Intelligent design

Intelligent design (ID) is a pseudoscientific argument for the existence of God, presented by its proponents as “an evidence-based scientific theory about life’s origins”.[1][2][3][4][5] Proponents claim that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.”[6] ID is a form of creationism that lacks empirical support and offers no testable or tenable hypotheses, so it is not science.[7][8][9] The leading proponents of ID are associated with the Discovery Institute, a fundamentalist Christian and politically conservative think tank based in the United States.[n 1]

Though the phrase “intelligent design” had featured previously in theological discussions of the argument from design,[10]the first publication of the term intelligent design in its present use as an alternative term for creationism was in Of Pandas and People,[11][12] a 1989 creationist textbook intended for high school biology classes. The term was substituted into drafts of the book, directly replacing references to creation science and creationism, after the 1987 United States Supreme Court‘s Edwards v. Aguillard decision, which barred the teaching of creation science in public schools on constitutional grounds.[13] From the mid-1990s, the intelligent design movement (IDM), supported by the Discovery Institute,[14] advocated inclusion of intelligent design in public school biology curricula.[7] This led to the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial in which U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III found that intelligent design was not science, that it “cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents,” and that the school district’s promotion of it therefore violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.[15]

ID presents two main arguments against evolutionary explanations: irreducible complexity and specified complexity. These arguments assert that certain features (biological and informational, respectively) are too complex to be the result of natural processes. As a positive argument against evolution, ID proposes an analogy between natural systems and human artifacts, a version of the theological argument from design for the existence of God.[1][n 2] ID proponents then conclude by analogy that the complex features, as defined by ID, are evidence of design.[16][n 3]

Detailed scientific examination has rebutted the claims that evolutionary explanations are inadequate, and this premise of intelligent design—that evidence against evolution constitutes evidence for design—is a false dichotomy.[17][18] It is asserted that ID challenges the methodological naturalism inherent in modern science[2][19] though proponents concede that they have yet to produce a scientific theory.[20]

More at:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design

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The Velveteen Rabbit, Reimagined with Uncommon Tenderness by Beloved Japanese Illustrator Komako Sakai

By Maria Popova (brainpickings.org)

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“Life and Reality are not things you can have for yourself unless you accord them to all others,” Alan Watts wrote in his exquisite 1950s meditation on becoming who you are. But as is the case with life’s most enduring perplexities, this wisdom was best delivered three decades earlier, not by a philosopher but by a children’s book author. “Real isn’t how you are made… It’s a thing that happens to you,” Margery Williams wrote in 1922 in what would become one of the most beloved children’s books of all time, part of the canon that contains such masterworks as The Little PrinceWinnie the Pooh, and Where the Wild Things Are.

This quiet aliveness of truth and tenderness is what Japanese illustrator Komako Sakai brings to a bewitching and unusual adaptation of The Velveteen Rabbit(public library) nearly a century later — the loveliest take on the Williams classic since Maurice Sendak’s little-known 1960 illustrations.

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Timeless as the book may be, it is also one of extraordinary timeliness today — a story that speaks to our deepest anxieties about the effects of technological progress on our humanity.

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A soft stuffed rabbit is given to a little boy at Christmas, enjoyed for a fleeting moment, then quickly ignored in favor of other gifts far more modern and mechanical — wind-up toys that move like the real-life objects they miniaturize.

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And yet when the wise old Skin Horse — the oldest toy in the nursery — assures the rabbit that toys are made real by children’s love, and the rabbit is emboldened by this notion despite feeling at a grave disadvantage compared to the modern toys, we too are reminded that however the cultural odds are stacked, our imperfect humanity is not merely the thing that makes life livable but the only thing that makes it worth living.

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After the little boy’s Nana gives him the humble toy one restless night, the Velveteen Rabbit grows to be his most beloved companion.

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They become inseparable — the boy even brings his soft friend into the woods behind the house, where one day the Velveteen Rabbit meets a pair of wild rabbits. Perplexed by his stiffness, they tease him about not being “Real” — he can’t even hop! — but although the taunting hurts him, the Velveteen Rabbit takes comfort in knowing that the little boy thinks he is Real, and loves him, and that’s realness enough.

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Ever so gently, another subtle and profound undercurrent emerges — the finitude of childhood and the impermanence of life itself.

When the boy falls ill, the Velveteen Rabbit is by his side as doctors and parents hover anxiously. And when the boy recovers, the doctor instructs the boy’s mother to burn all of his belongings — books, toys, and especially that bedraggled stuffed rabbit — that may have been infected during his illness.

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As the Velveteen Rabbit awaits his heartbreaking fate in a sack at the end of the garden, drowned in wistful reminiscence about all the joyful moments he and the little boy shared over the years, one very real tear rolls down his cheek and drops to the ground.

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngWhy should it all end like this for someone who had been loved so much and become Real?

And then something magical happens — a flower emerges from the ground where the tear had fallen, and it blossoms to reveal the beautiful nursery fairy, who takes care of the most beloved toys after their children outgrow them.

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With one kiss on the nose, the fairy transforms the Velveteen Rabbit into a Real rabbit — real not only to the boy who loved him, but real to the world, to all who judge the realness of others.

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The seasons turn and when spring arrives again, the little boy treks back into the woods, where he has a strange and wonderful encounter with a wild rabbit that looks remarkably like his beloved lost toy. The rabbit looks at the boy, and the boy at the rabbit, they are elevated in a quiet moment of recognition — the mutual beholding of another’s realness of which all love is made.

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Sakai’s take on The Velveteen Rabbit comes from Brooklyn-based independent powerhouse Enchanted Lion, maker of some of the most intelligent and imaginative children’s books of our time — including such endlessly rewarding treasures as The Lion and the BirdThe RiverLittle Boy BrownMister Horizontal & Miss VerticalThe Jacket, and Wednesday.

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Perfectionism is on the rise – and we’re all paying the cost

New research shows elevated risks of anxiety, depression, and suicide linked to perfectionism.

  • A study of 41,641 college students shows that perfectionism is increasing year after year.
  • Along with perfectionist tendencies, researchers noted a symmetrical rise in anxiety, depression, and suicide.
  • The study looks not at parental influence, but at neoliberal policies that have fostered a cult of individualism.

Should we really be surprised by a study entitled, “Perfectionism Is Increasing Over Time?” Though written in 2017, this research from Thomas Curran and Andrew P. Hill was recently republished by the American Psychological Association. Though previous surveys have mentioned “authenticity” as a defining feature of the target age group—millennials—it’s hard to imagine an absence of mimicry given our social media environment.

This research is unique in approach. The team opens with a discussion of neoliberal governance being responsible for creating the conditions for rampant individualism to spread. An unchecked free market is placing undue stress on younger generations, forcing them to battle for screen space on a regular basis. Sleep becomes impossible when the entire planet is your schoolyard.

While the correlates and consequences of perfectionism are well-documented, the authors believe less research exists on the cultural conditions that fertilize it. Most research deals with parental and immediate environmental influences, not the governing economic and cultural forces. They consider perfectionism “a cultural phenomenon,” and treat it as such.

“In its broadest sense, then, perfectionism can be understood to develop through the messages that young people internalize from their immediate social environments, the resulting view of themselves, especially how they construe self-worth and how it is established, and their sense of self in relation to others.”

While this line of thought might be new to studies on perfectionism, differences between communal and individualist societies are understood. Better or worse is not the point of this work. Pressures associated with first thinking of yourself instead of your group have grave consequences on your mental health. Rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide are all increasing in this younger cohort.

The Problem With Perfectionism

The authors define perfectionism as “excessively high personal standards and overly critical self-evaluations.” They employ a cross-temporal meta-analysis of American, Canadian, and British college students’ replies to the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale. Totaling 41,641 students between 1989 and 2016, three types of perfectionism were considered:

  • Self-oriented perfectionists are irrational in their self-importance while holding unrealistic expectations of themselves, punishing themselves when they can’t meet their own self-imposed impossible standards.
  • Socially prescribed perfectionists feel consistently and harshly judged by others, forcing them to seek approval at every turn.
  • Other-oriented perfectionists impose unrealistic standards on everyone else and act out when these standards are not met.

Self-oriented perfectionism is considered the most complex. They base self-worth on achievements. Satisfaction never comes. Over the long run, clinical depression, eating disorders, and early death are a few of the results.

Socially prescribed perfectionism is the most debilitating, resulting in major bouts of anxiety and depression; it can lead to suicide when unchecked.

Other-oriented perfectionism is the least studied. Recent research ties it to higher levels of vindictiveness, hostility, and a tendency to blame others for, well, everything, but mostly for personal shortcomings. Low levels of altruism, compliance, and trust follow, as well as, in relationships, more fighting and less sexual satisfaction.

Curran and Hill attribute three cultural changes as catalysts for widespread increase in perfectionist tendencies:

  • The emergence of neoliberalism and competitive individualism.
  • The rise of the doctrine of meritocracy.
  • Increasingly anxious and controlling parental practices.

In a neoliberal environment, levels of narcissism, extraversion, and self-confidence increase as communal traits spiral. Collectively, we’ve become less caring about the welfare of others, while blaming others has gone through the roof. Ironically, we didn’t need a study for this. We only need Twitter.

These trends are apparent in influencer culture, where a premium is placed on experiences, many of which are fabricated to begin with. This glorification of experience is why recent generations spend more money on status possessions and image goods well above their parents and grandparents. Add a dash of FOMO for a toxic cocktail.

Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Worldwide Professional Bodybuilders during the Arnold Sports Festival Africa 2019 at Sandton Convention Centre on May 18, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

As we’ve known since biblical times (and likely before), more stuff equals less satisfaction. Our impatience with stuff translates into dissatisfaction with self. Cortisol boils.

“Yet rather than alleviate presentational and interpersonal anxieties, studies indicate that exposure to others’ perfect self-representations within social media can intensify one’s own body image concerns and sense of social alienation.”

One real-world example: The UK has experienced a 30 percent increase in body dysmorphia and eating disorders in young girls since the advent of social media.

In a meritocracy, those with the highest status and most possessions are treated as winners, though little information about their prior conditions is shared. We only see the lifestyle, not the trust fund; we don’t know what clothing gets shipped back to the rack. A pompous display: those with less feel less deserving. Material wealth is too often linked with low self-esteem.

Not only is the schoolyard infected, but so is the classroom. Teens are being taught that an education is designed to make money, not to enrich their lives and deepen their knowledge. American society no longer rewards the culture it created—wage premiums associated with degrees have stagnated for the last 20 years—yet we’re left with the mental weight of school as a means of financial success, or, as it goes, “getting ahead.”

This translates into parents—part of the neoliberal, meritocratic groundswell—transferring their own failed expectations onto the shoulders of their children. The youth internalize these pressures. Parents spend far more time today than a few decades ago focusing on educational endeavors and far less time on leisure and hobbies.

“Should a young person be unable to navigate an increasingly competitive social milieu, then it is not just their failure, it is also the parents’ failure too.”

Interestingly, American students showed higher levels of self-oriented perfectionism and lower levels of socially prescribed perfectionism. This is, in part, due to shrinking budgets for communal-oriented funding faster than other countries. Regardless of geography, all three cohorts claim to be victims of demanding social expectations.

The kids are not alright. Neither are the parents.

It’s always been nature and nurture. While parental influences are powerful, this research shows how forceful the weight of society is on our outlook. Just as anti-Semitism is rising in a populist-focused America, the endless barrage of people (seemingly) having more fun and stuff than you is taking its toll. The screen is a mirror of failed expectations and we’re all paying the price.

Stay in touch with Derek on Twitter and Facebook.

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‘We are all transgender,’ says actress Leyna Bloom


FRANCE 24 English
Published on May 20, 2019

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The first transgender lead actress of colour to star in a film at the Cannes Film Festival speaks to Eve Jackson about making history, trans rights in the US and why it was important her movie “Port Authority” was authentic. Also on the programme, another woman breaking glass ceilings at Cannes, Mati Diop, becomes the first black female director to have a film in competition.

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Your Horoscopes — Week Of May 21, 2019 (theonion.com)

Gemini | May 21 to June 20

You’ll finally find a man who loves you for who you are, but unfortunately, he’s every bit as miserable as you might expect.

Cancer | June 21 to July 22

If you had just one piece of wisdom to impart to future generations, it would probably be unspeakably filthy.

Leo | July 23 to Aug. 22

This is a time of great uncertainty for you, but that doesn’t mean the odds of drawing to an inside straight will improve at all.

Virgo | Aug. 23 to Sept. 22

You’re not the kind of person who lets your physical handicaps stop you, but that’s because you prey on people with even fewer limbs than yourself, you sick bastard.

Libra | Sept. 23 to Oct. 22

Artistic expression has never been your strength, so it’s frankly mystifying when the National Gallery puts your margin doodles on display just to trash them.

Scorpio | Oct. 23 to Nov. 21

Sometimes it’s good to just sit back and watch the universe unfolding. But other times, such as next Tuesday, it’s good to stop baby carriages from rolling in front of buses.

Sagittarius | Nov. 22 to Dec. 21

Due to your optimism, your death next week with come as a big surprise; however, due to your devout Christianity, what comes after will be a terrible shock.

Capricorn | Dec. 22 to Jan. 19

A hot bowl of soup and a good night’s sleep can cure many ills, it’s true, but you might want to consider the possibility that you have the world’s worst oncologist.

Aquarius | Jan. 20 to Feb. 18

Unfortunately for your dream of having multiple gorgeous sex partners, attitudes toward sex will become much more open-minded just as attitudes toward nutrition and personal hygiene go right down the tubes.

Pisces | Feb. 19 to March 20

This is a great time for romance in the workplace, if you’re the sort of idiot who thinks that’s even close to a good idea.

Aries | March 21 to April 19

The gods do indeed enjoy playing games with our lives—tempting us with power and driving us mad with hubris—but you they just enjoy seeing get hit in the balls.

Taurus | April 20 to May 20

You’ll suffer from a continuing inability to enjoy anything but the company of friends and family, the satisfaction of a job well done, and the knowledge that you have lived a life of dignity.

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“I’m making up the story in my head that . . . . . . . . .”

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I found a super simple relationship-trigger-defuse-tool, and it consists of only 7 words.

by Ayla Verheijen

I used it last Saturday.

This is what happened: my boyfriend Ivo told me he’d arrive a few hours later than I expected. He also added a smiley to the message, which created a substantial explosion in my system.

From happy and jumping, I went to being highly disappointed. Something had triggered me. “You are HAPPY that you’re coming later !?!?” A wave of emotion flooded me, and I knew that if I wouldn’t use some super tool, I’d just be passively angry at Ivo and retreat in my shell.

I remembered a short sentence I learnt from Brené Brown, and I threw it into the mix.

Instead of talking over it (“oh it’s ok, no problem” – my past technique), and instead of sending passive-aggressive messages (“yeah take your time, I’ll wait here again for you to come”), I sent him this:

“I’m making up the story in my head that I always have to wait to see what I get when it comes to your time and attention like I’m some sort of toy you can do with whatever you want. I’m also making up the story that you don’t realize how much I long for you, and that you see this [the delay of the date] as a good (punishing) practice for me to become less dependent – and that’s why you added that smiley.”

While writing this, the real pain broke through.

The illusion that this had anything to do with Ivo faded away.

Vague images passed by, like a very young version of me waiting for hours on a schoolyard, and nobody coming to pick me up. The possibility of abortion when I was in the womb.

Sobbing and sobbing and sobbing, and also a part of me that was holding me at the same time.

Getting glimpses of the big master picture, where feeling worthless leads to insecurity, which feels so bad that it gets covered by all kinds of fake behavior that tries to convince the world that all is ok and that tries to prove itself by making itself bigger.

And the image of a pure shining beauty underneath.

Ivo responded with nothing but love, which brought even more softness in the process.

What I love about this tool is that it combines radical responsibility with radical emotional openness.

Before, I’d often tried to get rid of heavy emotions by telling myself that they ‘weren’t real’, and I could just focus on something happy and positive.

That’s not much different from telling your newly born baby that its’ tears aren’t real, and tell it to look at the beautiful sun outside when it’s crying its’ lungs out.

Oh and don’t get me wrong. This positive-thinking technique definitely has its’ merits but in BALANCE.

For people who tend to overindulge in their emotions and totally get lost in them, partly neglecting them can be useful sometimes.

However, when you’re the one that tends to suppress difficult stuff (like me), the invitation is mostly to finally allow yourself to feel all of it.

And Brené can be your sidekick.

By saying “I’m making up the story in my head that…..” – you take away the tendency to project your pain when you’re triggered.

By taking this responsibility, you are now free to share the raw and unedited story of what the hurt part in you thinks is happening.

And this is big.

We often try to reason away our hurts, especially when they’re triggered by some seemingly insignificant situation – like my boyfriend coming a few hours later than expected.

My invitation: let it all be there, all the “unreasonable” thoughts and feelings.

Expose them to light, and love is all there will be left.

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Mary Baker Eddy’s androgynous interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer

Our Father which art in heaven,

Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious,

Hallowed be Thy name.

Adorable One.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present.

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Enable us to know, — as in heaven, so on earth, —

God is omnipotent, supreme.

Give us this day our daily bread;

Give us grace for to-day; feed the famished affections;

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And Love is reflected in love;

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;

And God leadeth us not into temptation, but delivereth 

us from sin, disease, and death.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

For God is infinite, all-power, all Life, Truth, Love,

over all, and All.

[From Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
by Mary Baker Eddy, pp. 16–17]

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Creationism

Creationism is the religious belief that nature, and aspects such as the universeEarthlife, and humans, originated with supernatural acts of divine creation.[1][2] In its broadest sense, creationism includes a continuum of religious views,[3][4]which vary in their acceptance or rejection of scientific explanations for the origin and development of natural phenomena such as evolution.[5][6]

The term creationism most often refers to belief in special creation; the claim that the universe and lifeforms were created as they exist today by divine action, and that the only true explanations are those which are compatible with a Christian fundamentalist literal interpretation of the creation myths found in the Bible‘s Genesis creation narrative.[7] Since the 1970s, the commonest form of this has been young Earth creationism which posits special creation of the universe and lifeforms within the last 10,000 years on the basis of Flood geology, and promotes pseudoscientific creation science. From the 18th century onwards, old Earth creationism accepted geological time harmonized with Genesis through gap or day-age theory, while supporting anti-evolution. Modern old-Earth creationists support progressive creationism and continue to reject evolutionary explanations.[8] Following political controversy, creation science was reformulated as intelligent design and neo-creationism.[9][10]

Mainline Protestants and the Catholic Church reconcile modern science with their faith in Creation through forms of theistic evolution which hold that God purposefully created through the laws of nature, and accept evolution. Some groups call their belief evolutionary creationism.[5]

Less prominently, there are also members of the Islamic,[11][12] Hindu[13] and American Indian[14] faiths who are creationists.

Use of the term “creationist” in this context dates back to Charles Darwin‘s unpublished 1842 sketch draft for what became On the Origin of Species,[15] and he used the term later in letters to colleagues.[16] Asa Gray published a 1873 article in The Nation saying a “special creationist” maintaining that species “were supernaturally originated just as they are, by the very terms of his doctrine places them out of the reach of scientific explanation.”[17]

More at:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creationism

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What 8 survivors of violent crime taught me about redemption

The idea of The Redemption Project is to create a space where the victim or victim or a crime can meet with and have a conversation with the perpetrator of that crime. To be specific, the episode I watched this evening, “My Mother’s Murder,” involved the daughter of a murdered woman meet with the murderer, at the daughter’s initiative.

There are many different impressions that flow from watching these emotionally powerful scenes. Van Jones created the series and provides an on-screen continuity and credibility by narrating to some extent, and meeting with the participants. But there are other people in the trenches who have worked to bring these moments about, and of course the victims and the perpetrators. I’ve never seen anything like it.

–submitted by Michael Kelly

May 9, 2019 (cnn.com)

Van Jones is the host of the “The Van Jones Show” and a CNN political commentator. He is the CEO of REFORM Alliance, an organization aiming to reduce the number of people serving unjust parole and probation sentences, and the co-founder of #cut50, a bipartisan criminal justice initiative of the Dream Corps. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.

(CNN)The twisted irony of violent crime is that the two people involved — those who commit the heinous act, and those who survive — are connected for the rest of their lives. From the moment of the incident on, their life stories must always include that other person.

But our current criminal justice system isn’t designed to acknowledge this reality. It serves to keep people on both sides of a crime completely separate as it weighs out the appropriate penalty. This system may deliver justice. What it might not do is heal.

To learn more about new approaches to justice inside and outside of our prison system, tune into the CNN Original Series “The Redemption Project with Van Jones,” Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

During the filming of my new CNN show, “The Redemption Project,” I witnessed a different response to violent crime — one that brings together survivors and those who committed a crime to seek accountability and answers they may not have gotten in the courtroom.

I saw survivors of violence and loss agree to meet face-to-face and talk with those who hurt them or their family members. Meanwhile, those who had made terrible decisions sat down to hear directly from those whose lives they had derailed or destroyed.

These carefully structured dialogues are a key part of the restorative justice process. Where our criminal justice system focuses on punishment of the individual responsible for the crime, restorative justice seeks to heal the whole community and all parties involved. (Note that some people find the term “victim” to be dehumanizing. But within the context of a restorative justice process, it is the most commonly used term, so I will use it here advisedly along with the term “survivor.”)

In the new CNN Original Series "The Redemption Project," Van Jones joins those impacted by crimes and those that committed them on their journey to meet face-to-face.

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