The Nation, at any rate, the genetically inferior White Man--nee European Man--is a devil bereft of Allah's provenance, an orphan upon an otherwise black, yellow, red, and brown planet, and a bad seed in the human family, thus His crimes (such as the Atlantic Slave Trade, colonialist exploitations of Africa and Asia, world war, and modernist injustices such as the drug trade and global energy crises) are a reflection of his genetically determined role in an NOI mythopoiesian drama of inclusion/exclusion). In fact, the structurally mythopoetic dimension of this filial dramaturgy is so crucial to the undergirding of what can be claimed to be a religio-psychological belief structure, and that belief structure has been so successful in the African American past in capturing the imaginations and loyalties of African American youth, the lumpenproletariat, and the recovering substance abuser/ex criminal on the street, and is so successfully seeing a revival among present day youths of the same description as the past, that the mythos bears some close examination here.

III. “The Secret History” and the Ideological Failure of NOI

The latest evidence of the continuing problem of flawed thought within The Nation is a book my young English composition student, whom I mentioned earlier, has loaned me entitled, "The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews: How Jews Gained Control of the Black American Economy" (Volume Two). Though impressively well researched, the book bears the flaws of Old Style NOI dogma and propagandist intent: it focuses only upon race in its analysis, and offers no consistent critique of the role of American and global capitalism in the history of exploitation of African Americans by Jewish capitalists and racists. Though the subtitle mentions the Black American economy, there is practically no discussion of macro economics. This is consistent with the ultimately conservative perspective of NOI, which publishes, speaks, acts, and organizes around one major and fixed goal: the maintenance of the core beliefs of Fardism and the maintenance of a relation of intellectual dependency of the Black masses, a dependency The Nation can lucratively exploit.

The NOI in its current incarnation has yet to decisively renounce the nonsensical ideas of its founder, W.D. Fard, who inaugurated the cult in the 1930's and preached that White people are a genetically evil tribe of 'devils' who are racially and genetically determined toward colonialist violence, racial conflict, and cultural domination, with a causal factor in White devils' evil being their comparative genetic inability to metabolically produce, in the sufficient amounts achieved by people of color, the chemical that causes skin pigmentation--melanin.

These historical, ideological, political, and ethical realities seem all to be lost on my student, who despite professing to be aware at least of the history of usurpation of W. Deen, and the fratricidal conflict within The Nation (despite W. Deen and Farrakhan having ritualistically 'recognized' one another as 'fellow Muslims' in 2000), betrays in his attitude and in his discourse a lack of awareness of it all.

This ignorance of history is common to his fellows among the young travelers. Because I am old enough to remember the rhetoric and high profile residency of The Nation in America's Black communities such as Detroit--my home--in the past (during the heyday of Black cultural nationalism in the 1970's), I am all too familiar with the tone of The Nation's social and politico-religious claims, some of them sneakily Fardist claims, even when whispered or obscured beneath academic scholarship and vernacular. I can hear the same tone being struck even now by new young converts to The Nation. Though "The Secret Relationship" at least bears a shell of legitimate historiography wrapped round it's accompanying anti semitism, as was typical of Nation publications and of the public speech of The Fruit in the past, My student and many of his generation markedly lack even that barest saving grace: the mythos of racism and anti-semitism are bare in him. He affects the same tongue-in-cheek irony when confronted by the outlandishness of these myths; the same coy disinclination to elaborate upon or to scientifically defend such mythologies other than to profess a reiteration of his indebtedness to The Nation 'for saving my life' as he puts it (as those who recall Malcolm X's "Autobiography" will remember Malcolm having compulsively professed whenever embarrassment, mendacity, or moral contradiction within The Nation revealed themselves to him).

The coy tone then and now is a rhetorical form of the soft peddle: while the young urban men who are now being drawn to The Nation decline to openly elaborate on these myths unless sorely pressed to do so, their very tone, faux humorous, half mocking, implies an utter credulity about the myths without coming right out to say where they stand. It is this very trait of NOI that marked its pre W. Deen, lumpenproletarian past--the coy demurs when challenged for their racist, sexist, and anti-semitic pronouncements, their smug and knowing japes, and taunts. This half-discourse or rather, implied discursive theology is what rightfully earns Farrakahn the ire and the alarmed suspicion of Jewish Americans who have well-tuned sensitivities to the merest whiff of anti-semitic dogma, and well they might, one concludes, inasmuch as such sensitivities have come to be a survival instinct through centuries of pogroms.

Though my inclination is to point out that in every age and everywhere, people have always accused the youth of ignorance, insolence, and thoughtless action, and that it's just part of being young, and we all went through a stupid phase, wore funny clothing and listened to disco and burned ants with magnifying glasses, etc., etc., I keep encountering, particularly among mis-educated, illiterate, and bigoted Black youths, an increasingly frightening ignorance, animistic thinking, and political conservatism to the right of Margaret Thatcher, in some instances a conservatism steadily morphing into an alarmingly zealous faith in the validity of myths and lies. It is appropriate to dismiss innocence; it is not appropriate to dismiss contumely of the sort that gives aid and comfort to those myths and lies that in any historical account has in the past constituted the fateful drift toward fascism. At this point I would offer the enlightenment of a video by cultural and historical critic, Anton Batey that clarifies the underlying murkiness, shadiness, and folk mythology that is the true anima of classic NOI mytholigies:

All of which is to say I hereby take it upon myself to point out in this article before you the underlying and fatal fallacy of my student's proudly proffered book, "The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews."

IV. Religion and Science Don't Mix

Religion and economics (and rationality, and history, and science) don't mix (the constant lament of Judas Iscariot who, saddled with the task of negotiating the fixed cost of keeping Jesus and the other apostles in wine money, found that this difficult fiduciary responsibility would have been far more tenable were Jesus more economically practicable and less devout in his challenges to possible investors; after all, whipping prospective investors and venture fund candidates out of The Temple in a pious rage while denouncing their wicked lack of reverence tended to dampen their willingness to offer alms). There is a quite startling gap that exists between economic theory and the thesis and substantiation of "The Secret Relationship."

I was honored to be invited a few years ago to debate a Calvanist pastor, Pastor Gene Cook, on his California radio program, "The Narrow Mind." Pastor Cook is a Calvinist Christian who believes in predestination (to be found in John Calvin's 1536 "The Institutes of the Christian Religion"--his kooky pre-enlightenment justification for the feudal concept of absolute hierarchy proposed in Thomas Hobbes' "Leviathan" in 1651 but overturned by the enlightenment writings of John Locke in his "Letters Concerning Toleration" in 1689). His debate with me, which can be found on YOUTUBE at was indicative everything that is in conflict between reason and faith. I am proud to say, as I said again and again during that debate, that as an agnostic, I am not a believer.



1. Garstang, W. (1922) The Theory of Recapitulation: a critical Re-statement of the Biogenetic Law. Linn. Soc. Jour. Zool., XXXV, pp. 81-101