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    December's essays below. Go HERE for other months.

    PAGE 1:
    1. "Capital Punishment: An Appeal to the Intelligent." by the Satirical Rogue

    2. "The Destruction of the Snowflake" by the Satirical Rogue

    3. "Newton's Third Law of Motion, and Inner Contentment" by the Satirical Rogue.

    4. "Regarding Torquemada, an Inquisition" by the Satirical Rogue.

    5. "Soul, and the Law of the Conservation of Energy" by the Satirical Rogue.

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    "Capital Punishment: An Appeal to the Intelligent." by the Satirical Rogue

    Just as the Pied Piper of Hamlin was paid to destroy the rat population, the state prisons are being forced to perform a similar action with what is an overflow of vermin. Taking either a "pro" or an "anti" stance is not something to be done lightly.
    Most people decide which side they are to take based on purely emotional reasons. Those who support capital punishment do so based on a hatred of the crimes committed, and a fear of similar crimes happening to them. This is not the way to reach a logical decision.
    Others abhor violence, and feel that two wrongs, namely murder and execution, do not make a right. (although in science, the language of logic, two negatives do make a positive.)
Morality, fear, hatred, and ignorance often play a large part in important decisions, dooming society to enforce ridiculous laws, and leaving itself susceptible to rotting from the inside, out.
    First and foremost, it is important to put our version of capital punishment in an accurate, historical context. Since that dawn of civilization, through the laws of Moses, and the laws of Hammurabi, what you did, was done to you. The advancement of civilization is peppered with this same prevalent idea of reciprocity. To argue against these historic beliefs is to argue against the growth and development inherent in history. If at anytime this law of reciprocation had been ignored, chaos would have been re-introduced into society, creating a premature, and quick, decadence.
In comparison, our law of capital punishment is a cake-walk. We do not hack off your hand when we think you take an apple. We do not burn out your eyes when you lust after another man's wife. We do not cut your tongue out and feed it to the lions if you verbalize the name of God. We offer you a trial by your peers, in which you must be proven without a doubt to be guilty. Then, you are locked in a penitentiary, where you can easily be granted an appeal. You exist incarcerated usually for many years, until your appeals have been defeated, the proof against you has been confirmed, and your crimes against humanity are of such a heinous nature that you have condemned yourself to a painless, quick, and easy death. Now, this easy, painless process can only encourage murderers to action, as the possibility of them being executed is very slight. Very few murderers are executed. However, it is common sense to recognize that if murder, without failure, guaranteed execution, we should not be surprised to see crime rate plummet, taxes lowered, and the economy receive a boost in revenue.
Second, on close inspection, it becomes obvious that finances should be taken into consideration. Each prisoner incarcerated costs $40,000 each year. For every murderer executed each year, that same $40,000 could feed a large family, put some poor student through a good college, or support an impoverished family whose child suffers from a sickness which requires expensive treatment. Through capital punishment, we not only rid society of one of nature’s abortions, but we support those in need and deserving of our help. Both these effects together would spell a perceptible drop in crime, as a firm stance on crime would reduce it, and a firm stance supporting the poor would turn them away from seeking easy money.
Third: The major proponents against the death penalty are the religious extremists. The people clamoring for Charlie Manson's life are the Christians who believe we have no right to judge. This is ridiculous. This is absurd. This is such a glaring, blatant, and pathetic contradiction that their argument carries no weight with those who recognize the hypocrisy.
The bible, which is the life-blood of the Christians, states clearly and on numerous occasions that capital punishment is acceptable in the eyes of God. After all, when we judge according to His law, we are not the ones passing judgment. He is. We merely follow his prescribed rules. The New Testament says nothing against capital punishment, either. Christ does not argue with Pilate when condemned. Christ does not say to the thieves hung up with him, "Gosh, I don't think it right you should be executed for stealing." Christ does not say, "Stoning a whore is wrong," he says, "We are all sinners." (and, that story, the only weakness to this argument, has been proven to be false. It does not exist in the original copies of the Gospel, but was added later by early Gnostic translators. What is more, during this time the Romans had outlawed stoning, and centurions would certainly have arrested the stoners had they had the audacity to perform such a macabre ceremony.)
As a matter of fact, God has clearly shown the He considers death by execution an acceptable method of paying for your sins. Christ pays for Mankind's sins by dying because of them. This established pattern cannot be ignored! Secondly, God set Christ's execution up! (He is, after all, omnipotent!) Obviously, Jehovah has no problems with it. Taking the harsh rules of capital punishment passed down by Jehovah in the Old Testament, and the patterns established in the New Testament, the Christian's argument is annihilated.
Beyond that, Christianity is absolutely dependent upon capital punishment. Without it, Christianity does not exist. Without it, Old Testament prophesies would not exist. Without it, the fulfillment of those prophesies would not have come about in the New Testament. Our forgiveness and absolution is a result of the death penalty. Without it, we would still be sullied, sinning creatures.
Besides, in America we must separate the Church and it's rules, from the State's.
So, from a logical, unemotional viewpoint, all roads lead to Capital Punishment. It is undeniably the correct, logical, and efficient method of dealing with the dregs of society.
However, there are two difficult questions which remain. What is the arbitrary cut off between a life sentence, and execution? Do you get life if you kill two, but death if you kill three? Does the man who kills four adults in a moment of passion live, while the man who plans the murder of two children die? Where do we draw the line? I don't know, for sure. If we execute everyone guilty of murder, then the mother who kills her husband for molesting her children dies. I cannot accept that as justice.
This is a question I can offer no ideas on.
The other question is, what of those innocently condemned? This is somewhat easier to deal with than the previous question. There will always be some incarcerated unjustly, although it rarely occurs. (ignore Hollywood and T.V. for a moment, and look at the American justice system.) But, if we are to have laws, there will be some who become martyrs for it. It cannot be helped. And, since the death penalty is enforced only in the extreme case, when multiple murders have been proven to have been committed, and undeniable evidence in all these murders is accumulated, I believe it safe to say that we should have no real strong fear of executing an innocent.
Even if we do, I believe it is an acceptable trade. One innocent dies, but many lives are saved with the execution of the murderers. Or would you rather many innocents die at the hands of murderers released?
So, when looking at it dispassionately, I believe it is beneficial for society in more ways than one. I believe the risks inherent in the system are small and acceptable. I believe in capital punishment.

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     "The Destruction of the Snowflake" by the Satirical Rogue

    Taking a Pro or Con stand on cloning is difficult, because we know very little about genes, and there are different genetic sciences involved. We must, as Socrates so sagaciously points out, define the subject. Only then can we debate it.
There is obviously the full-bore version of cloning, being the complete duplication of an existing life-form, be it plant, animal, or human. (I separate animal and human purely for logistics.) We copy Sheep A's genes, strand by strand, and produce an exact duplicate. Meet Sheep B, C and D.
Then, there is gene therapy, which is not cloning proper, but genetics nevertheless, and therefore, worth mentioning. Gene therapy is the process of splicing out malevolent genes, like cerebral palsy, schizophrenia, and physical deformations.
There is also the dangerous gene mutation: Rearranging D.N.A. in the hopes of discovering how genes work, and hopefully, producing new wonders of plant, animal, and human life. Essentially playing cards with God, vainly hoping He'll fold.
All these possibilities are difficult to discuss, for they are fledgling sciences. We know very little of genes or D.N.A., which was only discovered in1951 by Francis Crick, James Watson, and Maurice Wilkins using X-ray diffraction. 
Realizing my relative lack of knowledge concerning this subject, and realizing there are probably numerous, and very wise, arguments refuting mine, I shall, nevertheless, make my stand:
The pseudo-science of gene mutation is, at best, a risky experiment. To casually rearrange a thousand genes, as if building a new house of Legos, is exceedingly dangerous. We have only cataloged a few genes. We do not know if the order is important. And just as the child attempts a castle with his Legos, and ends up with a blue house with two chimneys, we end up with an abomination. Let us stick to Tinker-toys, shall we?
Besides, mutations, by definition, are mistakes in the architectural blue-prints of life. Although evolution is made possible by mutations, these mutations are slight and minor ones. One gene is dropped, tweaked, or duplicated. But the thousand remaining genes are untouched, in the same intangible, enigmatic, but important, order. This, combined with natural selection, relieves the gene pool of any dangerous or extraordinary change, and only allows the subtle, positive changes to take hold. Nature allows the black-winged moth mutation to flourish, while the normal, white-winged moth is gobbled up my voracious owls. If we scientists were in charge, we would {accidentally} create a moth three times as fast, with saliva capable of eating through titanium, pheromones to attract moths from 10 miles around, and an immunity to pesticides. Five years down the road, Super Moths are laying their larvae in the bloated remains of pompous humanity. To haphazardly manufacture something nature and natural selection has expressly forbidden is a fore-boding, risky idea.
Gene-therapy, on the other hand, seems to have only beneficent results. (In gene therapy, a type of virus known as a retrovirus is used to replace a defective gene in unhealthy cells with a new, healthy gene.)
When an ameosentisis determines that the developing embryo will develop with lungs outside of its body, why not splice out the faulty gene, (provided it has been positively identified,) and heal the sick embryo? Infant mortality would be greatly reduced, cancer might likewise be disposed of, and we would all get to starve to death in 10 generations, due to over-population, because we usurped the throne of Nature.
Thinking it through to its inevitable end, gene therapy also seems dangerous. Emotion dictates our actions. We hate to watch the infant squirm in its death throes, its brain open to the air, born without a skull. But this happens one in 1000 times because it should. Human beings are one of the few species who reproduce even when there is no need. Most other animals produce just enough offspring to guarantee the survival of the species. Let Nature be, and we will continue to grow and develop, not by leaps and bounds, but with a steady, measured step.
With cloning proper, I ask only this: Why? Why duplicate a being that already exists? Why destroy natural selection? Why obstruct our well ordered system of classification? Once an established pattern, we would eventually create a race of super-human automatons. And, being higher on the evolutionary ladder, what hesitation would they have in annihilating us, the flawed beings infecting the globe? (just like homo-sapiens destruction of Neanderthal man.)
Why trap ourselves by manufacturing 10 models of perfect people, who are programmed to fulfill some preconceived roll that they might not want to fulfill? Why tempt fate? Why replace ourselves with a superior species? Why make the average man obsolete? Why consider doing something when so many important questions cannot be answered with any assurance?
Again, when Man usurps the throne of Nature, we are asking for trouble. She created us. Let Her create anew.
So, as far as cloning and genetics is concerned, I believe, quite simply, if it ain't broke, why fix it?

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    "Newton's Third Law of Motion, and Inner Contentment" by the Satirical Rogue.

   Though a formal introduction is typically called for, before one discusses personal philosophies and ruminations, and the subject of inner contentment is not only an immortal question, but an enigmatic one as well, I shall in all my best attempt to answer that difficult question of inner contentment as best as possible, with my own views, bearing in mind the complexity and inevitable misunderstandings that will arise.
   Happiness, or Inner Contentment as I have so peripatetically called it, is what all human beings are looking for, and this is why all people ask the question. It is the faint star we all strain our eyes and necks to see.
   This being the case, each individual has an individual path they choose (yes choose) to walk, hoping to follow their coursing trail up mountains, through valleys, and beyond the Valley of the Shadow of Death, until, inevitably, they reach that "happy place," like Briar Rabbit desperately trying to find the Laughing Place, or Peter Pan and his glorious NeverNeverLand.
   I do not relate to you mythological fairy tales on accident, but because this is what "happiness" really is, a myth. A bigfatmotherfuckingratbastardofaMYTH, that we, as spoiled American citizens, are taught to believe in. But more on this later....
people, (such as myself throughout my teenage years, and upwards till 21), cannot find happiness, cannot walk the path that is too strenuous upon our meager muscles. We pant, we trudge, we crawl on bloody knees, then we fall down under an attack of an asthma unknown to other mortals, all because our path is so much more difficult to hike, our card hand is so much more difficult to play, our life so much more painful than the other lives we see around us. So we escape from the misery of our reality with drugs.
   We do not really immigrate to NeverNeverLand, (although we may think we do), but only temporarily escape the Auschwitz that is our lives, high on a diaphanous pink cloud that will inevitably dissipate and cast us downwards downwards downwards into the ovens. We escape ourselves, but only for a moment, and only in a peripheral way. We are still we, and since we are what we run from, we will never escape. The hatred inside is faster, the sadness smarter, the self-loathing possesses more guile, and better transportation. (it having a Mercedes Benz, we a Volkswagen Jetta). We never win the race of happiness, because Ourself always waits for us at the finish line.
   This is why I quit drugs and alcohol: Because I was still unhappy. I wanted to die, but, afraid of death, I medicated myself, and eventually, the efficacy of drugs wore off and I was left alone, angry, bitter, suicidal, and without an effective method of escaping myself.
   What to do? Where to go? Why can't I feel this thing called happiness, without immediately feeling guilty, or filled with shame, or angry that it isn't as grand as I expected it to be, or, to put it another way, why was my happiness not real? Why oh why me?
   I found, in my life, drugs, (and indeed all methods of escape, useless). Every joint I smoked made the next one less efficient. Every line I cut made my starting point lower. It was a vicious cycle, and one which only spirals
people, (my distant family, for example), allay their sadness and fear, (the antithesis of happiness), with religion and God, and therein lies their {happiness}. I, myself, believe as Nietzsche does, that "Religious beliefs, far from forming a true picture of some higher world, are self-deceptions that feed on visceral fears and cravings. God, Truth, Free-will- the very foundations of our self-assessment as higher creatures- are fictions."
   They feel unutterably alone, like Pip drifting in the ocean of night, while the Pequod sales away into the blackness of the horizon. (Melville, Moby Dick). To compensate for this loneliness, they befriend "God," and therefore, no longer feel alone. They fear death, and therefore believe in Heaven. They crave justice, and therefore invent Hell. They desire understanding, so see the world as machinations and emanations of God. Everything, to them, is clear, pat, and beautiful, and they, believing or "feeling" this, are "Happy."
   I could continue with my list of methods, ad infinitum, but I'm sure you have your own ideas on the matter. Everyone has their own thoughts on Happiness, because it fulfills all the philosophical criteria. What, who, where, when, how, why?
   And my personal belief?
   Well.. . .
   To begin with, what is happiness, exactly? Is it needs met, or desires satiated? Is it feeling equal to, or feeling exalted by? Is it laughter, or tears? What exactly do we mean when we ask, in our moments of terrible lucidity, "Am I happy?"
   People want to have all their needs met, and most of their desires fulfilled. They want a few peers, ones whom they can trust, and they also want a vast array of sundry people who look up to them. People want to laugh loudly and with a melodious sing-song voice, and they want to cry, but only when they are tears of joy. And they never want to question it. They want to know they are happy. They also want to skip this test of 80 years, so they might jump immediately into Heaven, Bliss, and all Your Dead Loved Ones 101.
   Oh the poor poor people, who never know the truth.
   A loving God is a GIANT fiction. Guilt is a human invention, meant to subjugate the weak. Peace an impossibility in a world in constant movement and flux. Nothing is ever still, the molecules that make up your heart and mind, your "Soul," are never resting, but always spinningspinningspinning. There is no rest for The.. . .
---> P <---is a P. It is only a P. It is nothing but a P and it will never be anything more than a P. If I were to delete it, it would disappear, never to return. I might replace it with another P, but that P between the arrows would be forever annihilated.
   My life is nothing more than what it seems to be. It exists in a material world, and this world is coldly indifferent to my fucking life. The universe is not aware of me, it is not conscious, it does not think. If my life is the Misery that all other lives are measured by, the Universe does not pay any attention. It does no measuring. So it is high time I stop looking to the Universe to fulfill my needs and desires. It is high time I stop looking to you, or them, to fulfill my needs and desires.
   A bad day is only a bad day by my choice. ("There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so". Shakespeare's Hamlet). I compare and contrast it with another day in my memory, and judge it according to that memory. I then decide, "This day was bad," because it wasn't as nice (easy) as February 23, 1991. I live in the past, (memory), the future, (drive), and only when hungry, tired, sexually aroused, or in danger do I live in the {instinctual} Present. (the only time-period worthy of a capital letter.)
   The Present is the only existence we have. We do not know if yesterday exists. It might be a very spurious, very complex dream. The future is even more nebulous, because we never reach it. But the Present is a gift we can always reopen, surprised innumerable times with a brand new sight, a different smell, another feeling or thought. The Present is the only point in time and space where our actions effect out lives.
   But this is not how people live their lives. Most people are working towards a future happiness, convinced, for some reason, that the best day in their past can be surpassed, somewhere in Tomorrow.
   Happiness is always being chased.
   And most people are running from a past difficulty, be it pain, loss, anger, fear, or fulfillment. They gauge every moment in their life by the past, and measure each laugh against a past laugh. They say things like "this was the worst day of my life," unaware that on June 7th, 2002, their wife and child will die in an auto accident, and the worst day of their life is still patiently waiting to be addressed.
   If a child is raised forever with his eyes trained on the heavens, he will never experience the earth, nor will he recognize its existence. He will never reach the heavens, either.
   If a child is raised forever with his eyes trained on a microscope, he will likewise neglect the earth. Only when the child steps back from regression and progression does he appreciate the vehicle in which the past and future are reached: the Now.
   And what a vehicle it is!:
   Never has a sun-set been repeated. Never has every star been seen. Never has every book been read.
   Never will this emotion come again, in the exact same dosage, with the exact same cause. This joy will only seem like that joy, but they will be different. This misery will pass away, to be replaced (guaranteed) by a new one. Every second holds within it an infinite amount of information and eight billion different people that will pass away in that second and be replaced by another eight billion people who walk the same, talk the same, but think feel believe dream just a little bit differently.
   And by planning for the future, by regretting the past, by focusing only on the End, while neglecting the all important Mean, our lives Mean nothing.
Thing is glorious. Every Day is grand. Every Feeling good. Without sadness, life does not exist, for how can joy exist, if it does not have a counteraction. Newton's third law of motion can be applied to Life: Every action must have an equal and opposite reaction, or movement breaks down, the universe stops, and it is all over forever.
   Appreciate your miserable fucking life, not because "someone is living in Bali with no arms, no food, and an ugly husband who picks his nose." Do not appreciate what you have by comparing it to something else.
   Appreciate your life because it is yours. No one else's. It is all your choice.
   I do not like working, but I choose to work, every day. I can quit if I want. Everything is a choice. One that I make, one that I am responsible for. I cannot blame you or him or they, I cannot blame God or mom or the I.R.S., because they do not force action. I am always in control.
   And that is wonderful.
   Every feeling, every day, every bad tasting meal and fabulous cup of tea is beautiful, awesome, exceptional and mine. I enjoy everything- Everything, without putting a fucking price tag on it, without holding it up to something else.
   There is no "Happiness". There is no "Inner Contentment". There is only Now, and it does not matter if it feels good or bad, if it is easy or difficult, if I laugh or cry.
   What matters is I exist, and everything thing I feel touch see know have do not have reaffirms my existence.
   So stop worrying about it. Happiness comes when you stop looking for it. Every moment is one to revel in, enjoy, learn from, and remember with affection.
   Happiness is knowing it is everywhere in the Present.
   Inner Contentment is knowing we are all alone.
   Knowing we are a terrible, terrible accident.
   Knowing we will blink out like a shooting-star after burning up, never to fly again, never to feel
   And that is happiness, because all happiness really is, is appreciating what you have while you have it and being content with that, as if it is all you will ever get.

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   "Regarding Torquemada, an Inquisition" by the Satirical Rogue.

   To approach the subject of Morality, one must first gird himself well, for the road is a difficult one. The perennial questions often revolve around what is Right and what is Wrong, so an explanation here is difficult at best, and futile, at worst.
   Nevertheless, I shall begin with a quote from Twilight of the Idols, by Nietzsche:

    "I formulate a principle. All naturalism in morality, that is all healthy morality, is dominated by an instinct of life- some commandment of life is fulfilled through a certain canon of 'shall' and 'shall not', some hindrance and hostile element on life's road is thereby removed. Anti-natural morality, that is virtually every morality that has hitherto been taught, reverenced and preached, turns on the contrary precisely against the instincts of life- it is a now secret, now loud and impudent condemnation of these instincts. By saying 'God sees into the heart' it denies the deepest and highest desires of life and takes God for the enemy of life. . . .The saint in whom God takes pleasure in is the ideal castrate. . . .Life is at an end where the 'kingdom of God' begins. . ."

    The genealogy of morals finds it's antecedents and roots in religion, which takes an amoral "Social Contract," and quickly transmogrifies it into a system of Good and Bad. The social contract is necessary for any civilization to occur, as anarchy, (i.e. the absence of a governing body,) is the antithesis of civilization. All the civilizations of history have been governed by a body, be it a plutocracy, oligarchy, democracy, dictatorship, etc. Even third-world tribes of Africa and South America are governed by a patriarch.
   So a social contract, where I do not kill you, in exchange for your oath not to kill me, is irrefragably a necessary component of society. But Morality, and a "higher" code of ethics, communicated to men by "God," has always tainted the social contract, turning a simple system based on instinctual, pleasure/pain drives, into a complex mire of evil transgressions against the Almighty.
   When it comes to the "chosen" men who provide moral interpretations, I am hesitant to put my faith into a corruptible, inherently selfish man. The proponents of any morality seem to always claim a connection to the Almighty God, who created the world, but I have never had these rules communicated to me by God. Should I trust a body of men, (i.e. the religious body,) which has always and without fail been highly contemptible, selfish, power-hungry? Should I live according to the dictates of such men as the Medieval popes, who possessed harems, murdered competitive clergy members, raped nuns, slaughtered Jews? Should I trust morality as preached by Jim Jones, David Koresh, Torquemada?
   I think not.
   I also do not rely on the intuitive "proof" of morality, which rests on internal, emotional, and therefore unreliable and spurious, reasoning. The claim that you feel God within is ridiculous. You simply feel good, or understood, or peaceful. But we, as the egotistical, fearful humans we are, have the audacity to state that God resides within our hearts, when what they mistakenly call God is simply an unset stomach, or ejaculation.
   Furthermore, the claim that God set his immortal laws upon the hearts of Man begs the question, and using guilt and remorse as support for the argument is fallacious. Guilt and remorse are merely internalized effects of morality, not the cause of morality. An effect does not prove the veracity of the cause.
   I will support this:
   The first five books of the Old testament, known as the Torah, is filled with old, out of date rules which society now ignores. The rules are now considered "Functionalist," that is, made to function in a certain time and place, but pliable and mutable. So we are no longer condemned for shaving our sideburns, and women are no longer shunned in public for seven days after menstruation.
    So, if those laws are transient, Judaic, Christian, and Islamic (which has similar neglected rules in the Koran,) morality is not eternal. Once one scriptural rule is ignored as old-fashioned, all other rules become suspect.
   And what of those people who simply feel no guilt? The sociopath who steals a widow's fortune or cheats a single mother? Did God simply forget to set His laws upon the sociopath's heart, or is God's only excuse that He does not exist?
   So, Morality as communicated by a religious body is a false doctrine, and one which still taints my thoughts, actions, and beliefs. Moral conditioning is an insipid beast, and I still am bogged down by guilt and shame, though I do not believe I have transgressed any laws begotten by "God."
   I personally believe that the natural laws of self-preservation and the pleasure/pain concept is a valid "morality." That an individual is responsible for himself is common sense, and that he will attempt to gain power, territory, and safety from other individuals is also common sense, resting, as it does, within our deep-seated, instinctual drives.
   This will not create a state of chaos and murder, as there are still rules which must be followed. Nature does not waste, and if we are to truly embrace a naturalistic morality, we must not waste either, or live in any kind of excess.
   When the squirrel forages for food for winter, it does not collect every acorn around, but only enough to feed himself.
   When the strong wolf subdues the weaker wolf, he does not maliciously tear it's throat out, but only forces the weak wolf into a subservient position.
   The larger eagle does not build a bigger nest, it builds a nest that fulfills its needs.
   There is no rape in the animal kingdom, and the male of the species must win the female before sex occurs.
   These are some examples of the amoral methods of the animal kingdom, in which we do belong, (contrary to popular myth.) Why not reclaim our birth-right and live according to "Needs Met."
   Because in the animal kingdom, Need is all that matters.
   Forget pity, because it runs contrary to all the natural laws of evolution.
   Forget evil, because a life built solely upon self-preservation is without malice, without hate, and without greed.
   Forget good, because we would only be acting as our biological and territorial programming dictated.
   And when someone strays from the natural path, and endangers us, we would be wise to kill the individual, thus insuring our survival and the survival of the species.
   Morality is a human invention. The universe knows no good or bad. To quote the Tao Teh Ching, "Heaven and Earth in not sentimental; it treats all things as straw dogs." Since there is not any law higher (in my opinion) than the law of evolution, that is, the survival of the fittest, we must look to ourselves, and hope we are fit.

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    "Soul, and the Law of the Conservation of Energy" by the Satirical Rogue.

    "Soul" has, historically, always been tied up with morality and religious dogma, and I believe modern neuropsychology and psychobiology has effectively refuted any scientific basis for a "Soul." To state as fact, "The soul exists," one must first socratically define Soul. More on this later:
    Soul, or Consciousness, is, without a doubt, tied up within the billions of curious things called synapses and cells, deep inside the brain. There are cases of people without consciousness, without the all important "I." Usually this happens through the onset of a coma, or sometimes the hippocampus is damaged. (which is where short-term memory, a necessary component of consciousness, is located.) These people do not function properly, and are unaware of themselves. (this is very difficult for us to comprehend, as we are self-aware, and so cannot place ourselves in an antithetical position.)
    Upon death, all brain waves, all mental capacities, and all memories are forever lost. These things are all, again without a scientific doubt, stored in the brain-cells, where they are continually accessed when the brain is alive. But with the onset of death, (which is always and without fail the death of the brain,) these things become locked away in the tiny vaults of a billion cells, never to be accessed again.
   But this does not irrefutably destroy the belief in Soul. It is much more complex, which is unnerving because a thorough explanation demands numerous paragraphs.
    There are two major religious beliefs on the soul, and though they may seem diametrically opposed, we must remember that our ideas on the soul exist only because of the conditioned acceptance of these religious dogmas. Judaism, Islam, and Christianity maintain that the existence of the soul is what allows humans to create, to love, to deny our biological drives in order to achieve righteousness and morality. Consequently, these monotheistic religions have created a fatal blunder in stating that we, humans, are the only possessors of Soul, which is now refuted by biology, veterinary psychology, etc. Historically, we have been told that we are superior to, and worth more than, animals. The "proof" was the soul: We had one, animals did not. The Old Testament, for example, states clearly that only humans possess soul, and not even the angels were given this gift. This is why God loves us so much. This is why we are accountable for our actions.
    But this is circular reasoning. We feel, because we have a soul. We know we have a soul, because we feel. It is illogical and foolish. Besides the inherent fallacy in Soul, we now have overwhelming evidence refuting the elitism of humans.
   Animals create
. Monkeys and elephants, (both possess a very complex cerebral cortex,) have, on numerous occasions, been known to paint and draw. (without being taught to.) Some chimpanzees will ignore their favorite food if a pencil and paper are offered at the same time. Elephants have always doodled in the dirt, using bark or twigs. These animals use color, they repeat designs, they even attempt to draw objects. Although they cannot draw nearly as well as humans, it is not a fault of their brain, or the absence of Soul. The fault lies in their body. Humans have the most complex and perfect hands in the animal kingdom, (which is our one big advantage in evolution,) while elephants and monkeys have relatively clumsy hands.
    This knowledge casts a dark shadow over the religious view of the Soul, because it shows that animals, too, create. Therefore, animals must have a soul, (a refutation of one dogmatic point,) or creativity is not tied to the soul, (a refutation of another dogmatic point.)
    Even if we prevaricate, and jump over this contradiction, we are still walking on eggshells:
   Animals feel
. This is a very complicated issue, as it attacks a core paradigm of society. We need animals to not feel, so we can eat them with a clear conscience. We need animals to not feel, so we can test products on them, and, of course, so we can maintain out elitist attitude of "we are the paragon of animals because only we can feel." (Masson, 1995)
   The religious right attempts to cast doubt on this argument by calling the field interpretations of the biologists into question. The religious right, and the old-school scientists too, claim that biologists are anthropomorphisising, taking the animals instinctual reactions, and calling them feelings. They claim that a dog is not "happy" to see you, he is reacting to his hunger. A dog is not "saddened" when separated from another friendly dog, but reacting to an instinctual pack instinct. 
    But this begs the question! The human being is likewise reacting to outside stimuli, just as the animal is. We are not in control of emotions. I am happy when food is served, and no can will argue that! So why argue it in the animal kingdom? Another fallacy!
    So, if animals feel, (and I can offer countless examples in support of this,) then the previously held theory of Soul is again shaken. If animals feel, then they have a soul, (refutation #1), or soul is in no way tied to emotion, (refutation #2.)
    Our "singular" ability to speak is bullshit too. Animals communicate using their own language, and they can be taught to use our language as well. (which is more than I can say for humans, who can only speak human-speech.) Many chimpanzees and gorillas have been taught sign-language. One chimpanzee was then released into the wild, and a few years later, a naturalist discovered that the whole chimp family was not only speaking sign-language amongst themselves, (taught to by the original chimp,) but were creating new words! (De Wall, 1989) Again, I can offer more evidence if need be. 
    In short, the dogmatic belief in Soul is not feasible. It is based first on a fallacy, second, on a need to elevate our species, and third, on a dogmatic morality meant to subjugate believers.
   This is why I do not believe in the Soul of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam.
    The opposing belief, namely the Hindu, Buddhist, and Zen philosophy, states that the soul is, essentially, an immortal and ethereal essence, which enters the body at birth, and returns to whence it came upon death. This has parallels to the Law of the Conservation of Energy in physics, where energy is never destroyed or diminished, but only changed from light to mass, or vice versa.
    This position is much more tenable.
    If everything that exists is God and Soul, and everything that exists is energy, (as is the case), then we undeniably have a "soul."
   But not in the conscious, creative, spiritual sense, only in a semantic sense.
    Since consciousness is inextricably linked with soul, and we are only conscious while in our bodies, the "immortal soul" theory breaks down. How do we know it is immortal? Support that. Give empirical evidence for it.
   You can't, so why believe in something that has no support, aside from an old dogma that has been contradicted a thousand times by science and empirical evidence?
    But, as I said, if "Soul" means nothing more than "Energy," than we have a soul. But the moment "Soul" means anything else, science refutes it.


Works Cited

Masson, Jeffrey. "When Animals Weep." New York, Delacorte Press, 1995

De Wall, Franz. "Chimpanzee Politics." John Hopkins University Press, 1989.

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Snoopy is the Coolest Cat Around!
Aaron Paul Bell