Science of the SpiritS


Religious liberty in the United States: An inalienable right

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© UnknownWorld religious symbols
Religious liberty is among the very foundations of American freedom, and our government must not target or discriminate against religious faiths or those who practice them.

No freedom may be more central or important to the human spirit and condition than freedom of religion and conscience โ€” and none may be more dangerous to limit. Religious liberty is the ability to believe and practice one's religious faith, or to practice none at all, free from governmental interference.

As former FIRE president David French writes in FIRE's Guide to Religious Liberty on Campus: "America is a nation, that, from its founding, has proclaimed the rights of religious liberty and religious diversity." As David emphasizes, for James Madison and his fellow Founders, "religious liberty was an inalienable right."

The first sixteen words of the Bill of Rights contain the two religious liberty clauses of the First Amendment: the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. The first 10 words of the First Amendment collectively comprise the Establishment Clause โ€” "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." The next six words โ€” "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" โ€” comprise the Free Exercise Clause.

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The cruelty of Canada's euthanasia policy

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Its liberal Maid programme has been turned into a political weapon...

With uncharacteristic humility, I would concede that a few positions I've argued fiercely in print might be viable on paper, but in practice are a disaster. The "war on drugs" being a fiasco, years ago I advocated the legalisation of recreational pharmaceuticals. But given the dirty, dangerous, dismal tent cities full of addicts in LA, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland โ€” which have all effectively decriminalised drug possession โ€” it may be fortunate that glib journalists like me don't control public policy.

I've likewise argued for legalised assisted dying. After all, nobody asked us if we wanted to be here (a favourite headline: "Woman Sues for Being Born"); the least we might expect is help leaving the building. Why should living be an obligation? While the strongest candidates for a gentle, legal assisted death are patients with agonising terminal illnesses, any respectable libertarian would maintain that outfits such as Dignitas in Switzerland simply provide a service, of which consumers in any medical condition should be free to avail themselves. And for lack of a better word, I'm a libertarian.

I gained an appreciation for how being alive could simply fail a clinical cost-benefit analysis in the summer of 2020. For five days, I was in such blinding pain from a nerve in my spine that I awoke each morning screaming at my poor husband: "I would rather be dead!" I wasn't being histrionic. Well, okay, I was โ€” but I was also brutally sincere. Had remaining alive been conditioned on such intense and unrelenting suffering forever more, for the first time I could see a persuasive case for calling it quits. During the blackest periods of those days, on which I took half an hour to descend a single flight of stairs, I was incapable of pleasure, humour, or love. The sole thought in my head was that I would do anything to get the pain to stop.


Best of the Web: The collapse will be mental

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And so will be our way out

When looking at history to understand its lessons and discern where we are coming from, there are, broadly speaking, two competing schools of thought: one sees history as the product of mind, that is, what people thought and were up to. This is called idealism, and it is decisively out of fashion.

The other sees history as the result of material pressures, such as economic developments or natural and other external conditions. It is called materialism, and it is what we are all conditioned to believe in these days.

To claim that material conditions play no role in human affairs โ€” and therefore history โ€” would be absurd, obviously. But ever since sociology, Marx, and the so-called "social sciences" came on the scene in the 19th century, we have forgotten that at the end of the day, humans do stuff because, well, they think about doing it first; they find reasons to do so based on their world views, priorities, and ways of thinking.


Do organs have a mind of their own?

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© Csaba Deli /
Modern science is founded upon a materialistic paradigm that rejects anything which suggests there is more to each human being than just our flesh and bones. Yet, as medical science finds more and more ways to pry open the doors between life and death, evidence always emerges suggesting the spirit is just as much a part of the human experience as our bodies and minds.

For example, cardiac resuscitation, a modern scientific miracle, made it possible to bring individuals who had died back from beyond the grave. In turn, there are many cases of resuscitated individuals reporting experiences (such as one witnessing and then recalling events that happened while they were clinically dead) that challenge medical science's conception that conscious arises from electrical activity within the brain.

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Best of the Web: The psychology of psychopaths - Predators who walk among us

The following is a transcript of this video.
"Human predators populate our society."

Stefan Verstappen, Defense Against the Psychopath
Psychopaths are human predators. They coerce, manipulate, lie, steal, defraud, abuse, and take life, without feeling guilt or remorse. A leading expert on psychopathy, Robert Hare, estimates that 1% of people are psychopaths; while the clinical psychologist Martha Stout suggests this figure is closer to 4%. Studies indicate that psychopaths are over-represented in the corporate executive world and in politics. In this video we are going to explore the psychology of the psychopath as this knowledge can help us minimize the damage they inflict on us, those we care about, and humanity at large.

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SOTT Focus: MindMatters: Gurdjieff and the Inner Evolution of Man - with Alan Francis

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Do human beings have 'higher bodies'? Is there an essence or essential part of one's being that individuals can consciously help to grow? And what does the development of the personality have to do with these possibilities? Philosopher and teacher G.I. Gurdjieff presented the world with an esoteric framework for self-development that has been carried forward by a number of thinkers.

What does esoteric growth look and feel like? What are some of the processes involved? And how does one go about verifying that such a process is even occurring? Does an inner questioning end when one reaches a higher state, or does it just go deeper? Joining us for his third appearance on MindMatters is author/teacher Alan Francis. Alan's decades of experience with Gurdjieff's work have helped him crystalize some insights as to how we may become more than what we are. He is the head of the International School of the Fourth Way, and the author of 'Secrets of the Fourth Way.'

Running Time: 01:27:54

Download: MP3 โ€” 121 MB


Woe, the humanity: How AI fits into broadly rising anti-humanism

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The future of humanity is becoming ever less human. The astounding capabilities of ChatGPT and other forms of artificial intelligence have triggered fears about the coming age of machines leaving little place for human creativity or employment. Even the architects of this brave new world are sounding the alarm. Sam Altman, chairman and CEO of OpenAI, which developed ChatGPT, recently warned that artificial intelligence poses an "existential risk" to humanity and warned Congress that artificial intelligence "can go quite wrong."

While history is littered with apocalyptic predictions, the new alarms are different because they are taking place amid broad cultural forces that suggest human beings have lost faith in themselves and connections with humanity in general.

The new worldview might best be described as anti-humanism. This notion rejects the idea that human beings are perennially ingenious, socially connected creatures capable of wondrous creations - religious scripture, the plays of Shakespeare, the music of Beethoven, the science of Einstein. Instead, it casts people, society, and human life itself as a problem. Instead of seeing society as a tool to help people to build and flourish, it stresses the need to limit the damage humanity might do.


Why do leftists promote obesity, crappy architecture, and other ugly monstrosities?

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© STAFF/AFP via Getty Images
For a country to succeed, it needs citizens that have some sort of civic pride, not only in its past accomplishments, but for the here and now. Countries not only pride themselves on providing the best of yesterday - they also pride themselves on what they have to offer from today, namely beauty and order as God intended it. That means clean, thriving cities, healthy, physically attractive and God-fearing citizens and of course, aesthetically pleasing cities and towns that make people want to live in them and visit.

America was once like this. From the early republic until the 1960s, the United States took pride in its neoclassical public buildings, cathedral-like schools and most importantly, its people. America meant strong, nuclear families living in well-ordered cities and communities where children could play unsupervised and sadistic lawlessness was restricted to organized crime - which ironically ran neighborhoods much better than the DNC does today.

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SOTT Focus: MindMatters: Cold-blooded Kindess: The Longhouse Mentality and Psychopathology - with Dr. J.D. Haltigan

jd haltigan
J.D. Haltigan is a developmental and evolutionary psychologist who writes the Multilevel Mailer on Substack. His research and writing focuses on psychopathology, social media-induced mental illness in the young, and the psychological phenomena underlying Woke ideology and the culture wars. Lately he has been writing about the negative effects of traits like compassion and empathy when not balanced and held in check by trait systematization. J.D. has also written a review of Andrew Lobaczewski's Political Ponerology tying its insight to our current sociopolitical situation.

How does a doctor of Developmental and Evolutionary Psychopathology see psychopathology at play within academia - from the inside out as it were? Gender ideology, race differences, the censorship complex, emotional dysregulation, leftwing authoritarianism, 'vulnerable narcissism', the weaponization of compassion, etc. - there is a whole slew of prominent features and developments in academia (and Western society as a whole) that, to the classically trained academic of psychopathology, are hard to ignore. And ignore it he doesn't - even if it means taking a step back and away from some of the institutions he would normally be working within.

This week on MindMatters J.D. Haltigan, PhD, gives us his unique perspective on what's wrong with the woke and culturally Marxist mindset so prevalent today in many of the West's top schools. And using his background and research, delves into such questions as how pathology has become something of an evolutionary strategy, how the most prominent traits of men and women have been skewed and weaponized, and just where political ponerology fits in with all that we're seeing.

Running Time: 01:00:46

Download: MP3 โ€” 83.5 MB


When you sync with someone, your brains wave together

brain mind connection
At Scientific American, Lydia Denworth brought up an interesting topic earlier this month: The way that brain waves synchronize between two people who are communicating successfully:
Neurons in corresponding locations of the different brains fire at the same time, creating matching patterns, like dancers moving together. Auditory and visual areas respond to shape, sound and movement in similar ways, whereas higher-order brain areas seem to behave similarly during more challenging tasks such as making meaning out of something seen or heard. The experience of "being on the same wavelength" as another person is real, and it is visible in the activity of the brain.

For example, she tells us, "Couples exhibit higher degrees of brain synchrony than nonromantic pairs, as do close friends compared with more distant acquaintances." There's a name for the study of such moments: collective neuroscience.