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Postby softspeaker » 05 Oct 2014, 11:20

The Brain Does NOT Create Consciousness

In a recent interview on Waking Times aired on The People’s Voice Network, Dr. Eben Alexander, Harvard Neurosurgeon presents compelling scientific research in the field of consciousness that examines the unfolding reality that the brain does NOT create consciousness. Misleading concepts that focus on reductive materialism have kept us in the dark about the true nature of the human soul and its integral part in our evolution as spiritual beings.

“The old paradigm of birth to death represents an outdated concept that is woefully inadequate in defining the unfolding reality of expanded awareness,” he stated in the interview with Waking Times. “Materialist science is at the end of its days as most scientists are changing their views. The old concepts are soon to be relegated to the same dust bin as ‘the earth is flat’ as we develop a more mature understanding and transcend old beliefs.”

Supported by worldwide research that is now delving into the concepts of string theory that involves a complete reworking of our outdated and limited views of space/time means that we are now entering a phase where science will greatly expand its boundaries. The foundation of the research begins with the clear understanding of the “Soul”, or conscious spirit, that exists outside of the body and is eternal.

“Consciousness is at the core to unfolding all of reality”, states Alexander. ... e-says-yes ... e-at-death ... ciousness/

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Postby softspeaker » 10 Oct 2014, 11:27 ... al-taboola

If corporations are people now, why can’t rivers be?

Under a landmark agreement, signed in New Zealand earlier this summer, the Whanganui River has become a legal entity with a legal voice.

The agreement is the result of over a hundred years of advocacy by the Whanganui iwi, an indigenous community with a long history of reliance on the Whanganui river and its bountiful natural resources.

The Whanganui, the third longest river in New Zealand, will be recognized as a person under the law “in the same way a company is, which will give it rights and interests,” Christopher Finlayson, a spokesperson for the Minister of Treaty Negotiations, told the New Zealand Herald.

Organizations that work to protect the rights of indigenous communities worldwide are celebrating the agreement as an affirmation of the inextricable relationship between indigenous communities and natural ecosystems.

“The recognition of the personhood of the Whanganui River represents a landmark moment in legal history,” Suzanne Benally, the Executive Director of Cultural Survival, wrote in an email to TakePart. “Nature cannot be seen solely as a resource to be owned, exploited and profited from; it is a living and sustaining force that needs to be honored, respected, and protected by all of us.”

Treehugger points out that the Whanganui River isn’t the first natural wonder to receive monumental rights—or a good lawyer.

In 2008, Ecuador became the first nation in the world to recognize the legal rights of its mountains, rivers, and land.

Frustrated by the exploitation of the Amazon and the Andes by multinational mining and oil corporations, delegates in Ecuador turned to the Pennsylvania-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund to help rewrite the country’s constitution.

The delegates wanted to provide legal protection for Ecuador’s environment and its resources. The Legal Defense Fund helped them include a “Rights of Nature” framework in their constitution that enables people to sue on behalf of ecosystems.

In 2011, the new law got its first test. A suit was brought against the Provincial Government of Loja, on behalf of the Vilcabama River in Ecuador.

The local Loja government had allowed a road that abutted the river to be widened, which forced rocks and debris into the watershed and caused large floods that affected communities living on its banks.

As a result of the “rights of nature” provisions in Ecuador’s constitution, the judge decided in favor of the river. The municipality of Loja was forced to halt the project and rehabilitate the area.

Ecuador’s new constitution has been an inspiration to communities and governments all over the world that want greater protections for their local resources.

“People not only in the U.S. but also in other countries are saying to themselves that something is fundamentally wrong with our environmental legal frameworks,” says Mari Margil, associate director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

“Temperatures are rising, fisheries are disappearing, and forests are being cut down. We need to move to a different kind of environmental protection. Our current environmental laws are all about how much we can use or exploit nature,” she told TakePart.

Margil’s organization has worked with communities in New Hampshire, Virginia, and Pennsylvania to shift their thinking about how to preserve and sustain their natural resources. Earlier this year, Margil and her colleagues helped launch the first “rights of nature” organization in Italy.

The Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and other federal environmental laws actually legalize environmental harm by regulating how much pollution and degradation to an ecosystem is lawful, Margil says. Under existing law, nature is considered to be property.

The Legal Defense Fund is at the center of a movement that believes climate change and other growing international issues require new ways of thinking. “Ecosystems and natural communities are not merely property that can be owned,” according to the organizaton’s website, “but are entities that have an independent right to flourish.”

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Postby softspeaker » 18 Oct 2014, 00:12

Bolivia Gives Legal Rights To The Earth ... the-earth/


Law of Mother Earth sees Bolivia pilot new social and economic model based on protection of and respect for nature.

Bolivia is to become the first country in the world to give nature comprehensive legal rights in an effort to halt climate change and the exploitation of the natural world, and to improve quality of life for the Bolivian people.

Developed by grassroots social groups and agreed by politicians, the Law of Mother Earth recognises the rights of all living things, giving the natural world equal status to human beings.

Once fully approved, the legislation will provide the Earth with rights to: life and regeneration; biodiversity and freedom from genetic modification; pure water; clean air; naturally balanced systems; restoration from the effects of human activity; and freedom from contamination.


The legislation is based on broader principles of living in harmony with the Earth and prioritising the “collective good.” At its heart is an understanding that the Earth is sacred, which arises from the indigenous Andean worldview of ‘Pachamama’ (meaning Mother Earth) as a living being. An initial act outlining the rights – which was passed by Bolivia’s national congress in December 2010 and paves the way for the full legislation – defines Mother Earth as a dynamic and “indivisible community of all living systems and living organisms, interrelated, interdependent and complementary, which share a common destiny.”

Bolivia’s government will be legally bound to prioritise the wellbeing of its citizens and the natural world by developing policies that promote sustainability and control industry. The economy must operate within the limits of nature and the country is to work towards energy and food sovereignty while adopting renewable energy technologies and increasing energy efficiency.Preventing climate change is a key objective of the law, which includes protecting the lives of future generations. The government is requesting that rich countries help Bolivia adapt to the effects of climate change in recognition of the environmental debt they owe for their high carbon emissions. Bolivia is “particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” according to an Oxfam report in 2009, with increasing drought, melting glaciers and flooding.

On the international stage, the government will have a legal duty to promote the uptake of rights for Mother Earth, while also advocating peace and the elimination of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Following a change in Bolivia’s constitution in 2009, the law is part of a complete overhaul of the legal system. It represents a shift away from the western development model to a more holistic vision, based on the indigenous concept of Vivir Bien (to live well).

The proposal for the law states: “Living Well means adopting forms of consumption, behaviour and and conduct that are not degrading to nature. It requires an ethical and spiritual relationship with life. Living Well proposes the complete fulfilment of life and collective happiness.”

Unity Pact, an umbrella group for five Bolivian social movements, prepared the draft law. They represent over 3m people and all of the country’s 36 indigenous groups, the majority of whom are smallscale farmers with many still living on their ancestral lands. The bill protects their livelihoods and diverse cultures from the impacts of industry.

Undarico Pinto, a leader of the social movement Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia, said: “It will make industry more transparent. It will allow people to regulate industry at national, regional and local levels.”Signifying a fundamental shift away from exploitation of nature, the draft law referrers to mineral resources as “blessings” and states that Mother Earth, “is sacred, fertile and the source of life that feeds and cares for all living beings in her womb. She is in permanent balance, harmony and communication with the cosmos.”
A Ministry of Mother Earth is to be established to promote the new rights and ensure they are complied with. But with its economy currently dependent on exports of natural resources, earning nearly a third of its foreign currency – around £300m a year – from mining companies, Bolivia will need to balance its new obligations against the demands of industry.

Bolivia Rain forest


The full law is expected to pass within the next few months and is unlikely to face any significant opposition because the ruling party, the Movement Towards Socialism, has a considerable majority in parliament. Its leader, President Evo Morales, voiced a commitment to the initiative at the World People’s Conference on Climate change, held in Bolivia in April 2010.

The Law of Mother Earth includes the following:

The right to maintain the integrity of life and natural processes.

The right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered.

The right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration.

The right to pure water.

The right to clean air.

The right to balance, to be at equilibrium.

The right to be free of toxic and radioactive pollution.

The right to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities

The law also promotes “harmony” and “peace” and “the elimination of all nuclear, chemical, biological” weapons.

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Postby softspeaker » 19 Oct 2014, 14:53

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Postby softspeaker » 19 Oct 2014, 14:54

7 Differences Between Religion and Spirituality ... rituality/

A lot of people mistake Spirituality for Religion or some mysterious, supernatural occurrence. Some even think of it as a sect but this is because of their lack of knowledge and their fear of being manipulated.

If we move past this and try to study and understand what spirituality actually is, we’ll come to a realization that it is nothing mysterious or supernatural nor in any way connected to a sect of any kind.

These 7 differences between Religion and Spirituality will help you understand what Spirituality actually is.

Religion Makes You Bow – Spirituality Sets You Free

Religion tells you to follow an ideology and obey certain rules or you’ll be punished otherwise. Spirituality lets you Follow Your Heart and What You Feel It’s Right. It sets you free to be what you truly are without bowing to anything that doesn’t resonate as right with you nor to anyone because we are all one. It is all up to you to choose what you’ll honor enough to make it divine

Religion Shows You Fear – Spirituality Shows You How to Be Brave

Religion tells you what to fear and tells you consequences. Spirituality makes you aware of the consequences but doesn’t want you to focus on the fear. It shows you How to Stand Despite Being Afraid, how to move on doing what you feel it’s right despite the consequences that may come. It shows you how to act on love and not on fear, it shows you how to control fear and use the best of it.

Religion Tells You The Truth – Spirituality Lets You Discover It

Religion tells you what to believe and what is right. Spirituality lets you discover it by yourself and understand it in your own unique way. It lets you Connect With Your Higher Self and see with your own mind what truth is because the truth as a whole is same for each one of us. It lets you believe in your own truth through your own perception of your heart.

Religion Separates from Other Religions – Spirituality Unites Them

Through our world there are many religions and they all preach that their story is the right story. Spirituality sees the truth in all of them and unites them because the truth is same for all of us despite our differences and uniqueness. It focuses on the quality of the divine message they share and not on the differences in details of the story they speak.

Religion Makes You Dependent – Spirituality Makes You Independent

If you attend religious events only then you are seen as a religious person and someone who is worthy of happiness. Spirituality shows you that you don’t need or depend on anything to be happy. Happiness is always found deep in ourselves and only we are responsible for it. We are always where we need to be and not just while attending at some events or buildings. Divinity is in us and that is why we are always worthy.

Religion Applies Punishment – Spirituality Applies Karma

Religion says that if we don’t obey certain rules there is punishment that awaits us which relies on our belief. Spirituality lets us understand that every action has its reaction and realize that the punishment of our actions will be the reaction coming from the actions we set in motion. It relies solely on the fundamental forces of The Universe and it doesn’t need you to believe in that force to be true.

Religion Makes You Follow Other Journey – Spirituality Lets You Create Your Own

The foundation of one religion is the story it tells about a God or Gods, their journey to enlightenment and the truth they have discovered making you follow their steps. Spirituality lets you Walk Your Own Journey to Enlightenment and discover the truth in your own way following what your heart tells it’s right because the truth is always the same no matter how you get to it.

Every religion came by spirituality, by the journey through which one person became God. The details of the story are not important they just help the character discover the truth. The message that shares the truth is what is important, The Divine Code of The Human Heart that resonates harmoniously through each of us. That is why every religion has something true in it, the truth.

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Postby softspeaker » 20 Oct 2014, 12:00

Island in Scotland to be First 100% Self-Sustaining Place on Earth ... n-earth-2/

Virescent mountains, verdant valleys, and clean energy. Sound like a scene from The Sound of Music or a fictional novel about utopia? It is neither. It is in fact, the description of the one place on this planet that is about to be 100% self-sustaining – Scotland’s Eigg Island. Eigg has a pristine landscape, a broad array of sustainable strategies and gets over 90% of its energy from renewable sources. Along with its witty accent, the Scots offer an example of how to live well, without fossil fuels and rampant ecological and environmental degradation.

“Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” No, we have new heroes. They are the residents of Scotland’s forward thinking Eigg.

Solar panels, wind turbines and hydroelectric schemes sprinkled across the island meet the energy requirements of almost all of its residents. With a $2.64 million electricity grid switched on back in 2008, operating independently of the UK’s national grid, the island wasn’t able to bring in big energy companies, so they did something unthinkable – they used their electricity economically – keeping consumption under 5 kilowatts, with a limit for businesses at 10 kilowatts.The island also enjoys a wonderful geographic locale. It has abundant sun, and wind – what some would call ‘harsh’ weather conditions, but a phenomenon the islanders use to their benefit. They even have free heating in public spaces, like churches and their community center.

What’s even more shocking – the island is owned by its residents! In 1997 Eigg Islanders bought the farm – quite literally. Anyone who lives on the island for more than six months becomes a member of the resident committee that decides who things are run in their town.

Since we can’t all move to Eigg, we can at least implement some of their novel ideas. Sovereignty of power, in multiple versions of the word, apparently, is no pipe dream.

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Postby softspeaker » 21 Oct 2014, 00:08 ... the-proof/

Who is benefiting from suppressing scientific research? Whose power and wealth is threatened by access to clean and free energy? Who has the desire to create a system where so few have so much, and so many have so little?

It’s become extremely obvious, especially within the past few years, that Earth’s dependence on fossil fuels is not needed at all. Yet we continue to create war, destroy the environment and harm mother Earth so we can continue using the same old techniques that generate trillions of dollars for those at the top of the energy industry. Corporate media continues to push the idea that we are in an energy crisis, that we are approaching a severe problem due to a lack of resources. It’s funny how the same group of shareholders that own the energy industry also own corporate media. This seems to be both another fear tactic and another excuse to create conflict. How can there be a lack of resources when we have systems that can provide energy without any external input? This means that these systems could run for infinity and provide energy to the entire planet without burning fossil fuels. This would eliminate a large portion of the ‘bills’ you pay to live, and reduce the harmful effect we are having on Earth and her environment. Even if you don’t believe in the concept of free energy (also known as zero-point energy), we have multiple clean energy sources that render the entire energy industry obsolete. This article however will focus mainly on the concept of free energy which has been proven time and time again by researchers all across the world who have conducted several experiments and published their work multiple times. A portion of this vast amount of research will be presented in this paper.

These concepts have been proven in hundreds of laboratories all over the world, yet never see the light of day. If the new energy technologies were set free world wide the change would be profound. It would affect everybody, it would be applicable everywhere. These technologies are absolutely the most important thing that have happened in the history of the world. – Dr. Brian O’Leary, Former NASA Astronaut and Princeton Physics Professor.

The Research

These concepts are currently being discussed at The Breakthrough Energy Movement Conference.

The Casimir Effect is a proven example of free energy that cannot be debunked. The Casimir Effect illustrates zero point or vacuum state energy, which predicts that two metal plates close together attract each other due to an imbalance in the quantum fluctuations(0)(8). You can see a visual demonstration of this concept here. The implications of this are far reaching and have been written about extensively within theoretical physics by researchers all over the world. Today, we are beginning to see that these concepts are not just theoretical, but instead very practical and simply very suppressed.

Vacuums generally are thought to be voids, but Hendrik Casimir believed these pockets of nothing do indeed contain fluctuations of electromagnetic waves. He suggested that two metal plates held apart in a vacuum could trap the waves, creating vacuum energy that could attract or repel the plates. As the boundaries of a region move, the variation in vacuum energy (zero-point energy) leads to the Casimir effect. Recent research done at Harvard University, and Vrije University in Amsterdam and elsewhere has proved the Casimir effect correct (7).

A paper published in the Journal Foundations of Physics Letters, in August 2001, Volume 14, Issue 4 shows that the principles of general relativity can be used to explain the principles of the motionless electromagnetic generator (MEG)(1). This device takes electromagnetic energy from curved space-time and outputs about twenty times more energy than inputted. The fact that these machines exist is astonishing, it’s even more astonishing that these machines are not implemented worldwide right now. It would completely wipe out the entire energy industry, nobody would have to pay bills and it would eradicate poverty at an exponential rate. This paper demonstrates that electromagnetic energy can be extracted from the vacuum and used to power working devices such as the MEG used in the experiment. The paper goes on to emphasize how these devices are reproducible and repeatable.

The results of this research have been used by numerous scientists all over the world. One of the many examples is a paper written by Theodor C. Loder, III, Professor Emeritus at the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space at the University of New Hampshire. He outlined the importance of these concepts in his paper titled Space and Terrestrial Transportation and Energy Technologies For The 21st Century (2).

There is significant evidence that scientists since Tesla have known about this energy, but that its existence and potential use has been discouraged and indeed suppressed over the past half century or more (2) – Dr. Theodor C. Loder III

Harold E. Puthoff, an American Physicist and Ph.D. from Stanford University, as a researcher at the institute for Advanced Studies at Austin, Texas published a paper in the journal Physical Review A, atomic, molecular and optical physics titled “Gravity as a zero-point-fluctuation force(3)” . His paper proposed a suggestive model in which gravity is not a separately existing fundamental force, but is rather an induced effect associated with zero-point fluctuations of the vacuum, as illustrated by the Casimir force. This is the same professor that had close connections with Department of Defense initiated research in regards to remote viewing. The findings of this research are highly classified, and the program was instantly shut down not longer after its initiation (4).

Another astonishing paper titled “Extracting energy and heat from the vacuum,” by the same researchers, this time in conjunction with Daniel C. Cole, Ph.D. and Associate Professor at Boston University in the Department of Mechanical Engineering was published in the same journal (5).

Relatively recent proposals have been made in the literature for extracting energy and heat from electromagnetic zero-point radiation via the use of the Casimir force. The basic thermodynamics involved in these proposals is analyzed and clarified here, with the conclusion that yes, in principle, these proposals are correct (5).

Furthermore, a paper in the journal Physical Review A, Puthoff titled “Source of vacuum electromagnetic zero-point energy(6),” Puthoff describes how nature provides us with two alternatives for the origin of electromagnetic zero-point energy. One of them is generation by the quantum fluctuation motion of charged particles that constitute matter. His research shows that particle motion generates the zero-point energy spectrum, in the form of a self-regenerating cosmological feedback cycle.

Before commenting on the article, please read the article, look at the sources and watch the video. Many of your questions can be answered there. We come across many who are quick to comment without examining the information presented. This is a clip from the documentary Thrive, you can view the full documentary by clicking on the title.

We’ve had major military people at great risks to themselves say yes these things are real. Why do you think the military industrial complex doesn’t want that statement to be made, because you start thinking about what kind of technology is behind that, that’s the bottom line. – Adam Trombly, Physicist, Inventor

As illustrated multiple times above, the energy these systems use is extracted from the fabric of the space around us. That means it cannot be metered, which creates a threat to the largest industry on the planet, energy. An industry that is partly responsible for the destruction of our planet, and an industry that rakes in hundreds of trillions of dollars every year. No blame is to be given, only a realization is to be made that we have the power to change this anytime we choose. These technologies would completely change everything, but it’s important to remember that operating technology depends on what level of consciousness the operators are operating it at. Is the human race ready for such a transformation? Nothing can work unless the consciousness behind it comes from a place of love, peace, co-operation and understanding. The desire for the benefit of all beings on the planet would be the driving force for the release of these technologies.

These technologies are locked up in black budget projects, it would take an act of God to ever get them out to benifit humanity (2) – Ben Rich, Former Director of Lockheed’s Skunkworks Division

I hope I’ve provided enough information here for those interested in furthering their research on the subject. There is a lot to this technology, and it branches into many other areas from ancient history to sacred geometry and all the way to UFOs. The technology described in this paper is similar to what Dr. O’Leary states here with regards to propulsion systems and anisolated field of energy. For more on this subject, please visit our exopolitics section under the alternative news tab as it does correlate with the technology of anti-gravity and free energy.

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Postby admin » 21 Oct 2014, 23:55 ... ean-rights

Professor Thomas I White argues that dolphins are non-human persons. Like humans, then, they have moral rights appropriate to their nature. White argues that the scientific data of the last thirty years makes it quite clear that the slaughter and captivity of dolphins are ethically indefensible. He argues further that anyone who doesn't recognize this is either unfamiliar with the full body of relevant scientific literature or doesn't understand the ethical significance of the data.


Professor Thomas I. White, Ph.D., Conrad N. Hilton Professor in Ethics, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA

Fellow, Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics

Author, In Defense of Dolphins: The New Moral Frontier (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007). Whale, Dolphins, Ethics: A Primer (2014).

Recent discussions about the philosophical implications (especially the ethical implications) of the scientific research on whales and dolphins have shown that a variety of claims can be easily misunderstood: 1) that whales and dolphins are “nonhuman persons”; 2) that they are entitled to “rights”; 3) that these rights are violated by such human activities as whaling, drive hunts and captivity; and, therefore, 4) that these activities are ethically indefensible. This short essay attempts to clarify these claims and to point to the scientific research that underlies them.


The concept of a “person” as opposed to a “human” is a standard part of metaphysics, the part of philosophy that the most fundamental features of existence. “Personhood” has a long history in philosophy and is closely connected to the discussion of “personal identity.” (For a couple of good, basic articles, see the entries to “personal identity” and “persons” in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy.)
What do we mean by ‘person’?

The simplest answer is that a person is a who, not a what. The more technical answer is that a “person” is any being, no matter what their species, who has the traits that imply a sophisticated level of intellectual and emotional sophistication. The set of criteria used in my In Defense of Dolphins sets the bar quite high: being alive; aware; the ability to experience positive and negative sensations (pleasure and pain); emotions; self-consciousness and a personality; self-controlled behavior; recognizes and treats other persons appropriately; and a series of higher order intellectual abilities (abstract thought, learning, solves complex problems and communicates in a way that suggests thought). Other sets of criteria for personhood have less to them.

The distinction between “human” and “person” leads immediately to two questions: Are all humans persons? And, are there any persons who are not human?

The first question has come up repeatedly in medical ethics. For example, is someone “brain dead” a person? Or, is a fetus a person? If we were to say that the answer to one or both of these questions is “no,” what does this say about the ethical character of an action to end the life of a “human non-person”?

The second question is discussed in animal ethics. Scientific research has continued to uncover impressive intellectual and emotional abilities in such nonhumans as chimps, gorillas, elephants, whales and dolphins. If these abilities are sophisticated enough to suggest that these mammals are “persons,” what does that say about the ethical character of human treatment of these animals: use in medical experimentation, willful killing, captive breeding, confinement in captivity for the sake of research, human therapy, entertainment, generating profit and the like?
Why do we bother to use the term “person” and approach things this way?

One of the most important reasons is to limit the amount of species-bias that can color discussions of the treatment of nonhumans. Ideally, ‘person’ is a species-neutral term.
Why does personhood matter?

From an ethical perspective, personhood matters because persons have what philosophers refer to as “moral standing.” If you’re a person, then you’re entitled to be treated in certain ways. To have “moral standing” means that in any calculation about what the right thing to do is in a situation, you count. Your pain, happiness, rights and interests matter. Also, you count as an individual.

This is one of the most important implications of the fact that nonhumans like dolphins are persons. They count as individuals—the same way that you and I count as individuals. Conservationists, however, talk about dolphin “stocks” and “populations.” One of the most disappointing things about the letters that the Society for Marine Mammalogy have sent to the Japanese government opposing the drive hunts is that they referred only to “stocks” and fail to take up the issue of the welfare of individual dolphins. The underlying assumption is that the drive hunts kill too many dolphins for the population to sustain itself. Unfortunately, this implies that if the hunts kill fewer dolphins, it would be OK. This would be like saying that—if we take a small human community as an example—as long as the number of people we kill doesn’t have a significant, negative impact on reproduction rates in the village, then the deaths are acceptable.
Isn’t this a bad approach for “animal ethics” because it means that only persons deserve special treatment?

No. To say, “If A is a person, then A has moral standing” does not imply that “If A is not a person, then A does not have moral standing.” That’s the logical fallacy of denying the antecedent.

Unfortunately, a common objection to the “personhood” argument is that it encourages people to think that other animals deserve proper treatment only if they’re “just like us.” As Diana Reiss has commented, “Since dolphins are, like humans, intelligent, self-aware beings with personalities, emotions, and the capability to govern their own behavior, [Thomas White] proposed they be viewed as ‘nonhuman persons’ . . .. I worry about this argument, however—does it mean that other species may be mistreated?” [248-9]

My answer is that if people are looking for an excuse to mistreat nonhumans, they’ll find one. And they may use the “personhood” argument as a rationalization. But that just means that animal rights advocates need a different argument for nonhumans. It’s important to recognize, however, that the personhood argument is the strongest case to use with average people if we’re talking about how we should treat cetaceans better. In my experience, the “personhood” argument explains even to someone with anthropocentric biases why it’s wrong to kill dolphins or keep them captive.

Also, it’s appropriate to use the distinction between “persons” and “nonpersons” because they have different capacities for pain and harm. For example, if I mock and berate a friend in public for the purpose of cruelly humiliating him for my own pleasure, I’m sure he’ll experience pain. If I say exactly the same thing to a squirrel I may come across, I doubt that my words will have any impact on him. He doesn’t have this particular vulnerability to being hurt in this way.
But aren’t things like corporations also persons?

Corporations are “legal persons” not, shall we say, “moral persons,” which I’ll discuss shortly. I appreciate that there is a legal tradition that thinks this makes sense, but I’m not one of them. Legally, a legislature could make my toaster a ‘person.’
So what’s the connection between personhood and rights?

Personhood implies moral standing. The way that I describe the next step is to say that this is a recognition that the complexities that go with being a person mean that the conditions that we need in order to grow, flourish or experience life in even a rudimentarily satisfying way are more complicated than the conditions nonpersons need; it also means that these complexities make us vulnerable to harm in a way that nonpersons aren’t.

But notice that I’m talking about “needs” not “rights.” That’s deliberate because I maintain that rights are derivative from basic needs.

First of all, we aren’t talking about “legal rights” at all. So set aside any thought about how we enforce any of this or enshrine it in laws or treaties until we can get everyone discussing this through at least one conversation at the simplest level and stay on track.

We’re talking about “moral rights,” and they’re grounded in the idea that the fact that someone’s a person means that the only way they’ll grow, develop fully, flourish and experience even a basic sense of satisfaction with life is if they experience certain conditions. This approach says that a person has a right to something because he or she absolutely, positively needs it in order to fully grow, develop, etc.
OK, and what are those conditions?

That depends on the species, which is why this is all “species-specific.”

For humans, look at any of the various statements of “basic human needs” or “basic human rights.” What we get is something like these: Life; Physical health and safety; Emotional health and safety; Freedom of choice (actions, beliefs); Education (way to get necessary skills); Fairness, care, equality, respect for our dignity as persons; Access to meaningful emotional relationships; Rest.

The most logically fundamental piece of this, then, is the idea of “basic human needs.” This then lets us say that there are such things as “basic human rights,” or, if you like, “inalienable rights.” We have a right to them because we need them. If we don’t get them, we’re in some way harmed.

The logic would be the same with cetaceans—except we know so much less than we need to about what their “basic needs” are. But we do know that they need: life; a rich and complex social life; the liberty to operate in a way that individuals and communities are able to operate successfully enough in an environment to survive in both the short and long term.

The Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans, then, is a statement meant to describe what we have to do in order to allow cetaceans to get these needs met.

That’s why it’s a Declaration of Cetacean Rights, not human rights.
But the Declaration also says something about cetaceans having the right not to be treated as property? If I can guarantee that their needs are met in captivity, wouldn’t that be OK? No harm, no foul?

Yes and no. On the one hand, if it were possible, it would seem as though no cetacean is being harmed. However, what we’ve learned about the social lives of wild dolphins makes it clear that we can’t replicate those conditions in captivity. Your facility would have to be at least as big as, say, the Sarasota Bay.

However, one of the most important needs that persons seem to have is to be treated with dignity, with respect for their autonomy and ability to determine their own fates. This is the idea that persons have inherent worth, that they’re somehow special in and of themselves, and that it’s intrinsically wrong to treat them as objects. Hence, the Declaration’s statement that cetaceans have a right not to be treated as property.

Even among humans, we’d say that it’s simply fundamentally wrong to own another person or to treat them as though were simply an object. Even if we treated slaves well, we still say that it’s wrong.
OK, so let’s concede that, in theory, this all makes sense. Isn’t it unrealistic to think that the average human is going to sign on to this?

No. I’ve been doing presentations on this to all sorts of audiences for more than 20 years. When most people hear the evidence (which, minimally, takes about an hour to lay out even the most basic case), they understand that it makes sense. They recognize that putting this into practice is going to be complicated. But when they understand the concept of “person,” when they hear the evidence and when they hear what the philosophical and ethical implications of the evidence are, they’re basically OK with this.

They recognize that there will inevitably be conflicts between human rights and cetacean rights that we’ll have to resolve—just like we have to resolve conflicts between the rights of one human and the rights of another human now. But not all of this is impossibly complicated. For now, I’d settle with everyone recognizing that the deliberate killing of cetaceans is wrong, that captive breeding is wrong, and that we have to figure out what to do with the cetaceans who are in captivity. (Can they go to preserves? Can some be released? What’s appropriate?)
Anything else?

Yes. Personhood is neither the only nor, probably, the best philosophical argument for treating cetaceans in an ethically acceptable fashion. It still has problems with species bias. But it’s the best one to use with the general public, and it’s probably the only approach the courts will eventually listen to.

Personhood has major weaknesses, however, because of how anthropocentric the criteria are. This is especially evident in the way “intelligence” gets defined and studied, and in the human fixation on “language.” (It’s beyond the current scope of this piece to go into this, but I’m beginning to think that the best evidence for “cetacean intelligence” lies in “cetacean culture.”) I’m currently developing an approach that tries to address the weaknesses of personhood by making central the species-specific conditions related to “flourishing.”

I’m adapting a new approach to animal ethics pioneered by philosopher Martha Nussbaum (a philosopher at the University of Chicago). She calls it the “capabilities approach.”

The central idea I’m advancing is that we need to begin with what cetaceans need in order to flourish—that is, what they need in order to develop the physical, emotional, social and intellectual capabilities inherent in their species which allow them to have a successful and satisfying life. I’ll explain this perspective in my next book. As a way of illuminating the biological foundation of the claim that cetaceans have moral rights, I’ll describe what marine scientists have discovered about the conditions cetaceans require in order to grow and develop fully. I’ll argue for a broader understanding of what constitutes harm for cetaceans than has traditionally been used in discussions about how marine mammals should be treated. For example, it is obvious that we can harm humans by subjecting them to a life which, while physically safe, is barren in many other ways and prevents the development of certain capabilities (e.g., literacy). I’ll argue that it is similarly harmful to limit captive cetaceans to a life which, while physically safe, deprives them, for example, of the opportunity to learn the social skills needed to manage the many and varied relationships which are central to the lives of wild dolphins and orcas and which are critical to their well-being.
The current state of things

I’d like to be able to put this more diplomatically, but, in my opinion, at least, what strikes me as “mainstream thinking” in the marine mammal science community is obsolete and philosophically uninformed. (To be fair, most of the discussion by philosophers is scientifically uninformed. This is one of the challenges of multi-disciplinary work. And I never make a presentation to philosophers without stressing the importance of concentrating on a specific species [not “animals”], having a thorough familiarity with the scientific literature and having some serious exposure to field-work.) The evidence for the personhood of dolphins—and what the ethical implications of that are—are so clear that this is not really a controversial issue any more. Anyone challenging it (or saying they ‘aren’t sure’) either hasn’t studied the scientific evidence closely enough, or, if they have, they don’t understand the philosophical and ethical implications of the data. This is no more debatable than the fact that global warming is taking place. People can spin things to make it sound as though it’s debatable. But if you really know the facts and understand what they mean, there’s nothing to debate.

The best recent example of this is the 2012 letter that the leadership of the Society for Marine Mammalogy sent to the Japanese government objecting to the ongoing killing of dolphins in the annual drive hunts there. Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that dolphins, like humans, experience life as self-aware individuals, the letter employs an obsolete perspective that discusses only the sustainability of “stocks” or “populations” of dolphins. The letter fails to offer the strongest ethical argument—that the killing of any individual dolphin is indefensible. In my opinion, the traditional, “conservation” outlook in which these senior scientists were trained makes it difficult for them to appreciate fully the ethical significance of the empirical research in their field.

Another common example is the idea that captivity is defensible because the benefits to a large number of wild dolphins outweigh the costs to the far smaller number of captive dolphins. This is the classic weakness of “utilitarianism.” In my opinion, the only way you can make this argument work is to advance the claim that a minority is less important than the majority, and a smaller number of people can be used, in effect, as tools to advance the welfare of the majority.
But doesn’t captivity actually produce some positive benefits?

The other problem is that I think that much of what is presented in captive facilities is “mis-education.” What’s described about dolphins is carefully edited to omit, for example, the research that suggests that dolphins are individual, nonhuman persons whose welfare depends on social conditions that couldn’t possibly be replicated in captivity. In my opinion, when it comes to education, anything less than “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” is unacceptable. Take a look at the websites of the major captive facilities. They’ll give lots of detailed information about many aspects of dolphins—except intelligence, self-awareness, individuality, etc. It can reasonably be argued, then, that captivity doesn’t “educate,” but “perpetuates a stereotype”—Lassie of the sea.

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Postby admin » 26 Oct 2014, 12:18 ... s-genes-2/

Scientists Finally Admit There Is a Second, Secret DNA Code Which Controls Genes

The fascinating and recent discovery of a new, second DNA code further lends credence to what metaphysical scientists have been saying for millennia — the body speaks two different languages.

Since the genetic code was deciphered in the 1960s, researchers have assumed that it was used exclusively to write information about proteins.

But biologists have suspected for years that some kind of epigenetic inheritance occurs at the cellular level. The different kinds of cells in our bodies provide an example. Skin cells and brain cells have different forms and functions, despite having exactly the same DNA.

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Postby admin » 26 Oct 2014, 12:18

Cold fusion reactor verified by third-party researchers, seems to have 1 million times the energy density of gasoline ... f-gasoline

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