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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Andres Bonifacio's Untold Story

Andres Bonifacio
It's November 30, and it's Bonifacio's Day. So as a Filipino myself, I would like to commemorate his heroism by posting a brief documentary about his life. However, since we Filipinos already studied him way back in elementary under the subject Sibika at Kultura (Civic and Culture), perhaps we already knew about him. But, did you know that he had an untold story? The story that has been kept from us because of its controversial and perhaps, demoralizing nature.

For those who don't know the Filipino hero, here's a quick information about him:

Andres Bonifacio y de Castro (30 November 1863 - 10 May 1897) was a Filipino nationalist and revolutionary. He was the founder and later Supremo ("supreme leader") of the Katipunan (Society) movement, which sought the independence of the Philippines from Spanish colonial rule, that plague early Filipinos, and started the Philippine Revolution.

He was one of those who founded the KKK or otherwise known as Kataastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan ("Highest and Most Respected Society of the Children of the Country"). The secret society sought independence from Spain through armed revolt. It was influenced by Freemasonry through its rituals and organization, and several members aside from Bonifacio were also Freemasons. Among the Freemasons who influenced Bonifacio was Jose Rizal.

Rizal's liberal ideology incorporated into his two novels, Noli Me Tangere (Touch me not) and El Filibusterismo (The Filibuster) was said to had became among those things that inspired Bonifacio.

The Untold Story

There were two Katipunan provincial chapters in Cavite that became rival factions: the Magdalo, headed by Emilio Aguinaldo's cousin Baldomero Aguinaldo, and the Magdiwang, headed by Mariano Alvarez, uncle of Bonifacio's wife. Leaders of both factions came from the upper class, in contrast to Bonifacio, who came from the lower middle class. After initial successes in their revolutionary campaign, Emilio Aguinaldo issued a manifesto in the name of the Magdalo ruling council which proclaimed a provisional and revolutionary government despite the existence of the Katipunan government. Emilio Aguinaldo in particular had won fame for victories in the province. The Magdalo and Magdiwang clashed over authority and jurisdiction and did not help each other in battle. Bonifacio was called to Cavite to mediate between them and unify their efforts. In late 1896, he traveled to Cavite accompanied by his wife, his brothers Procopio and Ciriaco, and some troops.

In Cavite, tension grew between Bonifacio and the Magdalo leaders. Apolinario Mabini, who later served as Emilio Aguinaldo's adviser, writes that at this point, the Magdalo leaders "already paid little heed to his authority and orders." Bonifacio was partial to the Magdiwang, perhaps due to his kinship ties with Mariano Alvarez, or more importantly, due to their stronger recognition of his authority. When Aguinaldo and Edilberto Evangelista went to receive Bonifacio at Zapote, they were irritated with what they regarded as his attitude of superiority. In his memoirs, Aguinaldo wrote that Bonifacio acted "as if he were a king." At one instance, Bonifacio ordered the arrest of one Magdalo leader for failing to support his attack in Manila, but the other Magdalo leaders refused to surrender him. Townspeople in Noveleta (a Magdiwang town) acclaimed Bonifacio as the ruler of the Philippines, to the chagrin of the Magdalo leaders, Bonifacio replied: "long live Philippine Liberty!" Aguinaldo disputed with Bonifacio over strategic troop placements and blamed him for the capture of the town of Silang. The Spanish, through Jesuit Superior Pio Pi, wrote to Aguinaldo about the possibility of peace negotiations. When Bonifacio found it out, he and the Magdiwang council rejected the proposed peace talks. Bonifacio was also angered that the Spanish considered Aguinaldo the "chief of the rebellion" instead of him. However, Aguinaldo continued to arrange negotiations which never took place. Bonifacio believed Aguinaldo was willing to surrender the revolution.

Bonifacio was also subject to rumors that he had stolen Katipunan funds, his sister was the mistress of a priest, and he was an agent provocateur paid by friars to foment unrest. Also circulated were anonymous letters which told the people of Cavite not to idolize Bonifacio because he was a Mason, a mere Manila employee, allegedly an atheist, and uneducated. According to these letters, Bonifacio did not deserve the title of Supremo since only God was supreme. This last allegation was made despite the fact that Supremo was meant to be used in conjunction with Presidente (President), i. e. Presidente Supremo (Supreme President) to distinguish the president of the Katipunan Supreme Council from council presidents of subordinate Katipunan chapters like the Magdalo and Magdiwang. Apparently, this was a black propaganda whom Bonifacio suspected to be the work of Magdalo leader Daniel Tirona. He confronted Tirona, whose airy reply provoked Bonifacio to such anger that he drew a gun and would have shot Tirona if others had not intervened.

On December 31, Bonifacio and the Magdalo and Magdiwang leaders held a meeting in Imus, ostensibly to determine the leadership of Cavite in order to end the rivalry between the two factions. The issue of whether the Katipunan should be replaced by a revolutionary government was brought up by the Magdalo, and this eclipsed the rivalry issue. The Magdalo argued that the Katipunan, as a secret society, should have ceased to exist once the Revolution was underway. They also held that Cavite should not be divided. Bonifacio and the Magdiwang contended that the Katipunan served as their revolutionary government since it had its own constitution, laws, and provincial and municipal governments. Edilberto Evangelista presented a draft constitution for the proposed government to Bonifacio but this had earlier been rejected as too similar to the Spanish Maura Law. Upon the event of restructuring, Bonifacio was given carte blanche (Full Powers) to appoint a committee tasked with setting up a new government; he would also be in charge of this committee. He requested for the minutes of the meeting to establish this authority, but these were never provided.

The Tejeros Convention

The rebel leaders held another meeting in a friar estate house in Tejeros on March 22, 1897 on the pretense of more discussion between the Magdalo and Magdiwang, but in reality, it was meant to settle the issue of leadership of the revolution. Amidst insinuations that the Katipunan government was monarchical or dictatorial, Bonifacio maintained it was republican. According to him, all its members of whatever rank followed the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity, upon which republicanism is founded. He presided over the elections that followed, despite his misgivings over the lack of representation by other provinces. Before elections started, he asked that the results be respected by everyone, and all agreed. The Cavite leaders vote their own Emilio Aguinaldo President in absentia, as he was in the battlefield. A later iteration of Aguinaldo's government was inaugurated on June 23, 1899 as the Republica Filipina (Philippine Republic). It is considered the first Republic of the Philippines.

Bonifacio received the second-highest number of votes for President. Though it was suggested that he be automatically be awarded the Vice Presidency, no one seconded the motion and elections continued. Mariano Trias of the Magdalo, who was formerly a Magdiwang, was elected Vice President. Bonifacio was the last to be elected, as Director of the Interior. Daniel Tirona, who had helped distribute the ballots, protested Bonifacio's election to Director of the Interior on the grounds that the position should not be occupied by a person without a lawyer's diploma. Tirona suggested a prominent Cavite lawyer for the position. Hurt and angered, Bonifacio demanded an apology, since the voters had agreed to respect the election results. Instead, Tirona left the room, Bonifacio drew his gun and nearly shot Tirona again, but he was restrained by Artemio Ricarte of the Magdiwang, who had been elected Captain-General. As people left the room, Bonifacio declared: "I, as chairman of this assembly and as President of the Supreme Council of the Katipunan, as all of you do not deny, declare this assembly dissolved, and I annul all that had been approved and resolved."

The next day, Aguinaldo surreptitiously took his oath of office as President in a chapel officiated by a Catholic priest Cenon Villafranca who was under the authority of the Roman pope. According to General Santiago Alvarez, guards were posted outside with strict instructions not to let in any unwanted partisan from the Magdiwang faction while the oath-taking took place. Artemio Ricarte also took his office "with great reluctance" and made a declaration that he found the Tejeros elections "dirty or shady" and "not been in conformity with the true will of the people." Meanwhile, Bonifacio met with his remaining supporters and drew up the Acta de Tejeros (Act of Tejeros) wherein they gave their reasons for not accepting the election results. Bonifacio alleged the election was fraudulent due to cheating and accused Aguinaldo of treason due to his negotiations with the Spanish. In their memoirs, Santiago Alvarez (son of Mariano Alvarez) and Gregoria de Jesus both alleged that many ballots were already filled out before being distributed, and Guillermo Masangkay contended there were more ballots prepared than voters present. Alvarez writes that Bonifacio had been warned of the rigged ballots before the votes were canvassed, but he had done nothing.

Aguinaldo later sent a delegation to Bonifacio to get him to cooperate, but the latter refused. Bonifacio appointed Emilio Jacinto general of the rebel forces in Manila, Morong, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija. In Naik, Bonifacio met with Artemio Ricarte and others, including generals Pio del Pilar and Mariano Noriel of the Magdalo who had defected to his side. Bonifacio asserted his leadership of the revolution with the Naik Military Agreement, a document which appointed Pio del Pilar commander-in-chief of the revolutionary force. Bonifacio's meeting was interrupted by Aguinaldo himself, and del Pilar and Noriel promptly returned to Aguinaldo's fold. In late April, Aguinaldo fully assumed presidential office after consolidating his position among the Cavite elite - most of Bonifacio's Magdiwang supporters declaring allegiance to Aguinaldo. Aguinaldo's government then ordered the arrest of Bonifacio, who was then moving out of Cavite.

Capture, Trial, and Death

A party of Aguinaldo's men led by Agapito Bonzón and Jose Ignacio Paua met with Bonifacio at his camp in Indang. Unaware of the order for his arrest, Bonifacio received them cordially. The next day, Bonzón and Paua attacked Bonifacio's camp. Bonifacio did not fight back and ordered his men to hold their fire, though shots were nevertheless exchanged. In the crossfire, Bonifacio was shot in the arm, and Paua stabbed him in the neck, but was prevented from striking further by one of Bonifacio's men, who offered to be killed in his stead. Ciriaco, Bonifacio's brother was shot dead, while his other brother Procopio was beaten senseless, and his wife Gregoria may have been raped by Bonzón.

Bonifacio's party was brought to Naik, where he and Procopio stood trial on charges of sedition and treason against Aguinaldo's government and conspiracy to murder Aguinaldo. The jury was composed entirely of Aguinaldo's men and even Bonifacio's defense lawyer himself declared his client's guilt. Bonifacio was barred from confronting the state witness for the charge of conspiracy to murder on the grounds that the latter had been killed in battle, but after the trial, the witness was seen alive with the prosecutors.

The Bonifacio brothers were found guilty despite insufficient evidence and recommended to be executed. Aguinaldo commuted the sentence to deportation on May 8, 1897, but Pio del Pilar and Mariano Noriel, both former supporters of Bonifacio, persuaded him to withdraw the order for the sake of preserving unity. In this, they were seconded by Mamerto Natividad and other bona fide supporters of Aguinaldo. The Bonifacio were executed on May 10, 1897 in the mountains of Maragondon. Apolinario Mabini wrote that Bonifacio's death demoralized many rebels from Manila, Laguna, and Batangas, who had come to help those in Cavite, and caused them to quit. In other areas, some of Bonifacio's associates like Emilio Jacinto never subjected their military commands to Aguinaldo's authority.

Reactions to Trial and Execution

Historians have condemned the trial of the Bonifacio brothers as unjust. The jury was entirely composed of Aguinaldo's men; Bonifacio's defense lawyer acted more like a prosecutor as he himself declared Bonifacio's guilt and instead appealed for less punishment; and Bonifacio was not allowed to confront the state witness for the charge of conspiracy on the grounds that the latter had been killed in battle, where in reality, was still alive. Teodoro Agoncillo writes that Bonifacio's declaration of authority in opposition to Aguinaldo posed a danger to the revolution, because a split in the rebel forces would result in almost certain defeat to their united and well-armed Spanish foe.

In contrast, Renato Constantino writes that Bonifacio was neither a danger to the revolution in general for he still planned to fight the Spanish, nor to the Revolution in Cavite since he was leaving; but Bonifacio was definitely a threat to the Cavite leaders who wanted control of the Revolution, so he was eliminated. Constantino contrasts Bonifacio who had no record of compromise with the Spanish with the Cavite leaders who did compromise, resulting in the Pact of Biak-na-Bato whereas the revolution was officially halted and its leaders exiled, though many Filipinos continued to fight (though Aguinaldo, unofficially allied with the United States, did return to take charge of the revolution during the Spanish-American War).

Historians have also discussed the motives of the Cavite government to replace Bonifacio, and whether it had the right to do so. The Magdalo provincial council which helped establish a republican government led by one of their own was only one of many such councils in the pre-existing Katipunan government. Therefore, Constantino and Alejo Villanueva write Aguinaldo and his faction may be considered counter-revolutionary as well - as guilty of violating Bonifacio's constituted authority just as they considered Bonifacio to violate theirs. Aguinaldo's own adviser and official Apolinario Mabini writes that he was "primarily answerable for insubordination against the head of the Katipunan of which he was a member." Aguinaldo's authority was not immediately recognized by all rebels. If Bonifacio had escaped Cavite, he would have had the right as the Katipunan leader to prosecute Aguinaldo for treason instead of the other way around. Constantino and Villanueva also interpret the Tejeros Convention as the culmination of a movement by members of the upper class represented by Aguinaldo to wrest power from Bonifacio who represented the middle and lower classes. Regionalism among the Cavite rebels, dubbed "Cavitismo" by Constantino, has also been put forward as motivation for the replacement of Bonifacio. Mabini considered the execution as criminal and "assassination... the first victory of personal ambition over true patriotism." He also noted that "All the electors at the Tejeros Convention were friends of Don Emilio Aguinaldo and Don Mariano Trias, who were united, while Bonifacio, although he had established his integrity, was looked upon with distrust only because he was not a native of the province: this explains his resentment."

Manner of Execution

There are differing accounts of Bonifacio's manner of execution. The commanding officer of the execution party, Lazaro Macapagal, said in two separate accounts that the Bonifacio brothers were shot to death, which is the orthodox interpretation. Macapagal's second account has Bonifacio attempting to escape after his brother is shot, but he is also killed while running away. Macapagal writes that they buried the brothers in shallow graves dug with bayonets and marked by twigs.

However, another account states that after his brother was shot, Bonifacio was stabbed and hacked to death. This was allegedly done while he lay prone in a hammock in which he was carried to the site, being too weak to walk. This version was maintained by Guillermo Masangkay, who claimed to have gotten this information from one of Macapagal's men. Also, one account used to corroborate this version is of an alleged eyewitness, a farmer who claimed he saw five men hacking a man in a hammock. Historian Milagros Guerrero also says Bonifacio was bayoneted, and that the brothers were left unburied. After bones said to be Bonifacio's - including a fractured skull - were discovered in 1918, Masangkay claimed the forensic evidence supported his version of events. Writer Adrian Cristobal notes that accounts of Bonifacio's captivity and trial state he was very weak due to his wounds being left untreated; he thus doubts that Bonifacio was strong enough to make a last dash for freedom as Macapagal claimed. Historian Ambeth Ocampo, who doubts the Bonifacio bones were authentic, thus also doubts the possibility of Bonifacio's death by this manner.

iPhone 4 explodes midflight on an Australian Airline

Bad news for iPhone 4 users, the said gadget had been reported exploding. It's like carrying a phone and a bomb at the same time. But let's admit it, Apple's iPhones are always among the hottest gadgets of any holiday shopping season, but for one passenger on an Australian airline flight, the phone was said to be too hot to handle, and it was actually meant literally!

According to the report, while on an Australian flight Regional Express ZL319 Friday, a passenger's iPhone 4 (not the iPhone 4S, which is Apple's latest model) suddenly started "emitting a significant amount of dense smoke, accompanied by a red glow," according to a Regional Express statement.

The plane, which was flying from Lismore to Sydney, was in the midst of landing when the incident occurred. "In accordance with company standard safety procedures, the flight attendant carried out recovery actions immediately, and the red glow was extinguished successfully," according to Regional Express' statement.

After landing, the iPhone was handed over to officials at the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. There's no official word yet on what caused the phone to combust.

Exploding Apple products are rare, but explosions have happened in the past, mostly related to the devices' lithium ion batteries that overheats.

The European Union launched an investigation in 2009 after multiple instances of iPhones and iPod Touches exploding or catching fire midflight, which were reported in the U.K., Holland, France, and Sweden.

Apple also recalled its first-generation of iPod nanos sold between September 2005 and December 2006 because the battery would overheat and "pose a safety risk," according to the company's website.

U.K. Embassy stormed in Iran

A large number of protesters gather in front of riot police as
they prepare to break in to the British Embassy during an
anti-British demonstration in the Iranian capital - Tehran,
Iran on November 29, 2011.
Hard-line Iranian students stormed British diplomatic sites in Tehran on Tuesday, bringing down the Union Jack flag, burning an embassy vehicle and British flag, and throwing documents from windows in scenes, which can be described as, a reminiscent of the seizing of the U.S. compound in 1979.

The mob surged past riot police into the British Embassy complex - which they pelted with petrol bombs and stones - two days after Iran's parliament approved a bill that reduces diplomatic relations with Britain following London's support of recently upgraded Western sanctions on Tehran over its disputed nuclear program. Flames shot out of a sport utility vehicle parked outside the brick building.

Demonstrators outside the embassy also burned British flags and clashed with police as the rally, which had been organized by student groups at universities and seminaries.

An Iranian hard-line protester runs inside the British Embassy
as a diplomatic vehicle is set on fire by demonstrators.
Less than two hours later, police appeared to regain control of the site. However, the official IRNA news agency said about 300 protesters entered the British ambassador's residence in another part of the city and replaced British flags with Iranian ones. The British Foreign Office harshly denounced the melee and said Iran has a "clear duty" under international law to protect diplomats and offices. "We are outraged by this," said the statement. "It is utterly unacceptable and we condemn it."

It said a "significant number" of protesters entered the compound and caused vandalism, but gave no other details on damage or whether diplomatic staff was inside the embassy, although the storming occurred after business hours.

Video of the violent protest that stormed the UK Embassy in Iran.

The semiofficial Mehr news agency said embassy staff had left the compound before the mobs entered, but it also said those who occupied the area had taken six staff as hostages. It did not give their nationalities and the report was later removed from the website without elaboration.

Iranian protesters break the windows of a British Embassy
building in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011.
The protesters broke through after clashing with anti-riot police and chanting for its takeover. "Death to England," some cried in the first significant assault of a foreign diplomatic area in Iran in years. More protesters poured into the compound as police tried to clear the site.

Smoke rose from some areas of the embassy grounds and the British flag was replaced with a banner in the name of 7th century Shiite saint, Imam Hussein. Occupiers also tore down pictures of Queen Elizabeth II.

The occupiers called for the closure of the embassy calling it a "spy den" - the same phrase used after militants stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and held 52 hostages for 444 days. In the early moments of the siege, protesters tossed out papers from the compound and hauled down the U.S. flag. Washington and Tehran have no diplomatic relations since then.

Iranian protesters enter the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran.
The rally outside the British Embassy, which took place on a main street in Tehran downtown, included protesters carrying photographs of nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari, who was killed last year in an attack that Iran blamed on Israeli and British spy services.

State Television reported that another group of hard-line students gathered at the gate of British ambassador's residence in norther Tehran, at the same time.

Britain's Foreign Office said it was in contact with embassy officials. Officials were still checking on the well-being of workers and diplomats, a spokeswoman said on condition of anonymity in line with standing policy. It also warned its citizens in Iran to "stay inside and keep a low profile."

The U.S. also released a statement condemning the embassy storming. "We urge Iran to fully respect its international obligations, to condemn the incident, to prosecute the offenders, and to ensure that no further such incidents take place either at the British Embassy or any other mission in Iran."

Iranian protesters break into the British embassy in Tehran.
More than 20 Iranian protesters stormed the English
embassy, removing the mission's flag and ransacking offices. 
Tensions with the British date back to the 19th century when the Persian monarchy gave huge industrial concessions to London, which later included significant control over Iran's oil industry. But they have become increasingly strained as the West accuses Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, which a charge Iran denies.

In recent years, Iran was angered by Britain's decision in 2007 to honor author Salman Rushdie with a knighthood.

Rushdie went into hiding after Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issued a 1989 fatwa, or religious edict, ordering Muslims to kill the author because his novel "The Satanic Verses" allegedly insulted Islam.

Iranian riot police stand guard as protesters gather outside the
British embassy. 
The decision was made shortly after Iran detained 15 British sailors and marines in March 2007 for allegedly entering the country's territorial waters in the Gulf - a claim Britain denies. The 15 were released after nearly two weeks in captivity.

In 2006, angry mobs burned the Danish flag and attacked Danish and other Western embassies in Tehran in protest to the reprinting of a cartoon deemed insulting the Prophet Muhammad in the Nordic country's newspapers.

Additional Photos

Iranian protesters break the windows of a British Embassy building.
UK embassy windows were smashed by Iranian protesters.
Iranian mob enters the British Embassy.
Iranian protesters break into the British Embassy.
Iranian protesters take down the British flag as they break into the embassy
in Tehran.
Iranian protesters taking down the British flag.
Iranian protesters gather outside the British embassy as some break into it.
Iranian protesters gather outside the British embassy as some break into it
and bring down the British flag.
Iranian protesters burn the British flag outside the British embassy.
An Iranian Basij militia member throws stones towards the building of the
British embassy.
Iranian protesters wave a flag that reads "Oh Hussein", referring to the
grandson of Prophet Mohammed, as they stand on the wall of the embassy
 in Tehran.
Iranian riot policemen try to prevent hard-line students from approaching the
British embassy during a protest in Tehran, Iran.
An Iranian hard-line protester is seen inside the British Embassy as a
diplomatic vehicle is set on fire by demonstrators who stormed the mission.
Protesters break in to the British Embassy during an anti-British demonstration
in the Iranian capital.
An Iranian hard-line protester break into the British Embassy in Tehran.
Protesters carry the royal coat of arms after breaking into the British embassy
during an anti-British demonstration in the Iranian capital.
Iranian Protesters carrying the royal coat of arms.
Iranian riot police try to prevent hard-line students from breaking into the
British embassy during a protest outside the mission in Tehran.
Police standing amidst paper strewn across the ground, holding protesters
behind a barrier as others climb a security gate following a break into the
British Embassy during an anti-British demonstration in the Iranian capital
on November 29, 2011.

Facebook settles with Federal Trade Commission over deception charges

People might have been wondering why the Anonymous hacktivist collective group "Anon" target the site most people came to love. Now, you may have an answer...

According to an Associated Press (AP) report, Facebook is settling with the Federal Trade Commission over charges it deceived consumers with its privacy settings to get people to share more personal information that they originally agreed to.

The FTC had charged that the social network told people they could keep the information they share private, then allowed it to be made public.

The charges go back to at least 2009, when Facebook changed its privacy settings so that information users may have deemed private, such as their list of friends, suddenly became viewable to everyone.

"They didn't warn users that this change was coming, or get approval in advance," the FTC said.

The FTC said the settlement requires Facebook to get people's approval before changing how it shares their data.

In a blog post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company has made a "bunch of mistakes." But he adds that this has often overshadowed the good work Facebook has done. He says Facebook has addressed many of the FTC's concerns already.

The settlement is similar to one Google agreed to earlier this year over its Buzz social networking service. Like Google, Facebook has agreed to obtain assessments of its privacy practices by independent, third-party auditors for the next 20 years.

Facebook isn't paying anything to settle the case, though future violations could lead to civil fines.

Zuckerberg said Facebook has created two new executive positions - a chief privacy officer of products and a chief privacy officer of policy as part of its response to the settlement.

This is great news as the move further expands user privacy protection, which users would benefit heavily upon.

The Gospel of John is proof? (Philosophy)

I am in no way siding on any religion nor standpoint, but sometimes, I could not help but laugh on some of the craziest ideas and presumptions coming out, sadly, from my fellow Christian brothers.

Here is one, which I had found from Richard Dawkins' site. By the way, for those who doesn't know the guy, Richard Dawkins is a professor on Biology, and the author of Atheist books including "The God Delusion." In short, he is an atheist and a famous scientist.

And as much as Christians get bombarded with ridicule and insults by Atheists, the guys who were suppose to be holy are no different. They've also attack the Atheists with bashes, unfortunately, most of these bashes are unreasonable. To give an example, read the argument below:

intellectual dishonesty and Damn Lies!
Hello! I am referring to your book, God delusion! I aleady sent you an email about your book, and you have not cared to answer my questions?? I specifically asked you two questions:
1. Jesus death & Resurrection ! Disciple John as eye-witness account! written in his gospel in around 70AD after Jesus' death. This event was foretold in the old Jewish Talmud (Old Testament 700 YEARS BACK. any arguments??? DO YOU WANT MORE PROOF???
2. John's gospel. do you believe it or not????
Go read the Gospel of John and you will realize that 8 authentic miracles are described!
any questions on these///
have a good day. Please reply!
Now, what exactly makes this argument unreasonable? The claims do not match the opinions of the experts, moreover, this is a subjective presumption, meaning it simply relies on personal knowledge or opinion rather than supporting evidence.

This type of argument is called Argument from ignorance or argumentum ad ignorantiam or "appeal to ignorance," where "ignorance" stands for "lack of evidence to the contrary." It asserts that a proposition is true because it has not yet been proven false, it is "generally accepted" (or vice versa). This represents a type of false dichotomy in that it excludes a third option, which is that there is insufficient investigation and therefore insufficient information to prove the proposition satisfactorily to be either true or false. Nor does it allow the admission that the choices may in fact not be two (true or false), but may be as many as four, (1) true, (2) false, (3) unknown between true or false, and (4) being unknowable (among the first three).

Obviously, this tactic was use as an attempt to shift the burden of proof away from the claimer and into the opponent (the Atheists).

Fact Finding

Upon further research, I find out that the Gospel of John is an account of the public ministry of Jesus. It begins with the witness and affirmation by John the Baptist and concludes with the death, burial, Resurrection, and post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus. This account is fourth of the canonical gospels, after the synoptics Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

Note, the gospel's authorship is anonymous. Its Chapter 21 states it derives from the testimony of the 'disciple whom Jesus loved.' Along with Peter, the unnamed disciple is especially close to Jesus, and early-church tradition identified him as John the Apostle, one of Jesus' Twelve Apostles. The gospel is closely related in style and content to the three surviving Epistles of John such that commentators treat the four books together, yet, according to most modern scholars, John was not the author of any of these books.

Raymond E. Brown did pioneering work to trace the development of the tradition from which the gospel arose. The discourses seem to be concerned with the actual issues of the church-and-synagogue debate at the time when the Gospel was written c. AD 90 (90 CE). It is notable that, in the gospel, the community still appears to define itself primarily against Judaism, rather than as part of a wider Christian Church. Though Christianity started as a movement within Judaism, gradually, Christians and Jews became bitterly opposed.

John focuses largely on different miracles, including resurrecting Lazarus, which were given as signs to engender faith. Synoptic elements such as parables and exorcisms are not found in John. It presents a realized eschatology in which salvation is already present for the believer. The historical reliability of John is debated, particularly by secular scholarship. In contrast, Grace-oriented churches argue for the total pre-eminence of John.


The gospel identifies its author as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." The text does not actually name this disciple, but by the beginning of the 2nd century, a tradition began to form which identified him with John the Apostle, one of the Twelve. Today, the majority of scholars do not believe that John or any other eyewitness wrote it, and trace it instead to a "Johannine community" which traced its traditions to John; the gospel itself shows signs of having been composed in three "layers," reaching its final form about 90-100 AD (CE). According to the Church Fathers, the Bishops of Asia Minor requested John, in his old age, to write a gospel in response to Cerinthus, the Ebionites and other Hebrew groups which they deemed heretical. This understanding remained in place until the end of the 18th century.
  1. An initial version based on personal experience of Jesus;
  2. A structured literary creation by the evangelist which draws upon additional sources;
  3. The final harmony that presently exists in the New Testament canon, around 85-90 AD (CE).
In view of this complex and multi-layered history, it is meaningless to speak of a single "author" of John, but the title perhaps belongs best to the evangelist who came at the end of this process. The final composition's comparatively late date, and its insistence upon Jesus as a divine being walking the earth in human form, renders it highly problematical to scholars who attempt to evaluate Jesus' life in terms of literal historical truth.

Error in writing

Among others, Rudolf Bultmann suggested that the text of the gospel is partially out of order; for instance, chapter 6 should follow chapter 4.
4: 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.
4: 54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.
6: 1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.
6: 2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
Chapter 5 deals with a visit to Jerusalem, and Chapter 7 opens with Jesus again in Galilee since "he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him" — a consequence of the incident in Jerusalem described in Chapter 5. There are more proposed rearrangements.

Gospel with Numerous Authors

One possible construction of the "internal evidence" states that the Beloved Disciple wrote an account of the life of Jesus. However, this disciple died unexpectedly, necessitating that a revised gospel be written. It may be that John "is the source" of the Johannine tradition but "not the final writer of the tradition." Therefore, scholars are no longer looking for the identity of a single writer but for numerous authors whose authorship has been absorbed into the gospel's development over a period of time and in several stages.

The hypothesis of the Gospel being composed in layers over a period of time had its start with Rudolf Bultmann in 1941. Bultmann suggested that the author(s) of John depended in part on an author who wrote an earlier account. This hypothetical "Signs Gospel" listing Christ's miracles was independent of, and not used by, the synoptic gospels. It was believed to have been circulating before the year 70 AD (CE). Bultmann's conclusion was so controversial that heresy proceedings were instituted against him and his writings.

Nevertheless, scholars such as Raymond Edward Brown continue to consider this hypothesis a plausible possibility. They believe the original author of the Signs Gospel to be the Beloved Disciple. They argue that the disciple who formed this community was both an historical person and a companion of Jesus Christ. Brown goes one step further by suggesting that the Beloved Disciple had been a follower of John the Baptist before joining Jesus.

Source: Gospel of John, Wikipedia


The book of John, being authored by numerous anonymous authors make it unreliable. There is doubt that it was doctored to match an ideology that was present on the community that wrote it. Therefore, it cannot serve as supporting evidence. However, religiously-minded people rely on faith rather than evidence, which often make their statements nonfalsifiable. Such nonfalsifiable arguments do not need further debate that's why Dawkins didn't even bother to respond to his emails.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mutation can lead to psychiatric illness

In recent years, scientists have discovered several genetic mutations associated with greater risk of psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. One of such mutations, which is known as DISC1 — short for "Disrupted in Schizophrenia-1" — was first identified in a large Scottish family with high rates of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression.

Studies have since shown that DISC1 mutations can lead to altered brain structure and impaired cognition, but it was unknown exactly how this occurs. A new study from Li-Huei Tsai, director of MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, shows that DISC1 mutations impair a specific signalling pathway in neurons that is critical for normal brain development.

In a genetic screen of 750 people — some of whom were healthy and some of whom had psychiatric diseases — the researchers found several common variants of the DISC1 gene. However, even though these mutations disrupted normal brain development, they were not necessarily enough to cause disease on their own.

"A lot of the human population may carry this genetic defect, and they probably actually have some defects in their brain development. However, it's also pretty clear that by itself, it is not sufficient to cause psychiatric disorder," Tsai says. "That's very consistent with the notion that there probably has to be a combination of several different genetic variations to trigger a clinically measurable outcome."

The study will appear in the Nov. 17 issue of the journal Neuron. Lead author of the paper is Karun Singh, a postdoc at the Picower Institute.

Disrupted Development

In a study published in 2009, Tsai and her colleagues showed that the DISC1 gene regulates a cell signaling pathway known as Wnt. This pathway has been found to stimulate stem cell proliferation during embryonic development. Most importantly in terms of psychiatric disease, Wnt signaling promotes the proliferation of neuroprogenitor cells, immature cells that eventually become neurons.

"What we found is that DISC1 actually maintains the integrity of Wnt signaling," Tsai says. "So if DISC1, for whatever reason, is lost, then Wnt signaling is impaired. This also resulted in impaired neuroprogenitor proliferation and brain development."

Tsai and her colleagues showed that DISC1 regulates Wnt signaling by shutting off an enzyme known as Gsk3-beta. Notably, Gsk3-beta is also the target of lithium, a common treatment for bipolar disease. "We proposed in that paper that DISC1 is basically endogenous lithium, to maintain the integrity of Wnt signaling," Tsai says.

In the new Neuron paper, Tsai's laboratory investigated the impact of DISC1 mutations in the human population. Together with researchers from the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute, they sequenced the DISC1 gene in more than 700 people — about half of them had schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, the rest were healthy — and identified several variants of the DISC1 gene.

However, none of those single mutations were significantly more common in the diseased population than the healthy population. "That suggests that DISC1 variants in humans, by themselves, do not cause disease," Tsai says.

The researchers picked out four of the most common DISC1 mutations and tested their effects in mice, zebrafish and human cells. It turned out that three of those variants do lead to impaired Wnt signaling. However, some of those mutations were found in healthy people, so they are not enough to cause disease on their own.

The fourth variant did not affect Wnt signaling but did impair neurons' ability to move to the proper location during brain development and form circuits with other cells.

Albert Wong, an associate professor of pharmacology at the University of Toronto, says the findings represent "an important step forward" in understanding how DISC1 mutations can lead to abnormal brain structure and function. "This paper by Tsai's lab makes the crucial link between disease-associated human DISC1 variants and Wnt/Gsk3-beta signaling and brain development," says Wong, who was not involved in this research.

A remarkable organ

Tsai says it is not surprising that even though the genetic defects clearly cause some malfunctions at the cellular level, they do not always lead to disease. "The brain is really a remarkable organ. It's just so plastic and has this enormous capacity to compensate for any kinds of defects," she says.

She expects that future studies will reveal other genetic mutations that are also necessary to produce schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.

In the Neuron paper, the researchers also examined Wnt signaling levels in people with bipolar disease and found that they were much lower than in healthy people, suggesting that bipolar disease and schizophrenia may share some of the same origins. "A lot of genes implicated in schizophrenia are also implicated in bipolar. Now, biochemically, it seems to be the case as well," Tsai says.

Kamunyak, the Blessed One - The Lioness who adopts Oryx calves

Lioness Kamunyak with an
adopted Oryx calf.
This documentary had actually been published a long time ago, dating back as far as 2002. This documentary will serve its purpose to anybody who wish to know more about this unusual lioness.

The unique lioness was named "Kamunyak" or the "Blessed One."  She's the kind of lioness who adopts Oryx calves for some unknown reason. The news was treated with a lot of skepticism since an Oryx is a type of antelope upon which lions would normally prey. Experts were at a loss to explain the big cat's affection towards the calves. But the said lioness has been protecting her adopted young from danger and had allowed them to be nursed by their biological mothers.

Kamunyak resides in Samburu Game Reserve, Kenya.

The Heart of the Lioness

1st Adoption

The first adoption was the longest and became the first documentary of Kamunyak. The lioness had been suppressing her hunger just to guard the Oryx calf from predators. It was said that she had been guarding the Oryx 24 hrs. There was worry that the lioness may starve to death if it continues to put more time into protecting adopted oryx rather than hunting.

A Kenyan photographer famous for his big cat exploits, Jonathan Scott, says the lioness was foregoing hunting to protect the oryx and was certain to get weaker as a result.

"I have watched the lion ever since, and I have a feeling that she already needs human intervention to sustain her situation," he said. "In fact, her place in the wild is now questionable."

Scott says Kenya Wildlife Service veterinary doctor should examine the lioness in order to determine her physical health. "If her behavior does not change, she may need to be moved out of the wild for own sake," says Scott.

According to Daphne Sheldrick, who runs a world famous program rehabilitating orphaned wildlife in Nairobi, the relationship is strange, "These creatures are simply not compatible, and the situation should be allowed to play itself out until the lioness learns to stop adopting oryx," she said.

The lioness first made headlines in early January, when, to the surprise of Kenya's wildlife experts, she adopted her first oryx calf. For 17 days, she starved while the baby antelope made regular visits to its lactating mother.

At one point, the lioness scared off a family of cheetahs that tried to kill the calf. Unfortunately, the union was short lived and the 1st calf's life was snubbed out by a hungry male King Lion while Kamunyak had gone to drink water from a river. The African Lion is known for being overly aggressive of cubs/calves sired by other males, let alone one from an Oryx.

Kamunyak was devastated, but this did not stop her from adopting another Oryx.

2nd Adoption

On the second adoption, the second adoptee has been taken away from the lioness by wildlife officials.

"It was either that or leave it to die. It was too weak and would not have survived another day without being fed," said senior Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) warden, Julius Kimani, who led the operations. "We will try and return it to its mother but we fear she might reject it," said Kimani.

Although it is not clear how the second calf and its true mother were separated, wildlife wardens this time mounted a 24 hour guard to make sure no predators took the calf away from its adopted lion mother. "The wardens were kept busy throughout the night, and at one time, they had to scare away a pride of lions that were prowling too close to the sleeping duo," said Kimani.

Game wardens tranquilized the frail Beisa oryx calf as it dozed under an acacia tree when the lioness went to hunt. The calf, dubbed Valentine, was taken first to Lewa Downs, a private game sanctuary near Nanyuki on the slopes of Mount Kenya. Later on, the oryx calf was flown by private plane to Nairobi and driven to the Animal Orphanage at the Nairobi National Park.

However, that has not deterred the lioness. After the second calf was taken away, she began following a herd of oryx at the 104 square kilometer Samburu Game Reserve, some 343 kilometers (213 miles) northeast of Nairobi.

"We do not know why it has adopted a strange liking for baby oryx. We would like researchers to tell us. Right now, it is following a new herd," says Kimani.

Before the second calf was taken away, a local tourist hotel manager, Kioko Musyoki said he saw the lioness carry the calf away and also put the calf's head inside its mouth. "The baby just stands there, flapping its ears, while the lioness stands guard over it. It hadn't moved more than five meters from it all day," observed Musyoki.

3rd Adoption

The 3rd adopted oryx was named "Easter," because she adopted it over the Easter weekend.

Her third, managed to stay in good health. Kamunyak repeatedly allowed the calf to return to its natural mother and feed, before taking the calf back into her care.

During the period of this most recent adoption, visitors to the reserve had plenty of opportunities to watch this most unusual natural drama unfold. At one stage, Kamunyak fought and held off a pride of 8 lions who were stalking her adopted offspring.

The relationship ended, however, when she again allowed the calf to return to its mother. The entire herd fled, taking the calf with it. Kamunyak tried to chase them and recover her calf, but failed.

4th Adoption

The fourth adoption was same as with the third. The mother of the oryx was able to rescue the oryx at a later stage.

After Kamunyak's last adoption ended with the calf returning to the herd, it seemed that she lost interest in becoming a surrogate mother, and she stopped following the herds.

5th Adoption

On Monday 7/10/02, Rangers were surprised to find her with her fifth adoptive "cub," a tottering 5 day old Oryx calf, and the story has once again made headlines.

Tourists and journalists were tracking down the unlikely duo, and experts are ascertaining whether she is again allowing the calf to return to its herd to feed.

Kamunyak herself is clearly undisturbed by all of this attention, and is busy playing the role of devoted- if unconventional- parent.

However, the fifth adoption also ended in a failure. The oryx starved to death, and when it was dead, it was eaten up by the lioness (lioness do this when their young ones die).

6th Adoption

The sixth calf manage to escape the lioness and return to its mother. It was reported that there was a battle between Kamunyak and the mother Oryx.


Wildlife experts have offered a range pf scientific explanations, with most attributing the adoption to unfulfilled maternal instincts.

Belinda Otieno, a wildlife researcher, says that the lioness "may be unable to conceive her own cub, and has taken to satisfying her natural instincts through another species."

But there is still no explanation on why she is so fond of the oryx, nor why she turned to a prey species instead of adopting a lion cub.

Ditte Dahl Lisbjerg, an animal behavior scientist who works with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Nairobi says, "Scientists need more information on the history of the lioness to understand its behavior."

Kamunyak had been seen hunting warthogs and other small prey. During the first adoption when she remained with the Oryx for 16 days, she kept a 24 hour vigil over the Oryx. Despite being very thin and hungry, when she caught sight of prey, she refused to let the Oryx out of her sight.

In February 2003, she was seen in a big fight with two females who are thought to come from the same territory. She was skulking around the edge of a giraffe carcass that the pride of 7 lions had been feeding on. There are several theories that have been proposed to explain this extraordinary behavior of the female African lion.

The question has been raised whether this could have begun on a hunt with an unusually long game of cat and mouse, where after 24 hours she bonded with the calf. Sub-adults have been known to play with mongooses and other small species over a short period of time. However, three weeks suggests that the cat and mouse game turned into something else. But now on her 6th adoption, it seems that the lioness actively goes in search of Oryx calves to kidnap.

The Samburu people suggested Kamunyak is barren. However, this seems unlikely considering that her body is responding to an overactive maternal drive. Plus she was so young and it is very difficult to tell whether a female is barren.

She could have a serious hormonal imbalance, which is triggering this abnormal behavior with another species. There have been records of lioness with huge cysts on their ovaries that affect their behavior, but perhaps not to this degree.

According to a scientist who has studied elephant reproduction, phantom pregnancies are quite common in feline species. It could be compared to domestic dogs that have phantom pregnancies and start lactating. If a lioness' rank affects their endocrinology, perhaps a phantom pregnancy is a possible explanation.

Kamunyak only adopted Oryx calved. Like all cats, lions have acute vision primed especially to pick up on movement. But they do not seem to be very good at individual recognition from a distance, and rely primarily on their sense of smell at close quarters to identify one another. Oryx calves are remarkably similar in color to the tawny coat of an African lion, and it is possible that once the lioness had locked onto the smell of "cub" in the calf then it's lack of a feline physique ceased to matter.

The park rangers suggested that she found the calf shortly after it was born and the smell of the amniotic sack on the calf's body triggered some kind of maternal response.

The fact is that we will never really be sure by in the middle of the Kenyan game reserve, a young female African Lion decided to start adopting Oryx calves. And not just one, but six different calves at different days and for increasingly longer duration. Sometimes even to her expense as she could not effectively hunt so as to keep guard; a fact that emaciated her to a point of near death.

Kamunyak's Adoption History

Dec - Jan 2002 1st Adoption: lasted for 16 days – calf was eaten by a male lion prowling near the river where the two drank.

Feb 14, 2002  2nd Adoption: Calf was named "Valentine," it lasted for 2-3 days – calf was rescued by Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS).

Apr 2002 3rd Adoption: Calf was named "Easter," it lasted for 2 days – calf was rescued by its biological mother, and this incident had left the lioness injured.

May 2002 4th Adoption: lasted only for 24 hrs – calf was abandoned by Kamunyak and was rescued by its biological mother at a later stage.

Sept 2002 5th Adoption: lasted for 2 days – calf starved to death, and when dead, it was eaten by the lioness (lions sometimes eat their own cubs when they die).

Jan 2003 6th Adoption: lasted only for 24 hrs. – calf escaped and returned to its mother, shortly after Kamunyak and the mother Oryx fought.

Kamunyak: "The Blessed One"

Her story was recorded by Saba Douglas-Hamilton and her sister, Dudu, between January 2002 - August 2003. Their film, Heart of a Lioness, was first shown on the BBC and later premiered in the United States on Animal Planet in March 2005. Video clips from this film can be accessed on the Discovery Channel website, together with audio interviews with pictures and an extensive discussion.

It is thought that Kamunyak may be around 11 years old now. She was estimated to be about 2 to 3 years old when she adopted her first Oryx calf.

Kamunyak was most often alone. She seemed to move in the same territory as with the pride of 7 lions, which is in the heart of Samburu National Reserve, and is possibly one of the better feeding grounds for Samburu African lions. When she adopted Oryx calves, she moved in a very small area and when she was alone, she sometimes disappeared for months. She has not been seen since February 2004. If she shares the same territory as the pride of 7 African Lions, she could possibly have had a history with the pride in whose territory she resided.

It is believed that in the past, Kamunyak had a sister. However, her solitary life could be a result of being kicked out of a pride. Perhaps her pride became too large and sub-groups split off to form new lion prides. Perhaps she was cast out as a single lioness and had to fend for herself, in between warring territorial prides, as a vagrant nomadic female, eking out an existence on the periphery.

Kamunyak was last sighted in February 2004, then she eventually disappeared, and despite a number of searches, has not been seen since.

Additional Photos

Monday, November 28, 2011

Iran builds 3 more submarines for its navy

Iran has added three more domestically-built submarines to its naval fleet.

Iranian Army Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said Saturday that the Islamic Republic has added three more Ghadir-class submarines to its naval fleet.

"All parts of these submarines, including their body and their advanced radar equipment and defense systems have been designed and manufactured by our country's defense experts and with the help of the Defense Ministry," he said in a press conference.

The vessels had been said to have been delivered to the Iranian navy in southern port of Bandar Abbas. It said the submarines were from the Ghadir class, of which Iran already has four.

This class of submarine can fire missiles and torpedoes and operate in the Gulf's shallow waters.

The move is seen as part of Iran's effort to upgrade its defense capabilities amid escalating tension over its nuclear program. The West suspects Iran is aiming at developing nuclear weapons, which a charge Iran denies.

Twilight: Breaking Dawn scene can cause seizures?

The movie "Twilight: Breaking Dawn" has elicited shrieks of joy from Twilight fans, yawns from some film critics, and groans from unwilling partners dragged to the vampire love story.

Not only that, the film's gory birth scene, which contains rapid flashes of black and red light, has apparently also caused two men to have seizures!

Brandon Gephart of Roseville, California, began convulsing during the scene, according to CBS 13 in Sacramento. His girlfriend, Kelly Bauman, said he was "snorting and trying to breathe." Gephart said he cannot remember what happened.

An unnamed Utah man said he suffered from similar symptoms.

"I didn't really remember what happened after that, I think I blacked out. According to my wife, I was shaking and mumbling different noised," the man told ABC 4 in Salt Lake City.

The man, who did not want to be named over fears he would lose his job (not because he didn't want his buddies to find out he was seeing "Twilight"), claims another person suffered similar symptoms at the same theater. The theater's manager did not have knowledge of this, according to ABC 4.

Well, for those who don't want to dragged into watching the film, seizures seems to be a good excuse.

To a Friend (Poem)

To a Friend
By Anthony Yap

To the friend who I came to admire
Hope you read and feel
The feeling that resides within
For thou my dearest friend
Mine heart and soul commends

Thou hast been there when I need thee
Thou hast been there in my sadness
Thou hast been there in my happiness
And thus I love thee
For thou art my council in my solitude

I shalt treasure thee
For thou art more prettier than gold
For thou art more than anything else
In thine company
I lie for all eternity...

Lt. Pike becomes part of Meme Hall of Fame

Lt. John Pike, the UC Davis cop who pepper-sprayed non-violent student protesters about a week ago became part of the meme hall of fame, when tons of images had "stormed the front."

While these pictures look funny, it was actually meant to poke the officer.

Currently, Lt. Pike is on administrative leave, and recent news tells us that there are people who are going to file a law suit against him. What a pity... it's as if Anon, the memes, and the butt of jokes and ridicules aren't bad enough...

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