Monday, April 16, 2018

Much life on earth evolved elsewhere

I have always thought that the theory of evolution provided a poor fit to what we see of life on earth.  That the whole universe was involved fits a lot better

The evolution of life on Earth was spurred on by the bombardment from space of comets carrying viral genes and frozen eggs of complete species such as the octopus, a new multi-author paper has claimed.

Published in Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, the paper looks at decades of ­research into cosmic biology.

It coincides with another peer-reviewed article by Russian scientists that found cosmic dust taken in swabs from the outside of the international space station contained DNA ­sequences typical of many terrestrial and ocean bacteria on Earth. The race is on to find out how it got there and was able to survive.

Lead authored by Australian molecular immunologist and evolutionist Edward J Steele, the international paper, Cause of the Cambrian Explosion — Terrestrial or Cosmic?, brings the pioneering work of Hoyle and Wickramasinghe on cosmic evolution firmly into the biomedical literature.

The Cambrian explosion is considered the most important evolutionary event in the history of life on Earth. Biology’s “big bang”, it happened 541 million years ago and is when most of the major groups of animals appear suddenly in the fossil record.

Professor Steele’s findings challenge the conventional view that evolution of life on Earth was wholly terrestrial. The bottom line, says the new paper, is “current evidence suggests we came from space, we are made of viral genes, and eventually our evolutionary legacy would in full measure return to space”.

The co-authors said: “In our considered opinion in confronting the wide range of scientific data, all the scientific and ­societal evidence seemingly points in one direction, an all-pervasive cosmic biology, mediated mainly by cometary transfers, being a driver for life on Earth. We believe the signs of this change are now so apparent that one of the biggest backflips in the history of science is now on our doorstep.”

The paper’s findings are so controversial some reviewers refused to consider it and called for publication to be withheld, journal editor Denis Noble said.

But he said when journals ­received way-out, speculative ­articles, they carried a heavy ­responsibility. “The first is to judge whether the theories proposed are empirical and testable,” he said, suggesting one day this would be possible.

He believed science was ­advanced by critical review of controversial theories. “There really is no agreed theory on how life arose on Earth. We simply don’t know. All theories therefore are currently ‘way-out’.”

Two reviewers were not convinced. Keith Baverstock of the Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences University of Eastern Finland, said the authors had put forward much evidence that would support an extraterrestrial origin of life, but not definitive evidence — evidence that could not be ­explained in any other terms.

Karin Moelling of the Max Planck Institute Berlin and Institute of Medical Microbiology, Zurich, said the article was worth thinking about, “yet the main statement about viruses, ­microbes and even animals coming to us from space, cannot be taken seriously,” she said.


Why the US Must Befriend Hungary’s Populist Leader

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban won a convincing majority in Sunday’s parliamentary election. Even the day before the election, The Guardian was all too pleased to showcase the left’s apoplexy by running the headline “Hungary’s war on democracy is a war on democracy everywhere.”

This has it exactly backward, of course. Liberals may have a thousand reasons not to like Orban, but their beef is with the Hungarian electorate, which keeps re-electing him democratically by ever-increasing numbers.

If global managerial elites believe the typical Hungarian voter cannot be trusted with his own fate, they should at least be up front about it.

Orban has delivered Hungarians economic growth the likes of which have not been seen in Western Europe in generations (4 percent growth last year and 3 percent in 2016). He’s also stood up to the unelected and distant European Union bureaucrats in Brussels, rejecting their demands that Hungary take in more immigrants.

And notably, Orban has led a campaign against the Hungarian-born American billionaire George Soros, who funds far-left causes around the world.

Hungarians on Sunday responded to this policy mix by giving Orban not just a third term in office, but a supermajority in parliament that he can use to ram through real constitutional changes. Orban’s Fidesz party won 49 percent of the vote—the nearest competitor was the far-right Jobbik, which won 20 percent.

Leftist critics have been left to grumble that the results were unfair because Orban has squeezed the opposition, but as former Margaret Thatcher aide John O’Sullivan explained on Monday, this doesn’t hold water:

It simply cannot be explained away as the result of gerrymandering, since a 49 percent share of the total vote would mean a landslide in seats under almost any multi-party electoral system. Nor can it be attributed to the right’s dominance of the media, which was anyway exaggerated—there were newspapers, magazines, television stations, websites, and hoardings putting across the slogans and arguments of both left and right opposition parties.

Orban is not perfect—not many politicians are, in any part of the world. We keep hearing reports that, for example, he uses corrupt and crony practices with businesses not only to distort the economy, but to expand influence and retain power.

However, the best way for the Trump administration to cultivate Orban’s potential and mitigate his downsides is by finally jettisoning the Obama-era policy of keeping him at arm’s length diplomatically.

This policy was championed by President Barack Obama’s last assistant secretary of state for Europe, Victoria Nuland.

Under Trump’s first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, U.S. diplomacy began to move away from this aspect of Nulandism. We hope that current CIA Director Mike Pompeo, nominated by President Donald Trump to replace Tillerson, and the new national security adviser, John Bolton, will accelerate the process while retaining Nuland’s more forthright and no-nonsense approach to the Kremlin.

Only allies can speak as friends, and only friends can advise Orban, for example, not to interfere with the already-beleaguered government of Ukraine, as it did last year when Ukraine passed a language law that Budapest opposed.

Ditto for Orban’s “Stop Soros” bill. On Monday, fresh from its landslide victory, the newly elected government said it now had a mandate to pass it. The bill would require nongovernment organizations that work on migration issues to register with the government, and would empower the government to ban NGOs that pose a “national security risk.”

The Orban government is hardly alone in trying to stop Soros from destabilizing his society.

Soros uses his Open Society Foundations and his billions to undermine governments and societies around the world, in an attempt to weaken conservative values regarding the family, the church, and the nation-state. Just a few months ago, Ireland declared illegal Soros’ donation of 137,000 euros to the pro-abortion side in that country’s current, hard-fought referendum to legalize the practice.

So we wish Orban well in shoring up Hungary’s government institutions and civil society.

But a U.S. government that Orban perceives as a friend can also quietly counsel the prime minister against any attempt to use the law for a generalized crackdown against opposition forces and NGOs—lest Hungary really become what its critics charge it already is but isn’t. Becoming a Singapore-style democracy in name only—or worse yet, a Putin-style one—with a titular opposition is not the way of the future.

Orban’s government, like those of some of Hungary’s neighbors, especially Poland, have become anathema to the elites both here and in Europe because of their opposition to taking in large numbers of immigrants.

The redrawing of maps and ethnic cleansings that accompanied the two great wars of the 20th century left both Hungary and Poland almost ethnically homogenous. Their attempts to remain ethnically pure are no answer for France, Germany, and the United Kingdom—and much less for the U.S.

Having said that, it may be Orban’s very own European values that ultimately lead to a solution for ethnically diverse nations that want to heal their internal ethnic rifts.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki recalled that a former French president once said to Poland’s leaders, “You have values, we have funds.” Morawiecki added, “Well, I would love to help the West with proper values.”

The Western duty to be tolerant of others boils down to Matthew 22:39: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” But if you don’t love yourself—your own society—you cannot love others.

By constantly reminding their neighbors not to be embarrassed of Europe’s history—on the contrary, to stand up for Western values—Budapest, and also Warsaw, are pointing the way toward being truly inclusive by offering immigrants and their children a value system to which they can adhere.

For all these reasons above, the good, the bad, and the ugly, the pragmatic course of action will be for America to work with Orban, as he will be in charge for the foreseeable future.


'New Yorker' Columnist: Chick-Fil-A Is Evil And Must Be Banned From Our Holy City

On Friday, The New Yorker honed in on a serious threat to the lives of all New Yorkers: the arrival of Chick-Fil-A in their homey little corner of the universe. In a 1400-word diatribe titled “Chick-Fil-A’s Creepy Infiltration of New York City,” one Dan Piepenring wrote that New Yorkers should not accept the intrusion of a popular restaurant serving chicken because the owner happens to be a religious Christian. “The air smelled fried,” Piepenring wrote, ominously. “New York has taken to Chick-fil-A…And yet the brand’s arrival here feels like an infiltration, in no small part because of its pervasive Christian traditionalism.” What signs are there of this incipient theocracy? Its Atlanta corporate headquarters – not its New York store or any of its other stores – has Bible verses and a statue of Jesus, and its stores close on Sundays. That’s it.

But the mere whiff of Jesus means that New York must cast out Chick-fil-A like a leper, and that those who refuse to do so have succumbed to the blasphemous entreaties of the Midianites. “When a location opened in a Queens mall, in 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed a boycott. No such controversy greeted the opening of this newest outpost. Chick-fil-A’s success here is a marketing coup. Its expansion raises questions about what we expect from our fast food, and to what extent a corporation can join a community,” Piepenring rants.

And insultingly, Chick-fil-A seeks to build community, using the word in its marketing, he complains. “This emphasis on community, especially in the misguided nod to 9/11, suggests an ulterior motive. The restaurant’s corporate purpose still begins with the words ‘to glorify God,’ and that proselytism thrums below the surface of the Fulton Street restaurant, which has the ersatz homespun ambiance of a megachurch.”

Are workers forced to sing hymns as they work? Are they required to worship while they work? Not at all. No, the problem is that Chick-fil-A’s VP of restaurant experience told BuzzFeed that they want their employees to be efficient but “feel like you just got hugged in the process.”

The horror!

But the real gods of Chick-fil-A are – no joke – “The Cows.” According to Piepenring:

It’s impossible to overstate the role of the Cows—in official communiqués, they always take a capital “C”—who are displayed in framed portraits throughout the Fulton Street location. If the restaurant is a megachurch, the Cows are its ultimate evangelists. Since their introduction in the mid-nineties—when they began advising Atlanta motorists to “eat mor chikin”—they’ve remained one of the most popular, and most morbid, advertising campaigns in fast-food history, crucial to Chick-fil-A’s corporate culture. S. Truett Cathy, the chain’s founder and Dan Cathy’s late father, saw them as a tool to spread the gospel of chicken…It’s worth asking why Americans fell in love with an ad in which one farm animal begs us to kill another in its place.

Um, because it’s kind of funny, and acknowledges a basic truth? And because every company in America has some sort of slogan or marketing gimmick? Will Piepenring next go after the Hamburgler or Ronald MacDonald, or the lady from the Progressive commercials?

But no, it’s more sinister:

Most restaurants take pains to distance themselves from the brutalities of the slaughterhouse; Chick-fil-A invites us to go along with the Cows’ Schadenfreude. In the portraits at the Fulton Street restaurant, the Cows visit various New York landmarks. They’re in Central Park, where “eat mor chikin” has been mowed into the lawn. They’re glimpsing the Manhattan Bridge from Dumbo, where they’ve modified a stop sign: “stop eatin burgrz.” They’re on the subway, where the advertisements . . . you get the picture. The joke is that the Cows are out of place in New York—a winking acknowledgment that Chick-fil-A, too, does not quite belong here.

Yes, it doesn’t belong here because New York restaurants ought not be chain restaurants, either. The dirty sidewalk shops must never bear a corporate brand, serve fast food, or be cleaned regularly by staff:

No matter how well such restaurants integrate into the “community,” they still venerate a deadening uniformity. Homogeneous food is comfort food, and chains know that their primary appeal is palliative. With ad after ad, and storefront after storefront, they have the resources to show that they’ve always been here for us, and recent trends indicate that we prefer them over anything new or untested.

But what of the fact that Chick-fil-A donates literally tons of food to the New York Common Pantry and employs hundreds of people? That’s just because they’re trying to cover for their evil capitalism:

The more fatalistic will add that hypocrisy is baked, or fried, into every consumer experience—that unbridled corporate power makes it impossible to bring your wallet in line with your morals. Still, there’s something especially distasteful about Chick-fil-A, which has sought to portray itself as better than other fast food: cleaner, gentler, and more ethical, with its poultry slightly healthier than the mystery meat of burgers. Its politics, its décor, and its commercial-evangelical messaging are inflected with this suburban piety.

Want to know why Trump won? Because not only will he eat Chick-fil-A, but because he doesn’t scorn companies just because their owners happen to believe the crazy Biblical notions that undergird Western civilization.


Australia: 'The thought police have gone way too far this time': Critics slam proposed law that could allow children to identify as ‘intersex‘ and 'non-binary’ on birth certificates

Including the gender of a baby boy or girl on a birth certificate could become a thing of the past under a proposed law.

The Queensland government is discussing a law which will mean babies can be identified as 'intersex' or 'non-binary' on official documents, The Courier Mail reported.

The proposal has been fuelled by gender diversity conversations which could see the terms includes on documents in the sunshine state.

A paper commissioned by Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath outlined the changes could 'allow individuals to self-identify their sex or gender when registering a life event'.

'There are many people in the LGBTI community who feel current laws don't adequately reflect or capture the true fabric of all Queensland families,' Ms D'Ath told the publication.

However, Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the sunshine state cares about schools, jobs and hospitals, not the words on a birth certificate. 'These are official government records, you can only be born male or female,' she said. 'The thought police have gone way too far this time.'

In November last year a German court ruled parents could register their new borns as a third gender making it the first European country to do so.

Intersex people, who have a mix of male and female characteristics, make up less than two per cent of the world's population, BBC News reported.

Currently on Australian birth certificates, in some states, non-specific genders are included for the parents, where the labels mother and father can be referred to as 'parent one' and 'parent two'.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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