Irish Diaspora


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irish diaspora African culture

When W.E.B. Du Bois announced in his marvelous work Souls of Black Folk, that the "problem of the 20th Century is the color line . . ." immediately he set out a social and analytical paradigm that instantly recognized that the major racial problem in America was that existing between Blacks and Whites. Nevertheless, we are still, at the end of the 20th Century, struggling with the question of what kind of democratic society we are, or whether we will be a democratic society at all, often oblivious to the fact that the satisfactory resolution of Du Bois' paradigm is the most critical element in the question.
In this respect, what has not been fully grasped by the new radical conservatism is the notion that social justice and human rights never were disconnected communities of value within the framework of a larger political regime; that they, in fact, define the very nature of democracy itself. Democracy is not just the legal framework of the Constitution, but the real relations among people governed by it. So, the critical objective in the process of Blacks seeking social justice has been to move from an exclusive notion of democracy based upon White dominance to one more perfect even than that envisioned by the founders.
When America was first defined, the founders debated the issues involved in the character of democracy. However, the unchallenged and underlying reality was that the authoritative social structure and the effective citizenship of the nation would be White and male, women having been excluded by custom, most Blacks as slaves excluded by law, and even so-called "freed" Blacks not considered to be citizens. Native Americans, of course, not only were excluded, but were on the chopping block of extermination.
From their position as the authoritative citizens, Whites were able to erect institutions and to behave in ways that enforced their notions of social, political, and economic behavior. Certainly, groups such as the Irish or Jews were considered within the pecking order as socially less than the English, Germans, and French. And by the early 20th century, the Chinese, who had been brought to the country in the 19th century to work on the railroads, were legally excluded by the passage of the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 that affected Japanese exclusion. Since then, race relations have been defined by the preoccupation with the real and symbolic conflict between "Black" and "White."
Of course, we cannot consider race and color in America as absolutes, for within every group there is a natural variation of biology in people who have been exposed to the world. For instance, for the purposes of maintaining social power, "White" people were created in America. This grouping would have the cultural variation of many European ethnic groups-Irish, German, Slav, French, Spanish, Nordic, all subject to the dominating influences of the English culture, political structure, and economic power. But for the purpose of exercising that power, they merged into a defined "Whiteness" of status and behavior. Africans born in America were treated collectively as "Blacks," colored, and Negroes. They not only were culturally African, they were Mandingo, Yoruba, Nuer, Ovinbundu, etc., who came to possess the flavoring of English, French, Dutch or other European cultures through their experience with colonialism. Thus, while cultural variations exist within the dominant grouping of "White" as well as "Black," it is power that defines the racial stratification as occurring in near absolute terms. That is to say, any Black person, no matter how rich, is subject to acts of subordination based on race.
The Black/White paradigm is still a convenient way to dialogue about race, where Blacks represent the oppressed and Whites the dominant group. All non-White groups have been oppressed to one degree or another by the dominant culture, not in the sense that they were merely disliked by the White majority (exhibiting prejudice or racial discrimination), but that they were forced into certain roles by it. Where the principle (stated or unstated) of the use of power was based on race, it was racism. Feagin and Sikes define racism as follows: "Racism is racial discrimination backed by the power and resources to effect unequal outcomes based on race." (Feagin and ... more

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The Beak Of The Finch
The Beak of the Finch


The Bogus Logic of The Beak

People who have served in the Armed Forces may be familiar with the expression, "If you can't dazzle then with your brilliance, baffle them with your baloney." The Beak of the Finch uses such laughable logic, it is remarkable that anyone would believe it. The book does such a terrible job of presenting a case for evolution and history, that the only logical conclusion is that the book's true intent is to disprove it.

 
Jonathan Weiner, The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time. New York:
Alfred A. Knopf, 1994. ISBN 0679400036.

 
"It is never too late to give up our prejudices. No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof." --Thoreau, Walden
This book claims to be about evolution, centered in the location made famous by Charles Darwin, the Galapagos Islands. I read this book on the recommendation of a good friend who knows I am interested in birds and thought I might get something out of it. Indeed, the few parts of the book actually about the Gouldian Finches of the Galapagos Islands are fascinating. The book records in detail some of the trials the Dr. Peter Grant family endured in studying these birds on a hot volcanic rock. However, the writers and editors of the book avoid simple logic and put a spin on history that is misleading. The facts and logic presented in The Beak of the Finch really make the book's author out to be a closet creationist.

 
It just so happened that at the same time I read this book, I was reading The Storm Petrel and the Owl of Athena by Louis Halle. Half of The Storm Petrel is on the bird life of the Shetland Islands, another isolated natural system. Halle, though an evolutionist, devotes a whole chapter on how the Shetlands and other islands conserve species. (Halle. 1970, 155ff.) Where species have changed their habits, it is most often due to adaptation to humanity. He compares the wild starlings, house sparrows, and rock doves found on the Shetlands with the more domesticated versions of these birds found on the continents--and to some degree even in the main village of the Shetlands. The island birds are more like their original wild forebears. I mention this now because it will come back to haunt us later.

 
Logical Fallacies
By the first thirty or so pages I had found two logical fallacies and at least one historical inaccuracy in The Beak of the Finch. The fallacies were significant. The historical point was minor, but could be misleading. The fallacies would continue through the book.

 
Page 10 says "Evolutionists are watching life evolve" on different islands. Well, not on the Shetlands, if Halle's observations are accurate. One reason given is that islands are "a closed system." I am not sure how closed any place on earth is any more; however, the Grants (the scientist couple doing the research reported by The Beak) were certainly careful to keep their little island as closed as possible. They washed themselves carefully, watched for any alien seeds they might bring, and so on. The great irony is that after twenty five years of observing, the net result is no change: Individual variation from year to year, surely, but nothing even remotely approaching one species turning into something else.

 
The Problem with Using Breeders for Analogies
Page 30 describes the "law of succession" (not plant or forest succession). This is adjunct to evolution. Is it truly a law? Can it be observed? Can it be repeated experimentally? Well, he says, Darwin showed that breeders can produce varieties of breeds of dogs and pigeons. Both Darwin and Weiner spend a lot of time on pigeons.

 
There are several problems with this. One, breeders are outside intelligent operators. They are not natural forces. Second, and what will prove to be most significant, they still breed pigeons. The pigeons never become another species, regardless of the exotic traits they display. They are still pigeons. Even Darwin backer Sir Charles Lyell noted, "There is no good evidence of spontaneous generation, and breeders know only too well that ... more

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  • I: The Beak of the Finch I: The Beak of the Finch The Beak of the Finch The Bogus Logic of The Beak People who have served in the Armed Forces may be familiar with the expression, If you can't dazzle then with your brilliance, baffle them with your baloney. The Beak of the Finch uses such laughable logic, it is remarkable that anyone would believe it. The book does such a terrible job of presenting a case for evolution and history, that the only logical conclusion is that the book's true intent is to disprove it. Jonathan Weiner, The Beak of ...
  • R: African culture R: African culture African culture When W.E.B. Du Bois announced in his marvelous work Souls of Black Folk, that the problem of the 20th Century is the color line . . . immediately he set out a social and analytical paradigm that instantly recognized that the major racial problem in America was that existing between Blacks and Whites. Nevertheless, we are still, at the end of the 20th Century, struggling with the question of what kind of democratic society we are, or whether we will be a democratic society at al...
  • I: The Beak Of The Finch I: The Beak Of The Finch The Beak Of The Finch The Beak of the Finch The Bogus Logic of The Beak People who have served in the Armed Forces may be familiar with the expression, If you can't dazzle then with your brilliance, baffle them with your baloney. The Beak of the Finch uses such laughable logic, it is remarkable that anyone would believe it. The book does such a terrible job of presenting a case for evolution and history, that the only logical conclusion is that the book's true intent is to disprove it. Jonatha...
  • S: The bogus logic of the beak of S: The bogus logic of the beak of The bogus logic of the beak of The Bogus Logic of The Beak People who have served in the Armed Forces may be familiar with the expression, If you can\'t dazzle then with your brilliance, baffle them with your baloney. The Beak of the Finch uses such laughable logic, it is remarkable that anyone would believe it. The book does such a terrible job of presenting a case for evolution and history, that the only logical conclusion is that the book\'s true intent is to disprove it. Jonathan Weiner, T...
  • H: The Beak of the Finch H: The Beak of the Finch The Beak of the Finch The Bogus Logic of The Beak People who have served in the Armed Forces may be familiar with the expression, If you can\'t dazzle then with your brilliance, baffle them with your baloney. The Beak of the Finch uses such laughable logic, it is remarkable that anyone would believe it. The book does such a terrible job of presenting a case for evolution and history, that the only logical conclusion is that the book\'s true intent is to disprove it. Jonathan Weiner, The Beak o...
  •  : The Beak Of The Finch : The Beak Of The Finch The Beak Of The Finch The Bogus Logic of The Beak People who have served in the Armed Forces may be familiar with the expression, If you can\'t dazzle then with your brilliance, baffle them with your baloney. The Beak of the Finch uses such laughable logic, it is remarkable that anyone would believe it. The book does such a terrible job of presenting a case for evolution and history, that the only logical conclusion is that the book\'s true intent is to disprove it. nbsp; Jonathan Weiner, The Be...
  • D: Religion in Our Society Everyday Ritual of Life D: Religion in Our Society Everyday Ritual of Life Religion in Our Society Everyday Ritual of Life Religion in Our Society: Everyday Ritual of Life In our time of progress and technological evolution, it is hard to imagine more powerful force, except nuclear weapon, maybe, to destroy the universe. However, humans invented machines and guns, became strong and defensive against each other, but not against their beliefs and morals. It is very easy to destroy a building if you have a rocket launcher, but it is much more energy in the crowd, united i...
  • I: African culture I: African culture African culture When W.E.B. Du Bois announced in his marvelous work Souls of Black Folk, that the problem of the 20th Century is the color line . . . immediately he set out a social and analytical paradigm that instantly recognized that the major racial problem in America was that existing between Blacks and Whites. Nevertheless, we are still, at the end of the 20th Century, struggling with the question of what kind of democratic society we are, or whether we will be a democratic society at al...
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  • O: Easter 1916 O: Easter 1916 Easter 1916 Easter 1916 The 1916 Easter Rebellion spoke to the heart of Irish nationalism and emerged to dominate nationalist accounts of the origin and evolution of the Irish State. The decision by a hand- full of Irish patriots to strike a blow for Irish independence mesmerized the Irish people in its violent intensity and splendor. According to Richard Kearney, author of Myth and Terror, suddenly everything was dated 'Before or after Easter Week'. The subsequent executions of the sixteen rebe...
  • R: Melanin R: Melanin Melanin Religion in Our Society: Everyday Ritual of Life In our time of progress and technological evolution, it is hard to imagine more powerful force, except nuclear weapon, maybe, to destroy the universe. However, humans invented machines and guns, became strong and defensive against each other, but not against their beliefs and morals. It is very easy to destroy a building if you have a rocket launcher, but it is much more energy in the crowd, united in fanatic desire to kill. To kill, becau...
  • A: Easter 1916 A: Easter 1916 Easter 1916 Easter 1916 The 1916 Easter Rebellion spoke to the heart of Irish nationalism and emerged to dominate nationalist accounts of the origin and evolution of the Irish State. The decision by a hand- full of Irish patriots to strike a blow for Irish independence mesmerized the Irish people in its violent intensity and splendor. According to Richard Kearney, author of Myth and Terror, suddenly everything was dated \'Before or after Easter Week\'. The subsequent executions of the sixteen re...
  • Isreal Conflict Isreal Conflict Isreal Conflict 1. Where did the Jews get their name. 2 compare and contrast Arab tribes to Hebrews and the people of Muhammad. The term Judaism came about after the establishment of the state of Israel when the tribes divided into two, the northern and Judas kingdoms, ca 922-587 B.C.E. The customs and belief systems of these nomadic tribes to be later identified as Arab tribes were very similar to the Hebrews\'; however, the Arab tribes developed in some subtle ways. They remained nomadic, wher...
  • Isreal Conflict Isreal Conflict Isreal Conflict 1. Where did the Jews get their name. 2 compare and contrast Arab tribes to Hebrews and the people of Muhammad. The term Judaism came about after the establishment of the state of Israel when the tribes divided into two, the northern and Judas kingdoms, ca 922-587 B.C.E. The customs and belief systems of these nomadic tribes to be later identified as Arab tribes were very similar to the Hebrews\'; however, the Arab tribes developed in some subtle ways. They remained nomadic, wher...
  • The bogus logic of the beak of The bogus logic of the beak of The bogus logic of the beak of The Bogus Logic of The Beak People who have served in the Armed Forces may be familiar with the expression, If you can't dazzle then with your brilliance, baffle them with your baloney. The Beak of the Finch uses such laughable logic, it is remarkable that anyone would believe it. The book does such a terrible job of presenting a case for evolution and history, that the only logical conclusion is that the book's true intent is to disprove it. Jonathan Weiner, The...
  • The Beak of the Finch The Beak of the Finch The Beak of the Finch The Bogus Logic of The Beak People who have served in the Armed Forces may be familiar with the expression, If you can't dazzle then with your brilliance, baffle them with your baloney. The Beak of the Finch uses such laughable logic, it is remarkable that anyone would believe it. The book does such a terrible job of presenting a case for evolution and history, that the only logical conclusion is that the book's true intent is to disprove it. Jonathan Weiner, The Beak of ...
  • African culture African culture African culture When W.E.B. Du Bois announced in his marvelous work Souls of Black Folk, that the problem of the 20th Century is the color line . . . immediately he set out a social and analytical paradigm that instantly recognized that the major racial problem in America was that existing between Blacks and Whites. Nevertheless, we are still, at the end of the 20th Century, struggling with the question of what kind of democratic society we are, or whether we will be a democratic society at al...
  • The Beak Of The Finch The Beak Of The Finch The Beak Of The Finch The Beak of the Finch The Bogus Logic of The Beak People who have served in the Armed Forces may be familiar with the expression, If you can't dazzle then with your brilliance, baffle them with your baloney. The Beak of the Finch uses such laughable logic, it is remarkable that anyone would believe it. The book does such a terrible job of presenting a case for evolution and history, that the only logical conclusion is that the book's true intent is to disprove it. Jonatha...
  • The bogus logic of the beak of The bogus logic of the beak of The bogus logic of the beak of The Bogus Logic of The Beak People who have served in the Armed Forces may be familiar with the expression, If you can\'t dazzle then with your brilliance, baffle them with your baloney. The Beak of the Finch uses such laughable logic, it is remarkable that anyone would believe it. The book does such a terrible job of presenting a case for evolution and history, that the only logical conclusion is that the book\'s true intent is to disprove it. Jonathan Weiner, T...
  • The Beak of the Finch The Beak of the Finch The Beak of the Finch The Bogus Logic of The Beak People who have served in the Armed Forces may be familiar with the expression, If you can\'t dazzle then with your brilliance, baffle them with your baloney. The Beak of the Finch uses such laughable logic, it is remarkable that anyone would believe it. The book does such a terrible job of presenting a case for evolution and history, that the only logical conclusion is that the book\'s true intent is to disprove it. Jonathan Weiner, The Beak o...
  • The Beak Of The Finch The Beak Of The Finch The Beak Of The Finch The Bogus Logic of The Beak People who have served in the Armed Forces may be familiar with the expression, If you can\'t dazzle then with your brilliance, baffle them with your baloney. The Beak of the Finch uses such laughable logic, it is remarkable that anyone would believe it. The book does such a terrible job of presenting a case for evolution and history, that the only logical conclusion is that the book\'s true intent is to disprove it. nbsp; Jonathan Weiner, The Be...
  • Religion in Our Society Everyday Ritual of Life Religion in Our Society Everyday Ritual of Life Religion in Our Society Everyday Ritual of Life Religion in Our Society: Everyday Ritual of Life In our time of progress and technological evolution, it is hard to imagine more powerful force, except nuclear weapon, maybe, to destroy the universe. However, humans invented machines and guns, became strong and defensive against each other, but not against their beliefs and morals. It is very easy to destroy a building if you have a rocket launcher, but it is much more energy in the crowd, united i...
  • African culture African culture African culture When W.E.B. Du Bois announced in his marvelous work Souls of Black Folk, that the problem of the 20th Century is the color line . . . immediately he set out a social and analytical paradigm that instantly recognized that the major racial problem in America was that existing between Blacks and Whites. Nevertheless, we are still, at the end of the 20th Century, struggling with the question of what kind of democratic society we are, or whether we will be a democratic society at al...