Cell biology Intelligent Design Origin Of Life

At Live Science: Massive tentacled microbe may be direct ancestor of all complex life

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Nicoletta Lanese writes:

Ancient microbes whose existence predates the rise of nucleus-carrying cells on Earth may hold the secrets to how such complex cells first came to be. Now, for the first time, scientists have grown a large enough quantity of these microbes in the lab to study their internal structure in detail, Science reported.

a micrograph of an ancient microbe with a spherical main cell body and bumpy tentacles that extend outwards in all directions
Scientists recently captured detailed images of an Asgard archaeon, an evolutionarily ancient microbe that may have been key to the emergence of complex life on Earth. 
(Image credit: © Thiago Rodrigues-Oliveira, Univ. Wien)

Researchers grew an organism called Lokiarchaeum ossiferum, which belongs to a group of microbes known as Asgard archaea, according to a new report, published Wednesday (Dec. 21) in the journal Nature. Named after the abode of the gods in Norse mythology, Asgard archaea are thought by some scientists to be the closest evolutionary relatives of eukaryotes, cells that package their DNA in a protective bubble called a nucleus. 

On the evolutionary tree of life, Asgards often appear as a “sister” of eukaryotes or as their direct ancestor, Jan Löwe, leader of the Bacterial Cytoskeleton and other Molecular Machines research group at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the U.K., wrote in a commentary about the new study. Asgards don’t carry nuclei themselves, but they do contain a suite of genes and proteins that were once thought to be unique to eukaryotes. Researchers have a variety of theories as to how Asgards may have gained primitive nuclei and thus birthed the first complex cells, which later gave rise to plants, animals and humans.  

In 2020, a research group in Japan reported that, after 12 years of work, they’d successfully grown Asgards in the lab

“It has taken six long years to obtain a stable and highly enriched culture, but now we can use this experience to perform many biochemical studies and to cultivate other Asgard archaea as well,” co-senior author Christa Schleper, leader of the archaea ecology and evolution lab at the University of Vienna, said in a statement.

Gathered from mud in a canal on the coast of Piran, Slovenia, the L. ossiferum specimens have funky tentacles that extend from the body of each cell; odd bumps and bulges appear along the length of each appendage. These “surface protrusions” may support the idea that, at some point in evolutionary history, an Asgard grabbed a passing bacterium using similar extensions of its membrane and sucked the bacterium into its cell body, and this led to the development of the nucleus, Löwe wrote. The protrusions support the idea that such an interaction could have occurred, he explained. 

L. ossiferum also carries tiny, lollipop-like structures on its surface, which “look like they come from another planet,” Thijs Ettema, an environmental microbiologist at Wageningen University in the Netherlands who wasn’t involved in the work, told Science. The microbe also contains structural filaments that closely resemble those seen in the cytoskeleton, or supporting scaffold, of eukaryotic cells, Löwe wrote.

Some scientists think the new study strengthens the hypothesis that Asgards are eukaryotes’ direct ancestor, but not everyone is convinced. Read more in Science.

Full article at Live Science.

The following statement by researchers lacks a certain quality of scientific professionalism: “These ‘surface protrusions’ may support the idea that, at some point in evolutionary history, an Asgard grabbed a passing bacterium using similar extensions of its membrane and sucked the bacterium into its cell body, and this led to the development of the nucleus.” Can anybody pinpoint how this statement falls short of scientific expectations, beyond perhaps the elementary school level?

63 Replies to “At Live Science: Massive tentacled microbe may be direct ancestor of all complex life

  1. 1
    Querius says:

    Researchers grew an organism called Lokiarchaeum ossiferum, which belongs to a group of microbes known as Asgard archaea, according to a new report, published Wednesday (Dec. 21) in the journal Nature.

    Fascinating! It has no nucleus, but does have genes!

    Those findings add to recent work showing Asgard archaea possess genes once thought to exist only in more complex organisms—another indication they may be an important evolutionary precursor.

    Or instead of an evolutionary precursor, maybe an indication of an evolutionary loss such as in blind cave fish, which certainly are not considered an evolutionary precursor of sighted fish. Consider how ridiculous this sounds:

    “Those findings add to recent work showing blind cave fish (Astyanax jordani) possess genes once thought to exist only in more complex organisms—another indication they may be an important evolutionary precursor.”

    Its cell wall, too, is complex, with tiny lollipop structures sticking out, as if to sample the environment. “Overall, the cellular structures of [these cells] look like they come from another planet,” Ettema says.

    More complexity? Came from another planet?

    Ohhhh, they mean that there’s no evolutionary similarity to other organisms on earth. How does that support Darwinism? Or maybe they really did come from another planet.

    But not everyone agrees. Some evolutionary biologists, including Patrick Forterre of the Pasteur Institute, have argued the family trees built based on comparing certain genes from Asgard and eukaryotes don’t support Asgard archaea playing such a predominant role in the birth of eukaryotes.

    Really? I wonder why not.

    And last year, Sven Gould, an evolutionary cell biologist at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf calculated that Asgard archaea contributed very little to the first eukaryotes, as little as 0.3% of the protein families believed to exist in the common ancestor of the eukaryotes.

    That’s essentially zero. And this is an important evolutionary precursor based on . . . what?

    How about instead that Lokiarchaeum ossiferum demonstrates just how absolutely clueless we are with regard to the sudden appearance of life on earth?


  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Of semi-related note. Just uploaded last night from Dr. Tour:

    Dr. Tour DROWNS Religion of Unprotected Side-Chains in Water – Bruce Lipshutz, Part 01

    Previous episodes:

    Episode 1:
    Dave Farina’s “Experts” completely DEBUNKED. The Religion of Prebiotic Soup – Lee Cronin Part 01

    Episode 2:
    Dr. Tour DISSECTS Chemistry of an ‘Expert’ on Origin of Life – Lee Cronin, Part 02

    Episode 3:
    Dr. Tour BURSTS Oil Bubble Chemistry and More – Lee Cronin, Part 03

    Upcoming episode on Jan. 2:

    Dr. Tour EXPOSES Troll Behavior & Forgives Chemist in the Crossfire – Bruce Lipshutz, Part 02

  3. 3
    Sir Giles says:

    Can anybody pinpoint how this statement falls short of scientific expectations, beyond perhaps the elementary school level?

    Hardly any worse than inferring that ID is supported by the “fact” that all sources of FSCO/I above 500-1000 bits are intelligence.

  4. 4
    relatd says:

    SG at 3,

    Sometimes, you don’t write well. Your poor presentation is showing here. ID shows, in a number of ways, by scientific observation, that the following is false: out of chaos, order. But you don’t want anyone to understand that. Once the level of complexity in any living system exceeds a certain number, chance evolution fails as an explanation. The odds for unguided evolution drops to zero. That’s what ID, the science, shows through observations that any scientist can confirm. And yes, when that level of complexity is observed, saying it poofed into the right order – by itself – is the wrong answer. Intelligent design is the right answer.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, you continue your supercilious dismissiveness. All you are doing is doubling down on ill informed dismissiveness. I give you a challenge, therefore: consider cases of functionally specific organisation starting with the text of your comment or a petroleum refinery etc that per some compact description language, are at or above 500 – 1,000 binary digits [think, y/n q’s and a’s] that specify configuration. This includes von Neumann’s reported estimate that a kinematic self replicator requires 1,500+ bits. Now, provide an actually observed case where such FSCO/I has originated by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity as actually observed: ________. I confidently predict you cannot do so, but are blustering rhetorically to escape from the fact that there are trillions of actually observed cases by intelligently directed configuration and this is readily backed up through needle in haystack search challenge analysis. We have very good reason, to infer from Orgel-Wicken FSCO/I to design, and yes this includes the coded complex algorithms and execution machinery in the cell. KF

  6. 6
    Sir Giles says:

    KF, the flaws in your “trillions of examples” argument have been pointed out to you on multiple occasions. I don’t see the point in rehashing the statistical flaws that keep making after you have been corrected.

    Now, provide an actually observed case where such FSCO/I has originated by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity as actually observed: [bedbug changes over the centuries, , pesticide immunity in mice, sea slugs incorporating DNA from their food into their DNA, stray dogs evolving more wolf like characteristics over multiple generations, numerous examples of antibiotic resistance].

    Would you like me to continue?

    Now maybe you will answer a challenge, although I know you will simply obfuscate. Provide an actually observed case where such FSCO/I has originated by non-human design in biology: ____________.

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, the argument is correct. Just, the message is not what you want to hear. For example, pesticide immunity etc are well within the 500 bit threshold, as you know. That is an error of gross extrapolation on your advisors’ part. The issue is how to get to insects etc, not how insects begin to resist insecticides. That you imagine such is a plausible answer speaks sadly telling volumes on your inability to provide a relevant case. Not to mention, on how our children are being indoctrinated through fallacious icons of evolution. KF

  8. 8
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: For example, pesticide immunity etc are well within the 500 bit threshold, as you know.

    Really? Exactly how many bits is pesticide resistance in mice? Or the changes in bedbugs over the centuries? Or the changes seen in populations of stray dogs over the years? You make this claim without having a means of measuring FSCO/I, which boils down to, wow, that must be designed. Not exactly proof of anything other than observational bias.

    The issue is how to get to insects etc, not how insects begin to resist insecticides

    No, your challenge was to show examples of natural change that resulted in 500 bits of FSCI/I, which I have done. Your shifting of goal posts speaks sadly telling volumes on your inability to provide a relevant case.

    Not to mention, on how our children are being indoctrinated through fallacious icons of evolution. KF

    Our children are being taught to critically think about things. Including the ethical and moral implications of indoctrination of children to one religious belief or another.

  9. 9
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @7,

    The beauty of science (and mathematics) is that it provides a framework for rigorous examination of evidence for those honestly willing to follow that path. However, their are hypocrites in science as well as in religion, politics, economics, business, and every other area of human involvement. The motivations for hypocrisy are powerful and pervasive. They include

    * Ideological priorities
    * Self-justification, and rationalization
    * Monetary rewards
    * Assurance of significance
    * Power and control
    * Sexual advantage

    What’s there not to like? All one has to do is part with one’s feeble intellectual and moral integrity.

    In this case and many others here, the underlying logic is that even though spontaneous perpetual self-organization has never been demonstrated, the motivations listed above completely flatten logic with a flurry of “musta” speculations woven together into a tapestry of convenient science fantasy.

    Even then, the narrative doesn’t hold up under the constant bombardment of falsifying data and logic such as presented in comment @1.

    That’s why I appreciate Dr. Tour’s stock response with a simple “Ok, show me.”


  10. 10
    relatd says:

    SG at 8,

    So, this was never about “science.”

    “Including the ethical and moral implications of indoctrination of children to one religious belief or another.”

    What about atheism? That is the current indoctrination in the Marxist-Atheist school system.

    There are still people in the U.S. who admire atheist Communism as practiced in the Soviet Union. In the 1960s, the U.S. Government told us we were in “a struggle with Godless Communism.” But, there are some who want to see Godless Communism established in the West.

    Not going to happen. I lived through most of the Cold War. Even as a boy I knew my odds of survival were zero. Russian ICBMs were going to strike at any time. I watched on TV as they tested the “Emergency Broadcasting System.” We were told what to do if this was “an actual emergency.”

    But I had a great time during the 1960s and so did my neighbors. I watched a B-52 fly over my head one day at altitude.

  11. 11
    Sir Giles says:

    Relatd: What about atheism? That is the current indoctrination in the Marxist-Atheist school system.

    I don’t know what school system you are dealing with but I don’t see Marxist-atheist indoctrination. I see a system that encourages kids to question everything. If it has value and is consistent with the evidence, it will survive. If it is not, it will decline. The decline in religious belief is the result of critical thinking, not any Marxist conspiracy. The acceptance of LGBQ is the result of critical thinking. The lack of traction for ID is the result of critical thinking.

  12. 12
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:


    What about atheism? That is the current indoctrination in the Marxist-Atheist school system.

    If the K-12 school system in the US is supposedly indoctrinating kids into Marxism, it is by far the absolute worst system of indoctrination that has ever existed in human history. Just a complete and utter failure to indoctrinate.

    Why do I say that? Because every single one that I’ve met wants to get a good-paying job, and I haven’t met any — not one single person — who wants to establish a worker’s collective or strategize the overthrow of the capitalist mode of production. If they’ve been indoctrinated into anything, it’s into believing that there is no alternative to capitalism.

    Sounds like a complete failure of “Marxism” to me — I mean, what kind of Marxist doesn’t believe there’s an alternative to capitalism?

    If the K-12 system is even attempting to indoctrinate kids into Marxism, it must be run by the absolute worst morons to ever attempt indoctrinating anyone into anything in all of human history. Because it has been a colossal and absolute failure at getting student to believe that there’s a workable alternative to capitalism, and that is the bare minimum of anything even resembling Marxism.

  13. 13
    relatd says:

    SG at 11,

    I stand by my original comments. Your attempt to divert is just that. In the 1960s, public schools taught the R’s. Reading, Riting and ‘Rithmatic. That’s it. Now, today, parents have to deal with their kids being exposed to sexual perversion.

  14. 14
    Sir Giles says:

    Relatd: I stand by my original comments.

    Nobody can stop you from doing so, regardless of how ridiculous the comments are.

    In the 1960s, public schools taught the R’s. Reading, Riting and ‘Rithmatic.

    And chemistry, physics, biology, typing, physical education, health (AKA sex education), comparative religion, art, music, drama, political science, history, geography, geology, etc. In short, everything that makes a person a well-rounded human being.

    Now, today, parents have to deal with their kids being exposed to sexual perversion.

    Or, in other words, taught the reality that there are some kids that are sexually attracted to the same sex and some that identify as the opposite sex. And that regardless of what you think about this that they are entitled to be treated as equal members of society and treated with the same respect as everyone is entitled to.

  15. 15
    relatd says:

    SG at 14,

    You really don’t get it, or pretend you don’t. How about that teenage boy with something to prove who beat up another teenager for no apparent reason? I was that teenage boy who got beat up. My mother talked to the boy’s mother and that’s how things got handled.

    You present no actual history about homosexuals. How the APA changed the classification for homosexuality in the DSM-II, and its removal in the DSM-III and subsequent editions. Was that done using science? No, it was done by vote. Or how some teachers are going far, too far, from their responsibilities and are trying to help confused kids transition. It’s crazy. They should be sued. ONLY the parents have the right to raise their kids as they see fit, not some self-proclaimed activist/total stranger butting in for “the cause.” And perverse and pornographic books that are NOT age appropriate getting into the hands of kids who do not have the psychological maturity to understand them. Or how about 58 sexual perversions/gender options on Facebook?

    I don’t treat anyone badly – gay or straight. I’m not perfect but I don’t know or want to know, anyone’s “orientation.” If they tell me, fine. You seem to live in a world where you think gay people can’t do what they want. They can and do. However, under the free exercise clause of the Constitution, people with sincerely held religious beliefs have the right to a legal defense when homosexuals ask for certain services. Such cases have gone to court.

    And by the way. When I help the homeless, I ask no questions like, are you gay or straight or religious or not, I just help them.

  16. 16
    relatd says:

    PM1 at 12,

    I’m talking about Cultural Marxism. Classic Marxist Class Warfare as it is applied to groups.


    Starting in the mid-1960s, Total Strangers began to create a type of warfare. It required a victim and an enemy. SO:

    Men, the eternal enemies class.
    Women, the eternal victims class.

    This war is ongoing, and fed by lies and bad/wrong laws.

  17. 17
    Sir Giles says:

    Relatd: You present no actual history about homosexuals. How the APA changed the classification for homosexuality in the DSM-II, and its removal in the DSM-III and subsequent editions.

    Why should I. It is easily figured out with a little googling.

    APA’s 1973 diagnostic revision was the beginning of the end of organized medicine’s official participation in the social stigmatization of homosexuality. Similar shifts gradually took place in the international mental health community as well. In 1990, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality per se from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) [64]. As a consequence, debates about homosexuality gradually shifted away from medicine and psychiatry and into the moral and political realms as religious, governmental, military, media, and educational institutions were deprived of medical or scientific rationalization for discrimination.

    So, it turns out that the original classification of homosexuality as a disease had more to do with pandering to cultural, political and religious pressure than it did to scientific evidence.

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, related is right. Meanwhile, all you have is an implied default when there is a world of evidence that a lot of immunity to chemicals is by breaks to genes. This is for key example the case with malaria drug resistance; where, the challenge of getting two coordinated point mutations makes it a difficult genetic challenge. KF

    PS, I do a little clipping, as examples:


    The humble fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has been a key tool in unlocking the molecular basis of insecticide resistance, and early studies by James Crow and others have helped to establish Drosophila as a genetic model for resistance studies. Studies of DDT resistance in Drosophila have also typified arguments surrounding mono- vs. polygenic inheritance of insecticide resistance. In his pioneering review of insect resistance to chemicals, on page 232 Crow noted that “adult resistance to DDT is Drosophila is polygenic if my strain is typical” (Crow 1957). Dapkus and Merrell (1977) also found DDT resistance in their strain to involve all three major chromosomes. However, critically, their strain had been exposed to prolonged artificial selection with DDT in the laboratory since 1952 (25 years) and had thus become highly resistant with the probable selection of a large number of factors of minor effect (see discussion below). Subsequent mapping studies led Ogita (1960, 1961) and others to show that DDT resistance was associated with a single major factor on the left arm of chromosome II at map position 62–64 cM (Dapkus 1992). This discrepancy between mono- and polygenic resistance typifies early studies of insecticide resistance and illustrates the importance of looking at recently derived field strains, which show a single resistance factor on chromosome II, rather than relying on chronic selection of single strains in the laboratory, which tend to show polygenic resistance.



    Anticoagulant compounds, i.e., derivatives of either 4-hydroxycoumarin (e.g., warfarin, bromadiolone) or indane-1,3-dione (e.g., diphacinone, chlorophacinone), have been in worldwide use as rodenticides for >50 years. These compounds inhibit blood coagulation by repression of the vitamin K reductase reaction (VKOR). Anticoagulant-resistant rodent populations have been reported from many countries and pose a considerable problem for pest control. Resistance is transmitted as an autosomal dominant trait although, until recently, the basic genetic mutation was unknown. Here, we report on the identification of eight different mutations in the VKORC1 gene in resistant laboratory strains of brown rats and house mice and in wild-caught brown rats from various locations in Europe with five of these mutations affecting only two amino acids (Tyr139Cys, Tyr139Ser, Tyr139Phe and Leu128Gln, Leu128Ser). By recombinant expression of VKORC1 constructs in HEK293 cells we demonstrate that mutations at Tyr139 confer resistance to warfarin at variable degrees while the other mutations, in addition, dramatically reduce VKOR activity. Our data strongly argue for at least seven independent mutation events in brown rats and two in mice. They suggest that mutations in VKORC1 are the genetic basis of anticoagulant resistance in wild populations of rodents, although the mutations alone do not explain all aspects of resistance that have been reported. We hypothesize that these mutations, apart from generating structural changes in the VKORC1 protein, may induce compensatory mechanisms to maintain blood clotting. Our findings provide the basis for a DNA-based field monitoring of anticoagulant resistance in rodents.

    This illustrates the obvious point that it is far easier to drop and break a vase than it is to build one. Of course, as each location in a gene has four possible states, that is two bits, roughly speaking, issues of redundancies, correction and so on are onward.

    PPS, similarly, red hair shows the pattern. Wiki confesses:

    The pigment pheomelanin gives red hair its distinctive color. Red hair has far more of the pigment pheomelanin than it has of the dark pigment eumelanin.

    The genetics of red hair appear to be associated with the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R), which is found on chromosome 16. In 1995, Valverde, et al. identified aleles on MC1R associated with red hair. The number of alleles linked to red hair has since been expanded by other authors, and these variants are now identified as the RHC alleles. Eighty percent of redheads have an MC1R gene variant within the RHC.[45][2] Red hair is also associated with fair skin color because the MC1R mutation also results in low concentrations of eumelanin throughout the body. The lower melanin concentration in skin confers the advantage that a sufficient concentration of important Vitamin D can be produced under low light conditions. However, when UV-radiation is strong (as in regions close to the equator) the lower concentration of melanin leads to several medical disadvantages, such as a higher risk of skin cancer. The MC1R variant gene that gives people red hair generally results in skin that is difficult or impossible to tan. Because of the natural tanning reaction to the sun’s ultraviolet light and high amounts of pheomelanin in the skin, freckles are a common but not universal feature of red-haired people.

    Red hair can originate from several changes on the MC1R-gene. If one of these changes is present on both chromosomes then the respective individual is likely to have red hair. This type of inheritance is described as an autosomal recessive. Even if both parents do not have red hair themselves, both can be carriers for the gene and have a redheaded child.

    Genetic studies of dizygotic (fraternal) twins indicate that the MC1R gene is not solely responsible for the red hair phenotype; unidentified modifier genes exist, making variance in the MC1R gene necessary, but not sufficient, for red hair production.[46]

    PPPS, blond hair:


    For all those brunettes wishing they were naturally blond, a small genetic change could have made all the difference. Scientists have found that replacing one of DNA’s four letters at a key spot in the genome shifts a particular gene’s activity and leads to fairer hair. Not only does the work provide a molecular basis for flaxen locks, but it also demonstrates how changes in segments of DNA that control genes, not just changes in genes themselves, are important to what an organism looks like.

    “It really is a nice story that pulls together and helps make sense of a lot of the biology that we have partially understood up to this point,” says Richard Sturm, a molecular geneticist at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, who was not involved with the work.

    Because our appearance is so strongly influenced by the color of our skin and hair, geneticists have long sought to understand the genetic bases of these traits and when they evolved. Over the past 6 years, studies of genetic variation in thousands of people have linked at least eight DNA regions to blondness based on the fact that a certain DNA letter, or base, was found in people with that hair color but not in people with other hair colors. Some of those base changes, or single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), were in genes involved in the production of pigments, such as melanin. Mutations in these genes typically change skin and hair color. Other SNPs lay outside genes but could be part of the regulatory DNA that helps control the function of genes nearby. Changes in that regulatory DNA could result in hair color but not skin color change, or vice versa, because regulatory DNA can change gene activity in just certain parts of the body.

    And so forth.

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    4PS: Tomcods and dioxin:


    The mechanistic basis of resistance of vertebrate populations to contaminants, including Atlantic tomcod from the Hudson River (HR) to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), is unknown. HR tomcod exhibited variants in the aryl hydrocarbon receptor 2 (AHR2) that were nearly absent elsewhere. In ligand-binding assays, AHR2-1 protein (common in the HR) was impaired as compared to widespread AHR2-2 in binding TCDD (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin) and in driving expression in reporter gene assays in AHR-deficient cells treated with TCDD or PCB126. We identified a six-base deletion in AHR2 as the basis of resistance and suggest that the HR population has undergone rapid evolution, probably due to contaminant exposure. This mechanistic basis of resistance in a vertebrate population provides evidence of evolutionary change due to selective pressure at a single locus.

    I recall, this case was discussed here years ago, as was malaria.

    Notice, a consistent theme of information loss. What is needed is in the first instance, origin of 100 – 1,000 bases of genetic information and of underlying language as well as associated execution machinery integrated with a von Neumann kinematic self replicator and the metabolic process flow network at OoL. Similarly for body plans, we need 10 – 100+ million bases similarly integrated, dozens of times over.

    Nothing remotely close to that has been actually founded on empirical observation. We are still dealing with gross extrapolations and fallacious icons.

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Further Wiki confessions, on the infinite monkeys theorem:

    [Wikipedia confesses regarding the infinite monkeys theorem:] The theorem concerns a thought experiment which cannot be fully carried out in practice, since it is predicted to require prohibitive amounts of time and resources. Nonetheless, it has inspired efforts in finite random text generation.

    One computer program run by Dan Oliver of Scottsdale, Arizona, according to an article in The New Yorker, came up with a result on August 4, 2004: After the group had worked for 42,162,500,000 billion billion monkey-years, one of the “monkeys” typed,

    “VALENTINE. Cease toIdor:eFLP0FRjWK78aXzVOwm)-‘;8.t”

    The first 19 letters of this sequence can be found in “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”. Other teams have reproduced 18 characters from “Timon of Athens”, 17 from “Troilus and Cressida”, and 16 from “Richard II”.[26]

    A website entitled The Monkey Shakespeare Simulator, launched on July 1, 2003, contained a Java applet that simulated a large population of monkeys typing randomly, with the stated intention of seeing how long it takes the virtual monkeys to produce a complete Shakespearean play from beginning to end. For example, it produced this partial line from Henry IV, Part 2, reporting that it took “2,737,850 million billion billion billion monkey-years” to reach 24 matching characters:

    RUMOUR. Open your ears; 9r”5j5&?OWTY Z0d…

    [ACC: Dec 17, 2019. NB: Where, also, as this is a digital age, we will readily see that we can compose a description language and then create a string of yes/no questions to specify any reasonable object — as say AutoCAD etc do. Thus, our seemingly simplistic discussion on bit strings *-*-*- . . . is in fact without loss of generality [WLOG].]

    [Comment: 16 – 24 ASCII characters is far short of the relevant thresholds, at best, a factor of about 1 in 10^100. Yes, the article goes on to note that “instead of simply generating random characters one restricts the generator to a meaningful vocabulary and conservatively following grammar rules, like using a context-free grammar, then a random document generated this way can even fool some humans.” But, that is simply implicitly conceding that design makes a big difference to what can be done. ]

    In short, contrary to the artful talking point tactics, the origin of functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information is a real and utterly unmet challenge for evolutionary materialistic scientism and fellow travellers.

    Where, that is setting to one side self referential incoherence which is self falsifying. This frame just does not have the resources to account for mind much less sound conscience guided mind.

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    SG, your confident manner, sharply worded dismissiveness of FSCO/I now seems to be ill founded. KF

  22. 22
    Querius says:


    The thought experiment was actually tried in 2003 with a group of six macaques. Here’s some background that also mentions the production of “VALENTINE. Cease to” as well as a similar concept proposed by Cicero in 45 B.C.

    That Time Someone Actually Tested the Infinite Monkey Theorem And Who Came Up With It

    “More monkeys, more typewriters!”


  23. 23
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:


    I’m talking about Cultural Marxism.

    “Cultural Marxism” is an antisemitic conspiracy theory. (For the history, see here.)

  24. 24
    relatd says:

    PM1 at 23,

    Pleez. Fiction. Real Cultural Marxism as practiced by The Left is this:

    Men are the enemy and women should hate them.
    Blacks are the victims and ALL White people alive today are responsible.
    A similar attempt to create Chinese victims failed to gain traction in the U.S.
    And the ongoing efforts to portray White, Heterosexuals Males as THE Number One Problem in the world today.

    Don’t you dare try this ‘conspiracy theory’ thing again or I’m calling the ACLU.

    And that little ‘history’ link was crap.

  25. 25
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:


    Real Cultural Marxism as practiced by The Left is this:

    Men are the enemy and women should hate them.
    Blacks are the victims and ALL White people alive today are responsible.
    A similar attempt to create Chinese victims failed to gain traction in the U.S.
    And the ongoing efforts to portray White, Heterosexuals Males as THE Number One Problem in the world today.

    These are all lies about the Left. Right-wing grifters like Jordan Peterson, James Lindsay, and Christopher Rufo make a lot of money selling these lies to the gullible fools who get their worldview injected into their brains by downloading Fox News propaganda.

    Don’t you dare try this ‘conspiracy theory’ thing again or I’m calling the ACLU.

    Maybe you’re uncomfortable to be hold that “cultural Marxism” is an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

    And that little ‘history’ link was crap.

    Martin Jay describes the historical process whereby right-wing anti-Semitic propaganda entered the mainstream right-wing, first with fringe extremists, then picked up by Patrick Buchanan and others. It’s not “crap” — it is historical fact.

  26. 26
    relatd says:

    PM1 at 25,

    You know what? Anybody can “invent” anything on the internet but I lived through the time period I’m referring to. For the record, I do not watch Fox News – ever.

    I am not a “follower” of Jordan Peterson, James Lindsay or Christopher Rufo. Or Pat Buchanan. I can recognize how fake some commentators are. They are little more than actors reading their lines, with the right clothes and haircuts. I would never buy or download anything from these people.

    Perhaps my Jewish friend could tell me how ‘anti-Semitic’ I am. But he can’t anymore. He just passed.

  27. 27
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:


    Anybody can “invent” anything on the internet but I lived through the time period I’m referring to.

    So what? And how do you know I didn’t? For all you know we could be the same age — or I could be older.

  28. 28
    asauber says:

    “These are all lies about the Left.”

    And the very first and last thing a leftist will never do, and will never do it unto the grave, is acknowledge any responsibility or hint at any accountability for the daily pile of sh*t that they promote. Never appearing to recognize is their calling card and they make sure to leave it on every doorstep, every time.


  29. 29
    relatd says:

    Andrew at 28,

    From the mid-1960s on, The Left organized a series of actions to attack the West in general and the normal family in particular. From contraception to abortion to ‘alternative lifestyles’ to decriminalizing marijuana in some places. To destroying natural male-female relationships and starting so-called No-Fault Divorce. Other things are happening right now.

  30. 30
    jerry says:

    These are all lies about the Left. Right-wing grifters like Jordan Peterson, James Lindsay, and Christopher Rufo make a lot of money selling these lies to the gullible fools who get their worldview injected into their brains by downloading Fox News propaganda.

    Sounds like someone who gets their worldview from far left sources.

    What is the definition of “right wing?” I’ve never seen a coherent definition of this term. “Left” definitely has a definition but “right” doesn’t.

    Aside: never heard of James Lindsay and have seen the name Rufo a couple times but wasn’t aware of anything he wrote. Very familiar with Jordan Peterson. Hard to imagine any coherent negatives about him.

    I don’t understand how one can have a definition and the other doesn’t. Anyway, there’s plenty of stuff to learn from, if you were genuinely interested in learning. I like this nifty new resource called “the Internet

    You are apparently unaware of the origin of the terms.

    For someone who claims to have read a lot this admission is amazing. The original meaning of “right” referred to monarchists. Something that does not exist any more.

  31. 31
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:


    And the very first and last thing a leftist will never do, and will never do it unto the grave, is acknowledge any responsibility or hint at any accountability for the daily pile of sh*t that they promote.

    That’s because there is no sh*t. It simply does not exist. You’ve been lied to.


    What is the definition of “right wing?” I’ve never seen a coherent definition of this term. “Left” definitely has a definition but “right” doesn’t.

    I don’t understand how one can have a definition and the other doesn’t. Anyway, there’s plenty of stuff to learn from, if you were genuinely interested in learning. I like this nifty new resource called “the Internet”.

  32. 32
    asauber says:

    “That’s because there is no sh*t. It simply does not exist.”

    Right. On. Cue.


  33. 33
    Querius says:

    General comment
    One reason why I appreciate studying history as a hobby is that with thorough investigation from independent sources and new evidence as it emerges, one can start piecing things together without the pervasive propaganda and politically motivated distortions of contemporary events.

    For example, in one book on the 20th century Balkans, the author noted that the oral histories of people in the various countries were so profoundly different from each other that it caused him to wonder whether they were even describing the same events.

    In another example, the assassination of John F. Kennedy 60 years ago is still highly controversial and most people don’t believe the conclusions of the Warren Commission report.

    And now, there’s mounting evidence that the WHO, CDC, and big pharma has be lying to us about COVID-19 and vaccine damage.

    Also consider the tragic life and death of Ignaz Semmelweiss.

    Let me suggest that the SAME DYNAMICS are in operation today in all human institutions, including the sciences.


  34. 34
    vividbleau says:

    Related re 24

    I think Critical Race Theory is a better description rather than Cultural Marxism. Certainly CRT finds it’s roots in Marxism


  35. 35
    vividbleau says:

    “That’s because there is no sh*t. It simply does not exist. You’ve been lied to.”

    BUllsh..t!! Don’t piss on me and tell me it’s raining

    BTW Lindsay is an atheist and is a classic liberal in the enlightenment sense

    Like Jerry I too would like to know what makes someone “far right”


  36. 36
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, first, the Frankfurt School and its legacy of neo-marxist, culture form marxism now dominating social sciences and the arts, now bleeding over into education, law and government are real history of ideas, ideology and civilisation agenda issues. Jerry is quite correct that the right has no coherent definition as C18-19 monarchism is dead and Stalin, viewing himself as centre of politics deemed those he disagreed with right wingers and fascists. Meanwhile Mussolini was consciously revising socialist thought and in Germany the National Socialist German Labour Party — I am citing a 1930’s translation, and they meant both the socialist and the labour — was rising to power. In a day of domination by leftists, those who disagree get plastered with all kinds of slanderous accusations and agit prop projections. Some of which invite cognitive dissonance and confession by projection to the despised other analysis. As Goebbels understood well, as did Orwell, propaganda is at its most effective when it is not recognised as being propaganda. That is because, the spin meisters have induced those who look to them, to swallow their crooked yardsticks as standards of truth, uprightness, straightness, knowledge, fact etc. So, what is genuinely these things cannot fit the established crookedness and is rejected, projecting the perceived crookedness to the despised other. So, we need to look first to first principles and duties of right reason, then use such naturally straight and upright plumblines to detect crookedness. This is hard, it is really difficult to address crooked yardsticks. A good start point is to detect where one is exerting double standards of warrant and is being hyperskeptical, especially on the right to innocent reputation. LF

    PS, SEP on critical theories:


    “Critical Theory” in the narrow sense designates several generations of German philosophers and social theorists in the Western European Marxist tradition known as the Frankfurt School. According to these theorists, a “critical” theory may be distinguished from a “traditional” theory according to a specific practical purpose: a theory is critical to the extent that it seeks human “emancipation from slavery”, acts as a “liberating … influence”, and works “to create a world which satisfies the needs and powers of” human beings (Horkheimer 1972b [1992, 246]). Because such theories aim to explain and transform all the circumstances that enslave human beings, many “critical theories” in the broader sense have been developed. They have emerged in connection with the many social movements that identify varied dimensions of the domination of human beings in modern societies. In both the broad and the narrow senses, however, a critical theory provides the descriptive and normative bases for social inquiry aimed at decreasing domination and increasing freedom in all their forms.

    This is fairly obviously self promotional and fails to reckon seriously with the totalitarian heritage of marxism.

    There is legitimate authority, there is legitimate leadership, there is legitimate qualification for such, and the cynical or blindingly angry blanket projection of oppression and promotion of the anarchistic, nihilistic, perverse or suicidally self destructive is little more than anticivilisational misanthropy. Worse, when 4th generation war, colour revolution — start with Mao’s Red Guards — and SOCOM insurgency escalator factors are added to the witches brew.

    BTW, the obvious theme colour for the US case is, black.

    Similarly, Agit Prop, media manipulation, the two minute hate, doublethink, doubletalk, street theatre, mob riots, lawfare and show trials are all 4th gen war techniques.

    Multiply by the legal positivist severance of law from canons of first principles and duties of justice and the stage is set for chaos.

    Critical theories and associated movements themselves need to face the bar of critique as pathways to new oppression.

    That was the point of 1984 and Animal Farm.

    For cause.

  37. 37
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, just tell us, in a coherent definition, what right wing and far right mean, and how Nazi or fascist can coherently be ascribed to the right [clue: Stalin was not the centre of politics]. Explain how the currently deemed right wing came from C18 – 19 monarchy, bringing in the context of the Great War and its aftermath where three of the four great power monarchies collapsed. Which as bare fact was the original sense: the favoured right hand of the Speaker of an Assembly. If it is so easy to do, definitions that meet the comparative difficulties test of political philosophy and political history will be easy to find. KF

    PS, how not to do it, a loaded, incoherent narrative from Wikipedia:

    Right-wing politics describes the range of political ideologies that view certain social orders and hierarchies

    [–> orders/hierarchies? do you mean that power and wealth will be concentrated, and some forms of such are legitimate, with room for policing excesses and abusive power? Where, a Chip Fab currently runs to US$ 10++ bill, and we know that competing architectures bring prices down and performance up. Kindly identify a major successful micro architecture that did not come from private sector competition. Who disagrees, then, with that, why? While we are at it, explain how an ideological, state owned or controlled grand monopoly or cartel will escape, naturally, the ills of monopoly or shared monopoly?]

    as inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable,[1][2][3] typically supporting this position on the basis of natural law [–> a snide slander by implied invidious association] , economics [–> as in, the market consistently outperforms information choked central planning?] , authority [–> legitimacy, competence, credibility, transparency, accountability?] , property [–> oh, there is no right to honestly acquired property, starting with one’s toothbrush? or, one’s person?] or tradition [–> oh, so, historically tested, sustainable structures responsive to social realities are dismissed?] .[4][5]:?693,?721?[6][7][8][9][10] Hierarchy and inequality [–> so, where is the balance, that we are equally created and equally endowed with self evident, mutually compatible rights, whilst there is legitimate leadership and authority?] may be seen as natural results [–> as in what will happen?] of traditional social differences[11][12] or competition in market economies [–> notice the implicit dismissal of the evidence of C20 that socialist central planning failed].[13][14][15]

    Right-wing politics are considered the counterpart to left-wing politics [–> translated, if you disagree with us, we tag and smear you] , and the left–right political spectrum is one of the most widely accepted political spectrums.[16] [–> it is dominant but ill defined, especially as one moves away from the socialist and related left] The term right-wing can generally refer to the section of a political party or system that advocates free enterprise and private ownership, and typically favours socially traditional ideas.[17] [–> so, we broad brush dismiss these?]

    The Right includes social conservatives and fiscal conservatives [–> so, to wish to conserve the tested in social structures and economics is dismissed], while a minority of right-wing movements, such as fascists, harbor anti-capitalist sentiments. [–> a key incoherence, this is a clue that fascists are obviously of the left, just not so far so as the communists but further so than more moderate democratic pragmatic trade union movement based socialists] [18][19][20] The Right also includes certain groups who are socially liberal and fiscally laissez-faire, such as right-wing libertarians. [–> a meaningless grab bag of invidious association for those who differ from the radical socialist, marxism influenced left]

  38. 38
    vividbleau says:

    “translated, if you disagree with us, we tag and smear you] “

    Yep, did you notice that PMI tried to paint Related as an anti semite then slandered Lindsay, Rufo and Peterson calling them liars?


  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    Vivid, I saw the hints. I notice the attempt to redefine references to culture form, Frankfurt School, neo marxism and its derivative “critical theory” and associated novements as a right wing, anti semitic conspiracy theory. That is a projection laced slander that tries to pretend that a family of movements trying to entrench itself in power with a definite traceable history and with colour revolution street activists marching in the streets, mobbing, looting, committing arson, mayhem and murder with near impunity does not actually exist. That one has a well known term, gaslighting. That Saul Alinsky, several of the neomarxist founders and Marx were Jews is irrelevant to the substance of the theories and movements with as yet unfinished histories flowing from them. KF

    PS, Enc Brit:

    critical theory
    social and political philosophy
    By The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica Last Updated: Dec 20, 2022 Article History

    critical theory, Marxist-inspired movement in social and political philosophy originally associated with the work of the Frankfurt School. Drawing particularly on the thought of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud, critical theorists maintain that a primary goal of philosophy is to understand and to help overcome the social structures through which people are dominated and oppressed [–> social readily translates to cultural, and marxism inspired means, neomarxist, thus: culture-form marxism, to denote a shift away from Marx’s emphasis on economic classes and related theory of emergence of the socialist state]. Believing that science, like other forms of knowledge, has been used as an instrument of oppression, they caution against a blind faith in scientific progress, arguing that scientific knowledge must not be pursued as an end in itself without reference to the goal of human emancipation. Since the 1970s, critical theory has been immensely influential in the study of history, law, literature, and the social sciences.
    The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn.

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, let us contrast Wikipedia’s agit prop hit piece:

    The term “Cultural Marxism” refers to a far-right antisemitic conspiracy theory [–> so much for objectivity or neutrality, this is already playing crit theory agit prop projection tactics] which claims that Western Marxism [–> a certain dominant school of thought in C19 – 20 that collapsed as its theories failed when tried] is the basis of continuing academic and intellectual efforts to subvert Western culture.[1][2][3] [–> So, characterising a civilisation as in the main a movement of oppression and seeking to subvert it intellectually and politically on Frankfurt School derived ideologies does not count? “Western Civ’s gotta go” they chanted in the streets . . . ] The conspiracy theory misrepresents [–> did or did not this School base itself on Marxism, reinterpreting it and refocussing on cultural and institutional frames?] the Frankfurt School as being responsible for modern progressive movements, identity politics, and political correctness

    [–> Wiki on critical theory: “A critical theory is any approach to social philosophy that focuses on society and culture to reveal, critique and challenge power structures.[1] [–> so, of radical, revolutionary character and marxist inspired] With roots in sociology and literary criticism [–> leaves off Frankfurt School and Marxism], it argues that social problems stem more from social structures and cultural assumptions than from individuals.[citation needed] It argues that ideology is the principal obstacle to human liberation.[2] Critical theory finds applications in various fields of study, including psychoanalysis, sociology, history, communication theory, philosophy and feminist theory. [–> that is, it is targetting precisely the areas that critics of cultural marxism identified]

    Specifically, Critical Theory (capitalized) is a school of thought practiced by the Frankfurt School theoreticians Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Erich Fromm, and Max Horkheimer. [–> so, buried headline and lead, Frankfurt, neomarxist school rooted] Horkheimer described a theory as critical insofar as it seeks “to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them.”[3] Although a product of modernism, and although many of the progenitors of Critical Theory were skeptical of postmodernism, Critical Theory is one of the major components of both modern and postmodern thought, and is widely applied in the humanities and social sciences today.[4][5][6] [–> dominance and institutional capture, as warned against]

    In addition to its roots in the first-generation Frankfurt School, critical theory has also been influenced by György Lukács and Antonio Gramsci. Additionally, second-generation Frankfurt School scholars have been influential, notably Jürgen Habermas. In Habermas’s work, critical theory transcended its theoretical roots in German idealism and progressed closer to American pragmatism. Concern for social “base and superstructure” is one of the remaining Marxist philosophical concepts in much contemporary critical theory [–> buried smoking gun with “remaining” as an evasive, weasel word].[7]:?5–8? “]

    , claiming there is an ongoing and intentional subversion of Western society [–> as in a fundamentally hostile agenda that seeks to capture the intellectual, media, legal and political/policy high ground to mainstream an agenda] via a planned [–> i.e. some bodies, somewhere, did some strategising to push an agenda] culture war [–> 4th generation war is far broader than traditional war] that undermines the Christian values of traditionalist conservatism [–> gospel ethics is prior to and so independent of traditions and attempts to conserve such, but notice the anti Christian character lurking behind the targetting of tradition and conservatism] and seeks to replace them with the culturally liberal values of the 1960s.[2][3][4] [–> radical relativism, subjectivism, marginalisation of moral knowledge and principles, destruction of especially, family, marriage and sexual ethics, etc]

    Although similarities with the Nazi propaganda term “Cultural Bolshevism” have been noted [–> invidious association, we dare you to translate Nazi: national socialist German labour party], the contemporary conspiracy theory [–> drumbeat repetition to hammer home what is not as though it were, gaslighting] originated in the United States during the 1990s.[5][6][7][note 1] Originally found only on the far-right political fringe [–> define far right coherently please, apart from we hate you and project to you], the term began to enter mainstream discourse in the 2010s and is now found globally.[7] The conspiracy theory [–> the drums beat on] of a Marxist culture war ‘–> actually, marxism took a hard blow at the turn of the 90’s, there was a pause as it was repackaged and we saw repackaging under watermelon environmentalism and culture form marxism, which then renewed the marxist push for power, already ongoing for over a century] is promoted by right-wing politicians, fundamentalist religious leaders, political commentators in mainstream print and television media, and white supremacist terrorists,[8] [–> notice the piling on of invidious associations and projections, subversive of factual reflection] and has been described as “a foundational element of the alt-right worldview”.[9] [–> define alt right coherently please] Scholarly analysis of the conspiracy theory has concluded that it has no basis in fact.[7][10] [–> we the ones who captured the academy have spoken, that settles it, we do not exist, we do not have a history, we do not have an agenda apart from liberation and if you object you are the demonic other . . . neatly shutting down serious objective reflection by ideologising academic discourse]

    The pattern here is actually a useful illustration of the agit prop, long march through the institutions institutional capture techniques of culture form marxist ideologues.

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    PPPS, resemblance to how ID has been grossly mistreated is not coincidental.

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Observe this smoking gun in Wiki’s piece on neomarxism:

    Neo-Marxism is a Marxist school of thought encompassing 20th-century approaches that amend or extend Marxism and Marxist theory, typically by incorporating elements from other intellectual traditions such as critical theory, psychoanalysis, or existentialism (in the case of Jean-Paul Sartre).

    As with many uses of the prefix neo-, some theorists and groups who are designated as neo-Marxists have attempted to supplement the perceived deficiencies of orthodox Marxism or dialectical materialism. Many prominent neo-Marxists, such as Herbert Marcuse and other members of the Frankfurt School, have historically been sociologists and psychologists.


  43. 43
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:


    That was the point of 1984 and Animal Farm.

    Orwell was a socialist who wrote Animal Farm as a satire of how Stalin and Trotsky perverted the original aspiration of Marxism. The novel begins with “Old Major’s Dream”. It’s been argued that Old Major represents the British socialist William Morris, who was deeply influenced by Marx (among many others). After the revolution, the pigs Napoleon (representing Stalin) and Snowball (representing Trotsky) pervert and distort the original dream of Old Major (Morris/Marx), so that by the end, it is no longer possible to distinguish the new ruling class from the old one. Likewise 1984 warns against the disaster it would be for humanity if Stalinism were to prevail. But neither novel indicates that Orwell ever gave up his commitment to democratic socialism, as also evident in his Homage to Catalonia.


    Yep, did you notice that PMI tried to paint Related as an anti semite

    I did not try to paint Relatd as an anti-Semite. I neither know nor care about their personal attitudes towards Jews. I said that their paranoia about “Cultural Marxism” indicates that they have been duped by an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

    then slandered Lindsay, Rufo and Peterson calling them liars?

    It is not slander if it is demonstrably true. Their lies have been established on numerous occasions by people who have actually taken the time to read the texts and theories that are insistently lying about. I know this because I know that they say, and I myself have read Hegel (Phenomenology of Spirit, Elements of Philosophy of Right and others. I’ve read Marx’s Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, <I.The German Ideology, and volume 1 of Capital, along with scholarship on Marx by Moishe Postone, David Harvey, and William Clare Roberts. I’ve read most of the history of “Western Marxism”, including Luxumborg, Lukacs, Merleau-Ponty, Adorno, Horkheimer, and Marcuse. I’ve read Plekhanov, Bogdanov, Lenin, Buharin, and Ilyenkov in the Soviet tradition. I’ve read Cesaire, Fanon, Wynter, and Robinson in the Black Marxist tradition.

    When I say that they are lying, it is because I know all of these texts and theories first-hand, having read from myself, and in some cases, in the original German.

    Obviously I don’t expect anyone here to believe me, because the downside of posting under a pseudonym is that nothing I say about myself can be verified. But my claim to expertise about these texts and theories can be verified by anyone who has a first-hand knowledge of them — not what some Internet summary or popular pundit says about them.

  44. 44
    Querius says:

    PyrrhoManiac1 @43,

    FWIW, yes, I trust what you’re posting is not a lie. Also note that “lying” is limited to intentional deception. Thus, there’s a difference in being ignorant, wrong, or abstracting to a higher level and lying.

    What I’ve observed from history is that despots knowingly or unknowingly paint a beautiful picture of cosmic justice (Thomas Sowell), equality of outcomes, and an egalitarian, benevolent state.

    With boring repetition, the outcomes are always dystopian hellholes with a sign at the edge reading, “But that wasn’t TRUE socialism.”

    The fundamental problem is with pervasive human psychological pathologies that we used to call “sin.” The denial of sin or projecting it onto human institutions rather than individuals is the problem. It’s true that human institutions tend to amplify sin with the inevitable consolidation of power, but it is not the source.

    As I’m sure you know, much has been written on the subject, including

    “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority.” – Lord Acton

    Now here’s a reacted quote–do you recognize who wrote it and when? And most importantly, which of the listed points do you agree with?

    Here is the program of XXXXX movement. It is revolutionary because it is anti-dogmatic, strongly innovative and against prejudice.

    For the political problem: We demand:
    a) Universal suffrage polled on a regional basis, with proportional representation and voting and electoral office eligibility for women.

    b) A minimum age for the voting electorate of 18 years; that for the office holders at 25 years.

    c) The abolition of the Senate.

    d) The convocation of a National Assembly for a three-year duration, for which its primary responsibility will be to form a constitution XXXXX.

    e) The formation of a National Council of experts for labor, for industry, for transportation, for the public health, for communications, etc. Selections to be made from the collective professionals or of trades XXXXX with legislative powers, and elected directly to a General Commission with ministerial powers.

    For the social problems: We demand:
    a) The quick enactment of a law of the State that sanctions an eight-hour workday for all workers.

    b) A minimum wage.

    c) The participation of workers’ representatives in the functions of industry commissions.

    d) To show the same confidence in the labor unions (that prove to be technically and morally worthy) as is given to industry executives or public servants.

    e) The rapid and complete systemization of XXXXX all the transport industries.

    f) A necessary modification of the insurance laws to invalidate the minimum retirement age; we propose to lower it from 65 to 55 years of age.

    For the military problem: We demand:
    a) The institution of a national militia with a short period of service for training and exclusively defensive responsibilities.

    b) The nationalization of all the arms and explosives factories.

    c) A national policy intended to peacefully further the XXXX national culture in the world.

    For the financial problem: We demand:
    a) A strong progressive tax on capital that will truly expropriate a portion of all wealth.

    b) The seizure of all the possessions of the religious congregations XXXXX, which constitute an enormous liability on the Nation and on the privileges of the poor.

    c) The revision of all military contracts and the seizure of 85 percent of the profits therein.


  45. 45
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, FTR, the conspiracy theory projection — as I actually cited, BTW — is where the anti-semitic slander propagated by Wikipedia, SPLC et al is. When you suggest that reference to cultural marxism is a conspiracy theory, that is what you have committed yourself to, whether or not you intended it, and as such is so loaded, the targetted have every right to take it as a slander. As I showed, culture form marxism expressed through critical theories, associated movements and emerging policy agendas is a reality admitted to by say SEP etc and one tracing to the Frankfurt School, etc, as I also showed. As you asserted in your side track on Petersen et al (who I neither have followed nor care much about), truth is a defence. Kindly take note for the future, the next time you are tempted to toss around irresponsible rhetorical grenades such as “conspiracy theory.” KF

    PS: There is actually a second cultural marxist tradition, tracing to the UK, which was discussed in a 1984 thesis that became a 1997 book. I now clip the title:

    Dennis Dworkin CULTURAL MARXISM IN POSTWAR BRITAIN History, the New Left, and the Origins of Cultural Studies Duke University Press Durham and London 1997

    Obviously, “new left” is tantamount to neo-marxist, and the focus on cultural studies suggests a similar programme to the Frankfurt School and its derivatives.

    In Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, a collection of papers
    given at a 1983 conference, the editors, Lawrence Grossberg and
    Cary Nelson, argue that Marxism is at the center of an explosive
    trend in the social sciences and the humanities that cuts across
    traditional boundaries and takes “the entire field of cultural prac­
    tices” as its subject. The editors suggest that Marxism is ideally
    suited for this task because it

    has long been at least implicitly involved in breaking down the barriers
    between these domains, making each of necessity a site o f interpretative
    activity—by politicizing interpretative and cultural practices, by looking
    at the economic determinations of cultural production, by radically his-
    toricizing our understanding of signifying practices—from political dis­
    courses to art, from beliefs to social practices, from the discourse of
    psychology to the discourse o f economics—and, of course, by continuing to
    revise and enlarge a body o f theory with multidisciplinary implications

    This book, Cultural Marxism in Postwar Britain, is a historical
    account of the creation and development of one part of this un­
    orthodox and critical Marxism: the British tradition of cultural
    Marxism from the mid-1940s until the late 1970s, from the found­
    ing of the Welfare State to Margaret Thatcher’s transformation of
    it. I focus on the contributions of scholars and writers working in
    the field of history and cultural studies . . . .

    cultural studies has advanced critical under­
    standing of the media, youth subcultures, literary production, the
    contemporary working class, the cultural construction of race and
    gender, popular culture, and the nature of ideology. It is distin­
    guished by its simultaneous respect for the potentially subversive
    culture of dominated and marginalized classes and groups and an
    acute awareness of the ideological forces in society containing
    them. Interdisciplinary and theoretically eclectic, cultural studies
    has supplanted the traditional dichotomy between high and low
    culture, so prevalent in discussions about the mass media, with an
    enlarged concept of the cultural terrain . . . .

    I view British cultural Marxism in terms of a constructive but by
    no means harmonious dialogue and debate between, and within,
    the disciplines of history and cultural studies. At issue has been the
    relationship between culture and society, structure and agency, ex­
    perience and ideology, and theory and practice. It is my contention
    that this cultural Marxist tradition cannot be viewed in isolation; it
    must be seen in the context of the crisis of the British Left, a crisis
    virtually coterminous with the postwar era . . . .

    British cultural Marxism grew out of an effort to create a social­
    ist understanding of Britain which took into consideration postwar
    transformations that seemed to undermine traditional Marxist as­
    sumptions about the working class and that questioned the tradi­
    tional Left’s exclusive reliance on political and economic catego­
    ries. Cultural Marxists were, above all, concerned with redefining
    the relationship between structure and agency, for it was the agency
    of traditional socialism, the industrial working class, that was being
    called into question. They attempted to identify the contours of
    the postwar terrain, to redefine social struggle, and to articulate
    new forms of resistance appropriate to a democratic and socialist
    politics in an advanced capitalist society. At the heart of this project
    was “culture.”

    This is just the introduction and already a familiar pattern is on the table, notice, dating to 1984.

    The somewhat strained kissing cousin relationship to the Frankfurt School is also highlighted:

    Possibly a more detailed picture can be drawn of British cultural
    Marxism by comparing and contrasting it with another Marxist-
    inspired tradition that has influenced contemporary discussions of
    culture—the Frankfurt School. Founded in the aftermath ofWorld
    War I and shaped by the experience of the Russian Revolution
    and fascism, the Frankfurt School likewise represented a philo­
    sophical alternative to Marxist economism and Leninist vanguard-
    ism. Frankfurt School Marxists emphasized the cultural and ideo­
    logical dimensions of social life; they characteristically attempted to
    grasp society as a “totality,” and they were concerned with the dis­
    appearance of the revolutionary subject in advanced capitalist soci­
    eties. Like Antonio Gramsci, they advocated a revolution against
    Marx’s Capital, in other words, opposition to the simplistic belief
    that capitalist collapse and proletarian triumph were guaranteed by
    the laws of Marxist economics.5
    Like the Frankfurt School, the British tradition was founded on
    a rejection of economism; it stressed the autonomy of culture and
    ideology in social life, and it was shaped by the failure of revolu­
    tionary movements in the advanced capitalist West.

    So, manifestly, culture form marxism is a legitimate and not an antisemitic term, with at least two kissing cousin schools of thought.

    Beyond that, my frank view is that while we might find some strands of reasonable thought and have to in any case engage the 170+ year intellectual love affair with Marx, I think we should start from the thesis that Marxism failed, failed in ways that cost 100+ millions their lives in totalitarian systems and is to be repudiated root and branch as a menace to civilisation.

    Concern that this toxic weed is cropping up again is legitimate, whatever flaws and foibles one may find with critics of classical or cultural marxism.

    This needs to be faced and accusations of conspiracy theory must now be walked back.

  46. 46
  47. 47
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let’s go back to the same 1980’s with echoes of the 20’s – 30’s. As, we need to lay down a timeline, crucial for understanding agent action and cause thus history. First, Leon Bailey, in Critical Theory and the Sociology of Knowledge: A Comparative Study in the Theory of Ideology [Peter Lang, 1996], citing how self referential incoherence was exposed as a fatal flaw in the Marxist concept of ideology — as “false” consciousness):

    The appearance of Karl Mannheim’s Ideology and Utopia in 1929
    presented an important challenge to the Marxian theory of ideology.
    In Mannheim’s account of the origins of the sociology of knowledge,
    Marxism was credited with the development of a “total” concept of
    ideology that called the entire world view of its opponents into ques­
    tion. By linking the ideological distortion of thought to social posi­
    tion, Marxism had raised doubts about the very possibility of its op­
    ponents ever attaining an adequate knowledge of social reality. But
    in one respect Mannheim charged that Marxism had not gone far
    enough. Specifically, it had failed to call its own position into ques­
    tion and therefore subject all forms of social thought, including itself,
    to ideological analysis. This final, radical step, transforming the the­
    ory of ideology into a general theory of the social determination of
    all knowledge of history and society, had been taken only with the de­
    velopment of the sociology of knowledge. Marxism itself was now
    to be unmasked as merely one particular standpoint, as one ideology
    among all the others. Thus the ironic result of Mannheim’s view
    was that the genuine contribution of the Marxian theory of ideology
    could be preserved only by revoking its substantive claims to truth.

    Now, who rushed to Marx’s defence? You got it in one:

    Among those who opposed Mannheim’s transformation of the
    theory of ideology into a general sociology of knowledge were the
    three central theorists of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research
    (commonly known as the “Frankfurt School”): Max Horkheimer,
    Theodor W. Adorno, and Herbert Marcuse. In their view, Mann­
    heim’s extension of the concept of ideology to encompass all forms of
    social thought had deprived it of all critical content by severing it
    from any definite relation to a concrete historical conception of truth.
    As a result, they believed Mannheim’s sociology of knowledge, de­
    spite all wishful assurances to the contrary, to be indistinguishable
    from epistemological relativism. Given this central line of criticism,
    the Frankfurt School continually returned to Mannheim’s work, sub­
    jecting it to close scrutiny and attempting to distinguish it from their
    own critical theory of society . . . .

    Far from simply occupying the po­sition of a specialty field within sociology
    or political science, the theory of ideology inevitably involves considerations
    related to the logic and method of the social sciences, substantive theories
    of contemporary societies, and problems of rationality, justification and truth.
    Since these issues lie at the heart of the contrast between critical
    theory and the sociology of knowledge . . .

    We already see the line from Marx through the Frankfurt School to the 1980’s and onward to now. here, the self referentiality of the Marxist concept of ideology becomes pivotal. And, this is of course a key means by which Marxists have delegitimised those who object to their views and agendas. Ideology of course, is a key part of the oppressor/victim thesis of Marxism. Which is exactly what we see in the critical theory agendas.

    Turning to an onward generation, Habermas, citing Rick Roderick in Habermas and the
    Foundations of Critical Theory [Macmillan, 1986] , we find:

    I began with two problems that
    appear and reappear throughout his work: the problem of developing
    a justification for the normative dimension of critical social theory;
    and the problem of establishing a connection between the theory
    and political practice. Both problems can be traced back to Marx
    and followed throughout the subsequent development of the Marxist
    tradition, although they appear in particularly acute form in the
    elaboration of his social theory developed_ by the Frankfurt school.
    The first involves what is to count as a rational criticism of society,
    while the second is directed at how such criticisms are to aid in the
    construction of a society that is actually more rational. At attempt
    to answer them thus requires an account of rationality developed
    at, at least, two levels: a formal account of the concept; and an
    account of its social and historical embodiment in institutions,
    modes of production, and ways of life. Harbermas attempts to
    supply such an account explicitly in his latest work and it is implicit
    in his early work.

    The “more rational” approach to society, in this context is of course rooted in Frankfurt School neo-marxism. It is telling that these works were written before the collapse of the USSR in the 1980’s.

    Again, culture form marxism, expressed through critical theories, assorted pressure movements and now pushing policy agendas is real, it is not the fevered imaginations of empty conspiracy theorists.


  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Now, let us observe the theme of a series on “Critical Theory and Contemporary Society” published by Bloomsbury:

    Critical Theory and Contemporary Society explores the relationship
    between contemporary society as a complex and highly differentiated
    phenomenon, on the one hand, and Critical Theory as a correspondingly
    sophisticated methodology for studying and understanding social and
    political relations today, on the other.
    Each volume highlights in distinctive ways why (1) Critical Theory offers
    the most appropriate concepts for understanding political movements,
    socioeconomic conflicts and state institutions in an increasingly global
    world and (2) why Critical Theory nonetheless needs updating in order to
    keep pace with the realities of the twenty-first century.
    The books in the series look at global warming, financial crisis, post–nation
    state legitimacy, international relations, cinema, terrorism and other issues,
    applying an interdisciplinary approach, in order to help students and citizens
    understand the specificity and uniqueness of the current situation.
    Series Editor, Darrow Schecter [2014, in Critical Theory and Libertarian
    Socialism: Realizing the political potential of critical social theory

    Just the list of titles given this theme, is enough to see that this aims at global domination of an agenda. Hence, policy analysis is appropriate, and sharp questioning.

    Again, for cause, we may hold that we are not dealing with empty conspiracy theories, there is a global agenda afoot, that may be responsibly characterised as culture form [neo-] marxism, acting through critical theory and associated movements, now grasping for power at global level.

    Given serious concerns, we have a right to critique the critics and ask some pretty pointed questions. The ghosts of 100 million victims of marxism nod their agreement.


  49. 49
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    KF, how about you actually read some of these texts for yourself and stop relying on watered down summaries provided by others? Until you do, I see no reason to take your views on this at all seriously: you simply do not understand what you are talking about.

  50. 50
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @46,

    Q, Italian Fascist Manifesto

    Yes, you’re absolutely correct!

    Actually, I was surprised that PyrrhoManiac1 didn’t know this and couldn’t answer my questions directed to him.

    It was kind of you to answer my question for him and I’m impressed. But now I notice that PyrrhoManiac1 is repaying you with an unjustified ad hominem attack, accusing you of relying on “watered-down summaries.”

    As any student of history knows, such subjects are fascinating, complex, and have multiple legitimate perspectives. The mark of an ideologically censored history is precisely a lack of diversity in perspectives and factors narrowed down into a simplistic doctrinaire narrative.

    And now you’re expected to read all that homogenized drivel or you won’t be taken seriously?

    I think it’s clear that you’ve won the debate.


  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, as you could readily confirm, I have cited onward scholarship published by notable academic houses, from the period when so-called Critical Theories were spreading across the academy. The first one is the usual general publication of a revised PhD dissertation.One, comes from a series, indeed, I cited the theme statement for the series, extending what is clearly a dominant school of thought to a new century, the emerging global digital era. I did so, in part to show history of ideas and knowing that there is both peer review and editorial review involved so the summary conclusions about the emerging and now clearly dominant school of thought is stronger than particular arguments. The fundamental point is therefore quite clear, the academy’s 170+ year love affair with Marx and his “scientific” socialism, despite the check given by the collapse of the USSR at the turn of the 90’s, continues. Unsurprising, I know it is embedded in the 1987 Bruntland Commission definition of sustainable development and is a concern expressed in the phrase watermelon environmentalism: green outside, red inside. And yes, we again find the same scholarly epoch. I am aware of influences in psychology also. The parallel British school clearly is in key part a school about history. Turning back to critical theories so called, it becomes clear that these were running in parallel with the rise of post modernism and are tied to what was being highlighted as political correctness then identity politics. The scholarship — not popular crude summaries — I cited above speaks for itself, backing up what SEP and Enc Brit summarise as well as what can be teased out of Wikipedia, in answering the antisemitic conspiracy theory slander. So, your evasive, rude dismissive personality can be taken as a rhetorical squid ink cloud of denial and projection, behind which evasion and business as usual continue. Sorry, 100 million ghosts of victims of marxism get a voice, as of right. There is definitely a culture form [neo-] marxism, it has come to dominance in the arts and social sciences, it uses the label critical theory, it uses the marxist thesis of ideology as false consciousness to discredit all opposition (ducking the obvious self referential incoherence in its dynamic), it has reconceptualised our civilisation as a system of oppression of fringe groups, using this to effect moral inversion and promotion of self- and socially- destructive psycho-social and moral perversities as special protected and promoted classes, it is riding on the history, pains and oppression of the descendants of victims of the Atlantic slave trade to power, it is proclaiming itself as the more rational way to erect policy, institutions and economies. All of these bring it into the policy arena and therefore it is our right to critique the critics. KF

    PS, Marcuse — one of the foundational circle of the Frankfurt School — on freedom in his chilling essay, Repressive Tolerance [1965, cited from 1969], makes for telling reading:

    THIS essay examines the idea of tolerance in our advanced industrial society. The conclusion reached is that the realization of the objective of tolerance would call for intolerance toward prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions, and the extension of tolerance to policies, attitudes, and opinions which are outlawed or suppressed. In other words, today tolerance appears again as what it was in its origins, at the beginning of the modern period–a partisan goal, a subversive liberating notion and practice. Conversely, what is proclaimed and practiced as tolerance today, is in many of its most effective manifestations serving the cause of oppression. [–> the false consciousness thesis, the self referentiality, the hinted at intent to subvert then suppress the despised other, the promotion of the fringe including patently pathological behaviour are clearly hinted at, right at the outset]

    The author is fully aware that, at present, no power, no authority, no government exists which would translate liberating tolerance into practice [–> i.e. he calls for cultural revolution, just before Mao made his push in 1966 using students as his shock troops and of course red as theme colour], but he believes that it is the task and duty of the intellectual to recall and preserve historical possibilities which seem to have become utopian possibilities–that it is his task to break the concreteness of oppression in order to open the mental space in which this society can be recognized as what it is and does . . . .

    Tolerance is extended to policies, conditions, and modes of behavior which should not be tolerated because they are impeding, if not destroying, the chances of creating an existence without fear and misery. [–> the usual marxist utopianism]

    This sort of tolerance strengthens the tyranny of the majority against which authentic liberals protested. The political locus of tolerance has changed: while it is more or less quietly and constitutionally withdrawn from the opposition, it is made compulsory behavior with respect to established policies. Tolerance is turned from an active into a passive state, from practice to non-practice: laissez-faire the constituted authorities. It is the people who tolerate the government, which in turn tolerates opposition within the framework determined by the constituted authorities.

    Tolerance toward that which is radically evil now appears as good because it serves the cohesion of the whole on the road to affluence or more affluence.

    Of course, notoriously, this essay is pivotal to the rise of political correctness and onward marginalisation or censorship of whatever challenges the radical progressivist agenda. It reeks of cognitive dissonance and projection to the despised other.

    A well known agit prop stratagem.

    This is a key case in point of direct influence of undeniable scope, and in it one may readily discern the themes, agendas and points of concern regarding the rise to domination of culture form marxism.

    The ghosts of 100 million victims get a voice.

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I now clip MASQUELIER, in the Bloomsbury series, in the introduction to his Critical Theory and Libertarian Socialism: Realizing the political potential of critical social theory, showing the start from Marx frame and clearly echoing the history of ideas and agendas frame already identified:

    With Marx [–> so, [neo-] marxist in frame, marxist in root], then,
    one witnesses the emergence of a social theory primarily oriented towards a
    form of political action leading to the radical re-organization of economic life,
    that is, the collective control of production. 3 However, according to his later
    works, social change was not a merely desirable goal. It came to be construed
    as the inevitable consequence of the self-destructive dynamism of a form
    of capital accumulation relying upon the continuous expansion of productive
    forces. The relationship between humanity and external nature underpinning
    the capitalist mode of production, he came to argue, would eventually liberate
    humanity from the fetters of wage-slavery. Marx’s unity of theory and practice,
    therefore, immediately appears inextricably tied to the instrumental mastery
    of external nature steering the capitalistic development of productive forces.
    A few decades later, a school of thought heavily inspired by new intellectual
    and socio-historical developments came to question the viability of Marx’s
    own critique of modernity. The emergence of totalitarian regimes in Europe,
    combined with the development of capitalism into its ‘advanced’ form, led the
    first generation of Frankfurt School theorists
    4 to re-assess the achievements of
    modernity and the role of critique in an age whereby the prospects for justice
    and autonomy appeared as remote as they have ever been since modernity’s
    inception. Drawing their inspiration partly from the work of Nietzsche, Weber
    and Freud, they sought to expose the repressive mechanisms that had led to the
    emergence of such a state of affairs
    [–> Frankfurt School, critical theory frame].
    Although clearly aware of the problematic [–> the target, failing to see fragility of civ]
    character of capitalist production, they discovered that the translation of the
    principle of self-preservation into an epistemic foundation for the instrumental
    mastery of nature effectively prompted the elaboration of a critique capable of
    tracing the reified authority of economic facts to the spread of a distinctive form
    of knowledge. With Adorno, Horkheimer and Marcuse, in fact, one witnesses
    a clear attempt to problematize the logic of domination supported by reason
    in its instrumental form and reflected in capitalist economic and socio-political
    institutions. They also chose to approach autonomy from the standpoint of the
    relationship between humanity and internal nature, and construe repression
    as the domination of the latter by the former, mediated by forms of property,
    state and consciousness, stemming from the relationship between humanity
    and external nature, that is, the matter, substance or forces making up our
    natural environment. Autonomy would therefore consist in the emancipation
    of the repressed, namely the sensuous or instinctual dimension of internal
    nature comprising the passionate, creative and spontaneous energies that
    make each individual unique beings, from the instrumental form of rationality
    unfolding under the principle of self-preservation
    [–> oppression thesis].

    Clearly, Marx –> Frankfurt School –> Onward generations, now known as critical theory. Where, we see points of serious concern as identified.

    No, we are not dealing with empty conspiracy theorising, this is a summary from an advocate, one based in Britain and clearly bridging Frankfurt influences and the homegrown school already pointed out above.


  53. 53
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: On the more philosophical side, here Philip Walsh on Skepticism, Modernity and Critical Theory [Macmillan, 2005]:

    Among social theorists, the critical theory of the Frankfurt School [–> explicit] is
    generally thought to be primarily Marxist in inspiration
    [–> neo-marxist], and its con-
    nection to philosophy is often presented as antagonistic, or at least
    secondary. 1 This perception was particularly strong in the 1960s and
    70s, when critical theory was viewed as a primary inspiration behind the
    rise of the worldwide radical social movements that came to be known
    as the New Left, and Marx’s exhortation to unite theory and practice
    came to occupy center stage in the reception and interpretation of the
    writings of the critical theorists

    However, over the last two decades, the philosophical core of the most
    influential themes developed within critical theory has become clear,
    and has generated a significant quantity of what is customarily desig-
    nated philosophical scholarship. 2 The shift is also illustrated in the
    increasing appreciation of the work of Theodor W. Adorno, who, among
    the members of the first generation theorists [–> Frankfurt], was the most overtly con-
    cerned with philosophy, and especially with the philosophical program
    inherited from the German idealist tradition that culminates in Hegel.
    In this respect, Adorno’s work can be viewed as somewhat divergent
    from the other prominent Frankfurt School theorists and – certainly
    with respect to its consistent emphasis on the need for philosophy – it
    has a problematic relationship not only with the work of the other
    prominent first-generation members of the School, Herbert Marcuse and
    Max Horkheimer, but also with that of Jurgen Habermas. 3 Indeed, the
    differences between Adorno and Habermas, and symbolically between the
    first and second generation of critical theorists, have formed something
    of a terrain marker in the landscape of critical theory commentary, with
    Adorno often being framed as maintaining an allegiance to a tradition
    of metaphysical and epistemological inquiry, and Habermas calling for
    a ‘post-metaphysical thinking’. The real differences are no doubt more
    complex and nuanced than this, but the shift in emphasis is real

    This book is primarily concerned with the influence of philosophical
    skepticism on the critical theory research paradigm. Therefore, it con-
    cerns one element of an interdisciplinary and evolving research project,
    the definition of which may be said to comprise three separate compo-
    nents: (1) A conception of human beings and human society that is
    strongly historicist; (2) a commitment, nevertheless, to an emancipatory
    view of knowledge defined by the tradition of modern Marxist sociology;
    (3) a conception of reason derived from the tradition of modern European
    philosophy, and from Hegel’s philosophy in particular. The argument
    that undergirds the book is that we cannot come to terms with this third
    element of the critical theory project without a retrospective under-
    standing of the question of skepticism, since the skeptical moment is an
    indispensable theme within Hegel’s conception of reason.

    The dots are here, again connected, reflecting a clear consensus view. One, that justifies describing this as culture form marxism.

    Notice too, the promotion of the inferior good, [hyper-] skepticism, in the place of prudence, a key move in the emergence of radical secularism.

    This needs to be hammered home and clenched over for record, to document the evasiveness and denial of reasonable understandings; which have been unjustly smeared as antisemitic empty conspiracy theories. We have a right to infer confession by projection and ask pointed questions to critique the critical theorists and the emerging movements of intolerant tolerance, as well as policy agendas, as the ghosts of 100 million victims remind us.

    After C20, there can be no justification for the 170+ years long love affair with Marxist thought. It needs to be assessed as, instead, a massively destructive ideology not worth building on, and whatever shards of reasonable analysis it produced should be reframed on a sounder footing. And that needs to respect the major contribution of civilisation as enabling large numbers to live in reasonable communities with good progress and limited, lawful government. It needs to return us to prudence, and it needs to publicly account for the horrors of C20 Marxism inspired states.

    The wave of critical theories, movements and policy agendas fails this test.


  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    Meanwhile, on a focal issue in the OP:

    The following statement by researchers lacks a certain quality of scientific professionalism: “These ‘surface protrusions’ may support the idea that, at some point in evolutionary history, an Asgard grabbed a passing bacterium using similar extensions of its membrane and sucked the bacterium into its cell body, and this led to the development of the nucleus.” Can anybody pinpoint how this statement falls short of scientific expectations, beyond perhaps the elementary school level?

    The speculation not backed by observationally warranted dynamics for start. Continue with failure to account for information. Then add, how would an ingested bacterium skip the usual fate, food? Then, how will the bacterium now act as a nucleus? Did it swallow the genes in turn?

    A tower of speculation on a pinhead of trivial fact: a tentacled unicellular organism.

    I guess critique of this, too is liable to be accused of conspiracy theorism. Nope, pointing out speculation for what it is is quite in order.


  55. 55
    jerry says:

    My favorite New Year’s resolution was to stop trying to reason with unreasonable people. This has reduced both my correspondence and my blood pressure

    Thomas Sowell

    Unfortunately, most don’t recognize that here.

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: is it reasonably possible to reduce trillions of actually observed cases of FSCO/I where we directly know the cause to be designers, to just one, as SG wants to insinuate at 6 above? No. For, first, manifestly each designer is a designer, and each case of design is a case of design. If it is meant, only humans are observed designers, instantly no, beavers design dams adapted to locations. More fundamentally, we are contingent creatures so we cannot exhaust the possible cases of design, as is notorious on history and of course the SETI project. The objection is a textbook example of selectively hyperskeptical special pleading to give a dismissive talking point and an abuse of induction. That it keeps popping up despite repeated correction shows desperation to find some sort of objection. It ends up being a backhanded concession, as were there strong counter examples they would be instantly given and triumphantly trumpeted, and 10 years ago attempt after attempt was made only to see them collapse. So, we may freely infer, desperate, weak objections tell us the case is strong. KF

  57. 57
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, sometimes, objectors need to be exposed as unreasonable. Above, we saw a smear that reference to critical theories as cultural marxism was antisemitic conspiracy theorising. Some elephant hurling was made, too. So, there was a place to document the actual state of affairs. Now, links have been made for future reference should this come up again. More broadly, TS is a prominent public intellectual who has made his case at multiple book length, and can simply point to his corpus . . . unless they decide to censor that. KF

  58. 58
    jerry says:

    If anyone is interested in a very readable expose/history of socialism, read “ Heaven on Earth: The Rise, Fall, and Afterlife of Socialism”by Joshua Muravchik.

    He was once one of them and tells it all.

    Aside: Sowell was also once a believer in socialism. He said facts got in the way.

  59. 59
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    Kairosfocus says:

    PM1, first, you made accusations of conspiracy theories, in a context further associated with antisemitism, specifically that claims regarding culture form marxism and derivative critical theories are conspiracy theories. I took time to cite literature to show there is such a bird, commonly seen in the academy and now beyond it. I suggest, given the gravity of the antisemitic implication, this is slander to be walked back.

    At no point did I deny or even downplay the significance of the Frankfurt School or subsequent critical theory. I have been a close reader of Marx, the Frankfurt School, and Habermas for two decades, and I daresay I have a better appreciation of their strengths and weaknesses than you do.

    What I said, and I stand by, is that the phrase “Cultural Marxism” as used at Uncommon Descent and by conservatives generally is a conspiracy theory. This conspiracy theory alleges that a group of German Jewish emigres, recognizing the failure of Communism, infiltrated the American academy and the entertainment industry in order to subvert America from within. Since then, the conspiracy theory has mutated and evolved to the point where liberal policies and proposals with a broad base of popular support are ascribed to the insidious work of enemies of Western civilization.

    This is how Anders Breivik used the phrase “Cultural Marxism” in the manifesto he published online prior to his 2011 mass murder. It is what contemporary reactionary intellectuals such as Steve Bannon and Alexander Dugin position themselves as against. It is not a descriptive term, but one laden with an anti-semitic past.

  60. 60
    Querius says:

    Jerry @58,

    If anyone is interested in a very readable expose/history of socialism, read “ Heaven on Earth: The Rise, Fall, and Afterlife of Socialism”by Joshua Muravchik.

    But that couldn’t have been TRUE socialism!

    Thanks for the book reference. And no, I didn’t know Thomas Sowell was once a socialist.


  61. 61
    Querius says:

    So, Pyrrhomaniac1 . . .

    Which of Benito Mussolini’s points listed in @44 do you disagree with?

    Which of them are incompatible with Marxism?


  62. 62
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:


    Which of Benito Mussolini’s points listed in @44 do you disagree with?

    Which of them are incompatible with Marxism?

    I don’t have an instinctive aversion to a strong centralized government as such, but I do think that the more power a government has, the more important it is that there be strong democratic safeguards on its power. I would contrast Lord Acton on power with Stan Lee’s “with great power comes great responsibility”. Most of the proposals in the Fascist Manifesto do not by themselves seem objectionable, but without increasing the power of the people to counterbalance the power of the state, no government should be trusted with a blank check to increase its power.

    One of the thing that Marx got badly wrong was the assumption that if private property were abolished, there would be no need for a state — “the state would wither away”, as he put it. He might have been right in thinking that there would be no need for a state (“a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force”, as Weber defined it) in a truly post-scarcity society, but was quite badly wrong in his belief that abolishing private property was not only necessary but also sufficient for eliminating scarcity as such.

    One relatively minor point: the Fascist Manifesto of 1918 was not written by Mussolini but by De Ambris and Marinetti. The Doctrine of Fascism (1927) was written by Gentile and Mussolini. Mussolini himself wrote:

    Granted that the nineteenth century was the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the twentieth century must also be the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the “right”, a Fascist century. If the nineteenth century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the “collective” century, and therefore the century of the State.

    Marx himself would have vehemently opposed all of this: his political ideal was the republicanism that inspired the American and French Revolutions, but in a more radical direction influenced by the utopian social experiments of Robert Owen and Saint-Simon. He was, fundamentally, a theorist of human freedom whose ideal of a rational society was one in which the free development of each was compatible with the free development of all.

    The hallmark of his political philosophy is simply this: one cannot freely develop one’s intellectual, moral, emotional, aesthetic, and physical capacities if one is constrained by the need to sell one’s labor in exchange for access to the means of survival. In other words, the ideals and values of the Enlightenment, which nurtured and inspired both the American and French Revolutions, is incompatible with industrial capitalism.

    Regardless of the turn to “collectivism” in the Soviet period, Karl Marx would have adamantly and completely opposed what Mussolini called “the doctrine of fascism”. In his own life-time, Marx was a huge admirer of Abraham Lincoln, as noted by (among others) the religious socialist Martin Luther King.

  63. 63
    Querius says:

    PyrrhoManiac1 @62,

    Good points all. In this case as well as many others, it’s really not the stated objectives of the system as much as the methods employed.

    For what it’s worth, my national/cultural background is strongly libertarian, so considering Marxists and Postmodernists, I’d share their distrust of the accumulation of power, which can easily bypass any so-called checks and balances. There are simply too many people in a society with a powerful central government that can be bribed, blackmailed, or misled by a few ruthless and ambitious people to be able to resist any coordinated effort.

    I think there are good arguments that can made that the U.S. is a de facto fascist state.


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