Newspapers, media, care and prejudice

“Foolish is the man who never reads a newspaper; even more foolish is the man who believes what he reads just because it is in the newspaper.”(August von Schlözer, German historian and journalist of the late 18th century)

There is  justification for scepticism, especially when what is said involves vested interests. What happens then?  Truth is sacrificed.  As Arthur Ponsonby, English statesman, once noted: “When war is declared, Truth is the first casualty.” Yes, it is wise to examine the news with healthy scepticism.

The BBC Panorama programme  ‘Undercover Nurse’  aired in July 2005, filmed conditions on an acute care ward at Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. While acknowledging the deficiencies in care uncovered, legitimate questions may be asked of this style of investigation. Is this the best way to improve care services? Is this really in the public interest?

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Rating: ★★★★★

Catastrophe: An Investigation into the Origins of the Modern World (1999) by David Keys

During the last few years, there has been an upsurge of interest in theories about Catastrophism. A natural disaster like a large meteor impact or the eruption of a super-volcano would have the capability to wreck the modern world. Even the recent economic cost of one small Icelandic eruption should give pause for thought. There are at least two good reasons for concern. Firstly, the growing recognition that man has a responsibility to recognize the threats to our planet, in this respect, a similar argument to the Green environmentalists, but secondly, with computer and other technologies, we can analyse both fresh and long-held historical data in a way that clarifies the underlying issue.  David Keys’ Catastrophe argues that a massive volcanic eruption in the sixth century precipitated the collapse of the ancient world.

He suggests that an eruption of Krakatoa in 535 A.D. was the primary cause of a global climatic catastrophe that caused widespread famine, pestilence, and extinction of many civilizations around the globe. Keys reasons that a huge volcanic eruption, near the equator, sent volcanic emissions high into the stratosphere where air currents distributed them around the globe, creating a veil through which sunlight struggled to penetrate. As a result, the earth sustained flooding and cooling over the next century, which caused the failure of crops. People and animals scattered and either starved to death, or died from  pestilences  that swept the civilized world in the sixth century.

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With Shame Remembered

Rating: ★★★★★

With Shame Remembered (1978) by Bill Beatty

`With Shame Remembered’ is a short account by Bill Beatty on the history of `Transportation’, the policy of transporting petty criminals as well as hardened felons from 18th Century Britain to Australia. Often a horrifying story of cruelty, but also lighter moments. It has often been assumed that the transported convicts were all habitual criminals, the scum of Britain, sent away in the enlightened hope that life in a distant colony would reform them into useful citizens.
In reality, the death rates, immorality, brutality and even accounts of cannibalism, as well as the effects of the British policy on the Aboriginal population, leave a picture of `man’s inhumanity to man’, if not on the same scale, in the same spirit of Nazi Germany and the concentration camps.

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The Reversing Earth

Rating: ★★★★★

The Reversing Earth (1982) by Peter Warlow

‘The Reversing Earth’ is a book that sets out to answer some very disturbing questions, Why did ancient peoples insist the sun at one time rose in the west and not the east? What could account for the magnetic anomalies preserved in our sea beds? Why did conditions for mammoths and many other animals change so catastrophically, and relatively recently? These and other questions not satisfactorily answered by any one theory, are brought together in a comprehensive, readable, and logical theory that also serves as a guide to Catastrophist, as opposed to Uniformitarian scientific thinking. It thus gives due consideration to Velikovsky, but should be more palatable to his detractors, as this theory does not involve impacts with other cosmic bodies. One of the original considerations by Velikovsky was why such a theory should be so unpalatable to us, and of course it is simply that, logically, if it happened once, it could happen again.

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The Bible came from Arabia

Rating: ★★★★★

The Bible Came from Arabia

What to make of a radical theory, effectively rewriting Biblical geographical and historical preconceptions?
In short, as I understand the theory, the original land promised to Abraham was not the land of Palestine as we know it, but an area of western Arabia, bordering the Red Sea, now known as Asir. Evidence presented is almost entirely founded upon place-name or topographical evidence, but the author never discounts the ancient presence of some Jewish people in Palestine. After the return from Babylonian exile , in 537BC, the Jews `returned’ to the site of present day Jerusalem, hence the Biblical term `daughter of Zion’. Some thirty locations we associate with the Bible, predating 537BC, such as Salem, Zion, Hebron, Beersheba, etc. being named in Palestine in similar fashion to York (UK), New York (US). Other authors have identified this phenomenon associated with displaced peoples worldwide, such as The Key by John Phillip Cohane (1969). Biblical history after the Babylonian exile is largely accepted by the author.

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The Riddle of Prehistoric Britain

Rating: ★★★★★
I came to this author via John Mitchell’s  “Eccentric Lives and Peculiar Notions”  where Comyns Beaumont is the subject of Chapter 15. There he is described as a ‘revisionist geographer’, which, considering he claims many of the original locations of ancient Greece, Egypt, and Palestine in Britain, is something of an understatement.
He noticed the similarities between British place names and those in the ancient world, and concluded that many of these places had, in reality, been in Britain itself. Loch Carron in Scotland, for instance, and the nearby village of Erbusaig sounded to his ears strangely like Acheron, the Greek river of hell, and the mythical purgatory Erebus. Achilles, the Greek hero, grew up on the island of Skyros, which could be none other than the Isle of Skye. Bath had to be Athens; the names of the two cities were too similar for it to be otherwise.
Then, reasoned Comyns Beaumont, if the Flood had occurred in north-western Europe, it was surely likely that Noah, and every other biblical character, had lived there too. The British Isles were the true cradle of world civilization.

Why Freud was wrong

Rating: ★★★★★

Why Freud Was Wrong: Sin, Science and Psychoanalysis

Freud, according to this 1995 book, dispensed psychoanalysis “as if it was a science, when it seems more akin to a faith or a cult, with Freud as a modern ‘Messiah'”. It is an explanation of the human condition firmly rooted in Darwinian evolutionary theories. That Freud was able to do so may well be down to the 20th century spiritual vacuum, the failure of the churches post world war, and their little, if any, moral authority. It is in this respect that Freudian psychoanalysis bears comparison with Darwinian evolution. Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytical  theory remains a popular psychiatric approach. Its use, however, has been chiefly in the United States. Thus New York, with nine million inhabitants (1980) had almost a thousand psychoanalysts, whereas Tokyo, with eleven million people, had but three!

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The Huia and the Honeyguide

What similarity is there between two species of birds, very different in many ways? They both cause major difficulties for evolutionists, and in their behaviour, exhibit forms of symbiosis that confound Darwinian natural selection. No explanation they offer has convinced me, look at the facts for yourself.

The Huia The Huia belonged to a family found only in New Zealand, a family so ancient that no relation is found elsewhere. Only the Moa and the Kiwi are likely to be older.  Before the arrival of Europeans it was already a rare bird, confined to the mountain ranges in the south east of the North Island.

The Huia was a bird of deep metallic, bluish-black plumage with a greenish iridescence on the upper surface, especially about the head. The tail feathers were striking in having a broad white band across tips.

At the base of the bill, on either side of the mouth hung the fleshy wattles characteristic of the family Callaeidae, which were bright orange in the Huia. In both sexes the bill colour was ivory white and the legs were bluish grey. In size the Huia were slightly larger than the introduced Australian magpie.

But the most remarkable feature of the species was the marked difference in size and shape of the bill and this difference was so extreme to cause early ornithologists, such as the renowned John Gould, to think that the male and female belonged to different species.

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John Wycliffe c.1320-1384

Born around the year 1320, near old Richmond, Yorkshire, John Wycliffe was sent to Oxford University, where he rose to become master of Balliol College by 1361 and, some years later, a doctor of theology. His expertise with English law and Canon law was not merely the result of his interest in the subject, but of a deep-rooted desire to see English liberties defended and maintained. From the time of King John a tribute had been paid to the Pope in acknowledgment of his supremacy. In 1365 a demand was received from Pope Urban V for this money, along with arrears covering more than 30 years. The next year, Parliament decided that King John in unilaterally agreeing to the tribute, acted beyond his right, that the feudal tribute would be resisted. Seeing their determination, the pope dropped his demand, but not without generating some controversy on the part of the members of the monastic orders in England.

In reply, Wycliffe wrote a tract in which he legally defended the stand Parliament had taken. His argument was couched in the words of various Lords in Council: “It is the duty of the Pope to be a prominent follower of Christ; but Christ refused to be a possessor of worldly dominion. The Pope, therefore, is bound to make the same refusal. As, therefore, we should hold the Pope to the observance of his holy duty, it follows that it is incumbent upon us to withstand him in his present demand.”(John Wycliffe and His English Precursors)

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Immanuel Velikovsky 1895-1979

Immanuel Velikovsky, born in Vitebsk, Russia, 10 June 1895. He learned several languages as a child, graduating with full honours from Medvednikov Gymnasium, Moscow. He later studied at Montpelier, France, and Edinburgh, Scotland. At the outbreak of World War I, he returned to Moscow studying law and ancient history. He received his medical degree from Moscow University in 1921. In 1923, he married Elisheva Kramer, an accomplished violinist from Hamburg. That year they moved to Palestine, and he began medical practice. After studying in Vienna under Bleuler, a pupil of Freud’s, he began practising Psychoanalysis. In 1930, Velikovsky was the first to suggest that encephalograms would be found that would characterise epilepsy. In the summer of 1939, Velikovsky came to America to further his researches. He was one of the greatest original thinkers of the twentieth century, and his legacy continues to be the boldest, most provocative theory on the history of this earth, physical and cultural, a theory that has and will only increase in significance as time passes. If not correct in every detail, many of his ideas pass for the original work of others.   “During the course of his life, Velikovsky suffered the loss of his homeland, and the family left behind as he was forced to flee Bolshevik Russia, the near extermination of his race at the hands of the Nazis, the attempted suppression of his life’s work, and savage attacks upon his character and scholarship throughout the last three decades of his life”. As he once said, ” A newly discovered truth is first attacked as being false; but when it is finally accepted as true it is attacked as not being new.” Continue reading Immanuel Velikovsky 1895-1979