Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Frankenstein Story

It seems to be an artist's rendition of concerns about scientism that are in some sense revisited in every movie about robots taking over the world. It's odd but artists are sometimes prophetic. For some time many artists have been predicting the advent of another form of sentience or life in one way or another, from Frankenstein, to aliens, to robots or sentient computer networks.

Yet here are some of the reasons that man does not seem to be able to breath the breath of Life into matter. Other than the little matter of the mind there is the basic natural categorical distinction between Life and Death:
It is an empirical fact that living matter behaves very differently from nonliving matter. Broken bones heal, broken stones don’t. The question is: What is the physical basis of this difference? A little reflection shows that it must lie in the specific nature of living matter. Why? Because robots, computers, and all other cybernetically organized sys tems designed by us cannot instantiate this self-preserving property of living matter, however well they may simulate certain aspects of it. Why not? Because the function or goal state of a manmade system lies entirely outside of the system itself, in the mind of the human designer.

For example, Kismet’s function is to interact with a human interlocutor in a lifelike fashion. Its creators have achieved this result by imposing a set of boundary conditions upon the matter of which Kismet is made; the bits and pieces that comprise Kismet have no tendency to seek this goal state on their own. The success or failure of Kismet’s performance is invisible to Kismet itself—it exists entirely in the eye of the beholder. This will remain true of all future robots made of inorganic parts, no matter how sophisticated they become. That is because the second law of thermodynamics will ensure that the configuration of a robot’s parts that gives rise to a humanly desired goal state will continuously degrade; at the same time, there is nothing intrinsic to the robot that is striving to oppose that degradation and preserve the goal state. Adding more feedback loops is futile. It can improve performance from the human point of view, but it cannot cause an ontological shift from an external to an internal criterion of what counts as a good performance. No matter how cleverly contrived, robots will always remain simulacra of living things; they will never live. To be alive is to value one’s own continued existence as a functionally organized system.
What is it about living matter that makes it care about its own self-preservation? That is the real question at the heart of the mystery of life.
(Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing
Edited by William Dembski
Why I Am Not a Darwinist, by James Barham :188-189)

It seems to me that what is being come across is the fact/value split between being dead and alive. Recently a Christian basically deconstructed the modern notion that this split exists. And I agree with her, because for living things that have self-evident truths that are evident in the Self apparently written right into the fabric of their current state of existence it would be false. So it also almost inevitably seems to lead the mental retards that try to believe it into contradictory self-refutations in the use of language, as language is an artifact of sentience written in sentences. Perhaps if we were more like rocks ontologically and mere matter in motion it would make sense to nihilistically devalue "values" as a matter of course. But it seems it is not possible for sentient beings or Homo sapiens to write such a sentence or use words to think such a thought.

Based on an incorrect philosophy Darwinists often seem to be arguing that Life is like an unnatural selection that must "struggle" against the second law of thermodynamics and other forms of so-called natural selections. But it seems to me that Life is the only thing capable of making selections, if anything does. If it does not, then Darwinists ought to stop combining the term with pollutions of language to imply that anything is being "selected." Nature does not select anything, no more than a puddle "selects" to ripple when you throw a rock in it. Once upon a time a puddle got angry about rocks being thrown in it and said: "Now I shall now select to ripple!" It seems that only some natural phenomena are to be called natural selections for philosophical and theological reasons. I.e., to link observations to the philosophical and theological notion that no sort of intelligence can be making a selection, never has and cannot be recognized by observation if it did.

But perhaps it is Life that makes natural selections and Nature that tends to make unnatural selections against Life. I wonder if that would count as a natural explanation according to those who believe in the latest forms of scientism? Hmmm, Dan?

Interesting to note that if the ontological and categorical distinction between living matter and dead matter is true then: "No matter how cleverly contrived, robots will always remain simulacra of living things...." Computers have come a long way but what will have to happen is some sort of merging of Death with Life through biotechnology, which those with the urge to merge will most likely one day bring about. I just wonder what inhuman type of minds might be thinking through new brains, as the urge to merge is not new. Perhaps there is something to the stories of the artists on the topic. It all seems far off to me.

Yet note this argument which also has some empirical weight to it:
Our brains are, if you will, “quantum computers.” But they are not of the sort now making headlines. Subtle quantum effects in the brain afford us a capacity we would not otherwise have, yet to make maximum use of such effects our natural brains are now designing even better synthetic ones. These employ quantum principles directly, not, as in the human brain, in subtle and nearly invisible fashion. ....if quantum processes are the source within the human brain of genuine thought—as also of genuine will, intention, and choice—then the quantum computers we are on the verge of designing (or whose evolution we are at least facilitating) may turn themselves into genuine sentient beings. They may have as much intelligence as we have, quite possibly more: There are severe limits to how much quantum weirdness the human brain may employ...limits on how much a synthetic brain might employ are far less severe. Vast, synthetic, self-evolving, superintelligent, and completely sentient computers must surely sound like pure science fiction, but they are not.
(The Quantum Brain
By Jeffrey Satinover :6-8)

Yet again, what type of mind would be thinking through these brains? After all the soul seems to be a marriage of being emerging from the flesh and thinking through it at the same time. It is not all just an unfolding from, as the mind comes to shape its own Self. But's possible to meander around infinitely on the subject.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

An area for research...

Carl has been writing on abstinence, condoms and curricula, it seems at first glance the the ACLU is using propaganda or some form of disinformation that sometimes begins at the hands of some Leftist researcher. Note the supposed Leftist concern for saftey, which is the framework that they seek to put everything in.

The claims that the ACLU makes in their language may be worth looking into, note the issue of condoms and seatbelts (i.e. behavior patterns changing as the result of feeling safe). That's the problem with the Leftist/Benthamite philosophy, it is a bundle of relative rationalizations for continually tinkering with the ratios of the rational until one day totalitarianism is complete. In contrast, a conservative/Burkean philosophy begins with rationales, including a rationale for rationality, and then seeks to safeguard as much Liberty as possible with a minimal amount of tinkering.

At the root of Leftist philosophy there is nothing but an unceasing sort of moved motion based on Naturalism and any notion of spiritual unmoved movers of any type is "separated" out as "religion" and so on. Leftists believe, quite strongly, that youth cannot act as unmoved movers against the natural instincts that move them. If youth can keep themselves safe by self-government, then it refutes Leftist philosophy and their tendency toward technocratic totalitarianism, where technology and experts are supposedly the solution to the moral failings of humanity. I would note that the empirical evidence already goes against a matter before mind type of philosophy, while history shows that people can be technically proficient barbarians through technology. It would be too long to go into all that here.

In the past when I've refuted Leftists based on empirical evidence on these type of issues it has turned out that they cared more about keeping their matter before mind type of philosophy safe than in keeping youth safe. So it would seem that all the talk of saftey may often be a rather thin veneer covering their weltanschauung/worldview. Supposedly they're often more concerned with your saftey than you are. Or are they?

Friday, October 28, 2005


No comment...

When someone has been debating a long time...

...sometimes you can tell, as sardonic comments begin to flow. I like it.

E.g., on Creationism:
Now, what grave consequences are thought to await if children hear briefly in school an argument that they have heard a dozen times in the course of ordinary life? Will the foundations of civilization crack? The birds of the air plunge, appalled, to earth? The planets shudder in their orbits and fall inward in dismay? Surely everyone short of the anencephalic knows of Creationism.

Or is it thought that kids attracted to the sciences will abruptly change their course through life and enter the clergy? That applications to graduate school in biochemistry will cease? Children learn (or did) of the Greek gods and goddesses, and that ancient people believed that the earth rode on the back of a giant turtle. I have not heard that they now sacrifice oxen to Athena.

One plausible explanation for this rigid evolutionary monotheism, though I think an incorrect one, is a fear that the children might come to believe in Creationism. Unlikely, but again, so what? A belief in Creationism does not prevent one from working in the sciences. A goodly number of scientists, to include biochemists, are in fact Christian and, some of them, Creationists. Others presumably are Buddhists or Hindus. The only thing for which acceptance of Creationism renders one unsuitable is…Evolutionism.

A more likely explanation is a fear that children might realize that a great deal of Evolution, not having been established, must be accepted on faith, and that a fair amount of it doesn’t make a lot of sense. While Creationism is unlikely to convert children into snake-handlers, it does suggest that orthodox Evolution can be examined critically. Bad juju, that.

...[A]n entertaining way to study the politics is to ask the Evolutionists questions that a scientist would answer (since scientists are not ashamed not to know things), but that an ideologue can’t afford to. They are simple. (1) Has the chance occurrence of life been demonstrated in the laboratory? Yes or no. (2) Do we really know, as distinct from guess, hope, or imagine, of what the primeval seas consisted? Yes or no. (3) Do we know, as distinct from guess, pray, wave our arms, and hold our breath and turn blue, what seas would be needed for the chance formation of life? Yes or no. (4) Can we show mathematically, without crafted and unsupportable assumptions, that the formation of life would be probable in any soup whatever? Yes or no.
(Fred Plans to Devolve, Bacteria More Respectable
By Fred Reed, cf. Uncommon Descent)

Delawarean blog links...

I revised my links section. I'll probably only link to blogs that I read at least once a week. I may revise it again later. All that is new are the Delawarean blogs. I also put uncommon descent back on even though the author of it censored me along with a lot of his opposition. He's a rather sensitive fellow, yet still worth reading.

Sirius, revisited...

To revisit, a summary:

The ethnoastronomical traditions of the Dogon contain some startling anomalies, particularly with regard to Sirius, the brightest star in the heavens. The Dogon believe that another star orbits Sirius, so small it is invisible to the naked eye, like a grain of fonio, hence the name Digitaria applied by [the anthropologists] Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen after fonio’s Latin name. Digitaria, say the Dogon, though tiny, is extremely heavy, and completes an orbit around Sirius every fifty years. This period is allegedly connected with Dogon calculations of intervals between festivals of Sigui, major commemorations of the transmission of speech and the knowledge of death by the mythical creator, Nommo.
At first glance the similarities between the known properties of Sirius B and the Dogon description of Digitaria are nothing less than astonishing. What is this information about an invisible star, the physics of which marked a recent frontier of European cosmology, doing in Dogon astronomical lore, where according to Griaule and Dieterlen it is tied to calendrical reckoning for a festival tradition at least six or seven centuries old? That is the essense of The Sirius Mystery, Robert K. G. Temple’s at once provocative and irritating exploration of this problem.

Temple’s book is provocative because it has uncloseted a portion of our limited knowledge of African ethnoastronomy. It is irritating because he evidently allows his enthusiasm to obscure his judgment and the rigor of his research. As a result, his hypotheses will be ridiculed.
Because of its resemblance to recent European cosmology, one’s instinctive temptation is to write off the Digitaria tradition simply as a recent accretion. Yet the heaviness quality of Sirius B could not have been introduced much before the 1920s, as the physics of white dwarf stars matured several decades after the discovery of Sirius B. One cannot discount completely the influence of some colonial administrator who was also an amateur astronomer-physicist, but on the whole this possibility seems unlikely. Griaule and Dieterlen themselves seem not to have appreciated the anomalous quality of their information, at least not immediately, and in an article published as late as 1971 Dieterlen preferred to leave the Digitaria question open, describing the information as inexplicable at the time.

Direct observation by the Dogon of the Sirius system can pretty much be ruled out. Even if it were not obscured by the glare of its huge primary, Sirius B would still be invisible to the naked eye, since its visual magnitude has been placed at between +7.0 and 8.0, beyond the resolution of normal human eyesight. Related to this problem are other objects in Dogon astronomical lore, which seem to lie in borderline areas of visibility. The Dogon evidently are aware of the four largest satellites of Jupiter, known as the Galilean satellites because Galileo noticed them so quickly when he turned his small telescope on the heavens in 1610. These bodies have a mean visual magnitude of around + 6.5, and they have been observed by individuals without instruments under favorable conditions. The rings of Saturn also appear in Dogon lore. I know of no record of unaided observation of this phenomenon, although it can be seen quite readily through a small telescope. Overall, Dogon observation of the heavens—if that is indeed the source of the knowledge—seems to have pushed to the limits of human visual abilities. It would be interesting to know to what extent acute eyesight guaranteed one a spot in the Dogon priesthood under these circumstances.

(The International Journal of African Historical Studies,
Vol. 10, No. 4 (1977) :655)

My own opinion would be that the self-appointed masters of knowledge in the tribe were most likely charlatans of one sort or another as they typically are and that they probably had knowledge of a small telescope to observe their "gods"/stars. But I might be just trying to write a story into history, another history that would be projecting onto the past an argument with these sorts of fellows . Those fellows that often seem to me to be our modern charlatans trying to use knowledge to write mythological narratives of Naturalism. So my story would have holes in it, like the fact that Sirius A blurs out the light of Sirius B so that it would seem that any sort of primitve telescope would not be good enough. At any rate, rather than go on and on by bringing up a debates among anthropologists and bringing up more issues about the knowledge involved as well as debates over its explanation I would instead make a few general notes. One, it's likely that in one way or another the ancients had more technology than we typically think that they did. Second, they looked to the stars and told stories about them that were said to explain human origins. Also, scientists are still looking to the stars and trying to do the same thing with their own stories.

Science is a poor tool for dealing with anomalies, so if an anomaly or singularity is the explanation then it will be a while before it gets to that answer. But at least it is often a better tool than anthropology, which deals with people which often makes it hard to tell where error lies, e.g.:

I also expected to find that Griaule’s creation myths were highly constructed but not directly revelant to Dogon daily life. However, realizing that this expectation would be shared by the majority of the profession, I was also aware that finding the mythical and ideological corpus in the field would be a greater coup than “disproving” Griaule, and I certainly expected to find at least some bits and pieces of the myths. On the whole, I was able to find much less concrete material even than I had expected. The ideas with which Griaule and his informants worked surfaced only as allusions, fragments of ritual expression.
Research is considered normal but superfluous: “Why write this down? All the books have already been written about us!”
(Dogon Restudied: A
Field Evaluation of the Work of Marcel Griaule
By Walter E.A. van Beek
Current Anthropology, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Apr., 1991) :144)

Nothing is simple:

The Dogon have three kinds of possible responses to this type of inquiry: ( i ) simply to answer, “I don’t know” (ko ka innem);’ (2) more subtly, to make some such ironic response as van Beek himself records (“All the books have already been written about us!” [p. 144] and “The people who said that, were they by any chance present at the creation, or did they come before it?” [p. 150] stereotyped phrases that the Dogon use when they want to get rid of someone (one finds them, for example, in the reports of journalists who are also trying to recon struct the system)... I think that this explains why the “discoveries” of van Beek often coincide with the first information gathered by ethnologists in the thirties.
(On the Dogon Restudied
By Genevieve Calame-Griaule
Current Anthropology, Vol. 32, No. 5 (Dec., 1991) :576)

That's just one anthropologist's way of calling another anthropologist stupid.

Ko ka innem...hmmm, I don't know.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

And so the challenge goes on....

I'm still not really clear what it is.

It would probably be quite a challenging challenge if I did. There's little challengers within the challenge, challenging me. Their main point seems to be proving that I am a mute autistic Puritan, which generates fear between my real self and my false self. The Green helpful helpers, they probably just want to keep my real self safe.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Sirius Mystery

Short story, athropologists studying an African tribe were finally initiated into the tribe's esoteric secrets and so on by its priests. The tribal knowledge was similar to Egyptian knowledge that also seems mysterious having to do with the Sirius system. Sirius A is the brightest star in our sky since it is only about eight light years away. Some of the stars are associated with Isis and other gods as well as being the basis for Sirius cults of the past or religions and mythologies that have roots there, temples were lined up with the stars so that the starlight from Sirius would shed a beam down the center and so on and so forth. In the past astronomy, astrology and mythology were all merged together in what was taken to be unified knowledge. Here is some of the best evidence that proponents of the mystery have:

In Figure 8, I compare the Dogon drawings of the orbit of Sirius B around Sirius with the modern astronomical diagrams of the same (which have been confirmed as accurate at this scale by Lindenblad’s work); also there is a comparison of the same information, tribal and modern, as seen in a linear perspective, stretched through time. I do not need to claim any perfect scientific accuracy for the Dogon drawings. The similarity is so striking that the most untrained eye can immediately see that the general picture is identical, in each instance. [...] The fact is demonstrated, and it is that the Dogon have an accurate general knowledge of the most unobvious and subtle principles of the orbiting of Sirius B around Sirius A.

The Dogon also know the actual orbital period of this invisible star, which is fifty years. Referring to the sacred Sigui ceremony of the tribe, [the anthropologists] Dieterlen and Griaule tell us: ‘The period of the orbit is counted double, that is, one hundred years, because the Siguis are convened in pairs of “twins”, so as to insist on the principle of twinness’.

The Dogon also say that Sirius B rotates on its axis, demonstrating that they know a star can do such a thing. In reality, all stars really do rotate on their axes. How do the Dogon know such an extraordinary fact?
(The Sirius Mystery: New Scientific Evidence
of Alien Contact 5,000 Years Ago
By Robert Temple :66-68)

And there are some other things as well. It can be explained away, as pretty much anything can be. For instance, although you cannot see Sirius B with the naked eye (because of the light from Sirius A and the fact that it is a dim light) perhaps ancient priests crafted a telescope in order to see the stars that gave people a sense of themselves before the city lights blurred them out. Then with a minimal amount of knowledge these charlatans controlled their whole culture by developing myths about the stars and predictions based on them. Or something, there can always be another explanation and another story.

Yet it seems ironic that Darwinists who believe that Life can just "evolve" on a planet given a common ancestor in a mud puddle (and who even seem to want to believe in aliens while predicting them based on Darwinism) seem to reject ancient mysteries that might lend support to the notion. I think it has to do with the fact that Darwinists are almost all progressives who believe in Enlightenment myths, as well as that the ancients were somehow "less evolved" and just plain "superstitious" to a man. So anyone back behind those ol' Dark Ages cannot have known anything like scientists of Enlightenment know now, for oh how they know now....and did not know then! For if they knew then, then knowing now is not as valuable.

Also, I suspect that the self-appointed Policemen of Knowledge like science fiction as a form of fairy tales for geeks, as they tend to be geeks, but they know that the notion of aliens being treated seriously epistemically undermines the authority that they've built up. It would tend to get in the way of their everyday epistemic police work of: "That's like believing that the earth is flat. It's a good thing Galileo proved it wasn't!" or "A puddle of mud being the common ancestor is as certain as gravity but that, why that's just like astrology!" and so on.

Interesting to note that astronomy came from astrology and would probably never have come about without a lot of ancient astronomical/astrological knowledge being rediscovered, perhaps including Galileo getting esoteric knowledge from texts and beginning to think it over. Note also that celestial bodies probably do have an impact on us, as some empirical evidence indicates. It's not something that is studied often though. That is just like astrology too much and coming to the conclusion that old knowledge is valid would be "just like" undermining some propaganda that is necessary for the modern mind with respect to progress. But it is a rather obvious point that forces from celestial bodies may have an impact on organisms living on the earth and that such impact may be more subtle than sunburn or a final extinction event impact. The charlatans who are currently psychics, astrologers and so on are annoying to be sure, yet just think if empirical facts proved a pattern so that they could no longer claim that type of knowledge to be their own, i.e. esoteric. E.g., "Yes, I know that such and such is more likely to happen given the alignment of the planets. So what am I paying you for?"

According to the Policemen of Knowledge there are some issues that are taboo or kooky, and so kooks are left to rule there. It seems as ironic on astrology as it is for aliens though, because according to them all things were determined in the stars after a Big Bang as a matter of course, which is all that matters to them.

Oh well, I am meandering about on this topic. I'll finish with the Sirius Mystery tomorrow. The short story from the skeptics: One of the anthropologists was interested in astronomy and so it is said that he imprinted modern astronomy onto the Dogon's myths or somehow coached them along. There are various problems with that story, as the knowledge the anthropologist had at the time could probably not be so detailed unless he discovered it himself and then decided to give it to the Dogon, then let some other writer come along later to popularize it as a mystery. Only the stupid skeptics seem to deny that there is a mystery on this one.

To skip to the end, I do not know. But I'll write a little more on it anyway so maybe someone else can find out. Plus I think the epistemology of storytelling is interesting and it has many applications, even in science, science!

For Ian

When Hollywood runs out of ideas...

This reminded me of someone.


I was looking at some of Carl's handiwork and feeling a little down that my skill is only windsurfing. But then I thought, "Say, I should not belittle myself, as I whittle a little."

So I whittled a few things yesterday.

To go with the rest:

Just kidding.

I can't find where these pictures came from, there's some whittler out there that has whittled away quite a bit of time.

The Founders, Federalist No. 78

"... [The Judicial Branch] may truly be said to have neither FORCE
nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the
aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments." -- Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 78, 1788)
The progressive argument on the Judiciary tends to be along these lines, "Look, the Judiciary has done some good things by increasing its power and inventing rights and stuff even if they had to trash the Constitution to do so. So then you can't limit them or else all the good things that they've done will just wither away, wither away I say! And then, we'll have virtually no civil rights at all..."

The only way all that can be true is if we the people are generally stupid and need an oligarchy in the Judiciary making all our discriminations for us, defining all our rights for us, etc. The electorate being ignorant and stupid is the only way that rights retained by the people really would just wither away without the Judiciary, sothe progressive has to be assuming that people are generally stupid. But they will protect us with the help of their Judiciary that they control politically through the nomination process.

Note that the way they make fun of rubes and so on reveals the same thing, that is what they think of parts of "We the people..." who seek to retain rights based on common sense of self-evident truths. (Side note on Jefferson's ideal of agrarian communities, a conservative concept similar to Burke's notion of the English shire, a vision of a type of conservative community that progressives tend to condemn as ignorant bumpkins and so on. For on the one hand they are Greens and so want the fulfillment of gardening. Yet on the other hand they reject religion and the veneration and prescription that tends to be at the agrarian root of conservatism, so they can never find that lost balance.)

Here is an example of the reasoning, if the Judiciary can't act like textual degenerates then suddenly all of our discriminations will be wrong:
I’ve said for months to conservative acquaintances: if we confine our interpretation of the rights protected under the constitution to rights expressly stated in the constitution and to the known original intentions of its framers, then many of the rights we enjoy and take for granted today will be threatened. Consider a very basic one: the right of a woman to get pregnant and deliver her baby. Nowhere is that right expressly stated in the constitution.

(Delaware Watch)

So there you have it, if we go by the Constitution then women may not be able to get pregnant and deliver their baby. I wonder what else will happen if the rule of law is adhered to? Note that the reasoning that progressives engage in was viciously attacked by many of the Founders and so they can be quoted. They argued that having an oligarchy is more dangerous to Liberty than rule of law, among other arguments.

In short, the Founder's arguments on the best structure for government make sense while progressive arguments in favor of textual degeneracy do not.

[Edit: Sorry that I can't seem to refrain from sarcasm with respect to your argument Dana, I'll bet we can still be pals...unless you get real upset one day.]

Sunday, October 23, 2005


In two weeks, Anne Rice, the chronicler of vampires, witches and—under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure—of soft-core S&M encounters, will publish "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt," a novel about the 7-year-old Jesus, narrated by Christ himself. "I promised," she says, "that from now on I would write only for the Lord." It's the most startling public turnaround since Bob Dylan's "Slow Train Coming" announced that he'd been born again.
To render such a hero and his world believable, she immersed herself not only in Scripture, but in first-century histories and New Testament scholarship—some of which she found disturbingly skeptical. "Even Hitler scholarship usually allows Hitler a certain amount of power and mystery." She also watched every Biblical movie she could find, from "The Robe" to "The Passion of the Christ" ("I loved it"). And she dipped into previous novels, from "Quo Vadis" to Norman Mailer's "The Gospel According to the Son" to Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins's apocalyptic Left Behind series. ("I was intrigued. But their vision is not my vision.")


Their vision is not her vision, thank God. Actually, I don't know because I don't read novels. It seems to me that the concept of Left Behind is off, unless you have it be the angels/aliens coming and the UFO cults saying that the Rapture was mass alien abductions, while the super-amphibian Nephilim come down from the Sirius system into the pyramids and begin making "artificial wormholes stabilized with exotic matter"* to try to get to a parallel universe, i.e. Heaven. And so on. That might be interesting. Of course, I've not read novels for a long time so I do not know.**

Anyway, I suspect that her Satanic books were stupid and so her Christian books will be too.

**(Except I did read this novel that seemed rather easy to psychoanalyze.)

*Apparently the wormholes are coming along:

Some scientists under very classified projects in various countries are in the process of creating artificial wormholes stabilized with exotic matter. The subject matter stays in theoretical physics but some are taking it to level unthinkable!
(India Daily)


No writing...

Here are some pictures from last weekend:

Later I used the 5.8 sail. The wind was dying by this point but came back up later in the day and my dad got in some good sailing then.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

A better light...

The new device gives off a warm, yellowish-white light that shines twice as bright and lasts 50 times longer than the standard 60 watt light bulb.
LEDs produce twice as much light as a regular 60 watt bulb and burn for over 50,000 hours. The Department of Energy estimates LED lighting could reduce U.S. energy consumption for lighting by 29 percent by 2025. LEDs don't emit heat, so they're also more energy efficient. And they're much harder to break.

Other scientists have said they expect LEDs to eventually replace standard incandescent bulbs as well as fluorescent and sodium vapor lights.

If the new process can be developed into commercial production, light won't come just from newfangled bulbs. Quantum dot mixtures could be painted on just about anything and electrically excited to produce a rainbow of colors, including white.
(Live Science) (Emphasis added)

Miers update

The White House has begun making contingency plans for the withdrawal of Harriet Miers as President Bush's choice to fill a seat on the Supreme Court, conservative sources said yesterday.
"White House senior staff are starting to ask outside people, saying, 'We're not discussing pulling out her nomination, but if we were to, do you have any advice as to how we should do it?'" a conservative Republican with ties to the White House told The Washington Times.
(The Washington Times)

That would be good, she seems to me to be a marginal nomination. I wonder how the Old Press would spin it if she was withdrawn. Most likely their template would be the radical right victimizing a poor lil' woman, even if she's not really qualified.

The challenge...'s not exactly clear what it is, "really."

But you can read all about it here.

[Edit: See, I can be nice. By the way, anyone that's read what I write for a while will have already read about visceral reactions and being defined by feelings and the like. It's because Leftist minds are all similar, so I wind up saying the same things.]

Friday, October 21, 2005

It's late.

I should have gotten some windsurfing pictures from last weekend as I don't want to get into a post right now. The one I have in mind would probably take too long. There are some comments strewn about below, some aren't worth reading.

I wanted to note something on the comments about abortion though.

Ellie said, "The abortion debate is not as cut and dry as some would like it to be. When you are dealing with real people who are all different with individual wants, needs and desires you can't categorize. "

She is arguing that it is all blurry, so it is too difficult to judge good and evil. It is a well known principle in both legal proceedings and moral philosophy to try to establish precedents based on "cut and dry" or easy cases. That way those cases are decided correctly and there is at least somewhat of an opportunity to deal with the difficult cases as well. So I would and did bring up an easy case like the abortion of the partially born. Yet note that Leftists did not even want that defined and sought a lack of categorization. Their mindset on the issue is the opposite of normal legal and moral reasoning and they want to blur even the easy cases so that they are not "cut and dry." They try to make things lack clarity so that their views cannot be brought into the light and so that deeds may be hidden in the dark. It's not so much that the majority of cases are difficult legally or morally, it is more that Leftists are trying to lack judgment. For instance, Ellie was not passively describing the fact that the abortion issue cannot be cut and dry, she was actively avoiding clarity.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Animal rights

Animal rights only seem to apply to some animals, i.e. the good ones. Are there good and evil animals?

No matter what basis your standard for judging good and evil is, it will ultimately begin from an arbitrary point. Whether God, Man, Nature or Super-aliens creates meaning which comes to define good and evil, it will ultimately trace back to a self-evident sort of absolute truth.

I suppose the Christian view is that there are indeed good and evil animals, as Jesus uses some categories of animals as metaphors for evil. Christian values are typically assumed by PETA types, just like Christian values are typically assumed by progressives in general, if only in order to condemn Western civilization and often Christianity itself as well. The Darwinian worldview that modern progressives base their philosophy on does not offer room for condemning Imperialism, nor did the subpagans of the past think, "You know guys, maybe we shouldn't just go in to exploit, and rape and pillage another nation." It's worth questioning the way that progressives and animal rights types assume various Christian values to try to condemn Christianity by them. For why should we value other species...and why do we generally assume that we should?

Note that the views typical to progressives on "animal rights" are not historically accurate, as usual:

...characteristic of Puritan sentiment is [a] sixteenth-century condemnation of bear-baiting which, remarkably...makes a test of genuine Christian confession:

What Christian heart can take pleasure to see one poor beast to rent, tear and kill another, and all for his foolish pleasure? And although they be bloody beasts to mankind, and seek his destruction, yet we are not to abuse them, for his sake who made them, and whose creatures they are. For notwithstanding that they be evil to us, and thirst after our blood, yet they are good creatures in their own nature and kind, and made to set forth the glory and magnificence of the great God and for our use; and therefore for his sake not to be abused... we are not in any wise to spoil or hurt. Is he a Christian man, or rather a pseudo-Christian, that delights in blood?'
From the 1640s the English Puritans had some opportunity to legislate against cruelty. Bearbaiting had been attacked as a full ugly sight as early as 1550, and Parliament ordered its suppression in 1642. Cockfighting was attacked by Perkins among others and finally prohibited by Cromwell in 1654. [...] Opposition to animal cruelty resumed with the Methodists and evangelicals of the eighteenth century who inherited a strong Protestant sentiment opposed cruelty and were again able to bring their theology to bear upon public policy. Horace Walpole is said to have remarked in 1760 that a certain man was known to be turning Methodist; for, in the middle of conversation, he rose, and opened the window to let out a moth. [...]
As the eighteenth-century Christian Humphry Primatt wrote: If I know that a man is cruel to his beast, I ask no more questions about him. He may be a noble man, or a rich man. . . or a church man, or anything else, it matters not; this I know, on the sacred word of a wise king, that, being cruel to his beast, he is a wicked man.
(Six Modern Myths About
Christianity & Western Civilization
By Philip J. Sampson :84-85)

That seems to be an eighteenth-century scholar doing in theological language what would in modern language would be an attempt at clinically examining the "psychological dynamics" typical to "serial killers."

At any rate, good:

And evil:

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Discrimination, without any rational discriminations...

A SACKED insurance broker who repeatedly came to work drunk - and even urinated in a wastepaper bin - has been awarded $10,000 compensation after claiming discrimination against his attention deficit disorder.

On hearing the news, Lazy People said to be organizing to protest for lazy rights and medical diagnoses of laziness, as they are born lazy. (Of course, motivation is difficult.) Stupid People would also organize to combat discrimination against them, as Stupid People, if they were smart enough to.

Perhaps psychologists will once again lend their helping hand to these groups, for a fee, of course. The politics set up for the Gay People can apply to anything, except, perhaps for Flatulent People. You think I'm joking.
The author says that almost no one is actually lazy. Low productivity--whether in school or on the job--is almost always caused by a genuine problem, a neurodevelopmental dysfunction. Despite this, untold numbers of people have been stigmatized by unfair accusations of laziness, many of them adults who still carry emotional scars from their school days. The author shows how we can spot the neurodevelopmental dysfunctions that may cause "output failures", whether in school or in the work place. [...] Drawing on his clinical experience he describes eight people he has worked with who exhibited one or another of these problems. He shows how identifying the problem can lead to a course of corrective action rather than to accusations of laziness and moral failure.
(The myth of laziness
By Mel Levine
University of North Carolina Medical School, Clinical Center for the Study of Development & Learning) (Emphasis added)

The same thing can be done for anything, examples of a pattern of excuses are legion. If a physical cause is found then suddenly no one has responsibility for their own agency, as the cold toads deny the nature of humanity in the name of science even as they accept the human spirit enough to try to smother it. For instance, if you are only a physical being, the sum of your parts governed only by the laws of nature then wouldn't "you" be responsible physically for all that you are, given the fact of brute physical responsiblity for physical beings? Yet the cold toad is not saying that as they shift the spiritual and the physical around incessantly. They admit that we have some transphysical capacity only enough to say that a physical explanation for a phenomena can act as a blurred excuse for it. So somewhere out there inbetween the blurring of the physical and the spiritual is the responsiblity for agency, which is done away with. For an empirical and physical cause and effect would logically trace back to some form of an unmoved Mover (as Aristotle noted) and if the cause is the human spirit directly, then responsibility can be dealt with sans the physical veil. But as long as the entire issue is simply blurred between the soul and flesh everyone can be blinded to the issue of responsiblity, which is what evil desires.

I should also note that psychiatrists typically take little bits of knowledge and extend and blur them beyond all limitation for reasons similar to the Darwinists', as well as for the sake of diagnosing for dollars, as dollars flow towards a physical diagnosis that demands fees and treatment be paid to the psychiatrists that continually diagnose new "disorders." Most of them don't really think about what they are doing in a defined way like that, most just consider themselves helpful helpers who happen to wind up with increasing amounts of authority and money.

[Related posts: The Soul Doctors
The Manufacturers of Madness: How they work.]

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Delawarean Blogs

Since the News Journal updated its blog index I've been reading some local blogs. I'll probably get back to researching and writing on the Sirius Mystery and other things soon.

At PolitaKid, he has a reader in favor of animal rights apparently. I'm anxious to see if they support the rights of rectal parasites. But I doubt they'll answer the call for a clear statement of principles on the notion of animal rights.

At DownwithAbsolutes, there's a writer whose pattern of thought seems to match the eugenics movement. It seems they generally focus on having opinions about things, and some lil' feelings too. It doesn't matter if the opinion is wrong or ignorant, as long as they feel that they have an opinion it seems to make them happy. Having a correct opinion would probably be imposing, and hurt their feelings by shaping and molding them. So they seem to stick with incorrect opinions and murmur about their right to be wrong instead.

Collussus of Rhodey seems to be an informed fellow engaging in critical thinking.

College Democrats at the University of Delaware, they don't seem to be saying much other than, "Iraq war...war seem bad or somethin'." That seems to be what defines progressives these days.

Red White and Blue Hens, is written by conservative college students. They have a post on intelligent design up, so I wrote some about it.

And there's Delaware Watch, which I wound up finding a while back through Technorati somehow. He writes more about politics than principles, which seems typical to thinking progressives these days. It's either that or "I have a lil' feeling about this." like the Leftists who have an opinion, in their opinion, tend to write. Given the psychological dynamics involved a little, "That no like, me victim of that." may also be mixed in. In general, progressive politics is on the decline as a matter of principles, insight and vision, thus you will hear "littany," a littany of specific problems like "healthcare, education and the environment" instead of ideas and principles.

And the old Look Machine, they're artists with Leftist tendencies, which can be quite a combination. (E.g., when an attempt to manifest a lack of judgment or ideas in art is made.)

[Edit: Still no takers on defending the animal rights of rectal parasites, it must still be okay to discriminate against them. Whatever happened to equality?]

This reminded me of someone...

He's a watchful fellow.

Sex Offenders

This site combines various information technology to keep tabs on them. There's three living a few miles from where I live. As with almost anything now if you want to know, the information is out there. They have pictures and the guys don't look like some teenagers caught up in a law about statutory rape. You can get a satellite view of their house if you want.

Get out your tin-foil hats, as technology makes room for conspiracy...soon you will not be able to escape....Google, Google earth is interesting.

More Google goodness:
"Armed with only a cell phone - and a very low battery - I was able to Google [hemoglobin "premature infant"] and found a medical journal article claiming that it's perfectly normal for preemies to have their hemoglobin levels drop to 7 between the first and third months of life, and apparently this is especially true with twins." He showed the mobile screen citing this fact to the neonatalogists, who went off to research the issue for a couple of hours. They returned, says Howard, "and sheepishly admitted that our son was indeed fine - no treatment was necessary."
(Official Google Blog)

Monday, October 17, 2005

I thought so.

When I saw a story about Harriet Miers overturning Roe v. Wade in my inbox I thought that a watchful fellow might be watching it. From the Wallstreet Journal:
On Oct. 3, the day the Miers nomination was announced, Mr. Dobson and other religious conservatives held a conference call to discuss the nomination. One of the people on the call took extensive notes, which I have obtained. According to the notes, two of Ms. Miers's close friends--both sitting judges--said during the call that she would vote to overturn Roe.
I haven't written very much about these nominations because the Left didn't go all craaazy. Ironically, the more the Left goes all craaazy and irrational about a nomination the more the Right will support them. It seems to me that Rove is playing rope-a-dope again and that he's probably roped himself some dopes politically. The timing of this leak is interesting. It may be that since the Right was splitting now here comes a leak which will set the Left off and solidify the Right. The only reason that the nomination process is so political (and so here is Rove doing his political work) is that the Judiciary has politicized itself by making political instead of textual or legal decisions. It has generally done so in favor of the Left, which has probably only served to strengthen the Right in all other branches of government. The Left wants this to continue, yet it is undermining itself politically and legally.

As to Miers and her close friends, if they are correct that she will overturn Roe then she is making the correct legal decision. That's really all there is to that if you believe that words mean anything or that lies can be defined by words and so on.

If the Left really believes that women need the opportunity to have an abortion because they're just incorrigible nitwits when it comes to adhering to a sexual ethic or birth control then they can advocate their political position in political forums, just like everyone else. If the Left makes their political position a legal position through legislation, then it will be the law of the land. The more that the American Left has sought to subvert what is legally correct to establish what they view as politically correct, the more they lose elections. Even people who may tend to agree with the Left do not want all their political discriminations made by textual (and therefore legal) degenerates who will just make something up to suit their own opinion or look and look (even to international law) until they find something to suit their own political opinion.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Greens...

Thousands of aging turbines stud the brown rolling hills of the Altamont Pass on I-580 east of San Francisco Bay, a testament to one of the nation's oldest and best-known experiments in green energy.

Next month, hundreds of those blades will spin to a stop, in what appears to be a wind-energy first: Facing legal threats from environmentalists, the operators of the Altamont wind farm have agreed to shut down half of their windmills for two months starting Nov. 1; in January, they will be restarted and the other half will be shut down for two months.

Though the Altamont Pass is known for its strong winds, it also lies on an important bird-migration route, and its grass-covered hills provide food for several types of raptors. "It's the worst possible place to put a wind farm," said Jeff Miller, a wildlife advocate at the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity. "It's responsible for an astronomical level of bird kills."
Windmills are also killing large numbers of bats in the Appalachian Mountains. A report (.pdf), issued in September by the Government Accountability Office on wind farms' impact on wildlife, said that 2,000 bats were killed during a seven-month study at a 44-turbine site in West Virginia.
...the Center for Biological Diversity successfully blocked a proposed wind farm in Southern California's Mojave Desert because it would have required building access roads in an area that is home to bighorn sheep.
He also said the FPL's plan to shut down half of the Altamont turbines is not enough. His group supports the plan in the California Energy Commission's 2004 report, which recommended that the Altamont wind farm shut down completely during the winter. A partial shutdown "is going to do something, but it doesn't go far enough," Miller said.

If Greens were responsible for making cars, you wouldn't have one, and you wouldn't be allowed to go anywhere anyway. There might be some bighorn sheep around, after all. You should probably just kill yourself now so that they can live.

The Iraqi Constitution

Results expected next week; no major violence reported

No major violence and:
Initial figures showed more than two-thirds of eligible voters cast ballots in Baghdad and seven other provinces, said Ayar. In eight others, turnout ranged between 33 percent and 66 percent, he said.

From Iraq is the model, Omar's commentary.

I met one friend on the way and when I asked him what would his vote be he said that he hasn’t decided yet “if I voted yes I would be approving some articles that I don’t agree with and if I voted no we would go back to where we started from…” he said and that was really refreshing because this guy who used to believe in conspiracy theories and stuff like “what America wants is what’s going to happen” now feels that his vote can make a difference.

Apparently he's not a conspiracy theorist like Michael Moore or the African American Left in America. Their votes just weren't counted, see. And they probably had to stand in line with snipers shooting at them too. It's so difficult in America, where everyone's so victimized by it all.

Our culture is tiresome...

WOODBRIDGE, Va. - The marching band at Hylton High School in Woodbridge is going to have learn a different song.

The Washington Post says the band had added "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," by the Charlie Daniels Band to its play list for an upcoming guest appearance at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.

One letter, however, from a parent whose children are home-schooled, was sent to a local newspaper complaining that the song about the devil shouldn't be played at school events because of separation of church and state.

The letter worked because the band's director has decided not to use it.


I'm kidding. If prissy Christians followed the words of Jesus closely they'd realize that he talked about the ol' Devil quite a bit.

Apparently some Christians have picked up the bad habits of atheists, but the farcical nit picking about supposed discrimination and victimizations that the ACLU has made the "separation of church and state" into is not what it was about, not in the least. It's ashame to see a principle perverted into squabbling. I suppose that Christians can say that atheists started it but that only validates the petty nonsense that has been typical to American atheists.

A good weekend...

30-40mph winds on and off all weekend, not many pictures of it. I might get some later. Here are some old pictures zoomed in (And a little pixelated from it, they were taken from pretty far away.):

I remember that, I made it through the break over to the right there...

Friday, October 14, 2005

Gone windsurfing...

I won't be blogging this weekend, 15-25mph winds. A few pictures from the ocean this summer:

[Related posts: One, Two, Three, Four and more...]

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Sirius Mystery and Intelligent Design

I think I would argue that those who write the mythological narratives of Evolution often shift around in what they will accept as knowledge. Carl Sagan, cited in the book the Sirius Mystery by Robert Temple says this about history, interpretation and knowledge with respect to extraterrestrial intelligence, pages 59-60:

[An early alien] contact story must be encumbered with some degree of fanciful embellishment, due simply to the views prevailing at the time of the contact. The extent to which subsequent variation and embellishment alters the basic fabric of the account varies with time and circumstances. [An example] relevant to the topic at hand is the native account of the first contact with the Tlingit people of the northeast coast of North America with European civilization — an expedition led by the French navigator, La Perouse, in 1786. The Tlingit kept no written records; one century after the contact, the verbal narrative of the encounter was related to the American anthropologist G. T. Emmons by a principal Tlingit chief. The story was overlaid with the mythological framework in which the French sailing vessels were initially interpreted. But what is very striking is that the true nature of the encounter had been faithfully preserved. [...]The oral rendition contained sufficient information for later reconstruction of the true nature of the encounter, although many of the incidents were disguised in a mythological framework — for example, the ships were described as immense black birds with white wings.

As another example, the people of sub-Saharan Africa, who had no written language until the colonial period, preserved their history primarily through folklore. Such legends and myths, handed down by illiterate people from generation to generation, are in general of great historical value. (Emphasis added)
This shifting with respect to what counts as evidence for intelligent causation has been used to tie those who believe in rejecting all mythological or religious texts in knots before, note what his epistemic standard is for "the contact" by E.T. here where "legends and myths...are in general of great historical value." They are? What is his attitude towards the Bible or "religion" and tradition that claims to be based on history? It seems that suddenly it turns to superstition which cannot have any epistemic standing nor can science be allowed to touch upon it. If it is allowed to touch, then it can only refute "religion" to bring a new enlightenment. Yet any support it lends must be separated for the sake of a separation of religion/Church and science/State. Yet it is not as if issues of mythology and religion are all that different.

There's the Egyptian angle in the Bible, so get out the astronomy books. A mythohistorian would most likely say that the pillar of cloud by day is "the Lord" in his rocket ship and the pillar of fire is what it looked like at night.

"By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night."
Exodus 13:21

"During the last watch of the night the LORD looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion."
Exodus 14:24

Then there is Moses going up the mountain to meet the Lord to tell him to fire some more "hornets"/rockets at the Egyptians and so on and on. That's just where God had to land, see. I'm kidding, I doubt that God has an ontological status that makes technology necessary.

I think the reason that progressives try to engage in their usual epistemic shifting as far as what they will count as knowledge (e.g. one standard for extraterrestrial and another for extracosmosial) is because biblical narrative reads more like history than myth and is strong culturally. If it wasn't then they'd admit to ID, as the latest press releases from national science organizations indicate that they are more comfortable with aliens than with God. I wonder if religious aliens who believe in God might avoid the modern emotional conditioning with respect to "science and religion." Probably not, as they'd seem like angels. (That is where the term evangelical comes from, by the way.)

Another place that Sagan and others have been caught inbetween their shifts between different epistemic standards is in dealing with intelligent design. ID advocates use the example from SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence):

After years of receiving apparently meaningless, random signals, the Contact researchers discovered a pattern of beats and pauses that corresponded to the sequence of all the prime numbers between two and one-hundred and one. (Prime numbers are divisible only by themselves and by one.) That startled the astronomers, and they immediately inferred an intelligent cause. When a sequence begins with two beats and then a pause, three beats and then a pause, and continues through each prime number all the way to one-hundred and one beats, researchers must infer the presence of an extraterrestrial intelligence.

Here’s the rationale for this inference: Nothing in the laws of physics requires radio signals to take one form or another. The prime sequence is therefore contingent rather than necessary. [Meaning that a mind might have the opportunity to think through its brain to make some symbols and signs of design, much like the text you are reading now. To some minds that could not its information content, the meaning would be alien. Yet they could still detect it as designed if they were not biased against doing so by their culture.]
(The Design Inference)

The Velikosvky Affair shows that the answer that evolutionists are willing to look for has to suit all the myths of the progressive ideology of the Enlightenment as opposed to the "superstition" of the Dark Ages. But there is overlap in claims between religion and E.T.I, as any extraterrestrials that have technology advanced far enough to almost bend the laws of the Cosmos will appear magical or as "the gods" to those who are far enough behind them. If extraterrestrials are more extranatural too as a part of their being or more like "the people of light" as Jesus said then their ontological status as beings is pretty much entirely different, as they are not biological. Thus God would not need a rocket ship and Jesus did not pray in the Garden of Gethsamane, "If it be thy will, send the Mother Ship now." Yet ironically, the shepherds that saw the "heavenly hosts" were most likely written off as UFO kooks in their day. They were just shepherds, after all. Would you believe some group of hicks that just came in from their fields?

Suffice it to say that there is some overlap epistemically between all claims about the past and things that only happen once which are therefore not repeatable and testable.

(Random note, Sagan set himself up as a rather dishonest critic of the mythohistorian Velikosvky but his sentence above about the epistemic status of legends and mythology is quite different.)

I didn't actually get to The Sirius Mystery. It's an interesting anomaly and mystery, which can be added to many others. I'll get to it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Columbus Day, a day late...and not much about Colombus anyway

An interesting book: (Inventing the Flat Earth: Colombus and Modern Historians, By Jeffrey Russel)

A contradictory history was invented based on the typical practice of projecting the present or whatever concerns one might have in the present onto the past, so progressive charlatans who defined themselves as enlightening made up stories about the past. On the proliferation of these myths:

Another version of the Error is that the ancient Greeks may have known that the world was round, but the knowledge was lost (or suppressed) in medieval darkness. According to this argument, the Middle Ages were a dark period for the development of science in Europe. At best, scholars made accurate but sterile copies of the works of the ancients, rejecting anything that did not conform with the dogmas of the Church. Such an intellectual environment stifled any development of scientific analysis. Concepts of the world that had been developed in ancient times were reshaped to conform to the teaching of the Church. The earth became a flat disc with Jerusalem at its center.

This line of thought, presented in 1988, represents no advance in knowledge from the following statement, made sixty years earlier:

The maps of Ptolemy. . were forgotten in the West for a thou sand years, and replaced by imaginary constructions based on the supposed teachings of Holy Writ. The sphericity of the earth was, in fact, formally denied by the Church, and the mind of Western man, so far as it moved in this matter at all, moved back to the old confused notion of a modulated “flatland,” with the kingdoms of the world surrounding Jerusalem, the divinely chosen centre of the terrestrial disk.

(Inventing the Flat Earth: Colombus and Modern Historians
By Jeffrey Russel: 28-29)

That's pretty much all false. What I find interesting is that in this version of the myth of the Flat Earth Error progressives do not deal with the fact of ancient knowledge and the question of its origins. Despite the modernist prejudice against them the ancients seemed to have more astronomical knowledge than they should have had. An example, the number of celestial bodies in our solar system is about twelve (given the recent discovery of another planet) and if the moon is counted as a celestial body then it is already twelve planets or bodies which seem to be symbolized in the ancient signs of the zodiac. There is one rather odd fellow who may have read one too many Sumerian texts who predicts a last planet that will pretty much bring about the end of the world.

Some more of the current "kooky" books on my booklist:
(Underworld : The Mysterious Origins of Civilization
by Graham Hancock)
(The Mars Mystery : The Secret Connection Between Earth and the Red Planet
by Graham Hancock)
(The Message of the Sphinx : A Quest for the Hidden Legacy of Mankind
by Graham Hancock)
(The Sirius Mystery : New Scientific Evidence of Alien Contact 5,000 Years Ago
by Robert Temple)

Looks like they may be a little kooky and suffer from the mental patterns typical to conspiracy theorists but I don't care if an author tends that way a little bit, as long as they bring up some interesting anomalies or evidence to think about. Ironically according to Darwinists any anomalies or challenges to current mythological narratives of Naturalism are probably just like believing the earth is flat or somethin', which is just like they did in the Dark Ages before the great Enlightenment and so on. What brings all these claims together is a grand mythology of Progress just like grand Conspiracies are imagined by some, in both cases it matters little what historical and empirical evidence actually are and in both cases some empirical and historical evidence can be salvaged if the mythology and so on is discarded.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Naturalism, Science and the Yellow Peril

The Yellow Peril was a slogan representative of a mix of politics and science in its day. Historians look back and call social Darwinism pseudo-science, yet portions of the usual prophetic fear-mongering typically said to be based on science were based on a form of scientism that is still around. Some of the history:
Heinz Gollwitzer...traces the origin and spread of the “Yellow Peril” slogan in Europe and America from the 1860’s to 1914. He first suggests the cultural context in which the slogan arose: “mass society,” psychologically unstable and prone to hysteria; a cliché-hungry yellow journalism; social Darwinism; cultural pessimism; and the need of labor and business (high-tariff) lobbies to find broadly appealing rationalizations for their interests. [...]
Among the intellectuals, the Yellow Peril syndrome shows a common pattern, its categories derived from the still respectable racialism, the dominant social Darwinism, and such pseudo-scientific or political phenomena as “prophetic Malthusianism”...
(Reviewed: Die Gelbe Gefahr: Geschichte eines Schlagworts: Studien zum Imperialistischen Denken by Heinz Gollwitzer
Reviewed by Johanna M. Menzel
The Journal of Modern History Vol. 36, No. 2 (Jun., 1964) :216)

The history of artistic representation of the Yellow Peril:

In most fiction the Chinese in America are portrayed as exotic, heathen, filthy, crime-ridden, and violent, and “positive” portrayals are usually condescending. By the end of the century, Chinatown and the Chinese are little more than alien artifacts under the maker’s eye.

One of the key elements of Wu’s examination of this period is his reading of anti-Chinese xenophobia as incorporated into American literary naturalism...
Naturalism presented the Yellow Peril in terms of an inevitable clash of western civilization and alien forces from the East, a lurid, apocalyptic conflict set in the near future. As Wu informs us, the imaginative freedom of a futuristic setting meant for most writers freedom from the burden of responsible portrayal; historical and cultural ignorance, distortions, and inaccuracies were commonplace...

(Reviewed: The Yellow Peril: Chinese-Americans in American Fiction 1850-1940 by William F. Wu
Reviewed by Neil Nakadate
MELUS Vol. 10, No. 3, Varieties of Ethnic Criticism (Autumn, 1983) :93)

On the other hand, there was reason for fear, even if it was often incorrectly stated in the language of the scientific racism of the day or other forms of racism. E.g.,

(The New York Times; Sept. 18, 1904, pg. 2)

There was "peril," although it was not based on biological race or some viral "Yellow Peril." E.g.

"Japan's mission is to lead the world spiritually and intellectually." I was wholly unprepared for such a statement when I went to interview Yosuke Matsuoka, chief of the Japanese delegation defending Japan against China's charge of agression before the League of Nations.

His youthful appearance, his gentle voice and suave manners do not disguise the forceful personality of this envoy...who recieved part of his education in America. Leaning back, he removed his glasses in silence, replaced them thoughtfully, and said "Japan can offer spirituality to America and the entire Western World. Japan, I am convinced, will be the cradle of a new Messiah."...

(Matsuoka Claims for Japan "A World Spiritual Mission"
By Lady Drummond-Hay
The New York Times; Jan 8, 1933 pg. XX4)

What is tiresome to me is the tendency among modern progressives to try to treat science as if it is all that is good and holy and religion as if it blasphemes against science. History as well as the history of science do not support such judgments and such views are self-refuting, as one cannot claim that religion is evil without admitting that things like Good and Evil exist in a way that are applicable enough to condemn people's "religions" as evil.