No Matter How Beautiful the Model…
A serf’s musings on climate science.


All Nature faithfully.

So if it can’t or won’t agree with observation, if it’s gigo –garbage in and out, then no matter how beautiful the model, it’s wro-ong.

There’s a verse by Nietzsche that describes the art of painting and which aptly applies to climate science if you substitute the word, ‘models,’ for ‘paints.’

                                             ‘All Nature faithfully ‘ – But by what feint
                                             Can Nature be subdued to art’s constraint?
                                             Her smallest fragrant is still infinite!
                                             And so he paints but what he likes in it.
                                             What does he like? He likes, what he can paint.

And so, herewith, via writings by Professors’ Richard Lindzen, Ross McKitrick, W.J.R. Alexander and Judith Curry, identifying problems with climate models, a serf’s musings on why those climate models, however beautiful they may seem, are fatally flawed.

If it can’t, or won’t, describe all Nature faithfully …

A little history of science change. Richard Lindzen, in his paper, ‘Climate Science: is it currently designed to answer questions?’ (2008) looks at reasons, why climate science won’t, and does not, seek to describe Nature faithfully…namely, as a consequence of 20th century politicization of science generally, and of climate science modeling specifically. Enter Government, stage left, with customary dead–hand effect.

Richard Lindzen traces the ways in which science has changed from its traditional practice involving ‘the creative opposition of theory and observation wherein each tests the other in such a manner as to converge on a better understanding of the world.’ (P2) He identifies, in the aftermath of WW2. a shifting paradigm from ‘gratitude’ for the achievements of science during the War and in the ensuing two decades, with the lessening of new discoveries, change to a new paradigm for the science community in the late 1960’s, a paradigm of ‘fear,’ fear of the Soviet Union, fear of cancer, etc. Lindzen observes that ‘fear,’ as an incentive structure for big government spending in science and expansion of bureaucratic structures for stakeholders, is more compelling than gratitude.

Some consequences of fear as a basis of support.

With the end of the Cold War, there arose a need to look for other fear incentives, which soon put the focus on the environment. Enter, also left of stage, your Anthropological Global Warming, Climate Incentive… Climate Change Science, here’s a small and immature field of science depending on fear-based support, which makes it particularly vulnerable to fear-based corruption.

Richard Lindzen points to ways this is actually taking place in climate science. One consequence of the big spending paradigm in science appears to be that less emphasis is given to theory, because of its intrinsic difficulty and small scale, and more emphasis, instead, is on model simulation, (which calls for large capital investment in computation) and emphasis on adoption of large programs unconstrained by specific goals. More to be gained by perpetuation of problems than by solving them.

‘In brief, we have the new paradigm where simulation and programs have replaced theory and observation, where government largely determines the nature of scientific activity, and where the primary role of professional societies is the lobbying of the government for special advantage.’ (P4)

‘Perhaps,’ says Lindzen ,‘the most impressive exploitation of climate science for political purposes has been the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) by two UN agencies, UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program) and WMO (World Meteorological Organization) and the agreement of all major countries at the 1992 Rio Conference to accept the IPCC as authoritative. Formally, the IPCC summarizes the peer reviewed literature on climate every five years. The charge to the IPCC is not simply to summarize, but rather to provide the science with which to support the negotiating process whose aim is to control greenhouse gas levels. This is a political rather than a scientific charge… That said, the participating scientists have some leeway in which to reasonably describe matters, since the primary document that the public associates with the IPCC is not the extensive report prepared by the scientists, but rather the Summary for Policymakers which is written by an assemblage of representatives from governments and NGO’s, with only a small scientific representation.’

Who controls the message?

This politicization process, exploiting public alarm, necessitates political corruption of scientific institutions, as it requires political spokespersons on message within the expanding academic, government and research organizations that support science.

Richard Lindzen gives examples of how the leading spokespersons of these institutions’ hierarchical structures are no longer scientists but political appointees. For example Anthony Socci, spokesman for the American Meteorological Society in Washington is neither an elected official of the AMS nor a contributor to climate science but a former staffer to Al Gore. John Holdren, whose primary affiliation is the pseudo-scientific Wood’s Hole Research Centre, an environmental advocacy centre whose name is designed to confuse it with Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Centre, which actually is a research centre. John Holdren , another Al Gore Admin spokesman, is a professor in Harvard’s Government Department. Then there’s America’s National Academy of Science, which has allowed a back door for the election of candidates for membership and election to positions on the executive council, by-passing the conventional vetting procedure. Ralph Ciceroni, Paul Ehrlich, James Hansen, Steven Schneider, John Holdren and Susan Solomon were elected via this route. (P8)

Given the above you’d hardly be surprised if working scientists would make special efforts to support the global warming hypothesis. And there is ample evidence that shows that they do. Remember that crucial opposition between theory and test, test meaning observation? Well in climate science the desired direction is to bring the data into agreement with the models and not vice versa. As Lindzen illustrates by several examples, many scientists act as though it is the role of science to vindicate the greenhouse paradigm for climate change and vindicate the credibility of the models. ‘Comparisons of models with data are, for example, referred to as model validation studies rather than model tests.’ (P10.)

Bringing data into agreement with the models.

In his paper, Richard Lindzen presents seven examples of scientists doing just that. Here’s just one, and the most famous, maybe ‘infamous’ example, the effort to eliminate the Medieval Warming Period, by Michael Mann et al MBH98, (1998 -1999.) Quoting Lindzen directly:

‘In the first IPCC assessment (IPCC, 1990), the traditional picture of the climate of the past 1100 years was presented. In this picture, there was a medieval warm period that was somewhat warmer than the present, as well as the little ice age that was cooler. The presence of a period warmer than the present in the absence of any anthropogenic greenhouse gases was deemed an embarrassment for those holding that present warming could only be accounted for by the activities of man. Not surprisingly, efforts were made to get rid of the medieval warm period (According to Demming, 2005, in 1995, “A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.” The most infamous effort was that due to Mann et al (1998, 199913) which used primarily a few handfuls of tree ring records to obtain a reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere temperature going back eventually a thousand years that no longer showed a medieval warm period. Indeed, it showed a slight cooling for almost a thousand years culminating in a sharp warming beginning in the nineteenth century. The curve came to be known as the hockey stick, and featured prominently in the next IPCC report, where it was then suggested that the present warming was unprecedented in the past 1000 years. The study immediately encountered severe questions concerning both the proxy data and its statistical analysis (interestingly, the most penetrating critiques came from outside the field: McIntyre and McKitrick, 2003, 2005). This led to two independent assessments of the hockey stick (Wegman,2006, North, 2006), both of which found the statistics inadequate for the claims. The story is given in detail in Holland (2007). Since the existence of a medieval warm period is amply documented in historical accounts for the North Atlantic region (Soon et al, 2003), Mann et al countered that the warming had to be regional but not characteristic of the whole northern hemisphere. Given that an underlying assumption of their analysis was that the geographic pattern of warming had to have remained constant, this would have invalidated the analysis ab initio without reference to the specifics of the statistics. Indeed, the 4th IPCC (2007) assessment no longer featured the hockey stick, but the claim that current warming is unprecedented remains, and Mann et al’s reconstruction is still shown in Chapter 6 of the 4th IPCC assessment, buried among other reconstructions.’ (PP10/12)

Lots more in Lindzen’s paper on those pressures to inhibit enquiry and problem solving and the need for model validation that take place when an issue becomes a vital part of a political agenda as is the case with climate, where a politically designed position becomes a goal rather than a consequence

And more on that hockey stick here, in a paper by Professor Ross McKitrick.

Hockey, anyone?

Ross McKitrick’s paper, ‘A Brief Retrospective on the Hockey Stick’ (2014) is a concise summary of the controversial MBH98 paper and the methodological problems that McKitrick and Steve McIntyre identified in Michael Mann’s creation of that iconic hockey stick. Worth reading in the original, linked above, its analytical explanation is only six pages long, and clearly formatted in six sections.

1: Core Issues: The Proxy Data set. Those suspect tree ring records, namely bristlecone pine cores from high mountains in the US Southwest. These long-lived trees grow in highly contorted shapes as bark dies back to a single twisted strip. The scientists who published the data specifically warned that the data should not be used for temperature construction. Mann’s method exaggerated the significance of the bristlecones so as to make that chronology out to be the dominant global pattern rather than a minor and regional one. Mann understated the certainties of the final reconstruction leading to the claim of 1998 s the warmest year of the last millennium. Mann put obstacles in place for subsequent researchers wanting to obtain his data and replicate his methodologies, six years later were only received by the intervention s of US Congress ional investigators and editors of Nature magazine.

2: Critique of the method: One quote:

‘Mann’s PC step was programmed incorrectly and created two weird effects in how it handled data. First, if the underlying data set was mostly random noise, but there was one hockey stick-shaped series in the group, the flawed PC step would isolate it out, generate a hockey stick composite and call it the dominant pattern, even if it was just a minor background fluctuation. Second, if the underlying data consisted of a particular type of randomness called “red noise”—basically randomness operating on a slow, cyclical scale—then the PC step would rearrange the red noise into a hockey stick-shaped composite. Either way, the resulting composites would have a hockey stick shape for the LS step to glom onto and produce the famous final result.’ (P2)

3: Stickhandling: Here’s a Mannian response to whether he used a well understood statistic which McKitrick tells us is found in every statistics textbook and is the workhorse of model testing. In 2005, following an article in the Wall St Journal, Mann was sent a list of questions by the Energy and Commerce Committee of the US Congress, one of which was whether he had computed a required statistic benchmark. His answer:

‘My colleagues and I did not rely on this statistic in our assessments of “skill” (i.e., the reliability of a statistical model, based on the ability of a statistical model to match data not used in constructing the model) because, in our view, and in the view of other reputable scientists in the field, it is not an adequate measure of “skill.” The statistic used by Mann et al. 1998, the reduction of error, or “RE” statistic, is generally favored by scientists in the field.’ (P3)

McKitrick argues that this is classic misdirection. Mann was not asked whether he relied on the statistic when assessing his results because if he had relied on it he would never have claimed his results were significant:

‘He only claimed significance by ignoring it. The question specifically was whether he computed it. Tellingly, in his reply he changed the subject. But it hardly matters. Either he did not compute it, in which case he was lying in the paper by saying he had, or he did, in which case his failure to disclose it was misleading to his readers.’ (P3)

4: The National Academy of Science (NAS) Report.: McKitrick describes how Gerald North et al came up with elliptical ways to actually say that the Hockey Stick was unreliable … reductions can be assessed in a variety of tests … if the Coefficient of Efficiency (CE ) score is near zero or negative, your model is junk … the Wahl and Amman paper in which they use Mann’s data and code and compute the test scores that he didn’t report The CE scores range from near zero to negative … telling us that Mann’s results are …well you know!

5: The Censored Folder: ‘Hey, when we removed the rings the graph collapsed.’

‘Mann also published an online review article, (Mann et al. 2000,) that assured readers in categorical terms that their results were “robust” to non-climatic bias in tree ring data6 and even to the complete removal of tree rings from their data set, though they illustrated that point only for the post-1760 interval. In the course of our analysis, Steve found some directories at Mann’s FTP site (the “CENSORED” directories), which, through detective work, were found to contain assessments of the impact from dropping the bristlecones from the underlying data. In light of the claim in Mann et al. (2000), this should not have made any difference, but it did. In our NAS presentation we showed graphs of the data in Mann’s “CENSORED” results, in which the hockey stick shape completely disappears. That is, even applying Mann’s biased methods, after dropping the few bristlecone pine series there is no remaining hockey stick shape. The claim in Mann et al about robustness to the exclusion of the tree ring data was obviously misleading.’ (P5)

6: Conclusion: Seems to Professor McKitrick that this whole Hockey Stick episode has ‘social significance as an indicator of a rather defective aspect of early 21st century scientific culture…’ (P6)

Biblical prophecies and modern predictions, questions, evidence ‘n tests…

Behold there came seven years of great plenty throughout the land of Egypt – and there shall arise after them seven years of famine. (Genesis, 6.)

W.J.R. Alexander, Professor Emeritus, Department of Civil and Bio-systems Engineering at the University of Pretoria, published a report, ‘A Critical Assessment of Current Climate Change Science, (April, 2006)’ which I downloaded for my files in 2011. The report is an impressive and fascinating study of sunspot observations and their correlation with flood data of the River Vaal, and the report is also a critique of climate science and bodies like the IPCC for their reluctance to make use of the extensive hydrological and historical observations available to them in the South African data base.

‘Tis Unfortunate that Google no longer provides connection to this paper or several other publications by Professor Alexander, one wonders why, as Professor Alexander brought a wealth of experience to water research and management, so here is a link to a shorter publication by Alexander which I located at R Pielke Senior’s blog and which includes in its Tables 9-10, (on pp 23/24 of the original paper ) observations important in the much longer report.

Regarding that wealth of experience: in his early career Professor Alexander spent years in the field building dams, canals pipelines and the Orange-Fish Tunnel, which is the longest tunnel in the world. Later, as Chief of the Division of Hydrology he was responsible for collection and publication of hydrological data and conducting research necessary for water resource management in a water-scarce country and designing structures exposed to flood damage. A major challenge for Professor Alexander was the search for multi-year river flow prediction capabilities and solving this problem was motivation for his continuing research when he was appointed Professor Emeritus at Pretoria University in 1985. This research reads like a detective story.

Not jest an academic enquiry but a real need.

Lot’s of prior knowledge of the multiyear characteristics of rainfall and river flow in the historical record. In the 1900’s there’s scientist, civil- engineer, R,E Hutchins who served in the British Colonial Office in India during the severe drought of 1876, at the time searching for predictable links between droughts and sunspot numbers. When Hutchins migrated to South Africa he continued his research, finding a correspondence between average price of food grain and sunspot numbers and showing that the linkage between floods that broke the drought and sunspot numbers was greatest in the temperate zones, not the tropics or northern America or Europe.

Following Hutchins, in 1950, civil engineer R.E Hurst, analysing 1080 years of data recorded on the Nile River in Egypt in order to determine the required storage capacity of the proposed Aswan High Dam, found an unexplained anomaly in the data. Using graphical methods he recognized the same phenomenon in the long record, which became known as Hurst’s Ghost and which was confirmed by Mandelbrot and Wallis, in their paper.’ Some Long-Run Properties of Geophysical Research,’(1969) finding the anomaly present in their own extensive research of varve deposits, river flow and meander, earthquake frequencies and sunspots.

In the mid 1970’s hydrologists in the South African Department of Water Affairs also encountered Hurst’s anomaly, and perceiving that the reservoir capacity–yield model was deficient, began looking further. Graphical analysis revealed that there was a clear 21 year periodicity in the data that was the cause of the difficulty. These graphs showed a clear pattern in the accumulated departures from the record mean values that were approximately synchronous with sunspot activity.

Over the following years, Professor Alexander continued studying Vaal River periodicity and in 1995 Published his paper ‘Floods, droughts and Climate Change’, in which he successfully predicted the next breaking of the drought.

In November 2005 Alexander issued another flood alert, which was again a successful prediction. From his examination of sun spot cycles available from the World Data Centre for the Sun spot Index, Professor Alexander observed a pattern, not apparent in the conventional graphs a pattern that that did not appear in the 10.5 year sunspot cycle but via alternating pairs of year cycles where there is a meaningful difference in sunspot activity in the alternating cycle of the pair. What is important is not annual sunspot density but rate of change in the densities. Herewith his graphs that illustrate the process.

The Graphs.

The Figure 9, below, is very important demonstrating the unequivocal synchronous relationship between annual sunspot numbers and the annual flows in the Vaal River that is South Africa’s major river. Note the alternating above (rising) and below (falling) flow sequences and their synchronous relationship with sunspot numbers; also the statistically significant (95%), 21-year periodicity in the flow data synchronous with the double sunspot cycle.

Notice the absence of 11-year periodicity in the correlogram of the Vaal River. It is no wonder that climate change scientists have been unable to detect synchronous relationships with the 11-year sunspot cycle. It does not exist! This is because the properties of the alternating solar cycles are fundamentally different to the extent that the climatic responses are also very different.

Figure 9. Comparisons of the characteristics of annual sunspot numbers with corresponding characteristics of the annual flows in the Vaal River. Another frequent error associated with the sunspot cycle is the assumption that the maximum effect is associated with the sunspot maxima. This is altogether wrong. The maxima occur immediately after the solar minima.

Table 10 illustrates this.


Look away, look away, climate man…

In his paper Alexander notes serious deficiencies in climate science. He cites and comments on the following passage from IPCC Report (2001) technical summary of Working Group 1:

This section bridges to the climate change of the future by describing the only tool that provides quantitative estimates of future climate changes, namely numerical models…

The complexity of the processes in the climate system prevents the use of extrapolation of past trends or statistical and other purely empirical techniques for projections…

The degree to which the model can simulate the responses of the climate system hinges to a very large degree on the level of understanding of the physical, geographical, chemical biological processes that govern the climate system. (A. P13.)

‘Unfortunately,’ says Professor Alexander, ‘this process is fundamentally flawed. The interest is in climate change. Climate in turn does not refer to an instant in time but to a period of time. For example, agricultural and water supply droughts have durations measured in years. The interest is therefore in the properties of future multi-year time series, not in changes in mean conditions. Global climate models are inherently incapable of producing information in this format.

It is clear from the above extracts that the climate researchers did not appreciate the fundamental difference between process theory, which they applied, and observation theory, which is the foundation of the applied sciences. A simple example is the biblical reference to Joseph’s prediction of plenty followed by famine.’ (P13.)

Contra to the IPCC statement of complexity preventing extrapolation of past trends, statistical or purely empirical techniques, ‘more than 3000 years ago, administrators in the ancient Egyptian civilizations were aware of the anomalous grouping of wet and dry sequences of wet and dry seasons and the ability to predict future conditions,’ which the IPCC denied. And there’s that record from the water level gauging structure on the Nile near Cairo, the longest hydrological record in the world, which the IPCC ignored. Following Nature? No way, what has Nature to do with us?

Can’t agree with Nature faithfully…

In a post at Climate Etc, November, 2016, Professor Judith Curry presents a critical analysis of climate models with some follow up insightful commentary by readers.. Read the full post above, which addresses the following four questions: (1) What is a Global Climate Model? (2) What is the reliability of climate models? (3) What are the failings of Climate models? (4) Are Global Climate Models’ a reliable tool for predicting climate change?

Here’s a summary of Judith Curry’s analysis paper, ‘Climate models for lawyers,’ as a response to each of those questions.

Question 1: Judith Curry describes a Global Climate Model as a simulation of the Earth’s climate system, with modules that simulate the atmosphere, ocean, land surface, sea ice and glaciers. The atmospheric module simulates evolution of the winds, temperatures, humidity and atmospheric pressure using complex mathematical equations that can only be solved using computers. These equations attempt to incorporate fundamental physical principles such as Newton’s Laws of Motion and the First Law of Thermodynamics. Global Climate Models, (GCMs) also use mathematical equations to describe some complex dynamics… three dimensional ocean circulation, how it transports heat, and how the ocean exchanges heat and moisture with the atmosphere, land surface modeling to describe how vegetation, soil, snow and ice exchange energy and moisture with the atmosphere.

Trying to solve these equations on a computer, GCMs divide atmosphere, oceans and land into a three-dimensional grid system. The equations are then calculated for each cell in the grid repeatedly for successive time steps marching forward in time throughout the simulation. The necessary coarseness of the model resolution is driven by the computing resources available and tradeoffs between model resolution, model complexity and length and number of simulations to be conducted. Because models’ special resolutions are relatively coarse, smaller resolutions or sub-grid resolutions, like clouds and rainfall, are represented as parameters or simple formulas which are ‘calibrated,’ or ‘tuned’ so that models perform adequately when compared with historical observations. This calibration is needed because the real processes are either poorly understood or too complex to incorporate into the models.

Mesdames et messieurs, faites vos jeux

As Judith Curry observes:

‘There are literally thousands of different choices made in the construction of a climate model (e.g. resolution, complexity of the sub-models, parameterizations). Each different set of choices produces a different model having different sensitivities. Further, different modeling groups have different focal interests e.g. long paleoclimate simulations, details of ocean circulations, nuances of the interactions between aerosol particles and clouds, the carbon cycle. These different interests focus computational resources on a particular aspect of simulating the climate system at the expense of others.’ (P3)

Question 2: concerning the reliability of GCMs: Problems arise from uncertainties in model structure, model parameterizations and initial conditions and from ad hoc modeling to compensate for the absence of neglected factors. Continual ad hoc adjustments in models, (calibration) masks underlying deficiencies in model structural form. (P5) And therefore model calibration to match 20th century historic temperatures is no metric for models’ accuracy and nor does agreement of models’ forecasts and hindcasts imply that a model gives a correct answer for the right reason. For example, the various coupled climate models used in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report each reproduces the time series for the 20th century but with different feedbacks and sensitivities producing different simulations.(P5)

Question 3: A significant failing of climate models is their failure to understand the causes of global warming. Models’ assumptions of human – caused warming rely not only on the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere but also on how ‘sensitive’ the climate is to these increases. The equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) defined as the change in global mean surface temperature at equilibrium that is caused by a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration was estimated by the International Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC) in 2007, to be in the range 2 to 4.5 degrees. Since then the uncertainty of the range has been increasing, the bottom of the range has been lowered from 2 to 1,5 degrees, and no best estimate is now given as a consequence of substantial discrepancy between observation lower best estimations of ECS versus the higher estimates from climate models.

And ‘arguably the most fundamental challenge for climate models,’ says Judith Curry, ‘lies in the coupling of two chaotic fluids, the ocean and the atmosphere.’

‘Coupling a non-linear chaotic atmospheric model to a non-linear, chaotic ocean model gives rise to something much more complex than the deterministic chaos of the weather model, particularly under conditions of transient forcing, (such as the increasing conditions of CO2) Coupled atmospheric/ocean modes of internal variability arise on timescales of weeks, years, decades, centuries and millennia. These coupled modes give rise to bifurcation, instability and chaos. How to characterize such phenomena arising from transient forcing of the coupled atmosphere/ocean system defies classification by current theories of non linear dynamic al systems, particularly in situations involving transient changes of parameter values. Stainforth et al (2007) refer to this situation as ‘Pandemonium.’ (P9)

Question 4: Regarding fitness for purpose, Judith Curry concludes that given the above and given the failure of climate models to explain the observed early 20th century warming and the mid-century cooling, the climate models are not fit for the purpose of simulating and predicting the evolution of Earth’s climate.

So there it is. Given the above analysis by Professors Curry, Lindzen, McKitrick and Alexander … alas, you modelers in cloud towers, whiling away the tenured hours, looks like those climate models, beautiful as they may appear, just – don’t – match – the -observations and so, … well you know!





Taking a little stroll down Memory Lane and some history of the origins of the United Nations.

Like a phoenix arising from the ashes, in 1945 the United Nations came into being as a replacement for a now discredited League of Nations, established after World War 1 to prevent future war. The League of Nations had never been a fully representative body, nor did it have formal powers to exert influence when disputes arose, and by 1939 it had become redundant and was unable to prevent the outbreak of World War 2. In the aftermath of that long war, there was widespread belief that some new institution had to be created, one better able to arbitrate international conflict and negotiate peace, with broader goals than prevention of war and formal powers beyond those of a mere advisory body, including, if required, the power of military back up.

The forty nations that founded the new United Nations, with Poland joining later, signed a charter based on recommendations worked out by representatives from China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States. Article 1.1 stated its main purpose:

To maintain international peace and security and to that end to take effective and collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.

There was another important objective described in the Charter respecting principles of equal rights and self determination for all peoples, which in the context of the post-war period, was directed at those small nations in danger of being swallowed up by the Communist behemoths emerging from the war, and supporting this objective, in 1948 the first General Assembly of the U.N. adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, affirming:

* Everyone has the right to take part in the government of the country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

* The will of the people shall be the basis of authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent voting procedures.

It was not envisaged that the United Nations organization, a body for peace and freedom, would itself morph into a creeping behemoth of global power and dominance, but it has.

A lot of water under the bridge since 1948 and that affirmation by the U.N. that the right to govern lies with the nation state and is derived from the consent of its people.

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby…

From its beginnings in 1948 to the early 1990s, the U.N. was heavily engaged in peace- keeping operations from monitoring the Armistice Agreement in the Middle East between Israel and its Arab neighbours to more than seventy peace keeping operations, including involvement in Cold War inter-state disputes and civil war in Africa and the former Yugoslavia. Some of these involvements were relatively successful, others, as in Rwanda and Sbrenica, spectacularly unsuccessful, when U.N. peacekeepers failed to intervene to prevent mass genocide.

Increasingly peace keeping began to include multi-dimensional missions requiring more administrators, police officers, legal experts, economists, electoral observers, and human rights monitors. More bureaucracy, more office HQs needed as activities expanded, not only related to peace-keeping but as a result of new roles in global intervention that the UN was taking upon itself from the 1970’s onwards.

New and expanded agencies, this is what bureaucrats do. From that U.N. original official headquarters in Geneva to the official HQ General Assembly in New York, and the International Court at The Hague, the U.N. proceeded to set up regional offices to house its expanding specialized agencies, in Washington … U.N. International Monetary System, and its education organization, UNESCO, in Rome … the Food and Agriculture Organization, in Paris…the Science and Cultural Organization, in Vienna … Industry and Development Organization and there were other HQ’s in Nairobi and Montreal. Geneva became HQ for the International Labour Organization and also for the World Health Organization and the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization.

Expansion details. In 1983, the U.N.General Assembly convened the World Commission on Environment and Development, also called the Brundtland Commission. This Commission, chaired by Gro Harlem Bruntland, was charged with finding a long term solution to environmental problems of ozone depletion and global warming, a solution involving processes of managing national resources and processes of international cooperation. The Brundtland Report, published in 1987 as Our Common Future, stated that the time had come for a marriage between the environment and the economy involving a changed economic model and new mode of governance. It introduced the term ‘sustainable development,’ a prescription to ensure that economic development would not endanger the ability of future generations to enjoy the fruits of the earth. From the Report:

‘ The challenge of finding sustainable development paths ought to provide the impetus – indeed the imperative – for a renewed search for multilateral solutions and a restructured international economic system of co-operation. These challenges cut across the divides of national sovereignty, of limited strategies for economic gain, and of separated disciplines of science.’ ‘Our Common Future. From One Earth to One World.’ Gro Harlem Brundtland.Oslo.1987

Agenda 21, Sustainable Development. – we’ll get to it eventually …

Say, What’s Behind the Green Door?

Behind Agenda 21, blueprint for global governance there’s the United Nations’ Brundtland Report recommendation for a new economic model and first mention of Sustainable Development, with a capital ‘S’ and a capital ‘D.’ Behind the Brundtland Report you have the Trilateral Commission, an elite organization with powerful members, bankers, directors of industry, politicians, media heavies. Gro Brundtland, ex-Prime-Minister of Norway, was herself a member. And what do the members of the Trilateral Commission want? Why, they want a new world order, a world order based on an economic model first advocated by a group at Columbia University during the economic depression of the 1930’s but discredited in the same decade. In the 1980’s this movement for a new world order became another phoenix arising, thanks to the efforts of the Trilateral Commission. Here’s an informative you tube overview of its history by Patrick M. Wood, financial analyst and author who has studied elite globalization policies since the 1970s when with scholar Antony Sutton, he co-authored the book, ‘Trilaterals over Washington.’ https://tragedyandhope.com/technocracy-trilaterals-tpp-an-interview-with-patrick-wood/

The Trilateral Commission was created in 1973 by David Rockefeller and political scientist, Zbigniew Brzezinski, (author of the book,’ Between Two Ages: America in the Technetronic Era,’) with the stated aim of fostering a global technocracy to manage the world’s resources efficiently… Say, I’ve read the Brzezinski book, found it depressingly reminiscent of the philosopher king, Plato, in Karl Popper’s ‘Open Society and Its Enemies,’ Plato with his Master Plan for Utopia ruled by an elite oligarchy. Similarly, Brzezinski’s and Rockerfeller’s Commission, set up as a trilateral organization with members by invitation from North America, Europe and Japan. Since its inception it has co-opted an elite membership, including three U.S. Presidents, Carter, Clinton, Bush senior, powerful people like Kissinger, Greenspan, Al Gore, Soros, and later, Democrat Party members including John Podesta and Dianne Feinstein. Eric Schmidt of Google is a member. In a statement to ‘The New American,’ Patrick Wood stated the significance of the organization, ‘The Trilateral Commission was founded to create a new international order. Their members have been the architects and drivers of all modern globalization, including that which comes through the United Nations as Sustainable Development and Green Economy. Although the Trilateral Commission is international in scope, in the US they are more than just being part of the so-called Deep State, they are the Deep State!’

Powerful people with power aims. Rockefeller was a significant donor to the United Nations, its New York HQ occupies land gifted by him, not too difficult for him to foist their technocrat mission on the world via the United Nations via the Brundtland Commission. And so they have. From the Brundtland Commission to the Rio Earth Summit and Agenda 21. The U.N. itself gave credit to the Brundtland Commission for its creation.

So before I discuss some of its detail, take a look at the Agenda 21 voluminous 389 page master-plan by way of its content pages, a kind of global fly-over of a very detailed blue-print for the new international economic order, resources-based, resources-controlled and resources-rationed in the name of sustainable development and technocrat management.

And Tomorrow the World …

… Herewith the Agenda 21 contents in outline…

United Nations Conference on Environment & Development

Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992



1.Preamble. Paragraphs 1.1 – 1.6


2. International cooperation to accelerate sustainable development in developing countries and related domestic policies. Paragraphs 2.1 – 2.43
3. Combating poverty 3.1 – 3.12
4. Changing consumption patterns 4.1 – 4.27
5. Demographic dynamics and sustainability 5.1 – 5.66
6. Protecting and promoting human health conditions 6.1 – 6.46
7. Promoting sustainable human settlement development 7.1 – 7.80
8. Integrating environment and development in decision-making 8.1 – 8.54


9. Protection of the atmosphere 9.1 – 9.35
10. Integrated approach to the planning and management of land resources 10.1 – 10.18 11. Combating deforestation 11.1 – 11.40
12. Managing fragile ecosystems: combating desertification and drought 12.1 – 12.63
13. Managing fragile ecosystems: sustainable mountain development 13.1 – 13.24
14. Promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development 14.1 – 14.104
15. Conservation of biological diversity 15.1 – 15.11
16. Environmentally sound management of biotechnology 16.1 – 16.46
17. Protection of the oceans, all kinds of seas, including enclosed and semi-enclosed seas, and coastal areas and the protection, rational use and development of their living resources 17.1 – 17.136
18. Protection of the quality and supply of freshwater resources: application of integrated approaches to the development, management and use of water resources 18.1 – 18.90
19. Environmentally sound management of toxic chemicals, including prevention of illegal international traffic in toxic and dangerous products 19.1 – 19.76
20. Environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes, in hazardous wastes 20.1 – 20.46
21. Environmentally sound management of solid wastes and sewage-related issues 21.1 – 21.49
22. Safe and environmentally sound management of radioactive wastes 22.1 – 22.9


23. Preamble 23.1 – 23.4
24. Global action for women towards sustainable and equitable development 24.1 – 24.12 25. Children and youth in sustainable development 25.1 – 25.17
26. Recognizing and strengthening the role of indigenous people and their communities 26.1 – 26.9
27. Strengthening the role of non-governmental organizations: partners for sustainable development 27.1 – 27.13
28. Local authorities’ initiatives in support of Agenda 21 28.1 – 28.7
29. Strengthening the role of workers and their trade unions 29.1 – 29.14
30. Strengthening the role of business and industry 30.1 – 30.30
31. Scientific and technological community 31.1 – 31.12
32. Strengthening the role of farmers 32.1 – 32.14


33. Financial resources and mechanisms 33.1 – 33.21
34. Transfer of environmentally sound technology, cooperation and capacity-building 34.1 – 34.29
35. Science for sustainable development 35.1 – 35.25
36. Promoting education, public awareness and training 36.1 – 36.27
37. National mechanisms and international cooperation for capacity-building in developing countries 37.1 – 37.13
38. International institutional arrangements 38.1 – 38.45
39. International legal instruments and mechanisms 39.1 – 39.10
40. Information for decision making. 40.1 – 40.30

Plan for Utopia.

And now for the overview…

Following the Chapter 1 Preamble, Agenda 21 is set out in four sections.

Section 1, Social and Economic Dimensions: This section covers us humans and what we may consume…eat …use, where we may live and how we are to be allowed to develop. Significant chapters, Chapter 2, ‘International cooperation to accelerate sustainable development for all,’ Chapter 4, ‘Changing consumption patterns for sustainable development.’ Chapter 5, ‘Demographics and dynamics.’ Chapter 7. ‘Promoting habitable human settlement,’ and Chapter 8, ‘Integrating environment and development in decision making.’

Section 11, Conservation and Management of Resources Development: Well this is certainly comprehensive, fourteen chapters of precept and regulation, a new world order alright, bureaucrat control over air, land, and all living things thereon, our energy use, control of seas, rivers and other waterways, management of all waste products, ‘waste’ denoted by them to include CO2, a basis of life on earth, without it no plants and no us.

Section 111, Strengthening the Role of Major Groups: Getting everyone on board, but not as described by that UN first General Assembly in 1948, Everyone has the right to take part in the government of the country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

Agenda 21 is not about individual involvement in decision making, it is about your role as part of a collective, you are subsumed by your role ( in which the planned Delphi process prevails, plenary discussion but the outcomes are foreordained,) you are a member of the women’s group, an indigenous group, a worker group, or your role is defined as part of a business group, a science-technology group or farmers’ group, some ironic 1984 newspeak here ‘strengthening the role of farmers,’ as more and more regulations are being imposed on land use.

Section 1V, Means of Implementation … involving financing and costs You’ll get a shock when you go there. Some hefty estimated annual costs included in Means of Implementation… Utopias don’t come cheap, quite a drain on nation’s economies. So if you’re needing to get the citizens on board for all that costly and controlling regulation you have to be persuasive, consider that H.L. Mencken adage about keeping the populace alarmed and hence clamouring for government to save them. You have to scare people and here’s how you do it … by way of SCIENCE and GUILT, Global Warming caused by us! That’s Chapter 35, ‘Science for sustainability,’ messaging by the Inter-government Panel on Climate Change set up by the UN and charged with a mission to assess human caused global warming. Any wonder they found it, though their temperature models don’t match observations and they had to disappear past warming in the historical record to achieve it.

Further Means of Implementation in Agenda 21, Chapter 36, ‘Promoting education, public awareness and training.’ Have to get school children on board, the mandatory international Education Core-Curriculum teaches sustainability from Prep to Year 12, in every subject, even math. Public awareness by public broadcasters, listen to the pervasive advertising and admonitions of thou shouldst or thou shouldst not. Leaders of large news outlets, CNN and Time Magazine include Trilateral members, Google, remember that Trilateral Commission connection, Google is censoring information. So now let’s give it some teeth.L-A-W-Law, Chapter 38, ‘International legal instruments and mechanisms,’ they’re by-passing nation’s laws here, now isn’t that contra to… The will of the people shall be the basis of authority of governments; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent voting procedures. More on legal means of implementation later.

So let’s take a look at Chapter 1, the Preamble, a mix of noble cause motherhood statement and observing H.L.Mencken’s fear and alarm comment:

‘Humanity stands at a defining moment in history. We are confronted with a perpetuation of disparities between and within nations, a worsening of poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy, and the continuing deterioration of the ecosystems on which we depend, for our well being. However, integration of environment and development concerns and greater attention to them will lead to the fulfillment of basic needs, improved living standards for all, better protected and managed ecosystems and a safer, more prosperous future.’

‘Trust us,’ says the United Nations Organization:

‘No Nation can achieve this on its own , but together we can – in a global partnership for sustainable development’ – ‘This global partnership must build on the premises of General Assembly 44/228 when the nations of the world called for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.’

Some doubtful calls in the above. Those claims of worsening standards of living? Not according to Hans Rosling showing data from World Census stats. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usdJgEwMinM That call for U.N. assistance? Can’t remember when we were asked. Decisions from afar, we the people don’t get to vote on those treaties and conventions that can have such a pervasive effect on our lives. You see the effect with that case study for technocrat management, the European Union, where fiat decision making has brought currency crises, high youth unemployment http://www.ruthfullyyours.com/2015/07/03/andrew-stuttaford-what-the-euro-has-wrought/ and social problems from unchecked immigration programs.

So now let’s take a closer look at some of the content in Agenda 21.

The Devil’s in the Detail.

In nice bureaucratic patterning the chapters in each of the four sections are set out in terms of ‘Basis for Action,’ ‘Objectives,’ ‘Activities’ and ‘Means of Implementation.’ Each chapter has segments, Part a. parts b and c, and some even go to parts j and k and l.

One of those chapters with parts a to l is Chapter 14, ‘Promoting Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development,’ the U.N SARD program that extends to 24 pages of prescripts and program areas for technocratic implementation. It certainly comes as quite a drain on national economies. Totaling the estimated average annual costs, years 1993 to 2000, for Chapter 14 alone, programs a to l, exceeded two trillion dollars.

Promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development is a very big issue in Agenda 21. Thing is, that as a basis for action, by year 2025, with an expected population of 8.5 billion, and that UN ‘SARD’ program objective, there’s quite a lot of land has to be taken out of the equation. There’s all that less productive land ear-marked for conservation, so remaining farms have to work better and that means more government direction of farmers, hence the long activities list below. In section a of Chapter 14, item 14.9, outlining its many policy prescripts, there’s an opening phrase you’ll find repeated at (14.13) (14.14) (14.15) and many times thereafter… ‘Government at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should’…

Herewith: 14.9:
‘Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:
a. Carry out national policy reviews related to food security including adequate levels and stability of food supply and access to food by all households;
b. Review national and regional agricultural policy in relation, inter alia, to foreign trade, price policy, exchange rate policies, agricultural subsidies and taxes, as well as organization for regional economic integration;
c. Implement policies to influence land tenure and property rights positively with due recognition of the minimum size of land-holding required to maintain production and check further fragmentation;
d. Consider demographic trends and population movements and identify critical areas for agricultural production;
e. Formulate, introduce and monitor policies, laws and regulations and incentives leading to sustainable agricultural and rural development and improved food security and to the development and transfer of appropriate farm technologies, including, where appropriate, low-input sustainable agricultural (LISA) systems;
f. Support national and regional early warning systems through food-security assistance schemes that monitor food supply and demand and factors affecting household access to food;
g. Review policies with respect to improving harvesting, storage, processing, distribution and marketing of products at the local, national and regional levels;
h. Formulate and implement integrated agricultural projects that include other natural resource activities, such as management of rangelands, forests, wildlife, as appropriate;
i. Promote social and economic research and policies that encourage sustainable agriculture development, particularly in fragile ecosystems and densely populated areas;

In the above list from section a … (hope you’re following the sections and sub-sections bureau-format … think Russian wooden dolls, inside each, another…) you’ll see lots of information gathering words, ‘identify’, ‘collect,’ ‘review,’ ‘monitor.’ Technocrats rely on big data collection to socially engineer us and dictate what, when, how resources are to be managed. Imbedded in most chapters in ‘activities,’ you’ll find mention of the importance of setting up national and international data bases.

In the list above, there’s also reference, at 14.9 d, to ‘identifying critical areas for agricultural production,’ ‘critical,’ by implication, meaning a fragile area to be protected from development. In chapter 14, one of the objectives of Section E, Land conservation and rehabilitation , is to create programs ‘leading to the reclamation of degraded lands and the conservation of areas at risk, and to improving the general planning, management and utilization of land resources.’ These programs, including the UN ‘Debt for Nature Swaps,’ DNS, and World Wide Fund for Nature Population Resettlement action, have had controversial outcomes. The UN program ‘Debt for Nature Swaps’ financing solutions for Sustainable Development is presented at its posted site by the statement.: ‘Debt for Nature Swaps, DNS can mobilize resources for protecting nature while reducing the debt burden of developing nations…Agreement that reduces a developing country’s debt stock or services in exchange for a commitment to protect nature from the debtor government … The savings from the reduced debt services are invested in conservation projects.’

Not a win-win exchange, however, when large tracts of land can no longer be utilized by the people and are now managed by outsiders, where hefty transaction costs paid for by the debtors and people like the Barhwa pygmies of Zaire, the Batwa pygmies of Rwanda and the Sanje bush people in Kenya have been driven from their ancestral lands to make way for national conservation parks, all managed in part by WWF people.

Give me land lots of land under starry skies above, tra la..

There’s also a land acquisition program taking place in developed nations as per Chapter 15 .3 of Agenda 21 proposing ‘urgent and decisive action’ to be taken ‘to conserve and maintain genes, species and ecosystems with a view to the sustainable management and use of biological resources.’ The UN-designed Wildlands Project, a master plan of Agenda 21, is part of the design to transform land from public ownership to large tracts of no-go wilderness managed by technocrats, each eco-area protected by buffer zones and with designated corridors linking human habitation areas. In the United States, in 1993, the Clinton Administration adopted the Agenda 21 Wildlands Project Plan and here it is, easily available on the internet.


Agenda 21, Chapter 7, Promoting human settlement development , is the program design whereby almost everybody is to be herded into cities for sustainable development. A framework for strengthening management recommended at 7.16. is the ‘United Nations Development Programme /World Bank/United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) Urban Management Programme (UMP), Its coverage should be extended to all interested countries during the period 1993- 2000.’

An allied program to the UN Habitat Sustainable Cities Programme is ICLEI the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. Section 7.21. Agenda 21, specifically recommends involvement with ICLEI, not surprising since ICLEI was responsible for preparing the Local Council section of Agenda 21.

A lot of local councils have already adopted Agenda 21 initiatives under names like ‘A Greener City.’ What these programs envisage is a way of life in cities across four domains of ecology, economics, politics and culture, the sustainable city that will feed itself with a sustainable reliance on surrounding countryside, power itself with renewable energy and produce the smallest conceivable ecological footprint and climate change impact. In my home town in OZ, the Melbourne City Council is already on board with new building codes for sustainable development. More high-rise development along public transport systems, punitive rates charges on single dwellings, bike zones on main roads and controls on energy use, twin planks of technocrat control, land use and energy , item 7.3, in their Greening City Policy.

7.3.1 Introduce five-star energy ratings for all new residential buildings into the Victorian Building Regulations, and promote and encourage the inclusion of new energy efficiency standards for commercial development in the Building Code of Australia
7.3.2 Implement planning policies on renewable energy, starting with guidelines for wind farms, in order to integrate the Government’s policy of support for renewable energy resources across the State with the planning system
7.3.3 Support the development of a series of energy-efficient, greenhouse friendly demonstration projects, for example, Epping North as a sustainable suburb
7.3.4 Ensure that all Major Projects Victoria developments incorporate high levels of energy efficiency
7.3.5 Update the Victoria Planning Provisions and related guidelines to reflect and support the goals and directions of the Victorian Greenhouse Strategy
7.3.6 Introduce changes to Victoria’s planning and building systems that will be needed to help adapt to the impacts of climate change – following the completion of a three-year CSIRO research program funded by the Government

L-A-W – LAW.

Bears repeating, United Nations 1948: Everyone has the right to take part in the government of the country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

There’s a Quadrant Magazine article * by Professor of Law at Queensland University, Australia., James Allan, ‘The Problem of Creeping International Legal Rule,’ September 2016, that explores the ways in which two kinds of International Law exert undemocratic influence on domestic law.(* Should be available online but Google tells me ‘No,’)

The first is by way of ambiguously phrased UN International Treaties that play an increasingly large and influential role in determining judicial outcomes compared to less ambiguous, domestic regulations, international treaties which have been formulated without any citizen input. The second type of international law, known as customary law, is a non-treaty sort of international law that can flow on from treaties and have influence on local judicial decision making although it has never been agreed to by any accountable legislators. Who gets to make these decisions are publicists, legal academics who have no democratic warrant whatsoever, and as James Allan points out, as a group ‘may well have political and moral views that diverge from those of the general public.’ And James Allan notes, regarding the election of this group of people into the International Court of Justice, many of them from non-democracies, a great deal of horse trading takes place, a method of selecting International Court judges that Allan describes as ‘opaque,’ The article is a detailed description of ways, via International Law, that a nation’s voters are overwhelmingly locked out when it comes to resolving debatable social policies.

Well that’s it cits, Agenda 21 globalist Utopia? What do we do, it’s over to you and me and us. Gotta’ get political parties representing us at the national level. Say, doesn’t everyone have the right to take part in the government of the country, directly or through freely chosen representatives ?



Part 2. Male Singers and their Songs.

For Jack A., Another songster.

The Darkling Thrush.

I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land’s sharp features seemed to be
The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong *
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.


Thomas Hardy.

*… ‘In a full-hearted evensong,’ … ‘I am here!’

If you’ve skipped Part 1 of ‘The Singer and the Song,’ about women singers and popular music from the 1940’s to the 1990’s, I’m arguing, contra to studies of modern music claiming a dumbing-down post the 1950’s, that there’s a lot of musical creativity out there, right up to the 1990’s, when the music industry was taken over by a few dominant commercial companies. These stranglehold production companies are ‘manufacturing’ music aimed at mass audiences via controlled outlets, resulting in a decline in popular music as noted, decrease in harmony, timbre and metric complexity, increased volume and dumbing-down of song lyrics.

But listen to many male singers and their songs, 1940’s-1980’s, there’s a rich fusion of sense and sound to be found across genres, a gamut of emotions from affirmation to angst, from complaint to contemplation. But here’s the thing, unlike the instinctive signaling of that Darkling Thrush, likely to be directly received just as instinctively by another thrush, these songs about feeling, to which we respond, are ‘about’ emotion, not emotion expressed per se. We may be ‘wired’ for music, that throbbing drumbeat, but it’s more complex than bird song signaling and response. No natural equivalence exists inherently between musical sounds and feelings, but rather, we’re disposed to metaphor, to seeking equivalences of musical experiences to feelings and values … the ‘positive’ major key, the ‘negative’ minor key, … the fast, ‘lilting’ beat, the slow, ‘sad’ beat. Music explores metaphor. And there’s a context thing of culture and genre –we’re a-tune to it.

Songs of Affirmation.

Hey, irresistible conjunction. – Frank Sinatra, 1962, singing Cole Porter’s, ‘I Get a Kick Out of You,’ from the 1934 musical, ‘Anything Goes,’

Affirmation, but its not straight forward, despite the musical harmony and lyrical rendering by the Nelson Riddle orchestra. Affirmation, but sophisticated, there’s that introduction, …‘fighting vainly the old ennui, …’ There’s that complex metre, the opening verses’ one-two, see-saw beat, …champagne and cocaine don’t do it for him, then the transition to the smoother long vowel rhythm of the third verse…‘I-i get a kick every ti-ime I see-e you sta-anding the-ere befo-ore me-e…’ And fusion of sense and sound, that metrical stress on the words, ‘kick, ‘ and ‘I’ and ‘You.’

Footnote: Cole Porter’s song, it’s a classic, played a lot. Sophisticated Mel Brooks sends it up, has a railway work-team trial it as a work-song in ‘Blazing Saddles.’

Leonard Cohen, poet before he became a singer/song-writer, does the range, affirmation to angst. In his song, ‘Dance Me to the End of Love,’ released in 1984, there’s affirmation with undertones. It’s a Wedding Celebration song, … ‘Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on,’ … ‘Dance me to the children who are waiting to be born,’ … affirmation suggestd by the steady 4/4 beat and musical harmony, the chorus alto background and lyrical pathway music by a singing violin. But kinda’ bitter-sweet, those alto deep undertones, the violin singing in minor key. It is a love song but Cohen recounts part of its mysterious origins, his image of ‘burning violins’ being influenced by the World War 11 Holocaust where Jewish prisoners were pressed into playing classical music while other prisoners were being killed.

An English minstrel, Andy Partridge, singer-songwriter of the band, XTC, ‘Senses Working Overtime’ from the 1982 album ‘English Settlement.’ Listen to the medieval -sounding opening, acoustic guitar of Partridge, followed by a bass line and legato slides, hint of a tambourine, original drumming. The medieval imagery, ‘Hey-hey, the clouds are whey /there’s straw for the donkey/ and the innocents can all sleep safely, / all sleep safe-ly,’ and images celebrating the sensory world, ‘Senses working over-time/ trying to tell the difference/between lemon and lime/ pain and pleasure and/the church bells softly chime.’

That ol’ Angst Feeling.

From affirmation to angst, or, rather, in the next three songs, more feelings of regret for something past, than the unfocused malaise of angst. Paul McCartney, singer-songwriter and his song, ‘Yesterday,’one of my favourite songs evah. I like this version, 1965, because it’s where it began, and we hear Paul McCartney as a young minstrel. Look at the intricate patterning, sort of like 15th century poet, Thomas Wyatt’s poems about lost love, listen to its rhythmical rhyming, ‘Yesterday,’ ‘here to stay,’ ‘suddenly,’ ‘used to be,’ ‘shadow hanging over me,’ ‘she wouldn’t say,’ and continuing to the last stanza, ‘Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play,/ Now I need a place to hide away,/ Oh I believe in yesterday/’ There’s a subtle change of pattern in the third stanza, two lyric lines, then a descending scale of four minor chords, implying reflection without words.

Yves Montand, French chanteur, and classic song, ‘Autumn Leaves,’ ‘Les Feuilles Mortes,’ famous in French and in English, composed in 1945 by Hungarian-French song writer, Joseph Kosma, lyrics by Jacques Prevert, English lyrics by American song writer, Johnny Mercer. It’s another famous song about regret, written in minor key, a song of harmonic balance, of ascending then descending motifs, a composition of lovely restraint. It seems fitting Yves Montand singing it at the end of a long career.

Gordon Lightfoot singer, song writer and this, another favourite…mmm, his song written in 1970, ‘If You Could Read My Mind, Love.’ There’s a seeming simplicity, but it’s an artful simplicity, doesn’t even need the accompanying orchestral backing, lovely as it is, there’s that harmonic counter-point of voice and guitar, subtle vibration of the singer’s voice, the ‘sad’ oscillating rhythm, descending chords of ‘I don’t know where we went wrong / but the feeling’s gone/and I just can’t get it back.’ And there’s the poetry of the lyrics, not metaphor but simile, ‘Just like an old time movie/’bout a ghost in a wishing well,’…‘the hero will be me…’ I particularly like this kayak video with the song, the vulnerable craft ending up in the reeds.

How goes the world about? … A subject of Complaint.

Angst lifts up a register to complaint. No one does it better than Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan singing ‘Mr Tambourine Man,’ at Newport Festival in 1964, voice more penetrating than musical, but his vocal’ I am here,’ no less vigorous than the song of Hardy’s darkling thrush. And Dylan is more explorative in song and messaging than any song bird, his creative music history spans half a century, singer-songwriter, performer on guitar, keyboard and harmonica, his music crosses genres. In his recording career, Dylan has explored many of the traditions in American song—from reinvigorating folk music, to blues, gospel and rock and roll. Backed by a changing lineup of musicians, he has toured steadily since the late 1980s on what has been dubbed “the Never Ending Tour.’ In 2017 Dylan released an album, ‘Triplical,’ comprising 30 new recordings of classic songs such as ‘As Time Goes By.’ And still going, few musicians as prolific as Bob Dylan.

Bet yr thought I’d left out Elvis? No way! Elvis Presley, one of the legendary rock’n roll performers of the 1950’s-60’s. burst on to the rock scene like a bombshell in January, 1956, with the song, ‘Heartbreak Hotel… ‘Although it’s always crowded, (dah-dah) / You still can find some room, (dah-dah) / For broken hearted lovers / To cry there in the gloom, /’ ‘Heartbreak Hotel,’ written by high school teacher, Mae Boren Axton, sung and performed by Elvis, was top of the hit parade in the US for seven consecutive weeks.’ In 2004, it was named as one of the 500 greatest songs evah.

… So was it the gyrating performance by Elvis as he played his rhythmic guitar accompaniment that made him so famous? Partly, but also the voice, range of three octaves, rich timbre of low notes, – Elvis was a singer!

FULL volume and action in the Elvis tradition, another awesome voice and a tour de force performance, Freddie Mercury, and Queen group singing and playing Freddie’s musical composition, ‘Somebody to Love.’

In Part 1 of ‘Singer and Song’ I present research claims that over decades there’s been increasing volume and repetition in popular music. You’ll certainly find volume and repetition here, but don’t be fooled, listen to the long melody, harmony of the symphonic guitar orchestration, the intricate metre, insistent drum beat and rich vocal harmonics in the tradition of gospel singing. And Freddie’s singing! He has the range and musicality that allows just a few great artists the freedom to play dangerously with motifs and surprise and delight us.

Before I show the stage performance, listen to this, voices and lyrics in a complex interplay.

Herewith, the performance, more peacock or lyre-bird display than darkling thrush song. : -) Freddie Mercury on keyboard.

In our classification of songs and feelings, where do we place singer-songwriter David Byrne of ‘Talking Heads’ and his song ‘Once in a Lifetime?’ Sophisticated metre and performance. ‘You may find yourself in a shotgun shack /And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile/ You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife,’/ You may ask yourself, ‘Well, how did I get here?’ – Lyric melody, quirky puppet on a string performance, strangeness is part of the Western Cannon, ask Harold Bloom … from Dante Alighieri to Lewis Carroll …

Music and musing…Contemplation…

Contemplation, hmmm…guess when you’re floating a hundred thousand miles above Planet Earth you do think about things…

That communication, Ground Control to Major Tom, and then … such varied emotional charges evoked by the three scenarios. Gravitas of the first scenario, slow drum beat and then drum rattle as in a military parade, deep voice of the singer. Second scenario, triumphant highlight, mission achieved! David Bowie’s voice has been recorded so that he sings a back-up harmony with himself, a guitar riff, chords ascending, of affirmation. Then a lovely lyrical verse, listen to the poetic assonance of the second line, ‘For here / I am sitting in a tin can, / Far away, / Planet Earth is blue, /And there’s nothing I can do.’ Scenario three, insistent, urgent question, ‘Can you hear me Major Tom? / Can you …’ Ends with those shimmering space effects. David Bowie’s Space ‘Odditity,’ subtle creation, … took some concentration. Listen to it twice.

Meanwhile Earthlinks … a finale of affirmation is called for, despite all. What better than The Traveling Wilburys, ‘End of the Line,’ from their second album. The ‘Traveling Wilburys were a British-American super-group consisting of George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison. The band recorded two albums, the first in 1988 and the second in 1990, though Orbison died before the second was recorded. In the video you’ll see a rocking chair for missing member, Roy Orbison. You might also like to listen to that first album with the five singers all present.





Part 1. Female Singers and Songs


The Aim Was Song.

Before man to blow to right
The wind once blew itself untaught,
And did its loudest day and night
In any rough place where it caught.

Man came to tell it what was wrong;
It hadn’t found the place to blow;
It blew too hard – the aim was song.
And listen how it ought to go!

He took a little in his mouth,
And held it long enough to north
To be converted into south,
And then by measure blew it forth.

By measure. It was word and note,
The wind, the wind had meant to be –
A little through the lips and throat,
The aim was song – the wind could see.

Robert Frost

A brief preamble.

‘Singers and songs,’ here being mainly songs of yesteryear, state of pop music being what it is today…There’s a survey doing the rounds says that pop music is louder, dumber, less harmonious than in days of yore. Hmmm, look, I don’t need a survey to tell me about pop music today, hear enough of it in shopping plazas and emporiums, on TV, ‘The Voice,’ you hear it on the radio every time you switch on a dial. I could play some of it for you from the internet, but life’s too short to suffer that mechanical beat, the banal repetitious chorus, that signature two-note whoop, ‘ Eey-oh – ee-ey-oh’ that’s taken up everywhere by frenzied, arm-waving, adolescent audiences.

Well, I suppose, having mentioned the survey, I should give some details, but with these provisos…In recent times there’ve been quite a few flawed surveys out there, even, gasp, pre-supposed, scientific surveys – observed to fail on grounds of bias, poor measurement techniques or design to produce some designated marketing outcome. And this one, too, likely has its flaws. When you’re dealing with the arts, interaction of music and lyrics, say, nullius in verba and be wary of number crunching data. And so, herewith…

Researchers at the Spanish National Research Council ran recordings from all genres of popular music from the period 1955-2010, (the ‘Million Song Dataset,’) through a series of algorithms to analyze harmonic complexity, timbral diversity and loudness. Their study, ‘Measuring the Evolution of Contemporary Western Popular Music,’ http://www.nature.com/articles/srep00521 found that since the 50’s there has been a decrease in harmonic complexity, not only in the diversity of chords in songs but also in the musical pathways between chords, less inventiveness in linking their harmonies together, less creative and more commercial production, The study also found that timbres or distinct textures produced by different instruments playing the same notes have become more homogenous over time, and when it comes to volume, surprise, surprise, music is becoming, on average, steadily louder.

Doing the rounds there are also a few word-count studies of song lyrics in pop music, drawing a similar conclusion regarding complexity, a conclusion that ‘less equates with worse.’ One study by William Briggs measures repetition and ratio of unique words to total words of the most popular song in each year from 1950 to 2010, with the idea that, on average, a song that is more repetitive is worse than a song with more expansive lyrics. http://wmbriggs.com/post/4405/ He finds that, post 1980, there’s been quite a considerable drop in word uniqueness per song, with 2019 and 2010 favorites, ‘Boom Boom Pow’ and ‘Tik Tok’ lyrics matching the titles’ sophistication. Hey, while limited vocabulary may not necessarily equate with awfulness, in these two songs it does.

Now it follows that one swallow does not a summer make, nor does one top-of-the-pops song reveal all beneath the event horizon. And in judging artistic value, a statistical approach is unlikely to tell you much. However the above studies do suggest a problem of declining choice in the devices and means of artistic creation, limits of means to an end for the artist, limits of engagement for the audience. And highly significant are those references to market control by just a few dominant companies in the music industry in the last three decades, companies that commercially manufacture songs to promote the familiar and push their products to make them popular, by way of controlled outlets, to the least discerning of audiences.

The fusion of sense and sound.

Relating to complexity in language, there’s a rather highbrow study by Professor Russ McDonald http://research.gold.ac.uk/13363/ ‘ The Language of Tragedy,’ that examines the language of Shakespeare and his debt to Christopher Marlow. Marlow invented the iambic pentameter line that Shakespeare developed, using metre of varied beat and line enjambments to create the exceptional speech of his tragic protagonists, a fusion of figurative language and complex rhythms, like these lines from Macbeth …‘Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow / Creeps in this petty pace from day to day / To the last syllable of recorded time. / And all our yesterdays have lighted fools / The way to dusty death.’

As Russ MacDonald argues, ‘The burgeoning of tragedy owed much to the invention of a poetic language suitable for it, unrhymed iambic pentameter, or blank verse.’ Writers prior to its development were hampered by prosodic forms like the fourteen syllable line that tended to split in two, producing a clumsy monotony, and a defined line ending necessitated by the demands of rhyming verse.

Say, the rhythm of good verse is the rhythm of thought. Listen to Alexander Pope:

‘True ease in writing comes from Art, not chance,
As those who move easiest who have learned to dance.
‘Tis not enough no harshness gives offence,
The sound must seem an echo to the sense.’

Adding another gamut.

As in poetry, likewise in music, thanks to what Ernst Gombrich describes as ‘the infinite elasticity of the human mind,’ our use of metaphor, of finding ‘equivalences in disparate phenomena and of substituting one for another,’ ( ‘Meditations on a Hobby Horse,’ P 14.) Because of our predilection for metaphor, we are able to respond to a musical experience as the equivalent of a moral value or a transference from one sensory experience to another, -‘a noble chorus,’ ‘ a velvet tone,’ ‘cheerful polka’ or even ‘a grim scherzo.’ And thanks to the evolution of music’s means, musical structures, chords, major and minor keys, all the symphonic and instrumental developments of classical music, even a song without words can suggest to us aspects of the human condition, from deep, elemental, human emotions to ordered, harmonious, ‘civilized’ experience. And sometimes, says Kenneth Clark, speaking of opera, that which is ‘too silly to be said may be sung.’(‘Civilization.’ Ch 9. The Pursuit of Happiness.) The fusion between sense and sound in music can be complicated, even ironic.

So let’s listen to some popular songs and their singers. I’m starting with the 1930s, one of the great periods of song writers like Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter and George and Ira Gershwin, their classic songs still sung in the decades beyond the 30’s, you’ll hear them today.

So what do singers sing about? The passing seasons, love, loneliness, almost anything to do with feelings and the human condition. Listen to the bell like notes of Ella Fitzgerald, in contrast to the gritty voice of Lois Armstrong, singing the classic Gershwin song, ‘Summertime.’ Here’s a fusion of sound and sense, harmonic complexity, musical pathways, tone, lyrics, things are on the up and up. Hear it in the metre, extended beat of key words ‘ suuhm-muh ti-ime’ ‘ the living is ‘ ea-easy,’ in the images, ‘fish are jumping, and the cotton is high,’ emphasis on words of summer plenitude, music soars, high notes of violins, Louis Armstrong beautiful trumpet and Ella’s voice…

Who can forget Ginger and Fred dancing ‘cheek to cheek,’ one of Irving Berlin’s best songs. That dance scene! https://beththeserf.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/37th-edition-serf-under_ground-journal/ Here Irving Berlin’s song sung by Ella Fitzgerald.

The sophisticated Cole Porter exploits the four-four beat kind in the manner of Shakespeare exploiting the possibilities of the iambic pentameter. His song, ‘Night and Day’ begins with just one note repeated over and over, words and metre combining to express a feeling of incessant longing…

‘Like the beat, beat, beat of the tom tom / When the jungle shadows fall / Like the tick, tick tock of the stately clock /As it stands against the wall, / Like the drip, drip drip of the rain drops / When the summer shower’s through, /A voice within me keeps repeating, /You, you, you.’

Metrical stress falls on the words, ‘you’, ‘the one,’ ‘night and day,’ and its inverse, ‘day and night’ to convey the lover’s state of mind. And Frances Faye gets it and literally ‘plays’ with it, accompanying herself on the piano as she sings Cole Porter’s song with witty improvisations that emphasize the song’s complexity.

In the early forties, young movie star, Judy Garland, singing one of Jerome Kern’s loveliest songs.

Judy Garland does ‘some day’ so well and repeats it in another song, ‘Over the Rainbow,’ composed by Harold Arien. Here she is in 1939 in ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ – with Toto.

It’s the 1940’s, can’t have famous songs and singers without Piaf, French chanteuse, and that song, ‘La Vie on Rose.’ ‘Quand il me prend dans ses bras / il me parle tout bas / je vois la vie en rose.’ A song of affirmation in sound and in sense, and Piaf’s distinctive voice!

Passing over some powerful vocalists and songs of the 50’s and 60’s, going for lyricism and poetry here, Astrud Gilberto singing ‘Corcovado.’

‘Quiet nights and quiet stars, quiet chords from my guitar / Floating on the silence that surrounds us. / Quiet thoughts in quiet dreams, quiet walks by quiet streams, / Climbing hills where lovers go to watch the world below, together.’

So lovely, murmuring conversation between voice and saxophone in minor key, falling rhythm, anapestic beat replacing the firm iambic beat, emphasis on and repetition of the word , ‘quiet,’ sound and imagery fuse as metaphor for private intimacy…

If you enjoyed that, then listen to this, also sung by Astrud Gilberto, Roger and Hammerstein’s ‘ It Might As Well be Spring,’ from the musicale, ‘State Fair.’ I can’t present it as a stand alone url, you need to listen the second song in the album., ‘The Bossa Nova Years.’

Generally the song is sung as musicale introduction to the forthcoming teen-age romance, emphasis sentimental. Here in minor key and a fraction off key, a complaining duet by soloist and saxophone, a witty exploitation of the negatives that the lyrics list: ‘It isn’t even Spring,’ ‘I haven’t seen a crocus or a rose bud,’ and of the negative feelings expressed, ‘restless,’ ‘ jumpy,’ ‘vaguely discontented.’ It’s a subversive rearrangement of the original song to focus on the uncertainties and painful emotions of adolescent romance. Notice in those closing bars, the dissonance by singer and saxophone.

Singers and songs of the 70’s, 80’s, you’re getting song plus dance movements here, stagey performance that sometimes distracts from the song. You’ve got soul singers, the powerful voices of Diana Ross and the Supremes, Tina Turner and, gasp, Aretha Franklin. Strong rhythm and assertive performance, not quite to my taste but these vocalists are good! And 1970’s ‘New Wave’ they call it, some quirky singer-song writers of songs with complex rhythms, Lene Lovit, ‘Lucky Number’s one,’ Kate Bush, the lyrical ‘Wuthering Heights.’

Pop music, expect street smart songs about love and battle of the sexes, tough lyrics. What you get with two singer-songwriters, Blondie, Debbie Harrie, ‘Heart off Glass’ and Madonna, ‘Borderline,’ are songs of intricate metre and lovely melody. Madonna is known for pushing the boundaries with lyrics, ‘Like a Virgin,’ but here in ‘Borderline,’ listen to the harmonic arrangement. The film-clip portrays bravado street-culture and brat behavior, but hear Madonna’s refined singing tone, it’s a love song, and look at her expressive acting!

Annie Lenox from Aberdeen where the weather ain’t good. ‘Here Comes the Rain Again.’ Atmospheric, Annie Lennox rich contralto voice, sometimes muted choral back-up, staccato violins, drum beat pulsing like beating rain, harmonic complexities, don’t overlook those musical pathways, lyrics …

Well that’s it, but as every song should have its appropriate ending, so, too, an essay on singer’s and songs. Herewith, Piaf, ‘qui ne regrette rien.’


The Miracle of Vision …The Making of the Eye.

Writing to a colleague in 1860, Darwin confided that there was a time when thinking about the evolution of the complex eye made him ‘cold all over.’

A Dark, Inscrutable Workmanship?

Any wonder Darwin’s comment when you read Sir Charles Sherrington’s essay on ‘The Making of the Eye,’ in his book ‘Man on his Nature.’ (1940.)

While Sherrington’s book presents the human mind and body as productions of natural forces that act upon the materials of our planet, his description of the intricate processes that are involved in the making of a human eye could possibly present to a reader as a case study of intelligent design. Herewith Charles Sherrington’s essay:

The Making of the Eye.

“Can then physics and chemistry out of themselves explain that a pin’s-head ball of cells in the course of so many weeks becomes a child? They more than hint that they can. A highly competent observer, after watching a motion-film photo-record taken with the microscope of a cell-mass in the process of making bone, writes: ‘Team-work by the cell-masses. Chalky spicules of bone-in-the-making shot across the screen, as if labourers were raising scaffold-poles. The scene suggested purposive behaviour by individual cells, and still more by colonies of cells arranged as tissues and organs.’ That impression of concerted endeavour comes, it is no exaggeration to say, with the force of a self-evident truth. The story of the making of the eye carries a like inference.

The eye’s parts are familiar even apart from technical knowledge and have evident fitness for their special uses. The likeness to an optical camera is plain beyond seeking. If a craftsman sought to construct an optical camera, let us say for photography, he would turn for his materials to wood and metal and glass. He would not expect to have to provide the actual motor power adjusting the focal length or the size of the aperture admitting light. He would leave the motor power out. If told to relinquish wood and metal and glass and to use instead some albumen, salt and water, he certainly would not proceed even to begin. Yet this is what that little pin’s-head bud of multiplying cells, the starting embryo, proceeds to do. And in a number of weeks it will have all ready. I call it a bud, but it is a system separate from that of its parent, although feeding itself on juices from its mother. And the eye it is going to make will be made out of those juices. Its whole self is at its setting out not one ten-thousandth part the size of the eye-ball it sets about to produce. Indeed it will make two eyeballs built and finished to one standard so that the mind can read their two pictures together as one. The magic in those juices goes by the chemical names, protein, sugar, fat, salts, water. Of them 80 per cent is water.

Water is the great menstruum of ‘life’. It makes life possible. It was part of the plot by which our planet engendered life. Every egg-cell is mostly water, and water is its first habitat. Water it turns to endless purposes; mechanical support and bed for its membranous sheets as they form and shape and fold. The early embryo is largely membranes. Here a particular piece grows fast because its cells do so. There it bulges or dips, to do this or that or simply to find room for itself. At some other centre of special activity the sheet will thicken. Again at some other place it will thin and form a hole. That is how the mouth, which at first leads nowhere, presently opens into the stomach. In the doing of all this, water is a main means.

The eye-ball is a little camera. Its smallness is part of its perfection. A spheroid camera. There are not many anatomical organs where exact shape counts for so much as with the eye. Light which will enter the eye will traverse a lens placed in the right position there. Will traverse; all this making of the eye which will see in the light is carried out in the dark. It is a preparing in darkness for use in light. The lens required is biconvex and to be shaped truly enough to focus its pencil of light at the particular distance of the sheet of photosensitive cells at the back, the retina. The biconvex lens is made of cells, like those of the skin but modified to be glass-clear. It is delicately slung with accurate centering across the path of the light which will in due time some months later enter the eye. In front of it a circular screen controls, like the iris-stop of a camera or microscope, the width of the beam and is adjustable, so that in a poor light more is taken for the image. In microscope, or photographic amera, this adjustment is made by the observer working the instrument. In the eye this adjustment is automatic, worked by the image itself!

The lens and screen cut the chamber of the eye into a front half and a back half, both filled with clear humour, practically water, kept under a certain pressure maintaining the eye-ball’s right shape. The front chamber is completed by a layer of skin specialised to be glass clear and free from blood-vessels which if present would with their blood throw shadows within the eye. This living glass-clear sheet is covered with a layer of tear-water constantly renewed. This tear-water has the special chemical power of killing germs which might inflame the eye. This glass-clear bit of skin has only one of the fourfold set of the skin-senses; its touch is always ‘pain’, for it should not be touched. The skin above and below this window grows into movable flaps, dry outside like ordinary skin, but moist inside so as to wipe the window clean every minute or so from any specks of dust, by painting over it fresh tear-water.

The light-sensitive screen at the back is the key-structure. It registers a continually changing picture. It receives, takes and records a moving picture life-long without change of ‘plate’, through every waking day. It signals its shifting exposures to the brain.

This camera also focuses itself automatically, according to the distance of the picture interesting it. It makes its lens ‘stronger’ or ‘weaker’ as required. This camera also turns itself in the direction of the view required. It is moreover contrived as though with forethought of self-preservation. Should danger threaten, in a moment its skin shutters close protecting its transparent window. And the whole structure, with its prescience and all its efficiency, is produced by and out of specks of granular slime arranging themselves as of their own accord in sheets and layers and acting seemingly on an agreed plan. That done, and their organ complete, they abide by what they have accomplished. They lapse into relative quietude and change no more. It all sounds an unskilful overstated tale which challenges belief. But to faithful observation so it is. There is more yet.

The little hollow bladder of the embryo-brain, narrowing itself at two points so as to be triple, thrusts from its foremost chamber to either side a hollow bud. This bud pushes toward the overlying skin. That skin, as though it knew and sympathized, then dips down forming a cuplike hollow to meet the hollow brain-stalk growing outward. They meet. The round end of the hollow brain-bud dimples inward and becomes a cup. Concurrently, the in-growth from the skin nips itself free from its original skin. It rounds itself into a hollow ball, lying in the mouth of the brain-cup. Of this stalked cup, the optic cup, the stalk becomes in a few weeks a cable of a million nerve-fibres connecting the nerve-cells within the eye-ball itself with the brain. The optic cup, at first just a two-deep layer of somewhat simple-looking cells, multiplies its layers at the bottom of the cup where, when light enters the eye – which will not be for some weeks yet – the photo-image will in due course lie. There the layer becomes a fourfold layer of great complexity. It is strictly speaking a piece of the brain lying within the eye-ball. Indeed the whole brain itself, traced back to its embryonic beginning, is found to be all of a piece with the primordial skin – a primordial gesture as if to inculcate Aristotle’s maxim about sense and mind.

The deepest cells at the bottom of the cup become a photo-sensitive layer – the sensitive film of the camera. If light is to act on the retina – and it is from the retina that light’s visual effect is known to start – it must be absorbed there. In the retina a delicate purplish pigment absorbs incident light and is bleached by it, giving a light-picture. The photo-chemical effect generates nerve-currents running to the brain.

The nerve-lines connecting the photo-sensitive layer with the brain are not simple. They are in series of relays. It is the primitive cells of the optic cup, they and their progeny, which become in a few weeks these relays resembling a little brain, and each and all so shaped and connected as to transmit duly to the right points of the brain itself each light-picture momentarily formed and ‘taken’. On the sense-cell layer the ‘image’ has, picture-like, two dimensions. These space-relations ‘reappear’ in the mind; hence we may think their data in the picture are in some way preserved in the electrical patterning of the resultant disturbance in the brain. But reminding us that the step from electrical disturbance in the brain to the mental experience is the mystery it is, the mind adds the third dimension when interpreting the two dimensional picture! Also it adds colour; in short it makes a three dimensional visual scene out of an electrical disturbance.

All this the cells lining the primitive optic cup have, so to say, to bear in mind, when laying these lines down. They lay them down by becoming them themselves.

The human eye has about 137 million separate ‘seeing’ elements spread out in the sheet of the retina. The number of nerve-lines leading from them to the brain gradually condenses down to little over a million. Each of these has in the brain, we must think, to find its right nerve-exchanges. Those nerve-exchanges lie far apart, and are but stations on the way to further stations. The whole crust of the brain is one thick tangled jungle of exchanges and of branching lines going thither and coming thence. As the eye’s cup develops into the nervous retina all this intricate orientation to locality is provided for by corresponding growth in the brain. To compass what is needed adjacent cells, although sister and sister, have to shape themselves quite differently the one from the other. Most become patterned filaments, set lengthwise in the general direction of the current of travel. But some thrust out arms laterally as if to embrace together whole cables of the conducting system.

Nervous ‘conduction’ is transmission of nervous signals, in this case to the brain. There is also another nervous process, which physiology was slower to discover. Activity at this or that point in the conducting system, where relays are introduced, can be decreased even to suppression. This lessening is called inhibition; it occurs in the retina as elsewhere. All this is arranged for by the developing eye-cup when preparing and carrying out its million-fold connections with the brain for the making of a seeing eye. Obviously there are almost illimitable opportunities for a false step. Such a false step need not count at the time because all that we have been considering is done months or weeks before the eye can be used. Time after time so perfectly is all performed that the infant eye is a good and fitting eye, and the mind soon is instructing itself and gathering knowledge through it. And the child’s eye is not only an eye true to the human type, but an eye with personal likeness to its individual parent’. The many cells which made it have executed correctly a multitudinous dance engaging millions of performers in hundreds of sequences of particular different steps, differing for each performer according to his part. To picture the complexity and the precision beggars any imagery I have. But it may help us to think further.

There is too that other layer of those embryonic cells at the back of the eye. They act as the dead black lining of the camera; they with their black pigment kill any stray light which would blur the optical image. They can shift their pigment. In full daylight they screen, and at night they unscreen, as wanted, the special seeing elements which serve for seeing in dim light. These are the cells which manufacture the purple pigment, ‘visual purple’, which sensitizes the eye for seeing in low light.

Then there is that little ball of cells which migrated from the skin and thrust itself into the mouth of the eye-stalk from the brain. It makes a lens there; it changes into glass-clear fibres, grouped with geometrical truth, locking together by toothed edges. The pencil of light let through must come to a point at the right distance for the length of the eye-ball which is to be. Not only must the lens be glass-clear but its shape must be optically right, and its substance must have the right optical refractive index. That index is higher than that of anything else which transmits light in the body. Its two curved surfaces back and front must be truly centred on one and the right axis, and each of the sub-spherical curvatures must be curved to the right degree, so that, the refractive index being right, light is brought to a focus on the retina and gives there a shaped image. The optician obtains glass of the desired refractive index and skilfully grinds its curvatures in accordance with the mathematical formulae required. With the lens of the eye, a batch of granular skin-cells are told off to travel from the skin to which they strictly belong, to settle down in the mouth of the optic cup, to arrange themselves in a compact and suitable ball, to turn into transparent fibres, to assume the right refractive index, and to make themselves into a subsphere with two correct curvatures truly centred on a certain axis. Thus it is they make a lens of the right size, set in the right place, that is, at the right distance behind the transparent window of the eye in front and the sensitive seeing screen of the retina behind. In short they behave as if fairly possessed.

I would not give a wrong impression. The optical apparatus of the eye is not all turned out with a precision equal to that of a first-rate optical workshop. It has defects which disarm the envy of the optician. It is rather as though the planet, producing all this as it does, worked under limitations. Regarded as a planet which ‘would’, we yet find it no less a planet whose products lie open to criticism. On the other hand, in this very matter of the eye the process of its construction seems to seize opportunities offered by the peculiarity in some ways adverse of the material it is condemned to use. It extracts from the untoward situation practical advantages for its instrument which human craftsmanship could never in that way provide. Thus the cells composing the core of this living lens are denser than those at the edge. This corrects a focusing defect inherent in ordinary glass-lenses. Again, the lens of the eye, compassing what no glass-lens can, changes its curvature to focus near objects as well as distant when wanted for instance, when we read. An elastic capsule is spun over it and is arranged to be eased by a special muscle. Further, the pupil – the camera stop – is self-adjusting. All this without our having even to wish it; without even our knowing anything about it, beyond that we are seeing satisfactorily.

The making of this eye out of self-actuated specks which draw together and multiply and move as if obsessed with one desire namely to make the eye-ball. In a few weeks they have done so. Then, their madness over, they sit down and rest, satisfied to be life-long what they have made themselves, and, so to say, wait for death.

The chief wonder of all we have not touched on yet. Wonder of wonders, though familiar even to boredom. So much with us that we forget it all the time. The eye sends, as we saw, in to the cell-and-fibre forest of the brain throughout the waking day continual rhythmic streams of tiny, individually evanescent, electrical potentials. This throbbing streaming crowd of electrified shifting points in the spongework of the brain bears no obvious semblance in space-pattern, and even in temporal relation resembles but a little remotely the tiny two dimensional upside-down picture of the outside world which the eyeball paints on the beginnings of its nerve-fibres to the brain. But that little picture sets up an electrical storm. And that electrical storm so set up is one which affects a whole population of brain-cells, Electrical charges having in themselves not the faintest elements of the visual – having, for instance, nothing of ‘distance’, ‘right-side-upness”, nor ‘vertical’, nor ‘horizontal’, nor ‘colour’, nor ‘brightness’, nor ‘shadow’, nor ‘roundness’, nor ‘squareness”, nor contour’, nor ‘transparency’, nor ‘opacity’, nor ‘near’, nor ‘far’, nor visual anything – conjure up all these. A shower of little electrical leaks conjures up for me, when I look, the landscape; the castle on the height, or, when I look at him, my friend’s face, and how distant he is from me they tell me. Taking their word for it, I go forward and my other senses confirm that he is there.

It is a case of ‘the world is too much with us’; too banal to wonder at. Those other things we paused over, the building and shaping of the eye-ball, and the establishing of its nerve connections with the right points of the brain, all those other things and the rest pertaining to them we called in chemistry and physics and final causes to explain to us. And they did so, with promise of more help to come.

But this last, not the eye, but the ‘seeing’ by the brain behind the eye? Physics and chemistry there are silent to our every question. All they say to us is that the brain is theirs, that without the brain which is theirs the seeing is not. But as to how? They vouchsafe us not a word.”


Seeking Answers to Life’s Hard Questions.

In ‘The Origin of Species,’ Darwin describes his own response to the complex process of the making of the human eye:

‘To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection , seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree… ‘

Despite this initial reaction, Darwin famously concludes:

‘Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certainly the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case; and if every such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, should not be considered subversive of the theory.’ (The Origin of Species. Ch. 6.)

Intuitively we, that is, serfs like me, think we comprehend the simplest form of adaptive evolution, a direct process of an A1-A2-A3-A4 series of step change along a single axis, each step serving the same function as the one before, but doing it more effectively. More difficult for us to comprehend, regarding organs like the human eye, the complex transition from mere light-sensor animals, some in which the optic nerve is deeply buried in the body and serves some circadian function, to the simplest organ which can be called an eye, but without any lens or refractive body, and on to the image forming and image adjusting apparatus of the complex eye.

It appears, however, that in the evolution of eyes, each intermediary step along the way to perfect vision has benefits; half an X is better than no X at all. Even distinguishing light from darkness can be advantageous, and regarding function, Darwin observes:

‘We should be extremely cautious in concluding that an organ could not have been formed by transitional gradations of some kind. Numerous cases could be given amongst the lower animals of the same organ performing at the same time wholly distinct functions; thus in the dragonfly and in the fish Cobites, the alimentary canal respires, digests and excretes… In such cases natural selection might specialize if any advantage were thus gained, the whole or part of an organ, which had previously performed two functions, for one function alone, and thus by insensible steps greatly change its nature.’ (O.S. Ch 6.)

Darwin also refers to the swim-bladder in fishes as an example of an organ with two functions, namely buoyancy and respiration, evolving into an exclusively respiratory function and eventually into tetrapod lungs.

How Complex Organs Evolve.

Say, complexity is never simple. On how to account for the evolution of complex organs requiring an unbroken chain of descent without inexplicable leaps from less complex antecedents, there’s an article, ‘The Evolution of Complex Organs, ‘ (Springer 2008.) that provides an insightful overview of what 150 years of scientific investigation have yielded concerning various evolutionary processes that contribute to their origin. The evolution of the eye is used as a case study to illustrate these processes and several of the most common misconceptions about complex evolution are also discussed. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12052-008-0076-1

In accounting for a chain of descent that evolves without breaks, the Springer article expands on Darwin’s transitional gradations. The article describes the various processes that taken together are considered to meet this requirement.

Indirect Evolution.

Evolutionary biologists find that a process of gradual stepwise, or Direct Evolution, is not by itself sufficient to account for the evolution of complex and integrated organs, which require a necessary additional process. Enter Indirect Evolution and the notion of functional shifts that Darwin considered an extremely important means of transition from simpler to more complex functions. A term used today to describe functional shifts is Exaptation, that means fit, (aptus) by reason of, (ex) existing form, like flippers to legs, as contrasted to Adaptation meaning improvement of current function. The process of adaptation and exaptation are not entirely separate. ‘Most complex organs are likely to represent a mixture of primary adaptations, exaptations and, [in its new role] a process of secondary adaptations.’ (Springer p6.)

Given that exaptations are defined largely by what they are not, namely the products of natural selection strictly for their current function, there are several routes by which an organ (or gene) can become an exaptation. One way is where an organ (or gene) takes on a new function as a result of selective pressures after the organism experiences environmental change. Another exaptation is where modification of a feature for the initial function makes it more amenable to modification in a new role and this allows the organism to move into a new environment or life style. A third exaptation can come about where an organ (or gene) has two functions and is modified as it becomes increasingly specialized for one of them, as Darwin noted with the fish swim -bladder to tetetrapod lungs.

Two Legs Good, Four Legs Maybe Better?

Another important exaptation involves duplication of organs, such as the second pair of wings in flies functioning as a kind of gyroscope. Duplications sometimes involve multi-copies, allowing some to diverge for different functions, like repeated limbs in lobsters, some specialized for walking, some for swimming, and others for feeding. Duplication is an important process in natural selection because, when a biological feature currently serves a function vital to survival, then it is likely that any deviations from its current state will prove detrimental. The most widely recognized escape from this constraint is by way of duplication. A citation to Ohno, (1970) in the article… Ohno considered duplication a critical requirement for evolutionary diversification, stating that ‘Natural selection merely modified while redundancy created.’

Lots more in the article. I’ll just conclude with three of the misconceptions it discusses.

Misconceptions about Complex Organ Evolution.

# Supposed intermediate stages in the evolution of complex organs could not be functional. To reiterate… what good is half an X where X is any feature such as a wing or an eye? Even with missing parts a wing can be used for something else, gliding, fighting, feathers for warmth. Even misaligned eyes have some vision, eyes missing rod and cone cells may still serve a circadian function. With less complex stages, the only requirement is that the less complex stage be good for something.

# An inability to explain every detail of a complex organ’s history challenges the validity of evolutionary science. Thanks to work carried out in pursuit of natural explanations, a great deal is now understood about the form, function and probable origins of complex biological organs and systems, and there is a convergence of several independent lines of enquiry, data from genetics, molecular biology, comparative anatomy and paleontology, that point to the same conclusion that eyes are a product of natural evolution mechanisms.

# Biologists propose that complex organs arise ‘by chance. The variation upon which natural selection acts is generated by mutation, and it is certainly the case that these accidents of inheritance occur randomly with respect to any consequences that they may have. It is also true that natural selection possesses no capacity for foresight and has no final objectives as it alters population characteristics from one generation to the next. It does not follow, however, that the evolution of complex organs occurs ‘by chance.’ By definition, natural selection is the non-random differential success of individuals on the basis of heritable variation and therefore the cumulative outcome of this process –adaption – is the opposite of random chance.



‘Earth’s Creation is the glory of God, as seen from the works of Nature by man alone.’

‘Every genus is natural, created as such in the beginning, hence not to be rashly split up or stuck together by whim according to anyone’s theory.’

‘If we consider the generation of Animals, we find that each produces an off-spring after its own kind … and that from each proceeds a germ of the same nature with its parent; so that all living things, plants, animals, and even mankind themselves form one ‘chain of Universal Being’, from the beginning to the end of the world; in this sense truly may it be said that there is nothing new under the sun.’ – Carl Linnaeus. ‘Systems Naturae,’

In the beginning…

Before science there was the Bible in which The Book of Genesis describes the mysteries of creation. In the beginning, on the first day, ‘God created the heavens and the earth.’ On the following five days God created the vaulted sky and two great lights to give day and night and He created the plants, bearing seeds ‘according to their kind,’ the creatures that swim, fly and move along the ground ‘according to their kind,’ and then God created man and woman in his image to rule over them.

This was the received truth. Earth was created as the centre of the universe. Each living species came into being separate and invioliate, and according to biblical scholars, this all took place not quite 6,000 years ago.

As science developed in medieval Europe, via rediscovery of early Greek philosophers and Byzantine and Islamic scholars who sought non-supernatural explanations for natural phenomena, many areas not directly challenging to the Bible’s teachings began to be explored. Reverence for biblical teachings, however, impeded any bold, systematic investigation into areas that involved church doctrine. Those few open-minded scientists who did question received truth were quickly censured by the church. In a scientific revolution that began when Nicolaus Copernicus launched his heliocentric theory on the world, there were only five men, Copernicus, Galileo, then two centuries later, James Hutton, publishing his theory of earth’s antiquity, and Charles Darwin, co-publishing with Alfred Wallace, a theory of evolution of species, who had the intellectual courage to publish heretical theories that shattered the biblically rooted picture of the creation and separated science from theology.

Sea-change rich and strange…

In the second half of the seventeenth century and early eighteenth century, three expeditions by sea, two of them long voyages into the South Pacific, the other a brief excursion by rowboat off the east coast of Scotland, were to have heretical consequences as challenging to the creation story, as Copernicus and Galileo’s earlier challenge.

The first of these was Lieutenant James Cook’s voyage to the South Seas in 1767 to observe the transit of Venus across the face of the sun. The Royal Society played a significant role in promoting the expedition, its largest maritime venture to date. Since its foundation in 1660, The Royal Society had placed a high value upon the empirical observations to be gained from ships’ logs and the journals of travelers on long voyages. To ensure that these potentially valuable records to science should be accurate and comprehensive, the Society included ‘Directions for Seamen, bound for far voyages’ in the first volume of its ‘Philosophical Treatise’.

Apart from observing the transit of Venus, Cook’s own instructions were to carefully observe of lands visited in the south seas, ‘the Nature of the Soil, and the Products thereof; the Beasts and Fowls that inhabit or frequent it, the Fishes that are to be found in the Rivers or upon the Coast and in what Plenty,’ and ‘specimens of the Seeds of Trees, Fruits and Grains as you may be able to collect, and Transmit them to our Secretary, that We may cause proper examination and Experiments to be made of them.’

It was widely considered by naturalists of the period, that scientists like Sir Joseph Banks, who accompanied Cook on the 1768 voyage in the good ship Endeavour, would help complete the Genesis picture of the universe as a vast, ordered chain of being described above by Carl Linnaeus, the most influential naturalist of the eighteenth century… Well that’s what they thought, but despite the baggage in the hold, Cook’s first Pacific voyage, with three trained observers on board, naturalist Sir Joseph Banks, botanist Dr Daniel Solander and draughtsman Sydney Parkinson, some of that baggage got lost at sea.

Art historian Bernard Smith’s classic book, ‘European Vision and the South Pacific’ is a study of Captain Cook’s three voyages and other scientific expeditions that followed and also of the new settlement in 1788 at Port Jackson, (Australia,) and an account of the challenges that careful observation of flora and fauna presented to natural science, and careful observation of people and vegetation had on prevalent romanticized perceptions of ‘noble savages’ and ‘idealized landscape painting.’ Below are some of these challenges documented in Bernard Smith’s book…

‘Accuracy of drawing seems to be a principle recommendation to Sir Joseph.’ The artists Joseph Banks associated with were men whose work was notable for its analytical precision, like draughtsman, Sydney Parkinson. A great deal of Parkinson’s work on the voyage consisted of drawing specimens collected by the naturalists Banks and Solander who described all the new plants collected and attempted to classify them. The vast amount of new, and strange plant specimens presented major problems in classification, however, Solander’s notebooks ‘abound in erasures and cancellations of specific and generic names first allotted to the specimens collected.’ (Bernard Smith p18)

Later scientific expeditions into the South Pacific adopted the empirical practices of this first voyage, employing skilled botanists, zoologists and artists, for example, botanist Robert Brown and draughtsman Ferdinand Bauer accompanying Matthew Flinders on expedition mapping the Australian coast-line, and Frenchmen, zoologist Francois Peron and artist, Charles Lesuer, who all experienced difficulties like those of Solander.

Confronted with problems presented by the multiformities of nature in the South Pacific, naturalists were finding it difficult to classify their materials according to presuppositions of a great chain of being. Ferdinand Bauer’s plant drawings and Charles Lesuer’s animal drawings show how scientific scrutiny was leading towards depiction of structure, and ‘hence to graphic penetration beyond the surface of things.’(Bernard Smith, p190,) Bauer examined scientific structure using a magnifying glass and drawing not only leaf and flower, but sections of buds, pods and plant roots. Lesueur’s drawings of fish and phosphorescent animals included anatomical sections.


Ferdinand Bauer.


Charles Lesueur

In Darwin’s cabin when he embarked on his famous voyage on the Beagle in 1831, was a library of 400 books which he read on the long journey. 36% on travel/ voyages and 33% on natural history and including detailed wood cut prints and engravings of plants and animals of the South Pacific. In this library were Captain Cook’s accounts of three South Pacific voyages, Matthew Flinders ‘Voyage to Terra Australis,’ and the ‘Voyage de Decouvertes aux Terres Australies’ of Francois Peron and Charles Lesueur.


On land and at sea.

While Captain Cook was on his first Pacific voyage opening the way to heretical questioning of the creation story, someone else was similarly engaged in Scotland in the city of heretics, Edinburgh. Returning to Edinburgh, his place of birth, in 1767 to advise on the building of the Forth-Clyde Canal, James Hutton was soon doing more than that with his discoveries regarding the earth’s antiquity and the processes of its formation.

No dearth of heretical thoughts or theories in eighteenth century Edinburgh in that mid-century flowering of critical enquiry known as The Scottish Enlightenment. Surprising, considering that just four decades prior, an eighteen year old theology student, Thomas Aikenhead, who made a flippant joke about Hell, was sentenced to death for blasphemy, a sentence carried out in January 1697. Who could have seen, for this impoverished but literate society, that the next century would mark the end of their culturally and materially constrained way of life and the beginning of a new age which would generate basic institutions, habits of mind and ideas that had effects impacting far beyond their native land.

A short list of those heretical actors of the Scottish Enlightenment includes William Robertson, one of the founders of modern historical research, David Hume, whose Treatise on Human Nature influenced views of human rationality up until today, including having an impact on the founding fathers of the United States. Then there’s Adam Smith, beginning the study of economics with his Wealth of Nations, and chemist Joseph Black, who discovered that earth’s atmosphere is made up of a mixture of gases including carbon dioxide, and employed for a time in Joseph Black’s laboratory, there’s James Watt who invented the practical steam engine. Perhaps the most heretical of them all was Joseph Black’s friend, James Hutton, the father of modern geology.

By the 1760’s, Hutton was already arguing that the earth was ancient. While learning farming methods in Norfolk in 1752, and later practicing innovative farming methods on his own farm in The Borders, Scotland, Hutton travelled extensively, studying farming and also geology. In a letter that Hutton wrote to his friend John Hall, while Hutton was in Norfolk, he tells Hall that on his hikes he found himself ‘examining the surface of the earth and looking into every pit, ditch or river bed that fell in his path.’( In ‘The Man Who Found Time.’ Jack Repcheck. Ch 5.)

When Hutton returned to Edinburgh, he was already one of Scotland’s leading mineralogists and had begun forming his theory of the earth’s formation as a recycling process of erosion. In Edinburg, Hutton was introduced to Joseph Black, who became his close friend and supporter. While exploring the phenomenon of latent heat, Joseph Black had come to understand the role that pressure played on heated substances, an insight important to Hutton’s thinking. With this insight, Hutton would take his early experiences from farming and field trips and turn them into a powerful, original theory.

…Three men in a row boat.

Hutton was soon a member of the Edinburgh Scottish Enlightenment, introduced to Adam Smith and others by Joseph Black. Hutton, Black and Smith founded a club known as the Oyster Club, one of the literati clubs that were a feature of Edinburgh during the Scottish Enlightenment and when the Royal Society of Edinburgh was founded by royal charter in 1783 Hutton, Black and Smith were three of its first members. Sometime in 1784 Hutton was invited to present two lectures to the Royal Society on his theory of the earth.

No records were kept of these two events, the first, on Hutton’s theory of stratified rock, delivered by Joseph Black because Hutton was ill, the second, by Hutton himself on the elevation of new strata by the power of heat. What the audience thought of these lectures is not recorded, all that is known for sure is that Hutton soon afterwards set off on a series of excursions to provide stronger evidence for his theory regarding the mineralizing process caused by heat. His first expedition, accompanied by Sir John Clerk, also a mineralogist, was to find an exposure of granite in stratified rock, where shape and direction of the veins demonstrated that it came from underground. In the fast running Tilt River on the estate of the Duke of Athol in the Grampians, they found what Hutton was looking for, a formation, that ‘most clearly demonstrates the violence with which the granite veins were injected among the schistus.’ (J.Repcheck P 157.)

Two more successful field trips, to Galway and Arran provided additional evidence of Hutton’s theory. Then the eureka discovery, the boat trip to Siccar Point and evidence that the earth’s formation is a cyclical event!

Siccar Point…

On a sunny afternoon in June, 1788, three gentlemen from Edinburgh, with several farm hands as crew, boarded a boat in the North Sea, east of Edinburgh, in search of a rock outcrop on the rugged cliffs along the coast that would support James Hutton’s theorized cycle of land renewal over long periods of time. The three gentlemen in the boat were Hutton and two friends, professor of mathematics, John Playfair, considered one of the cleverest men in Scotland, and a younger man, Sir James Hall, in his twenties already an accomplished Scientist.

Hutton had chosen this coastline to investigate because of its two distinct types of surface, a grey shale that was considered a younger rock, and an older, red sandstone strata. Sailing along the jagged cliffs, mild weather and low tide allowed them to come close to shore and the afternoon sun gave maximum exposure to the cliffs on shore. The boat traveled south, passing first one headland and then another and on to the next headland on their course, Siccar Point. And there they saw what they were looking for! At the foot of the cliffs a grey coloured shistus, its layers no longer vertical but standing in pillars, straight up, like books on a shelf. And above them, two feet thick, fragments of the shistus, and above that another exposure of layered rock, its these layers horizontal and of the distinct hue of red sandstone…

John Playfair wrote later of this moment:

‘We felt ourselves necessarily carried back to the time when the schistus on which we stood was yet at the bottom of the sea, and when the sandstone before us was only beginning to be deposited in the shape of sand or mud, from the waters of a superincumbent ocean. An epoch still more remote presented itself, when even the most remote of the rocks, instead of standing upright in vertical beds, lay in horizontal planes at the bottom of the sea. and was not yet disturbed by that immeasurable force which has burst asunder the solid pavement of the earth’ J.Repcheck P 23.)


Siccar Point

Hutton, an animated man, was elated. Here was incontrovertible proof of his theory. Playfair was less sanguine. As a former Presbyterian minister, he knew how vigorously the church, and scholars who supported it, would protect judgements on which it held a position. The battle for truth was just beginning.


Reviews of Hutton’s paper, published in 1788 by the Royal Society, were mostly dismissive of Hutton’s findings, the most hurtful to Hutton by Robert Kirwan, a respected scientist who as a young man trained as a Jesuit priest. Kirwan criticized Hutton for proposing cycles that were contrary to reason and accused him of blasphemy. Hutton responded by starting work on a two volume book, though he was seriously ill at the time. His ‘Theory of the Earth’ was published in 1795 and Hutton died soon afterwards. The book was not well written and criticisms of Hutton’s theory continued, particularly attacks by a young man from Edinburgh, Robert Jamieson, who published prolifically, applying a viewpoint to Scottish geology promoted by Frederic Werner, a professor from a famous German university. Werner argued that a universal ocean, once covered the earth, creating the chaotic formations of the earth that now existed, a theory more acceptable to established religion by its reference to Noah’s flood than Hutton’s theory.

Hutton’s theory was being dismissed, who would begin a counter attack? Joseph Black and John Clerk no longer had the energy. Playfair and Hall took up the challenge. Playfair rewrote the book with distillations of Hutton’s theory and notes and case studies and published it in 1802. Hall carried out over 500 experiments refuting Werner’s argument that basalt when heated always cools as glass. Hall showed that when cooled slowly basalt re-forms as crystals.

Despite these efforts Jamieson’s publications were winning out, but then, after the death of Playfair, Hutton’s leading expositor, in 1824 the now elderly James Hall invited Charles Lyell, a young geologist, to Hall’s estate and took him to Siccar Point.

Siccar Point worked its magic. Charles Lyell became converted to Hutton’s theory and began carrying out his own field investigations. In 1830 Lyell published the first volume of his ‘Principles of Geology,’ followed by two more volumes in the next three years. Lyell’s book, in which he acknowledged his debt to Hutton, was to become the standard reference for geology students for the next hundred years.

Darwin took a copy of Lyell’s ‘Principles of Geology’ with him on his voyage on the Beagle. A week or so after Darwin started reading Lyell’s work, The Beagle dropped anchor at its first port of call, Porto Praya on the volcanic island of St Jago, where Darwin discovered a white stratum of fossilized shells and coral on a hill thirty feet above sea level. (‘The Voyage of the Beagle.’ Ch1.) From that that day on Darwin viewed the world by a different time perspective.

Darwin’s Voyage on the Beagle.

When Darwin set of on his five year voyage in 1831, Lyell’s book and the library on the Beagle influenced Darwin’s research from the start. Having the library now available online reveals the sources and inspirations that Darwin read day after day as he swung in his hammock during long sea crossings or as he worked on his specimens at the chart table or under his microscope. Before the Beagle reached a new location, Darwin was able to read the reports of earlier visitors. The scientific questions he found answered and indeed left unanswered in the library were useful to his own encounters as a naturalist.

From St Jago Island, continuing its circumnavigation of the globe, the Beagle visited Brazil, Patagonia and the Falkland Islands, sailing through the Straits of Magellan and on to Chile. In Chile, Darwin crossed the Andes into Argentina, From the west coast of South America the Beagle then journeyed to the Galapagos Islands, those fateful islands, and then across the Pacific Ocean to Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia, land of that marsupial oddity, the kangaroo, before returning to England in October, 1836. At each port of call Darwin would collect bags full of specimens, animals, insects, plants and minerals and send them on to England to be analysed.

Curiouser ‘n curiouser…

What to make of that great chain of being? On a beach in Bahia Blanca, Darwin comes across the remains of nine fossil quadrupeds and many detached bones embedded on the beach within the space of 200 yards square.

‘First, parts of three heads and other bones of the Megatherium, the huge dimensions of which are expressed by its name. Secondly the Megalonyx, a great allied animal.Thirdly, the Scelidotherium, also an allied animal, of which I obtained a nearly perfect skeleton. It must have been as large as a rhinoceros: in the structure of its head it comes, according to Mr Owen, nearest to the Cape Anteater, but in some other respects it approaches to the armadillos.’ (The Voyage of the Beagle.Ch 5.)

Two of the other fossils Darwin lists are ‘an extinct kind of horse.’ and ‘one of the strangest animals ever discovered,’ a Toxodon, in size as large as an elephant, but the structure of its teeth revealed ‘that it was intimately related to the Gnawers, the order which, at the present day includes most of the smallest quadrupeds.’ (Ch 5.)

Probably the most significant discoveries made by Darwin were in the Galapagos Islands where Darwin saw those finches and those strange diving lizards, but especially the finches with their odd beaks, of which he observed:

‘Seeing this gradation and diversity of structure in one small, intimately related group of birds, one might really fancy that from an original paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends.’ (The Voyage of the Beagle. Ch 17.)

Back in England it did not take long for these small birds to start a scientific revolution. As he did with all his collected specimens, Darwin sent his finches to an expert for formal analysis. In March 1837, expert ornithologist, John Gould, informed Darwin that the birds were not a different variety of finch but a different species of finch. Now Darwin would became aware, that animals, perhaps all life, experiencing slow but constant change and separated from others of its species over a long period of time, as the Galapagos finches were separated, could evolve into distinct species. In July of the same year, Darwin began a new notebook with the heading ‘The Transmutation of Species.’

Finches – Gould

To suggest a driver for the process of species transmutation entailed Darwin’s late reading of a forty year old essay by The Reverend Thomas Malthus,’ ‘Essay on the Principle of Population,’ describing the pressures on living things of overpopulation and competition for scarce resources, ergo if a variation like a longer beak gave a competitive advantage, its owner would likely have a better chance to reproduce and pass on the beneficial variation to its offspring.

The rest is high drama, Darwin’s twenty page letter from Alfred Wallace with whom Darwin had been corresponding for several years, detailing Wallace’s own theory, almost identical to Darwin’s, the urgent completion of Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection,’ Charles Lyell acting as Darwin’s literary agent, the agreement to publish Wallace’s Paper along with Darwin’s book, allowing joint credit for discovery, Darwin’s anxiety and concern about the book’s reception …well the road to heresy is never easy.

And it wasn’t easy for Darwin’s theory of natural selection. There’s that religious indignation for a theory that claims human’s evolved, not as direct descendants of the first Adam, but via a common ancestor we share with monkeys and apes. And there’s the problem of those ‘organs of extreme perfection and complication’ as Darwin describes organs like the intricate human eye and the even more powerful eagle eye. Surely, creationists argued, eyes must be an example of creative design.

Ape Man – Well!

The claim of shared ancestry in Darwin’s Origin of Species provoked furor from orthodox Christians of all denominations and gave cartoonists a field day. The historic Oxford Debate, ‘Evolution versus Creationism,’ between Bishop Samuel Wilberforce and Thomas Huxley, Darwin was ill and unable to attend, in which both Huxley and Wilberforce claimed victory, was a theatrical event. Wilberforce, nicknamed ‘Soapy’ Wilberforce, criticized Darwin’s theory, its assumptions, and its moral implications, concluding with a sarcastic question, asking Huxley, nicknamed ‘Darwin’s Bulldog,’ if he considered himself descended from an ape through his grandmother or grandfather?

According to reports, Huxley replied that while man has no reason to be ashamed of having an ape for his grandfather, if there were an ancestor whom Huxley should feel shame in recalling, it would be the man of intellect who distracts his audience from a real argument by aimless rhetoric and appeals to religious prejudice… In short, Huxley preferred the disgrace of the ape to the ignorance of his opponent. At this dramatic juncture, a lady in the audience is said to have fainted and was carried out of the lecture hall.

Surprisingly, when Darwin published, in 1871, his follow-up book, ‘The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex,’ the book quickly ran out of print, and was received, considering Adam’s fall from grace, with not too much controversy. Darwin expressed surprise. Within three weeks of publication a reprint had been ordered, and 4,500 copies were in print by the end of March 1871. ‘Everybody is talking about it without being shocked,’ said Darwin, which he thought ‘proof of the increasing liberality of England.’

Less controversy today regarding man’s descent. Scientists have now sequenced the genes of the chimpanzee and found the human genome is 96 percent similar to the great ape species.


‘Why has man not a microscopic eye?’ … Questions, questions.

‘Why hast man not a microscopic eye? / For this plain reason, Man is not a Fly,’ says Alexander Pope. Ask not why man’s eye is what it is, as Pope asked in ‘An Essay on Man,’ but ask instead how it came to be what it is. Writing to a colleague in 1860, Darwin confided that there was a time when thinking about the evolution of the complex eye, made him ‘cold all over.’ Darwin devotes a chapter, in ‘The Origin of Species’ to the difficulties of descent with modification of those organs of extreme perfection like the intricate human eye.

Responding to the creationist argument that the human eye could not develop in a linear process, Darwin argued that while this might appear to be the case, he had reason to think otherwise:

‘To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree…[yet] reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real.’

From examples in nature, Darwin demonstrated that over a long period, a complex human eye can evolve from the simple-light sensitive nerves of the lowest organisms, to a basic eye, consisting of an optic nerve surrounded by pigment cells and covered with translucent skin and on to more sophisticated vision. Darwin also argued that a complex organ, like the human eye, can even evolve by adaptation of an organ from one purpose to another, as the floatation swim bladder of fish converted to lungs for respiration.

More of this anon…So much fascinating stuff written about the evolution of the eye, but too much for this essay, so I think I’ll do a follow up post on it instead.

A little Deux Ex Machina.

Before I offer Darwin’s concluding words in The Origin of Species, some serf thoughts, deux ex machina, on heretical thought.

Seems that the birth of science, like Darwin’s theory itself, is a complex evolution involving sea journeys that challenged old certainties, and a rediscovery of the thoughts of philosophers of the Greek Revolution. ‘All things are made of water,’ said Thales of Miletus, and so began philosophy and science… There’s Pythagoras’ school that gave rise to a mathematical tradition and Aristarchus of Samos proposing a heliocentric theory pre Copernicus. A marginal entry of the name of Aristarchus on one of Copernicus’ manuscripts shows that Copernicus has resuscitated this theory.

And there’s the Church’s part in the above. After the destruction of the Roman Empire by northern invaders, literacy and the study of mathematics in the West came to be almost exclusively maintained by the Catholic Church. In Europe, in the Middle Ages, it was the clerics copying the manuscripts of Greek and Middle Eastern scholars who kept learning alive. Arising out of the Christian Church, even with its adherence to dogma and its Inquisition, you get an attachment to reason and consequent breakthroughs in understanding natural phenomena by church clerics like Copernicus and by devout members of Christian communities… there’s Galileo, Isaac Newton, who spent much of his time in bible studies, James Hutton and his supporter, chemist Joseph Black, a Presbyterian Minister, not infidels or atheists but Christians.

Don’t know if Darwin believed in a divinity acting behind the scenes. Some of us serfs are doubtful regarding a creator, but we do stand in awe of the grandeur of nature, ‘the wild cataract leaps in glory,’ well, you know… Maybe Darwin was agnostic but we really don’t know.

Herewith Darwin’s concluding words in The Origin of Species:

‘It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of liattemptinfe, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.’


Karl Popper versus George Soros …
Two conflicting views of the Open Society.

Multi-billionaire and hedge fund manager George Soros, in what could be his manifesto, a book written in 2000, ‘Open Society , Reforming Global Capitalism,’ attributes influence on his views and program, promoted via his global ‘Open Society Foundation,’ to Karl Popper’s classic exposition, ‘The Open Society and its Enemies,’ published in 1950.

‘Open Society,’ says George Soros, ‘stands for freedom, democracy, rule of law, human rights, social justice and social responsibility as a universal idea.’ ( O.S. Soros. 2000, p 120.) …Sounds good, doesn’t it, ‘freedom,’ ‘democracy,’ ‘rule of law,’ etcetera, etcetera, but somewhere along the way, Karl Popper’s Open Society seems to have undergone a sea-change into something stranger, interesting to compare the two versions, Popper Mark I and Soros Mark II.

Popper wrote his book during the dark days of Hitler’s rise to power and early days of the Second World War when it looked like Hitler’s attempt at world dominance might succeed. He wrote ‘Open Society’ as a response to these events, a felt need to critically examine totalitarianism in its various guises and to defend the values of open, democratic society that were being threatened. The various guises Popper examines in ‘Open Society’ are doctrines of historical necessity and human destiny expounded by Plato, Hegel and Marx, Plato formulating an ideal republic based on his theory of forms, Hegel combating liberalism in the authoritarian state of Prussia’s King Frederic William III, and Karl Marx in industrial England, arguing inexorable laws of social development and class war.

In criticizing these three thinkers, Popper states in the preface to ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies:

’If in this book harsh words are spoken about some of the greatest among the intellectual leaders of mankind, my motive is not, I hope, the wish to belittle them. It springs rather from my conviction that, if our civilization is to survive, we must break with the habit of deference to great men. Great men may make great mistakes; and as the book tries to show, some of the greatest leaders of the past supported the perennial attack on freedom and reason. Their influence, too rarely challenged, continues to mislead those on whose defense civilization depends, and to divide them.The responsibility of this tragic and possibly fatal division becomes ours if we hesitate to be outspoken in our criticism of what admittedly is a part of our intellectual heritage. By reluctance to criticize some of it, we may help to destroy it all.’

Popper’s Open Society High -Five…..

The High-Five of Popper’s Open Society, ‘freedom,’ ‘democracy involving critical debate,’ ‘equal rule of law for all,’ ‘human rights,’ ‘social justice and social responsibility,’ are necessarily inter-connected in complex ways; ‘freedom,’ for example, entailing questions of ‘who rules,’ ‘how much rule’ and ‘what checks and balances on governance’ The main focus of Popper’s two volume ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies’ is his review of Plato’s Republic, Volume 1, ‘The Spell of Plato,’ the first of the blueprint Utopias designed to make-over society on a grand scale.

None of the above features of the open society in Plato’s hierarchical Utopia meant to arrest all change and keep everyone in their place. Popper attributes the attempt by Plato to create an unchanging society to his personal experience as an Athenian living through the strain of an unsettled period of historical change, the disastrous war between tribal Sparta and democratic Athens’ and subsequent civil war, the oligarch party in Athens plotting against the democracy.

Plato summed up this experience by the historicist law of historical development that all things decay. But Plato believed that it was possible to break this law by a return to the original perfect form of things or ideas. His Republic, recreating the perfect tribal closed society ruled by an elite philosopher caste would do this. To maintain unity within this ruling caste, all that was private and individual must be eradicated and therefore, Plato tells us, in his highest state there must be common property of wives, children and chattels. Popper quotes Plato: ‘You are created for the sake of the whole …’ (O.S.p100.) and observes that for Plato, individualism is the enemy of collectivism and must be branded as selfish expression of ego, no place in Plato’s Republic for western humanism and altruism or The Arts.

Lies required, ‘noble’ or otherwise.

So when you wish to make BIG changes you have to be persuasive. The political system Plato designed to achieve his static society necessitated his persuasive myth, or necessary ‘noble lie,’ of the metals in men, gold in an elite class who should lead, and beneath them, tiers of inferior metals with their ordained, unquestioned roles of obedience to the philosopher king. In this hierarchy, only the gold elite get education, but it is an education of received truths not to be questioned, and Plato hopes that in time even the philosopher class will come to believe his noble lie.

More dishonesty. Plato used Socrates as his sock puppet to give respectability to his totalitarian program. Socrates, advocate of the open society and critical debate, member of what Popper calls the great generation of Athenian open society becomes the mouthpiece for Plato’s authoritarian doctrines. Here on justice and rule of law, Plato has Socrates giving a whole new meaning to words like ‘justice’ or ‘freedom’ via convoluted argument….What means justice for each citizen? Why, it’s the right to possess what is his own. And what is this right specifically? Why it’s the right, (within his caste) to attend to his own business, that is, the right of the labourer to labour, and presumably of the slave to slave, and of course, the unquestionable right of the philosopher class to rule. (O.S. Ch 6.)

Justice, then, in Plato’s hierarchical state means what is in the best interest of the hierarchical state and Plato’s focus, regarding justice, was the question of ‘who shall rule the state?’ Popper observes that whether the response was ‘the wise’ or ‘the good,’ or even ‘the general will’ or ‘the master race’ shall rule,’ the question skipped over the fundamental problem of limits to power, the problem of unchecked sovereignty. Popper proposed a better question concerning justice, which is: ‘How can we so organize political institutions so that bad or incompetent leaders be prevented from doing too much damage?’ (O.S.p121.)

In Plato’s Republic, no checks or balances required other than a state-controlled education system designed to manage the succession of leadership and socially engineer selected students from the leader class in preparation for the role of ‘wise’ and omnipotent philosopher king.

How different is this ‘wisdom’ from Socrates curiosity and intellectual modesty, ‘Socrates who taught that we should have faith in human reason and avoid dogmatism. This,’ says Popper, ‘is what Plato made of Socrates’ demand that a responsible politician should be a lover of truth and wisdom rather than an expert, and that he was ‘wise’ only if he knew his limitations.’ (O.S.p 137.)

And this blueprint by Plato in ‘The Republic,’ for the return to tribalism, is how Plato perverts open society concepts of freedom, democracy and equal rule of law for all. You can forget social justice and social responsibility, in this rigid society they don’t apply.

Compare, also, says Popper, Plato’s Republic, with the description of Athens’ 5th Century B.C. experiment in democracy by one of its leaders, Pericles, a member of ‘the great generation.’ that formulated the principle of equality before the law and political individualism.

‘Our political system,’ says Pericles in his famous ‘Funeral Oration,’ ‘does not compete with institutions which are elsewhere in force. We do not copy our neighbors, but try to be an example. Our administration favors the many instead of the few: this is why it is called a democracy. The laws afford equal justice to all alike in their private disputes, but we do not ignore the claims of excellence. When a citizen distinguishes himself, then he will be called to serve the state, in preference to others, not as a matter of privilege, but as a reward of merit; and poverty is no bar. … The freedom we enjoy extends also to ordinary life; we are not suspicious of one another, and we do not nag our neighbor if he chooses to go his own way. … But this freedom does not make us lawless. We are taught to respect the magistrates and the laws, and never to forget that we must protect the injured. And we are also taught to observe those unwritten laws whose sanction lies only in the universal feeling of what is right.’ (O.S. Ch 10.)

Clean Slate – Don’t go there!

Many problems with Utopian attempts to realize an ideal state. As Popper argues, social life is so complicated that it’s impossible to forecast the outcomes of clean-slate engineering. It requires authoritarian controls, no room for criticism, and it means problems with leadership when the benevolent ‘wise’ leader is succeeded by the tyrant. ‘We must never forget,’ says Popper, ‘that excellent leaders cannot be produced by rational methods but only by luck.’ (O.S p 161.)

And when things go wrong, as they must, we can’t back track. Powerful interests are linked to the success of the experience, too much has been invested in the grand scheme. Popper argues that it is much wiser to observe trial and error piecemeal reform, modify an institution, trial unemployment insurance or arbitration courts for example, and if they go wrong, the damage is not as great and readjustments are possible.

Hegel Says ‘No.’ Might is Absolutely Right.

If you listen to Hegel, official philosopher of the Prussian state under Frederic William the Third, things can’t go wrong in the powerful state. ‘That charlatan Hegel,’ says Schopenhauer, and Popper agrees. Hegel motivated by self interest, called to Berlin to justify Frederic William’s authoritarian rule; debauching language and logic to support his historicist dogma, a mystical zeitgeist, realized through a historical process of war of the nations. ‘The Universal is to be found in the State,’ writes Hegel, and ‘The State is the Divine Idea as it exists on earth.’ (O.S. Vol 2 p31.)

Hegel turns Plato’s ideal form corrupted by flux on its head. Unlike Plato, Hegel does not teach that his development of the world in flux is a descent towards historical decay, but rather the trend towards the Idea, the powerful state of ‘now’ is progress, ‘what prevails, is right!’

Hegel promotes his historicist doctrine by his dialectical method that Popper, like Schopenhauer calls an assault on logic. While science and criticism proceed on the argument that contradictions are impermissible and attempts must be made to eliminate them, Hegel says that since science progresses via contradictions, contradictions are permissible and highly desirable and there is no need to eliminate them. Say, imagine if a bridge engineer used Hegel’s dialectic and welcomed and retained errors in his bridge design. What Hegel is doing is omitting part of the argument that ‘contradictions could be said to be welcome as a means of identifying and eliminating false arguments and theories.’ Hegel, by sleight of hand eliminates the italics bit and focuses on a connotation of ‘welcome’ as ‘inviting to stay as a ‘welcome’ guest.’

By this sophistry, says Popper, all criticism and argument must cease. I draw your attention to Popper’s comment, cited above, in his Preface to The Open Society regarding the importance of criticism if we are to protect our freedoms. Note also that Hegel’s attack on criticism secures his own philosophy against argument.

Employing this dialectical method and impenetrable language, (think language of the Alan Sokal Hoax) Hegel employs pseudo demonstration … therefore and therefore and therefore … to undermine human freedoms, for example, appearing to defend claims for protection of ‘ liberty’ or ‘freedom of thought,’ by the state, while proceeding to turn both to their opposite meaning … ‘convictions may be pretentious’ and ‘faced with ‘subversive opinions,’ turns out that only the state can preserve freedom of thought and must ‘make up its own mind concerning what is to be considered objective truth.’ (O.S. Vol 2, pp 42, 43.)

On liberty Hegel uses a pun try to show that a ‘liberty’ is the same as a ‘law’, from which it follows that the more laws, the more liberties. This is clearly nothing than the paradox of freedom that can be expressed by saying that unlimited freedom leads to its opposite, since without its protection and restriction by law, freedom must lead to a tyranny of the strong over the weak. This paradox was solved by Kant, says Popper, who argued ‘that the freedom of each man should be restricted, but not beyond what is necessary to safeguard an equal degree of freedom for all.’ (Vol 2.pp 44/45.)

Popper says that Hegel knows Kant’s solution, but he does not like it, and ‘presents it, without mentioning its author, in the following disparaging way: ‘To-day, nothing is more familiar than the idea that each must restrict his liberty in relation to the liberty of others; that the state is a condition of such reciprocal restrictions; and that the laws are restrictions. But,’ he goes on to criticize Kant’s theory, ‘this expresses the kind of outlook that views freedom as casual good-pleasure and self-will.’ With this cryptic remark, Kant’s equalitarian theory of justice is dismissed.’ (Ch 12.)

Popper concludes that why we need to take Hegel’s flawed logic and his historicist dogma seriously is because ‘Hegel’s influence, and especially that of his cant,’ have had incalculable influence on fascist and Marxist political philosophies and is still very powerful in moral and social philosophy and in the social and political sciences.’ (pp 29, 30.)

Karl Marx and a New Historicism.

‘It is tempting to dwell upon the similarities between Marxism, the Hegelian left wing. and its fascist counterparts,’ says Popper, ‘Yet it would be utterly unfair to overlook the difference between them. Although their intellectual origin is nearly identical, there can be no doubt of the humanitarian impulse of Marxism. Moreover, in contrast to the Hegelians of the right wing, Marx made an honest attempt to apply rational methods to the most urgent problems of social life. The value of this attempt is unimpaired by the fact that it was, as I shall try to show, largely unsuccessful.’ (O.S.Vol 2. p81.)

Popper pays tribute to Marx identifying the importance of situational analysis and economic conditions and not states of mind, as the basis for understanding human history, Marx’s materialism, or ‘economism’, says Popper, is insightful but only so long as it is not sweepingly interpreted as the doctrine that all social development depends upon economic conditions, which is palpably false. The history of Marxism itself furnishes examples that clearly falsify Marx exaggerated economism, for example, it was Lenin’s ‘ideas’ expressed in slogans that became a driving force of the Russian Revolution. (p108.) Popper makes reference, also, to Rousseau’s influence on Robespierre in the French Revolution, to those Medieval fights within the ruling classes, between popes and emperors. Nor do 20th century World Wars conform to this oversimplification.

The historicism of Marx is itself a strand of an intellectual tradition from Plato to Hegel that viewed history as a process of necessity, of inexorable laws of historical development whereby nothing we can do will avert what is to be. Popper attacks the perniciousness of such doctrines that discourage personal responsibility and any criticism of the ‘inevitable.’

Popper also attacks historicist doctrines as false interpretations of history, arguing that the arguments underlying Marx’s historical prophesy are invalid,’ that his ingenious attempt to draw prophetic conclusions from observations of contemporary economic tendencies failed.’ (p193.) The conditions of the working classes under capitalism did not worsen, leading to social revolution, as Marx predicted, instead they markedly improved:

‘The reason for his failure as a prophet lies entirely in the poverty of historicism as such,’ says Popper, ‘in the simple fact that even if we observe to-day what appears to be a historical tendency or trend, we cannot know whether it will have the same appearance tomorrow.’ (p193.)

Popper observes that probably his most crucial criticism of Marx is of his theory of the state and paradoxically the impotence of all politics. ‘Political power, properly so called,’ says Marx in his Manifesto, ‘is merely the organized power of one class for oppressing the other.’ (p118.) The important and dangerous outcome of this theory is that paradoxically, given radical activism, politics are viewed as impotent. A state that holds elections must nevertheless be considered undemocratic per se. Legal and political reforms are a waste of time. The Marxist theory of politics does not require its followers to be alert to abuses of power, (other than economic power,) or any need for institutional checks and balances on state power, even after revolution has ushered in the prophesied classless society.

Says Popper, not only did Marx’s historicist theory block the development of democratic reform, it prevented its followers from envisaging, after the revolution, the danger to political freedom by a dictatorship of the proletariat.

Popper wrote of Marx’s ‘humanitarianism and honest attempt to apply rational methods to social problems’ (p81.) but ultimately he decries the outcome of Marx’s historicist theory, a way of acting that is neither humanitarian nor rational, involving the pain and suffering of likely violent revolution.

Yet Another Manifesto.

In the George Soros Manifesto, ‘Open Society, Reforming Global Capitalism,’ written as he says in his introduction, ‘as a guide to action,’ there is little of Popper’s view of open society with its considerations regarding rational criticism and individual freedom, more a blend of strands of Plato, Hegel and Marx, the Soros messianic change-the-world big plan. Highly critical of present day nation democracies and capitalist markets, Soros expounds guiding principles for his vision of global open society and the network of foundations he has established to realize his aims. The book’s themes focus on present ways of thinking and practices that he claims are a threat to open society. They include what he terms ‘unbridled’ self interest, lack of a universal focused value system and a process he calls ‘reflexivity,’ the fallible feedback problem between thinking and reality that occurs in our human, political, economic and social activities. Soros is particularly critical of the capitalist free market, which he renames as ‘market fundamentalism.’

Je suis Plato.

In Chapter 5 of Soros’ book, with its Plato-sounding title, ‘Open Society as an Ideal,’ hesets out to correct the ‘deficiencies’ of pluralistic value systems in present democracies by establishing a fundamental universal value system. ‘This sounds like a Utopian endeavor,’ says Soros, and so it is, but not to worry because it is necessary, you can’t truly have an open society if it isn’t actually universal. ( Irony tag, in case you’re wondering.) And if there seems something contradictory in imposing democracy from the outside on other nations, as he recognizes in the book’s introduction, ‘contradiction can be avoided …if the intervention brings benefits and is therefore voluntarily accepted.’ Hey, ‘therefore’ Post hoc ergo propter? Maybe after the revolution has settled down?

Best forget those words of Pericles in the Funeral Oration quoted by Popper, ‘we do not nag our neighbour if he chooses to go his own way.’ Soros couldn’t agree less. He’s been known to meddle in other nations’ politics, and like Plato, he’s for pervasive moral guidance and more than a dash of compulsion in his open society, although Soros is not quite Plato with regard to consistency of argument.

In Soros, Chapter 5, there are a few problem definitions involved as well. A core problem of present democracies for George Soros is the promotion of the market principle by all those market fundamentalists out there ‘that believe the common interest is best served by the untrammelled pursuit of self interest.’ (P 117.) First problem definition, Soros substitutes Popper’s and the Enlightenment’s references to ‘the individual’ with the term ‘self interest.’ Like Plato, Soros’ identifies ‘individualism’ with ‘egoism,’ furnishing a powerful argument for collectivism and conflicting with Popper’s description of ‘individualism’ united with ‘altruism’ as the basis of western civilization. The word ‘individual,’ argues Popper, is in opposition to ‘collectivism’ but not, per se, to altruism, whereas ‘egoism’ or ‘selfishness’ is definitively in opposition to altruism.

While applying his connotation of ‘egoist’ to ‘individual,’ Soros makes a brief reference to the ‘individual’ as relating to ‘the universal brotherhood of man,’ in the United States Declaration of Independence and in Kant’s Categorical Imperative, ‘Treat all humans as ends, not means, …and do unto others as you would be done to.’ (Ch 5.) contradicting his argument that a flaw of western democracies is that they have no universal values, here, two universal values expressed and both based on yet another Enlightenment universal value, the value of subjecting tradition to critical reason. As with Hegel, it seems that contradictions are not of much concern to this writer.

Je suis Hegel.

While Soros admits that the Enlightenment unleashed the creative energies of the human intellect to bring about achievements and living standards ‘beyond compare,’ he then dismisses these achievements ‘beyond compare,’ by arguing that in the Enlightenment ‘Reason was unequal to the task.’ As an historical illustration he cites the excesses of the French Revolution, not an applicable example as participants in the French Revolution abandoned constitutional safeguards and rational behaviour, instead responding to events by leadership fiat-decision-making and mob-rule.

A further criticism of the Enlightenment made by Soros is that rationalism produced the ‘unencumbered individual,’ a simplistic view of individuals living as though without family or local connections or any social values, and disregarding the reformist actions of many of these individuals to extend suffrage, enact factory laws, and abolish slavery, not just reformists but humanists, like John Stuart Mill, Benjamin Franklin, Lord Shaftsbury, and Charles Dickens.

And here’s Hegelian contradiction:

‘It’s time, ‘says Soros,’ to subject reason, as construed by the Enlightenment, to the same kind of critical examination that the Enlightenment inflicted on the dominant external authorities, both divine and temporal. We have now lived in the age of reason for the past two hundred years – long enough to discover that reason has its limitations. We are ready to enter the age of fallibility.’ (p 125.)

What does it mean, ‘subject reason to ‘reason,’ subjecting reason to itself? And what does it mean to ‘enter the age of fallibility?’ Popper perceived our ‘human fallibility’ as requiring us ‘to act by trial and error-testing,’ which is rational behaviour for a fallible being and is the basis of the scientific method. What Soros says here seems contradictory, he’s putting fallibility in place of to reason. By abandoning reason, where does that get us?

And there’s a historical problem with Soros’ generalization. Can we say that we have been living in an age of reason for the last two hundred years? In the twentieth century, how to equate Germany’s myth of blood and soil and collectivist aggression with being part of the age of reason? Ironic that Soros’ says that his open society, critical of reason and individual responsibility, is influenced by Karl Popper who wrote his ‘Open Society and its Enemies’ in response to Hitler’s irrational onslaught against it.

Soros and the New Encumbered Individual.

In the George Soros Manifesto social justice is a top priority, social justice with a capital ‘S’ and a capital ‘J’ .You can’t have an open society without lots of it. He presents the seven conditions for open society in our time suggested by Aryeh Neier, President of the Soris Open Society Foundation. They are:

(1) Regular, free and fair elections. (2) Free and pluralistic media.(3)The rule of law upheld by an independent judiciary.(4) Constitutional protection for minority rights.(5) A market economy that respects property rights and provides opportunities and a safety net for the disadvantaged. (6) A commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflicts. (7) Laws that are enforced to curb corruption.

Well, don’t functioning western democracies already hold these principles constitutionally and generally seek to realize them? Social justice observed by rule of law for all, constitutional protection for minority rights, safety nets for the disadvantaged, pensions, education for all, and catering for learning disabilities that may be mental or physical.

But Soros wants universal and more pervasive government regulation to achieve his own ideal of social justice. He makes the claim that this should come about via bottom up, by trial and error reform, but given that Soros believes irrational, fallible humans, following their own self interest, can’t be trusted to act in the public interest, as per his ideal of social justice, Soros considers, like Plato and Hegel before him, that the state must be given that power. Not just any state, however, but a global organization, promoter and arbiter of the common interest, like the EU heavily regulating the common market and institutions like the Central European University, founded and funded by Soros, to create the ‘encumbered individual,’ with its value-laden program promoting the Occupy Movement. ‘People must be aroused, fired up’ says Soros, ‘and they must coalesce around a common cause for the common interest to override special interests’. (p136.)

Well that might bring about grass roots activism, but mainly as a result of concerted pressure from above. ‘We need to create institutions for the promotion of the common interest’ says Soros, but there’s the rub, that EU and UN army of highly (self) paid unelected leaders and bureaucracy have demonstrated serious governance problems, problems of unvetted immigration, huge welfare bills, law and order and social breakdowns as a consequence of fiat decision making. A top down elite may have a shared interest but it is ‘their’ interest and that does not equate with the common interest. Well not until you align the common interest with your leadership goals. The Central European University is that kind of institution creating ‘encumbered’ social justice activists pushing for globalist values regarding gender politics and social justice, along with green politics-environmentalism and the labor movement.

Founder of the CEU, advocate of the global state, George Soros, wears many hats, Platonic philosopher, Hegelian sophist, and not least, Marxist critic of the free market.

Je suis Marx.

For Karl Popper, the enemy of the open society is totalitarianism in all its guises, whether tribal, fascist or communist, whereas for Soros, its principal enemies are the free market and the global capitalist system. George Soros really, really disapproves of the free market which he chooses to call market ‘fundamentalism’ with all those reflexivity and dogmatist-religious connotations that the term ‘fundamentalism’ brings to mind.

‘Market fundamentalists believe in individual freedom, which is a cornerstone of open society,’ says Soros in the introduction to his book, ’but they exaggerate the merits of the market mechanism. They believe that efficient markets assure the best allocation of resources and that any intervention, whether it comes from the state or from international institutions, is detrimental. Since market fundamentalism has become so influential , it truly constitutes a greater threat to a global open society than communism or socialism, because those ideologies have been discredited.’

Soros makes a number of flawed observations concerning the free market. He disagrees with the classical economists’ argument that the unregulated market will generate equilibrium between demand and supply and that government intervention produces negative results by distorting feedback signals. Soros wants more government regulation to rid the system of boom/bust market corrections.

Say, even if, arguably, Adam Smith classic economics is incorrect concerning homeostasis and Schumpeter’s dynamic disequilibrium theory is the working dynamic, increasing government regulation to make the market an instrument of social justice would also lead to negative results. Schumpeter argues that dynamic disequilibrium is the process of structural change that moves resources from obsolescent to new practices, from industrial revolution steam power to information age internet. Retarding this wealth producing process by government ‘steering’ would reduce innovation and capital, the source of present productive employment opportunities and income and future productive employment opportunities. (Ref below, Hans Rosling video * re the unprecedented outcomes of low regulation markets on living standards and life expectancy in western democracies in the last two hundred years. )

Another incorrect assumption that Soros makes regarding the free market needing top down intervention, is that a free market is an ‘untrammeled’ market. But the free market is far from the lawless process that he describes. It requires rule of law as its basis, including legally binding contracts, protection of property rights, and reliable disputes resolution practices. That’s why kleptocracies are not good places to create a viable business. Nor are western nations where government and global institutions are imposing more, and often arbitrary regulations on the market, for example, results of government social policies in the US Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae banking disaster, and EU youth jobless stats, (over 40% for Greece, over 35% for Spain and Italy, and in eight other EU nations unemployment ranging from 15 % to the high 20’s) a consequence of high regulation imposed by an army of public service elites, highest paid in the world. And then there’s those bale outs by government fiat!

Soros admits his own mistake in predicting the imminent disintegration of the capitalist system after the Asian crisis which he attributes to the operation of the free market though it was more the result of a departure from the free market, but he keeps on hoping – and working to bring it about…

Soros in Action – the Man behind the Curtain.

In 1979 in Hungary, the land of his birth, Soros launched the first of his Open Society Foundations to help ‘build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens.’ Passing strange that the Open Society Foundations he funds in more than 79 countries, and the organizations funded by them, often by stealth, are doing quite the opposite.

Aryeh Neier, the President chosen by Soros to head his Open Society Organization, is a Leninist Marxist, founder, in the 1960’s, of Students for Democracy, committed to overthrowing American institutions and remaking them in Marxist mould. Quite a few of the Open Society echelon have a similar history and the behemoth they control funds an activist movement with a similar program to Students for Democracy, to herald in a utopian era of supra-state government, U.N. and EU style. Same ol’ same ol’…

Soros funded programs are directed to the Gramsci long march through the institutions, capturing the educational system, the media and judiciary, and corrupting democracy by constraining free speech and critical debate. Soros’ funded activism invokes attacks on a democratic pluralist media, and corruption of the constitutional electoral process and legal system of non-arbitrary rule of law for all. His Open Society Foundation and underground network seek to bring down the United States and other western democracies by promoting illegal mass immigration, mostly hostile to democratic values. Other programs include environmental activism demonizing atmospheric CO2 and promoting costly intermittent energy sources to affect productivity. Further to weakening society, activists seek to legitimize illicit toxic drugs and provoke hatred of police action that protects the populace against violent drug offenders or political acts of hostility by migrants. Herewith links to organizations directly and indirectly funded by Soros Open Society Foundation and link to OSF top 150 grantees of 2011.



A few examples of Soros’ subsidy of leftist activism,

Opposition to Free Speech.

Soros’ funds action to shut down alternative view free speech via orchestrated protest movements that adopt violent tactics. These anti-free-speech assaults include the 2017 May Day Riots across the US, the California University, Berkeley, the violent protests \in February to prevent Milo Yiannopoulos’ speaking at the University, and include the Anti-Trump Inauguration protest in Washington. in January 2017.

A leftwing organization called Rise-Up Org. that claimed responsibility for the May Day violence that erupted across the US on May 1st, 2017, is a left-wing organization financed by Alliance for Global Justice, one of Soros’ top 150, seven figure grantees. It is also funded, indirectly by Tides Foundation, number 3 on OSF grantee list. Tidegave AfGJ $50, 000, according to the AfGJ 990 tax form.


Many inter-connections, Rise-up is connected to Antifa, and Antifa is an alias of Refuse Fascism, which is sponsored by AFGJ which is funded by Tides Foundation which is also funded by Soros’ Open Society Foundation… Get it? Here are two links that reveal the Rise Up Org. trail.:


Another Look Into Antifa’s Shady Connections

The passage below is part of a report by an organization called Discover the Networks, of plans and action by Antifa/Refuse Fascism, to violently disrupt Trump’s Inauguration festivities:

‘Just a few days prior to the January 20, 2017 inauguration of Republican President Donald Trump, James O’Keefe’s investigative journalism organization, Project Veritas, released undercover video footage exposing a cohort of hard-left, self-described “anarchists,” “anti-capitalists,” and “anti-fascists” who ― in an effort to undermine Trump’s presidency and strike back at the “Nazis” who they said supported him ― were plotting to disrupt the inaugural festivities with a massive protest dubbed “DisruptJ20.” Specifically, the conspirators planned to: (a) create a series of “clusterf**k blockades” sealing off ingress points all over the capital; (b) shut down the Washington, DC Metro lines by chaining the trains to other physical structures; (c) inject butyric acid, which could cause severe respiratory problems if inhaled, into the vent shafts of the National Press Club; and (d) physically assault Trump backers with well-placed, debilitating punches directly to the throat. While not all of these planned actions materialized on inauguration day, the protesters were nonetheless successful in creating a great deal of chaos in Washington. They rioted in the streets, started multiple fires, set vehicles ablaze, and hurled chunks of pavement through the windows of a number of businesses. Many of the rioters were dressed entirely in black, and their faces were covered by black masks, hoods, and scarves.


The above url also links to the Refuse Fascism manifesto, which states that Trump’s presidency is illegitimate and exhorts agitators to pour into the streets, ‘in the tens of millions,’ to bring about ‘a profound political crisis.’ On the Refuse Fascism.org website the shut down and vandalism is declared ‘righteous.’

So how else do you weaken open society? Why, by attacks on an independent press and
creation of an education system that instills the values you need to build your vision of Utopia.

Here’s Soros undermining a pluralist media. Fox News, last diehard of the conservative network, is under attack by Soros. The attack began in the Obama era in the form of demonizing and law suits. In June, 2011 Soros said: ‘Those in charge of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes, have done well in identifying me as an adversary, They have done less well in the methods they have used to attack me: their lies shall not stand and their techniques shall not endure.’ In 2010 Soros launched an operation called ‘Color of Change’ to target Glen Beck, which it did. ( Color of Change executive director, Rashad Robinson, sits on the board of DEMOS, also funded by Soros. One of the original board members of DEMOS is Barrack Obama.) Soros also gave Media Matters, his own media outlet, $1.1 million ‘to be used to cut Fox News down to the core.’ Media Matters is a web based progressive research and information centre seeking to systematically monitor a cross section of media for conservative ‘misinformation.’

Soros Bringing Down Fox News?

Education for Utopia.

Here’s Soros instilling the necessary value system and training of social justice warriors at his own University, the Central European University and at the progressivist Bard College, both high in his list of grantees. Soros’ Education for Utopia, a student make-over, kinda’ like Plato’s philosopher-king-training involving the ‘noble’ lie.

Soros has spent more than $400 million world-wide to promote left-liberal, and in some cases extremist causes. One course at CEU incorporated lessons for the Occupy movement, here’s the Program Director for the Environmental Sciences, Tamara Steger, with a slide behind that says ‘How to occupy people’s heads with your message.’

Programs at Bard include a Palestinian youth group and an initative to educate prisoners across the country. The Bard Trustee Leader –Scholar program, Soros funded, is a program that ‘encourages and supports students to do challenging, even brazen acts of world change.’ Read about it at https://www.theblaze.com/news/2012/06/04/special-report-george-soros-godfather-of-the-left

Soros Open Society Foundation has granted $407,790,344, to higher education since the year 2000. Together CEU and Bard received roughly 75% of Soros’ total contribution, Ivy League schools including Harvard, Columbia and Yale also received funding.

Corrupting Electoral and Judicial Process.

Funding to manipulate Federal Elections. Those leaked Soros funding documents show that Soros poured hundreds of millions of dollars into often secret efforts to change election laws, to fuel litigation to attack election integrity measures, such as citizenship verification and voter ID, to push public narratives about voter fraud as a myth, and attempts to manipulate media coverage of election issues in mainstream media outlets like The New York Times.

The funding documents name groups that received more than $500,000 each year, including the Centre for Community Change, the Advancement Project Centre and the Brennan Centre. Two of these organizations, the Advancement Project and Brennan Centre, regularly oppose election integrity measures in court and influence media by pushing voter fraud denial narratives.


Soros’ money also targets voter mobilization of minority groups that can be counted on to vote for the Democrats, the political party Soros supports. The documents also show funding for the League of Women voters and their current program to stop efforts by Kansas, Georgia and Alabama to verify that only citizens are registering to vote.

Democratic non-fiat rule of law for all is subservient to social justice engineering in Soros reformulation of the justice system. Justice is not about addressing criminal acts perpetrated against individuals and institutions, but instead a vehicle for fiat decisions regarding utopian ideals of social change. OSF is a significant donor of the Coalition for an International Criminal Court which aims to subordinate the American criminal justice procedures to an international prosecutor who could initiate politically motivated prosecutions against US officials or citizens.

Out in the streets, less safety, more lawlessness isn’t an issue of concern for Soros, funding groups like Centre for Community Change that mobilize and coordinate grassroots’ opposition to enforcement of immigration laws and supporting voting rights for illegal immigrants. Soros also funds groups like Justice at Stake that promote legislation to replace judicial elections with a ‘merit-selection’ system where a small committee of legal elites, unaccountable to the public, would pick the most ‘qualified’ to serve as judges. OFS has spent at least $45 million on efforts to change the way judges are chosen in many American States. (Ref, discoverthenetworks,org id -1237 linked above.) Say, who guards the guardian?

‘Open’ Borders, ‘Open’ Society?

If you wish to break down a western democracy, promoting out of control immigration by people hostile to western culture is the way to go. One of George Soros’ Open Society missions is to cooperate with fanatical one worlders to water down immigration laws in the US and elsewhere. One of the open borders organizations he funds is the American Civil Liberties Union, which not only supports open borders but opposes virtually all post 911 national security measures enacted by the US Government. It rushes to the defense of suspected terrorists an their supporters like Attorney Lynne Stewart criminal defense lawyer convicted of abetting her client, Sheik Abdel Rahman in terrorist activities connected with his Islamic Group. Abdel Rahman was arrested regarding involvement in the Trade Centre terrorist activity. Internal Revenue Service records show that Soros Open Society donated $20,000 to the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee.


Soros is less than straightforward in his public statements, which are often conflicting, and in conflict also with his funded programs. Consider Soros recent public criticism of Angela Merkel’s open door immigration. It appears that he is critical because her policies became too unpopular in the EU and a reason for BREXIT. But if you look at Open Society funding in Europe, you see that Soros was funding this open door policy himself, financing the Carte di Lampedusa, for example, founded in 2014 to sabotage all laws limiting migration, and Cospe Onlus , founded in 1983, ‘operating in thirty countries to support indiscriminate international mobility where anarchic diversity is the norm.’


If that’s not enough …

Combine programs supporting drug legalization, (a leading recipient of Soros, drug legalization campaign is to the Drug Policy Alliance, and anti police, action by Rise-Up.Org connections,) and you’re making big dents in a functioning civil society. More than a few dents if you attack the society’s economic productivity via environmental organizations demonizing CO2 to create energy poverty. On the top 150 donor list of the open Society Foundation and Tides Foundation are organizations promoting radical environmentalism, opposing mining and logging enterprises, opposing commercial fishing, and demonizing CO2 to prevent that ‘modeled’ human-caused global warming, ‘necessitating’ costly subsidies of intermittent technologies to replace fossil fuels. Number 5 on OSF top grantee list is The Alliance for Climate Protection, number 55 on the list is Earth Island Institute, and here’s Earth Justice, don’t you just love the name, coming in at number 121.


A lot of difference between the Open Societies of Karl Popper and George Soros. The above manifesto and network funding is what Soros makes of Popper’s open society ‘having faith in human reason and avoiding dogmatism.’ Did Soros, perhaps, use Popper as his sock-puppet-Socrates?Soros would get rid of western democracy with its productivity and freedom of the individual under rule of law for all. Ultimately, what he is promoting is his vision of a supra-state, global governance at a distance by unelected Brussels men, lots of controls on what we may say, and keep the citizens diverted with politics of gender and racial diversity in-fighting,

(Hans Rosling Video 200 years.).