Thursday, December 28, 2006

Worth reading...

Pragmatists realize it is time wasting to create new words for well defined references in known machine design.

The Flagellum can be designated as a nano inboard motor. Beautifully constructed like no other inboard motor mankind has ever developed. But that is exactly what it is. Each part of this motor was conceived by intelligence for purposes of mobility in and out of water by engineers and inventors during our history.

(Full comment at UD)

I found the last sentence interesting because it seems that most of what people have invented is already in use but their inventions and trinkets pale in comparison to the efficiency of designs already in use and the layered genius encoded throughout Nature. You could see this by comparison of what already exists with what people try to accomplish with science and technology. For instance, it's difficult to develope a robot with bipedal motion, let alone one that can run for days on water and bits of plants and animal products. Then there is the issue of self-duplication...and making self-duplication fun or something worth writing songs about and so on. And so on and on...the artistry and genius that has been embedded in Nature continues on beyond words and human knowledge.

In a way it seems that it is bad for us that the technology/"logic" or Logos through which form and information is encoded in creation is still far beyond our understanding or that it would be better if we knew all now. For instance, much of medicine still seems to rely on merely cutting things out or killing cells with chemicals (however expertly) while hoping that the body once again essentially repairs itself and maintains its own form. If we really had a grasp of the knowledge (information) involved enough that it could be applied in technology (the formation of things) then body parts could be made and so on as in science fiction. Yet such knowledge/science and technology is not exactly all that it's made out to be among those who believe in scientism because we're still beings capable of good and evil at the end of science. All we will do with greater knowledge and its application in technology is accentuate willed actions of good or evil. And when you accentuate evil by using something like nuclear technology to make better power plants it opens the door to bigger bombs as well, so one day you'll probably get blown up by it all.

It seems that when it comes to ultimate power good/God must have to win all the time, the Devil/evil only once.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry...was originally a reference to the nihilistic merry making of the mob that would eat, drink and be merry in the moment, for tomorrow it dies. For the nostalgic:
Before we brood and protest too much over the ruin of what we think Christmas must have been like in generations long past, we might actually feel encouraged about the season we celebrate today when we consider what Christmas was really like in the days of old.

Only in relatively recent times, the past two hundred years, has Christmas even been celebrated by most Christians. Up until the 1800s, the day recognized as Christ’s birthday was largely a pagan celebration. Those who bemoan the lack of religious zeal in modern Christmases would have been appalled at the way people in early America celebrated the day. For a majority of people who embraced Christmas throughout history, Christ wasn’t a part of the day at all. In most of the world, especially in England and America, Christmas was not a time of worship, prayer, and reflection; rather, it was a day set aside to sing bawdy songs, drink rum, and riot in the streets.

For centuries, Christmas was anything but a holy day [i.e. holiday, ironically]. It was most often a sinful parade of excess, a day set aside for ignoring laws and even terrorizing citizens. Mummers, the British carolers of the day, were musicians and actors who roamed the streets, presenting plays and singing songs. Mirroring the boisterous nature of the English Christmas, these songs rarely acknowledged the Christian aspects of the holiday. Those who attended church did so in wild costumes, the messages of many priests were anything but scriptural, and gambling was common during the services. After church the poor often stormed the homes of the elite in moblike fashion, pounding on doors and windows, demanding the finest food and drink. If the hosts did not respond, the guests broke into the homes and took what they wanted...
The drunken celebrations hearkened back to the time when Romans and Greeks marked the winter solstice with a weeklong festival of self-indulgence.
[The history of Christmas in the West:]
...Cromwell managed to put a cap on the traditionally riotous English Christmas behavior. Yet after he died and was replaced by his son, the commoners demanded the restoration of the old-fashioned Christmas celebrations. ...Charles, and those who followed him, restored the debauchery of Christmas past. Many in the royal family even encouraged the social chaos and misbehavior by contributing liquor and food for the celebrations. [...]

With the holiday again a drunken street celebration, songs of the era, including “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” alluded to the nature of the carnival. Large bands of men would go to upper-class homes demanding food, drink, and money. If the homeowners did not comply their houses were often looted.

Church leaders of all denominations were aghast at the return of the pagan Christmas celebrations, but they were also powerless to do anything about it. In fact, except for the Church of England and the Catholic Church, churches simply closed their doors and ignored Christmas altogether. The police usually wrote off the often violent day as a tradition, so few lawbreakers were arrested. For generations, in many areas of London, Christmas was a day when women and children feared to venture into the streets.

Over the next two centuries the hope for a Christ-filled Christmas might have been lost altogether if it had not been for many Catholic and Anglican churches stubbornly holding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services. Other than these gatherings of worship and the quiet reflections of some families that shared the story of the Savior’s birth at home, Christmas was anything but holy in almost all of the English-speaking world.

After failing to stop the sinful nature of Christmas celebrations in England, the Puritans attempted to simply outlaw Christmas in the New World. Beginning with the landing of Englishmen at Plymouth Rock in 1620, the holiday was banned throughout New England. Churches did not meet on this day, and businesses were ordered to stay open. Anyone who was caught celebrating Christmas in any way was subject to arrest and fines. These laws remained in effect for more than 150 years, through the Revolutionary War. Christmas was so largely ignored in early America that beginning in 1789, and on each Christmas for the next sixty-seven years, Congress met December 25th. During these meetings, no one stopped to acknowledge Jesus’ birth.

In spite of the early success at outlawing Christmas in the New World, boatloads of immigrants soon overpowered the wishes of the Puritans. The anti-Christmas laws may have remained on the books, but they were soon ignored. In most American cities, the "Lords of Disorder" took over the streets on December 25th. The drunken parties and gang riots grew so bad that in 1828 that the New York City Council met in special session to discuss the issue, and a special police force was formed just to deal with the unlawful conduct of citizens on Christmas Day. Yet even as New York put men in uniform out in the streets to protect life and property from the unruly Christmas revelers, the spirit of the season was about to change.
(Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas
by Ace Collins :9-17)

The spirit of the season changed, thank God for that (along with writers like Charles Dickens and Clement Moore).

If you don't like your culture then it seems to me that the best way to change it is through works of art drawn from creativity and passion.

I'd much rather have a Christmas in which the focus has been shifted to family, children and gift giving than one that is like a winter Mardi Gras.

[Related posts: Holiday Trees?]

Monday, December 11, 2006

Jefferson on the internet...

I read this quote and it seems to me that it's essentially Thomas Jefferson's opinion on the internet. He's all for it:
No one more sincerely wishes the spread of information among mankind than I do, and none has greater confidence in its effect towards supporting free and good government.
--Thomas Jefferson (letter to Trustees for the Lottery of East Tennessee College, 6 May 1810)

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Here's a list of documentaries I've watched lately with a few comments on some of them.

Occupation: Dreamland (2005)

Combat Diary: The Marines of Lima Company (2006) (V)

Of these two, The Marines of Lima Company is a far better documentary in many ways, although it seems to be lesser known. Lima company is based in Columbus Ohio and had suffered the most casualties of any company in Iraq, something along the lines of 23 out of 125. Most of the documentary is based on footage from small handheld video cameras that the marines had with them which they would set them on a ledge in a firefight, etc. That's one of the big differences between these two documentaries, on is more like first hand documentation of what is going on and the other shows the marks of the documentarian too much. E.g., you can tell that a G.I. has just been asked a leading question by the documentarian and then you have to listen to his long-winded answer or short rejection of it. The problem with Dreamland is that it's generally structured that way and the company that it's based on is general infantry instead of marines and the G.I.s in it generally aren't very intelligent. They say as much, as one put it: "You shouldn't make A feel bad about being an A because A will never be B." or some such.

Also on the list:

Islam: What the West Needs to Know (2006)

Protocols of Zion (2005)

Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West (2005)

I also watched Glen Beck's special that was on YouTube somewhere. He seems to be doing something on the issue every night, example. (A word of caution to the tender hearted, he's pointing out that the plot of Iranian TV shows are based on things like Jewish doctors stealing the eyes of Palestinian children. I.e. fascist hate propaganda mixed with some ancient blood libels.) Like the Pope, Beck is basically putting his life at risk because of this fantastic bit of logic typical to the Muslim street, as ignorant and stupid as it is: "You are citing evidence that Islam is not a religion of peace, therefore we will now riot in the streets and demand your death!"

Monday, November 27, 2006


Hube seems to have decided to become a bit of a Leftist on an issue (and I need the exercise).

"SW: All gay people are self-destructive??"

Pretty standard boilerplate there, "gay people" were never defined in the first place but given that the issue was teenagers "coming out" and self-defining as gay it could easily be argued that all such acts are self-destructive because the Self is being said to be defined by disordered sexual desires which can be known to be destructive. As I began to note there, there are various lines of empirical evidence that indicate that such an act is inherently self-destructive in a psychological way to the Self. It is also possible to go into philosophic reasoning as to why the metaphysical Self is being destroyed by physical appetites, as Socrates argued if one decides to be defined by or ruled by their appetites then the true Self can actually become a slave to its own appetites.

"Nice. Equating being gay with robbery, drug use, murder and rape.


This is a denial of logical argument and a shift to emotional appeal. Not that there's anything wrong with emotional appeals, for the nicety of it! "You're a Big Meanie but I'm nice." is also fun. But back to basic logic: IF people choose behaviors that others find objectionable THEN an argument that is structured around the notion that people would not choose a behavior that people generally find objectionable is invalid.

I would play at being a Leftist more in order to play the Devil's advocate but it sometimes seems like there aren't enough Rightists to try to set things nice and straight.

Good essay, interesting comments

Why I'm pro-life, by Anonymous Opinion

A comment on the last comment:
[P]arents...should be informed of what is going on with a child's health for many reasons. (18 and 13, a 5 year difference, is still slightly grey to me, just because the 18 year old may not know any better or they may have been dating or friends throughout middle/high school) On the other hand [As if his Right side isn't already blurred enough, here comes the hand that's left! This ought to be good.] if she can't go to her parents and di[s]cuss this, then there may be other problems; problems that we are not privy to due to confidentiality or because the girl didn't want to explain. I don't look at it as a cover-up, I look at it as a very delicate situation that they handled one way instead of another.
I.e. the wrong way. Because if they didn't handle it and take it in hand the right way (It's hard to handle things the right way with a limp right hand, after all!) then they probably settled into the wrong ways typical to the sinister Leftist mind and followed the left-handed path to the ways of the occult/hidden. It seems that the sinister is often hidden/occluded NOW in modern times by talk of privacy. Apparently pagans these days would maintain that they're not hiding because they do evil and only do so because they have a "right" to privacy that can hide what they agree is wrong...which seems right to them or somethin'.

More on right and wrong, rights which seem wrong and wrongs which seem alright:
If the parents aren't involved in their 13 year old's life to know that their daughter is having sex with someone significantly older, then I'm not sure how much right the parent's have to interfere anyway. If the doctor really did suspect something wrong then he should have (and would have) notified the authorities. This needs to be a case by case assessment.
It's interesting how the Leftist mind can justify itself based on how right society must be based on social justice defined by the general will or moral relativism based on supposed groups of people, yet it often rejects society or culture as the arbiter of what is right if society has gone against its left-hand way of indiscriminate blurring.

One of the few things that those who tend to seek a lack of judgment are willing to judge is the recognition of basic natural categories. So the recognition of the distinctions between categories such as child and adult, male and female, life and death and so on tend to draw out the Leftist mind to make the only type of judgment it makes, which is judging judgment. In this case it is illegal for a man (adult) to have sex with a thirteen year old (child) because the people have indeed made a judgment based on basic categories that they expect to be applied as a general law and not left to the decision of men on a case by case basis and so on. There are various lines of evidence that indicate that many abortionists do not care for or love the young women or girls on which they operate, so it is little wonder that evidence shows that they tend to help other men abuse girls, on a case by case basis. It's in the interests of child abusers to blur the distinction between child and adult, which is why the American people have made laws that are supposed to be generally applicable in order to uphold such distinctions. Basic natural categories exist objectively but civilized people still have to recognize them in order to maintain their civilization. Civilization rests on language, which rests on definition, which rests on basic generalizations and associations, which the Leftist mind tends to more and more actively reject as it emerges from the decadence and decline of civilization. American civilization is on the decline, so the recognition of basic natural categories is becoming blurred and so on. You can choose just about any basic natural category and advance lines of evidence in this respect. For instance the distinction between child and adult: American civilization has beauty pageants in which children pretend to be more adult while American adults have plastic surgery because they idolize youth, because of the blurring that goes on neither can actually be what they in fact are by their nature. Michael Jackson is not actually a child, yet he isn't really an adult either, thus his perversion. Children are denied their childhood because they cannot be what they are by nature in any decadent civilization, instead perversion is the rule.

Oh well, I still tend to think that the American Empire has hundreds of years left in it before the barbarians at the gates overtake it thanks to a combination of its own decadence, corruption, geopolitics and the usual things that seem to bring down a hegemonic power. It's interesting how any attempt to analyze civilization reads as a polemic, probably because language naturally calls us back to distinctions that we already know and since we've usually gone pretty far towards decadence, language naturally makes war on our state of being. It's likely that any higher form of language is ultimately based on the Word or Logos through which all things were formed, and so from which all things degenerate away from or reform and regenerate by. The Bible notes its polemical nature: "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12 Christians these days tend to focus on the Word of God as the Bible itself, yet according to the Bible itself the Word or Information through which all things were created, formed and keep their form has to do with much more than the Bible itself.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

National Socialism vs. Christianity

A few excerpts from a historical source that I mentioned a few posts down:
[I]t is obvious that, although the position of the Christian churches in Germany is in many respects quite precarious, as every newspaper-reader knows, the churches still carry on their work. On the basis of past Christian experience, it is permissible to assume that, however difficult the present plight of these churches may be, they will outlast the Nazi movement. There can be no doubt that, consciously or unconsciously, many church leaders, Protestants and Catholics alike, are trying to formulate their programs of action in line with this expectation. But even so, they do not escape the immediate necessity of facing the actuality of National Socialism. The longer this movement persists, the more impossible neutral attitudes become. Hence the influence of those who take clear-cut positions, either negative or positive, becomes more and more important.
[A Christian anti-Nazi] argument runs as follows: The church is a community of “people who have found in Jesus Christ their own comfort and hope and the comfort and hope of the whole world” and who therefore can do no other than bear witness before the world to Jesus Christ. This witnessing to Jesus Christ involves two things: the church of today must join in the confession of the prophets and apostles and the church in all ages that Jesus Christ as the revealer of God is the Lord. The church of today must also “actualize this confession in relation to those contemporary questions which agitate the church and the world.” It must speak a definite “Yes” or “No” in making a decision from its faith about the events of the day. “The political problem of our day” is the problem of National Socialism. Its “double character as a political experiment and as a religious institution of salvation shuts out any possibility of dealing with the question it puts ‘only’ as a political question and not, indirectly and directly, as a question of faith as well. Consequently, in no event can the church adopt a neutral attitude to the political problem of today.” National Socialism cannot be understood unless it is seen “as a new Islam, its myth as a new Allah, and Hitler as this new Allah’s prophet.” It is a church, although a very secular one, of which to be a member means to affirm its principles “in the form of faith, of mysticism and fanaticism.” If it exhibits, therefore, “all the characteristics of an ‘anti- church’ fundamentally hostile to Christianity,” then it must become evident, by the way in which the church of Jesus Christ confesses its faith, that the Christian rule of faith and life and the National Socialist rule of faith and life are mutually exclusive. No peace is possible between confessing to Jesus Christ and accepting the sovereignty of National Socialism. It follows, then, that “the church may and should pray for the suppression and casting out of National Socialism, just in the same sense as in former times and when confronted by a similar danger she prayed for the ‘destruction of the bulwarks of the false prophet Mohammed.’”
This argument formed the basic content of a lecture by Barth before a meeting of the Swiss Evangelical Organization of Help for the Confessional Church in Germany on December 5, 1938. It was therefore presented in support of the Confessional churches of Germany, whose fight for the independence of the church from Nazi politics and Nazi views has attracted the attention of the entire world. When still a professor in Germany, Karl Barth was one of their leaders. Evidently, he still looks upon them as that body of Christians who must bear the brunt of the conflict between Christianity and National Socialism. In spite of the heroic resistance of the Confessional churches to the Nazi regime, it can hardly be said that they have dared to state their case as bluntly as Barth has done.
(National Socialism and Christianity: Can They Be Reconciled?
by Wilhelm Pauck
The Journal of Religion, Vol. 20, No. 1. (Jan., 1940), pp. 15-17)

It's interesting to me how moral relativists tend to view Nazism in "absolute" or defined terms and structure their arguments accordingly. I.e. "Only fascists are intolerant enough to view things as right and wrong so people who believe that things are right and wrong are like fascists or somethin', which means that they're absolutely wrong." Given moral relativism it is not exactly clear how we can assume that people living in the culture of Germany were wrong to support Nazism because Nazism came to be their culture and supposedly morality is relative to culture because it is merely an artifact or creation of culture as is indicated by the fact that it varies from culture to culture.

It seems to me that people do not apply moral relativism to Nazism (while at the same time they tend to in the case of Islamic culture) because the Allies so thoroughly crushed Nazism that there are not millions of "nice Nazis" around to allow relativists to hide among all the Nice People instead of dealing with the ideas and civilization at issue. After all, no matter the depth of the evil that overtakes a culture or civilization there is always a mass of nice people who tacitly go along with things because the mass of men generally isn't interested in seeking or standing for self-evident truths as they usually just want to live well, eat well, have some sex, get married, etc. Critics of evil civilizations are often responded to with: "If this type of civilization is so evil then how can there be so many nice people who live in it? Huh, huh? I know some nice people, for the tolerance of me!" Etc. All I would note of that is that of course people generally seem nice...until they aren't.

Note how politically incorrect it is to directly criticize Islam the way the Confessing church did, although it would be difficult to point out a way in which their criticism was intellectually or theologically incorrect on Christian terms. It seems to me that the anti-Nazi pastors were correct to point out similar forms of cultural evil because no matter how different the cultural history that evil slithers through it seems to come to the same basic ends. The main one: "The Jews must be killed."

Interesting to note that similar interests were recognized by Islamic clerics and Nazis at the time. For exampe, a leader who helped create the Palestinian Arab cause and the pattern of "The Jews must be killed. Hey, the Jews just tried to kill me! So you see why the Jews must die." Etc. Example:
The rise of Hitler to power in 1933 marked a turning point in the new mufti's activities. He sent a cable of congratulations to the Nazi leader and expressed support for the Jewish boycott in Germany. In doing so, Haj Amin was merely responding to a widespread sentiment among Muslims in general and Arabs in particular. Indeed, the German dictator was seeking revenge against the British and the French, two dominant infidel intruders in the Muslim world. He could also be an ally against the Jews in Palestine. Accustomed to their own authoritarian regemes, Muslims were not bothered by Hitler's repressive and antidemocractic policies.
(The Broken Crescent: The "Threat" of Militant Islamic Fundamentalism
by Fereydoun Hoveyda :10)

Monday, November 20, 2006

The evolution of creation

A geneticist notes some important facts about what has been and can be observed empirically as opposed to stories that are imagined about the past:
My primary objection as a geneticist [to the grand genetic narrative of Evolution] was to the claim that the formation of races, or microevolution, as it is often referred to, is a small scale example of macroevolution - the origin of species. Race formation is, of course, very well documented. All it requires is isolation of a part of a population. After a few generations, due to natural selection and genetic drift, the isolated population will irreversibly lose some genes, and thus, as long as the isolation continues, in some features it will be different from the population it arose from. In fact, we do this ourselves all the time when breeding, substituting natural with artificial selection and creating artificial barriers to generative mixing outside the domesticated conditions.

The important thing to remember here is that a race is genetically impoverished relative to the whole population. It has fewer alleles (forms of genes). Some of them are arranged into special, interesting, rare combinations. This is particularly achieved by guided recombination of selected forms in breeding work. But these selected forms are less variable (less polymorphic). Thus what is referred to as micro-evolution represents natural or artificial reduction of the gene pool. You will not get Evolution that way. Evolution means construction of new genes. It means increase in the amount of genetic information, and not reduction of it.
--Maciej Giertych, full text available at Uncommon Descent

I'm back.

I'll probably write a little more on the last post tomorrow. (I wrote a few more comments on it here already.)

Saturday, November 11, 2006


I'm only writing this because I couldn't sleep.

A Delawarean's attempt at what passes for "intellectual scrutiny" among most Delawareans:
Here's what I am talking about regarding the danger of religion and religious hypocrisy. From today's headlines...
You've heard of IslamaFascists - I think we now have Christian fascists. What is the definition of a fascist? Not only do they want to beat you, but they want to destroy you in the process... if things keep going the way things are going locally and statewide, it is going to be more and more difficult for Republicans to recruit candidates. We have elements of the party who are moral absolutists, who take the approach that if you don't take my position every step of the way, not only will I not support you, but I will destroy you.
Steve Salem, Republican Chairman, Woodbury County, IA.

This is what you get when you base your moral decisions and political positions on some incoherent, error riddled manuscript from antiquity that does not even hold up to the slightest intellectual scrutiny.

All definition breaks down at some point but the most accurate and succinct definition of fascism that I've read defines it as a practical and violent resistance to transcendence. Ironically, fascism is now used as a synonym for evil by those who tend to believe in fascist philosophy because fascist arguments rely on cultural associations and propagandistic imagery and tend to reject any attempt to seek transcendent or "absolute" truths. (E.g., "Good and evil are antiquated words because we now know that morality is relative to culture and if you disagree with me then you're like a fascist or somethin', which seems pretty evil!") To a fascist the only truth that exists is cultural, biological and often more importantly political. The fascist mind tends to believe that their incorrect philosophical assumptions define science itself so it sometimes conflates its degenerate philosophy with science, especially biology. Given the original assumption of relativism if cultural or biological changes do take place then all truth has been changed or shifted because the truth is relative to the mutable things that supposedly define it at any given moment. This is why a fascist tends to be a rather pragmatic creature of politics and propaganda, as they believe that if they establish a view as politically correct then it is becoming morally correct. If morality were actually "relative to culture" then they would be correct, in so far as anyone could be correct when people are dumb enough to assume that the notion of relativity can exist without a frame of reference based in values by which relationships and relativity can be judged. I.e. Einstein's theory of relativity would break down if the speed of light did not act as a hidden absolute by which relationships could be measured with numerical values. The same applies to moral values that are written in legal codes as applies to mathematical values encoded in theories, just because we do not understand or know what the ultimate absolutes are does not mean that they do not exist or should not be sought as far as we are able.

As far as fascism, it seems that there are layers of irony that come up these days. E.g. "[Fascism] is what you get when you base your moral decisions and political positions on some incoherent, error riddled manuscript from antiquity..." Yet for some reason Nazis demanded the "immediate cessation of the publishing and dissemination of the Bible in Germany." cf. (The Rise and Fall of the
Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
By William Shirer :237)

The Nazis believed the Bible to be nothing more than a book written by "wandering goatherders" which contained the "fairytales of the Jews" and so on, most believed that they were merely applying science and biology to politics. Similarly, progressives tend to believe that if they are successful in incrementally "separating" religious traditions from politics then supposedly science will somehow lead to "progress" on its own. This view rests on an abject ignorance of the history of science in general and a perversion of the providential view of "progress" of the sort that the American Founders believed in. Science or some form of systematic/mathematic study of Nature does not necessarily lead to progress, in fact there is no way of judging progress if one assumes that numerical values are the only values that matter. Of course matter will matter when it is set in motion, as a matter of course, yet there are also values that can guide the course of matter and that must sit in judgment upon its course. It's a lie to pretend that we can have values without acts of judgment.

As Karl Kraus said of "progress" in proto-Nazi times, "Progress will make purses of human skin." (Half-Truths and

I'll probably write some more on this when I get back. Here's a good source on the notion of "Christian fascists":
(National Socialism and Christianity: Can They Be Reconciled?
by Wilhelm Pauck
The Journal of Religion, Vol. 20, No. 1. (Jan., 1940), pp. 15-32)

No updates...

I'm going to Gulfport for a week so don't check the blog for new posts.

I doubt there's much internet access there.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Down With Absolutes

Apparently I can load Down With Absolutes again. It's about local politics now. Other than attempting to analyze the Leftist psychosis of a candidate like Michael Berg I'm not interested in writing much on local politics.

It seems to me that Christine O'donnell is the only candidate worth voting for, no surprise there. I'm not sure why she's a write in candidate but basically all you have to do is select "write in" on the voting machine and write her name in the spot provided.

The rest of it is low level politics: "If you vote for my opponent then you may as well be voting for a pedophile!" Etc. (What kind of a name is Beau, anyway?)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Shadow Company

Shadow Company (2006)

This was an interesting movie about modern mercenaries. They are now known as "security consultants," "private contractors," "private security company" and so on but they are basically mercenaries. Although the word mercenary shares roots with anything from mercy to merchandise, it has negative connotations because a "mercenary" works for a wage while a soldier is serving their country. An interesting fact that this film illustrates is that soldiers really are "serving" their country because they're not getting paid what their service is actually worth on the free market.

According to the film it costs about $25,000 a month to have a soldier in Iraq but I doubt that the soldier sees all that much of it. In contrast, a mercenary in the film said that some of them are getting as much as $1,000 a day. I would assume that is for high risk work and may also be an exaggeration. But I know that there are security consultants who train the US military who have relatively safe jobs that are paid well. As a soldier told me, if a husband and wife who both served in the military went back to Iraq as security consultants they could both very easily make $80,000 a year to have a combined salary of $160,000.

At any rate, American soldiers should be thanked for service to their country because they have often followed the example of Christ by serving others with little expectation of material/economic rewards. That is to say, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:13

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Victimization propaganda, strengths and weaknesses

Victimization propaganda is a form of propaganda about as typical to the Left as what I would call "moral propaganda" is to the Right. Recently a conservative blogger criticized this apparent attempt by Michael J. Fox:
Michael J. Fox

Leading to this analysis mixed with irony:
First, given the ridiculous protocols of our day, I feel it’s necessary to establish the fact that my victim bona fides compare favorably to Fox’s. For those of you new to the site, I have Cystic Fibrosis. CF is a genetic disease, so I’ve had it all my life. It is no exaggeration to say that while Fox was gamboling around the set of Family Ties in the mid-1980’s, I was fighting for my life. Since then, my health has ranged from shockingly good for a CF patient to rather precarious.

I say this not to elicit anyone’s sympathy. Quite the contrary, I have willingly entered the rough and tumble of politics via the blogosphere expecting no quarter. Nor have I offered any. If I have a code, that’s it.

Liberal Democrats, on the other hand, often operate as if guided by the exact opposite principle. They think a person’s victim status means that he must necessarily be treated with kid gloves.
...I’m here to tell you that you’re not a hero just because you get sick or have bad luck. You’re not even special. Before we get off this planet, we’ll all have serious illness or serious bad luck, likely both. Sorry to say, the world isn’t full of 6 billion heroes.
(Absolute Moral Authority Revisited, by Dean Barnett)

The strength of victimization propaganda is that it tends to silence opposition, sometimes leaving only blowhards and bigots to speak, which then reinforces the Big Bully image that the propagandist is trying to associate with his opposition. Its weakness is that it doesn't necessarily create actual agreement and therefore political victory in the privacy of a voting booth, only public silence. For example, Dean Barnett notes in this instance:
Fox’s plea is presumably supposed to preempt any debate on that matter. His presence seems to defy any political antagonists to defend a fetus and deny him hope.

It doesn’t work that way, or at least it shouldn’t. Michael J. Fox has no particular monopoly on morality. Quite the contrary, his past admission that he appeared before a Senate subcommittee without having used his medication suggests an unbecoming moral flexibility. This is brutally manipulative behavior, and I’ve seen many ill people use similar means to get what they want. Such conduct is contemptible.

Here’s the part that Michael J. Fox and his abettors in the Democratic Party don’t get. A presence like Fox’s or Cleland’s can end arguments, but they don’t win them. People may be reluctant to disagree with them publicly because of the pity factor that Fox and Cleland so assiduously court, but just because people who disagree with them are cowed into silence doesn’t mean they rest in agreement.*

When all was said and done, Max Cleland lost his reelection campaign in 2002. That’s a fact the 2006 Democratic Party would do well to remember.
--Dean Barnett

The same could be noted of gay activists and their use of victimization propaganda, it's either a slow process or it is not actually working. For instance, some gay activists have lamented the fact that polls will show one thing and yet when people are in the privacy of a voting booth they vote the opposite. And despite the judiciary they have not actually succeeded in convincing people to change the definition of marriage in general. Note how victimization propaganda is structured:
The appearance of an argument can often aid an emotional appeal for other reasons. [...] Where the target of an emotional appeal is aware of the attempt at manipulation, he will tend to resist it; where he is distracted from the true nature of the appeal by a 'cover argument,' the emotional effect, paradoxically, will be all the greater. Thus, an argument can function as a distractor.
Our remarks apply primarily to the (intellectually) lower 90% or so of the general population, whose beliefs more or less never alter their emotions. This is largely true of the upper 10%, as well, but, fortunately, not entirely. The highly intelligent sometimes display the capacity, although less often the inclination, to step outside themselves and analyze their feelings, and the causes of their feelings, dispassionately, and this sometimes modulates the feelings themselves.
(After the Ball by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen :138)

As Hitler noted:
The function of propaganda does not lie in the scientific training of the individual, but in calling the masses' attention to certain facts, processes, necessities, etc., whose significance is thus for the first time placed within their field of vision.

All propaganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited intelligence among those it is addressed to. Consequently, the greater the mass it is intended to reach, the lower its purely intellectual level will have to be. But if, as in propaganda for sticking out a war, the aim is to influence a whole people, we must avoid excessive intellectual demands on our public, and too much caution cannot be extended in this direction.

The more modest its intellectual ballast, the more exclusively it takes into consideration the emotions of the masses, the more effective it will be.
The art of propaganda lies in understanding the emotional ideas of the great masses and finding, through a psychologically correct form, the way to the attention and thence to the heart of the broad masses. The fact that our bright boys do not understand this merely shows how mentally lazy and conceited they are.
Mein Kampf

Ironically, Hitler is now sometimes used as a negative image for the negative emotional conditioning often used by those who tend to agree with proto-Nazi forms of pseudo-science based on a worldview rooted in scientism. In each case an abuse of science and a rejection of its limited scope is taking place. So disagreement with the Nazis was portrayed as a rejection of science (1), although the advance of Nazism and Nazi propaganda was not based on science. Disagreement with gay activists used to be portrayed as disagreement with science (2), yet the propaganda methods that they tend to use are not based on science, as Kirk and Madsen note. Disagreement over the use of embryonic stem-cells and opposition is also portrayed as a rejection of science, yet the propaganda typical to the proponents of using embryos to try to cure disease does not focus on empirical or scientific facts.

1. Example:
The Christian churches build on the ignorance of people and are anxious so far as possible to preserve this ignorance in as large a part of the populance as possible; only in this way can the Christian churches retain their power. In contrast, national socialism rests on scientific foundations.
(The German Churches Under
Hitler: Backround, Struggle, and Epilogue
by Ernst Helmreich
(Detriot: Wayne State Univ. Press, 1979) :303) (Related post)

2. Example:
[Gay activists] can undermine the moral authority of homohating churches over less fervent adherents by portraying such institutions as antiquated backwaters, badly out of step with the times and the latest findings of psychology. Against the atavistic tug of Old Time Religion one must set the mightier pull of Science and Public Opinion... Such an 'unholy' alliance has already worked well in America against churches, on such topics as divorce and abortion.
(Kirk and Madsen :129)

Whistling in the wind...

Comment from here:
You can craft an "identity" around any type of subjective sexual desires or act of self-definition but that doesn't mean that people are actually being denied rights under objective forms of law and it will leave you with the arbitrary and subjective judgments of arbitrary judges. Note how this issue usually involves judicial activism because once a civilization is willing to try to make laws based on nebulous criteria like sexual desires and/or self-definitions based on the same then judges must arbitrate based on their own subjective definitions of the same. What is the clinical definition of gay/homosexual that the psychologists who invented such terms have generally agreed on? Look at the news article above, they still work with broad definitions that include any form of deviancy: "gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered", no matter how trivial.

Everyone has equal treatment under the law now no matter what their sexual desires are. I.e. all supposed groups of "sexual desire people" enjoy the same rights. So promiscuous people (or "At this time, I desire to marry more than one person." people) have equal rights with gay people (or "At this time, I desire to marry a person of the same sex.") and so on.

The issue is not one of equal treatment but whether or not a civilization will allow people to begin defining its basic laws based on their own sexual desires. Sexual desires have long been a part of marriage but have never been shifted to being its definining characteristic, instead the shift to defining laws and standards by your own desires and the refusal to have your desires civilized/shaped by the law is a pattern found in decadent civilizations that are declining. No one should be surprised that given American decadence (divorce, gluttony, etc.) that the notion of "gay rights" and so on has also come about. As John Adams once noted, "Have you ever found in history, one single example of a Nation thoroughly corrupted that was afterwards restored to virtue? ....And without virtue, there can be no political liberty....Will you tell me how to prevent luxury from producing effeminacy, intoxication, extravagance, vice and folly? ....I believe no effort in favor of virtue is lost."

Effeminacy, intoxication, extravagance, vice and folly, it seems that such things will be more common in American culture because American civilization is declining. Notions found in "gay rights" like the notion that people can and ought to self-define by their own sexual desires and work to change laws based on their own desires are only a symptom of decadence and decline that have already taken place.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A note on political science...

Perhaps one reason the debate about embryonic stem cells has become so prominent is that it combines scientific optimism and scientific despair so completely: the optimistic search for cures, the discontent that nature yields remedies for her afflictions so slowly, the resentment at Bush-administration moralists for standing in the way of scientific progress for nonscientific reasons. The greatest animus among scientists is directed at religious believers, often defined as anyone who seeks limits on scientific freedom for ethical reasons the scientists themselves do not find compelling. The deans of major research centers feel like persecuted Galileos, yet they defend their turf in the most unscientific ways: treating the paralyzed as props in the campaign for research funding, promising cures based only on preliminary experiments, caricaturing every opponent as an irrational fanatic.

For it turns out that the methods of science cannot vindicate the ends of science, and the knowledge acquired by scientific methods cannot always justify the particular experiments used to acquire it.
--Eric Cohen cf. Secondhand Smoke

ID at UofD

I missed this. I haven't kept up with much lately. I couldn't find much about it on the Udel webpage. I probably would have enjoyed the lectures and debates. I guess if the ID types failed to make absolute mincemeat of Darwinists I wouldn't have enjoyed it.

At the very beginning it is necessary to draw the Darwinian mind out of its own hypothetical goo by doing away with the degenerate epistemic standard of: "If I can imagine a little story about the past then that should be treated as scientific evidence for how things happened." If an ID type doesn't do that then the Darwinian mind will keep imagining things until it comes to imagine that its own feats of imagination are "scientific evidence." (And overwhelming at that)

Darwinism comes into conflict with religious traditions and religious stories about the past because Darwinian thinking itself is often based on little more than storytelling about the past. I.e., often it is not based on systematic thought and sound conceptual thinking tested and verified or falsified with empirical evidence.

The way that the Darwinian mind exchanges conceptual predictions about the future (that can therefore be tested) for perceptual images of the past (that will rely on untestable artistic imaginings) can be illustrated with the notion of natural selection and the way things are "fit" to a theory only after the events being described have happened. The ironic thing in science is that when a hypothesis fits itself to everything in order to survive as "science" it actually fits nothing scientifically and cannot be tested as to if it actually fits.

It often seems that the Darwinian mind feels a need to murmur about science ad naseum because hypotheses that emerge from it are not defined/"fit" in scientific ways, as is indicated by the fact that such hypotheses have often been "fit" to any set of empirical observations made.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Wasting time...

My recommendation: Company of Heroes


It's a good RTS. (I.e. real time strategy game, like chess but better.) You need a good computer to run this game along with a decent graphics card of one sort or another.

It's rated M for language and flying body parts. The latter are rendered with a good physics engine:

The Darwinian mind equates science with storytelling

An interesting quote from a Darwinist:
Darwin matters because evolution matters. Evolution matters because science matters. Science matters because it is the preeminent story of our age, an epic saga about who we are, where we came from, and where we are going.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Gay Republicans

I guess I'll do a post on Tom Foley since Delawarean liberals apparently want conservatives to write about it.

It seems to me that the American Republic has been becoming like the Weimar Republic. I.e. it is becoming the type of culture that breeds sexual deviancy and disorder and therefore blackmail and corruption among its politicians. The pattern of decline opens the door to ironic forms of blackmail in which one moral degenerate tries to blackmail another by standards which they don't believe in, although they play to the general mob as if they do. To some life is but a play, they its actors.

Shirer noted on the topic: "[The Nazis]...quarreled and feuded as only men of unnatural sexual inclinations, with their peculiar jealousies, can." (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
by William Shirer :172)

Therefore, "By 1926...the charges and countercharges hurled by the Nazi Chieftains at one another became so embarrassing that Hitler set up a party court to settle them and prevent his comrades from washing their dirty linen in public."(Ib. :174)

Those who sit at the end of the decline of civilization do not believe that language describes order and disorder objectively, whatever sense of deviance and deceny left among the mob or its leaders is used for political purposes. Ironically, the mob also rejects cultivating and shaping their feelings and desires based on principle, yet it is generally too stupid to realize its inconsistency in wanting its political leaders live up to a higher standards.

Note a sample of the culture of the Weimar Republic, a culture from which political blackmail and so on easily emerge:
I begin here by briefly documenting the wider output of filmic representations of homosexuality in the period...
No other films depicted homosexuality as unequivocally, centrally, or positively as these. Michael (1924), the story of the tragic love of a painter for his model/protégé, was a remake of the Swedish film Vingarne (The Wings, 1916); Der Fall des Generalstabs-Oberst Redl (1931) dealt directly with the Redl scandal. [a scandal involving blackmail and homosexuality] At least one of the several films dealing with Frederick the Great (Fridericus-Rex-Zyklus, 1922) pointed to his homosexuality, although all those dealing with Ludwig II of Bavaria managed to keep quiet about his. Though not the main characters, a lesbian and a gay man are central to the plots of, respectively, Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box, 1928) and Geschlecht in Fesseln (Sex in Shackles, 1928), the latter worth noting — despite the fact that it ends unhappily for all concerned — for the tender physicality shown in the love between two men in prison. Gays are part of the ambiance of decadence in two of the Mabuse films (Dr. Mabuse der Spieler, 1921/2, and Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse, 1933) and in films, of which there were apparently many, like Nachte der Weltstadt (Nights in the Metropolis, 192?), where lesbians dancing together were shown as characteristic of urban night life.
(Less and More than Women and Men: Lesbian and Gay Cinema in Weimar Germany
By Richard Dyer
New German Critique, No. 51, Special Issue on Weimar Mass Culture (Autumn, 1990) :6)

Generally Leftists reject linking the decadence typical to the Weimar Republic to proto-Nazism no matter how obvious the connections are to those with a minimal amount of common sense. That is because they fail to admit to the fact that people live based on "common sense" and their beliefs and principles. Instead the Leftist mind tends to shift to looking for some material or historical cause for all human decisions and actions. Ironically, biology as an ultimate cause for the way people live their lives is now largely rejected thanks to the Nazis. It seems that learning from the mistake of trying to reduce people to their biology and biological causes in crude "scientific" ways is about the only thing that the Leftist mind has learned from Nazism, although it still murmurs about science often enough.

Given the mental incompetence typical to the Leftist mind and the way it is usually defined by little more than its own feelings combined with artistic imagination it is surprising that it learned anything from history.

Monday, October 02, 2006

An interesting half-wit at the University of Delaware

It seems that John H. McDonald is caught in the trap of trying to reject intelligent intention as the cause of anything in biology, thus the nonsense of his brain events.

Apparently he had an eventful day when he wrote that. A sample of his Darwinian reasoning, that which is usually based on imagining things instead of reason, as is typical to biologists: ...I wish to point out that the mousetrap that Behe uses as an analogy CAN be reduced in complexity and still function as a mousetrap.

Of course it "can" be, conceivably. For instance, an intelligent mind can often streamline a bit of technology to figure out a way around things and so on or at least imagine a way. The real issue is not whether a biologist clinging to whatever intelligence they may have left can "imagine" a way in the abstractions of their mind but whether or not it is reasonable to assume that natural selection can accomplish all that they imagine without verification by empirical evidence.

Note that if you're interested in the real world and what is actually observed rather than imagining things one can readily note that intelligence is typical to organisms and often guides what they select, naturally. Are we to believe that the selections of organisms are an unnatural part of nature but the fact that some live to reproduce more than others is a "natural" form of selection? If organisms often use their intelligence to select to live is that another unnatural form of selection that science must supposedly always be blind to?

The real problem with Behe's example may be that it assumes Darwinism as its foil when Darwinism is little more than hypothetical goo excreted from biologists whenever they begin treating their own imaginations as evidence. E.g.
The mousetrap illustrates one of the fundamental flaws in the intelligent design argument: the fact that one person can't imagine something doesn't mean it is impossible, it may just mean that the person has a limited imagination. (Emphasis added)
Note that biologists have often been ignorant and stupid enough to include their own imaginations as evidence since Darwin's day and they often readily accept the structure of Darwin's argument to this day. E.g., "If I can imagine a way that something happened then that should be counted as evidence that it happens that way, by happenstance. Say, I'm feeling overwhelmed by the evidence of how everything happens!"

The poor little fellows typically have such feelings as their minds become lost in their own imaginations along with their reason. Imagine that! It's probably natural selection again because God knows we can't allow intelligent selection when it comes to scientia/knowledge.

Behe's evidence that biochemical pathways are intelligently designed is that Behe can't imagine how they could function without all of their parts, but given how easy it is to reduce the complexity of a mousetrap, I'm not convinced.
"I can imagine a way!"

There, there, little fella, of course you're not convinced because you can imagine things but you are mistaken about what ID types are saying in the first place. They're not saying that you can't imagine things or that they can't imagine what you're imagining, instead they're saying that based on a reasonable and intelligent view of the totality of evidence maybe you shouldn't keep imagining things and labelling it as "overwhelming scientific evidence" through philosophical games and rules that you make up to favor philosophic naturalism.

It is a trivial truth that some things that exist in nature can be recognized as artifacts of designing intelligence crafting symbols, signs, communication and technology and this can be recognized using various methods typical to science and history. So a university professor imagining that a mousetrap was not designed does not mean that mousetraps are not designed and fit to their purpose on purpose, because they are.
(Of course, the reduced-complexity mousetraps shown below are intended to point out one of the logical flaws in the intelligent design argument; they're not intended as an analogy of how evolution works.)
Mainly because no one really knows how the grand narratives of naturalism typical to evolution actually work in reality as it seems that one has to begin imagining things to see how they work. So if you're willing to imagine things then you see it, if you're not then you don't.

Again, critics of Darwinism are not saying that biologists can't keep imagining things. After all, among all scientists they're often the most accomplished in that area. It's not that you can't imagine things, it's that it is fundamentally unreasonable to assume that your own imagination is "scientific" evidence.

If you feel that I didn't deal with this little fellow's arguments then comment. I'm not in the habit of trying to engage in reasonable argumentation with people who begin by imagining things without reason. I think the correct course of action there is to point out that they are imagining things when it comes to first things, the rest is the material of satire. More fun, because you have to make fun to have fun:
Here I show [i.e. create an imagined image of something] how one could start with a single piece of spring wire, make an inefficient mousetrap [A dubious claim, I'd imagine.], then through a series of modifications and additions of parts make better and better mousetraps, until the end result is the modern snap mousetrap.
No, no, no. Let's imagine a sledgehammer as ancestral to the mousetrap instead, it might be mighty efficient. Imagine that, then see its brutish power in your mind as it smashes a poor little mouse! Now little by little see pieces of it shaved away until it progresses in form towards a modern mouse trap, just add a bit more technological elegance somehow, bit by bit, as you imagine progress through time. Now imagine that the mousetrap eventually gets stuck at an upright position which makes it fit for use as a sundial, a speciation event! Then the sundial becomes the basis for all modern timekeeping and civilization as we know it! By now you should be getting an inclination of how imagining things about the past lies at the basis of science as we know it, just as biologists have been insisting all along.

The sad thing is that Darwinists often tend towards intellectual fraud when it comes to images because that comes naturally to them given the way that they imagine things without reason. Yet such blurred images often remain in textbooks, as it seems that such images are about the only form of evidence that people who begin with an unreasonable and degenerate epistemic standard come to have.

Windsurfing Wipeouts

From YouTube , I can't get it to integrate with blogger so follow the link.

Similar tow in surfing and kiteboarding video.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Electric Car

An interesting movie: Who Killed the Electric Car?

It's ironic that the American government subsidizes huge SUVs that give more money and support to Arab dictators while the technology to make an electric car that can go from zero to sixty in under four seconds sits around unused for one reason or another. Even if it's not quite economically sound politicians could subsidize it or at least subsidize it as much as they do other vehicles. That would be cheaper than trying to stabilize the Middle East, although we should do that for other reasons.

Anyway, if you care to argue the efficacy or desirability of electric cars then leave me a comment and I'll argue the issue with you. Perhaps a first reaction: "Say, we're still polluting because we get electric from coal plants or somethin'." Etc.

A more appropriate title for the movie would be "Who crushed the electric car?" given the fact that GM recalled and crushed their electric cars and apparently Ford and Toyota are doing the same.

Oh well.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I was formulating some thoughts on it here, so any theologians who happen by can correct me.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Plumbing the depths of a distant mind...

The funny thing about my old pal Carl is that his mind is always running away from what he writes. This post is as good an example as any, although there are plenty. In this one his mind eventually runs so far away that he almost loses it: "Although it is generally true that one should not hear, much less listen to the voices in one’s head, I have decided, or, rather, we have decided that we shall write this article having to do with poker and not at all related to what Mr. Mynym has written."

Usually a distance between the thoughts of the mind and the knowledge of the body makes their fusion all the more satisfying but in this case I have no idea what Mr. Plumberman was writing about.

Fair warning, I suppose: "If par-chance, that is ‘on par with chance’ or by chance, you ain’t played the game of Hold’em, just ignore this here post."

Interesting to note that nothing can be on par with "chance," and nothing isn't really anything but an abstraction of the human mind that is comparing it to something. So as far as the human mind goes there's always something behind the illusion that it sometimes tries to conceive of as the "nothing" that it thinks it has knowledge of.

Windsurfing this weekend...

Teaching the guys a little:

My cousin Jay, up and sailing:

My pal Daniel, also up and sailing on the first day:

I wish I had expert advice and proper equipment and rigging when I was learning. I've taught about ten people now so I should move to Maui and become a windsurfing instructor. Ah well, some things are better left as a dream.

A picture from when I was coming in for lunch I think:

Here's a small video.

Jay's kids, the cuties:


For Anna Venger:
I am nerdier than 54% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A note on what the Pope was actually saying...

It seems that once again the sensationalistic dynamics typical to the Old Press and terrorists have combined to shape the "news," or what passes for news among those who still take news generated by little more than the sensationalistic interplay between journalists and terrorists seriously.

The Pope's focus on reason and his call to it in his speech are utterly lost on both the Old Press and terrorists. What the Old Press and terrorists want to focus on in the speech is a bit of text that they want taken out of context, one to sell you some controversy and the other because they adhere to a religion of violence predicated on victim status.

Some of the context:
[R]ecently...I read...part of the dialogue carried the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. It was probably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than the responses of the learned Persian.

The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur'an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship of the three Laws: the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Qur'an. In this lecture I would like to discuss only one point--itself rather marginal to the dialogue itself--which, in the context of the issue of faith and reason, I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.

In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: There is no compulsion in religion. It is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat.

But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels,” he turns to his interlocutor somewhat brusquely with the central question on the relationship between religion and violence in general, in these words:
Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.
The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul.
God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death....
The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: "For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality." Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practice idolatry.

As far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma which nowadays challenges us directly. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true? I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God. Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: In the beginning was the logos. This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts with logos.

Logos means both reason and word--a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist.
(Full Text)

I think it is possible to trace the decline of Islamic civilization back to a rejection of reason and philosophy rooted in Nature, planted by God. The notion that the gardening God will uproot his own creation on an incoherent whim is quite a contrast to the Founders of America who focused on knowledge of Nature's God and came to the conclusions about unalterable, inalienable self-evident truths that must be admitted as reasonable forms of knowledge.

The death of Islamic reasoning: "For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent."

I may write more later to try and get at the truth of some transcendent self-evident truths that are evident in the immanent Self because there is scientific evidence for an anthropic view of the evidence which would be quite easy to meander off into, to an almost infinite degree. But on the topic, it's ironic that the Pope was saying something based on sound moral reasoning only to have journalists and terrorists run off with part of it to serve their own interests. Given the interplay between their interests a message of: "I invite you to reason about religions based on...well, reason." can be changed to "Extra! Extra! Read all about it, the Pope hates all Muslims!"

The sad thing is that people often get killed thanks to the sensationalistic interplay that often emerges between terrorists and journalists.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The problem with kookiness....

I was thinking about buying this book: The Origin Map: Discovery of a Prehistoric, Megalithic, Astrophysical Map and Sculpture of the Universe by Thomas G. Brophy, as another book dealing with possible anomalies and lines of evidence refuting the idea that ancient peoples were less evolved. I have a bit of space on my kooky books shelf. Usually the actual evidence is pretty interesting, even if the New Age type of speculation that swirls around it is kooky. But I think I'll skip it given that I haven't even read two or three of the kooky books that I already have.

An Amazon review notes some of the problems typical to books dealing with this type of evidence:
Quite simply, this book is extraordinary and should be read by anyone interested in archeology and anthropology.

On the other hand, despite his awesome credentials, the author diluted this book by having had John Anthony West write an introduction. Mr. West is a swell guy but his longtime association with the fringe and New Age pyramid set gives his presence here a corrosive quality. He wrote a book titled "The Case for Astrology." Worse, Brophy has authored another book that steers directly into New Age turf. Few tenured professors (and even fewer hoping for tenure) of Archeology will leave a copy of this book sitting on their desks for all to see. In fact they'll be frightened to death of it.

I know these sorts of folks, have great discussions with them, and ask them why we can't simply look at the possibilities of the past without dragging metaphysics into it. This stuff will always sit on the fringes as long as that happens.

However, the problem is so persistent (even Charles Hapgood, a former Military Intelligence guy, went woo-woo at the end of his career--authoring "Voices of Spirit") that I'm lately wondering if it isn't intentional. Take the recent book "The Hunt for Zero Point"-- a remarkable exploration of possible anti-gravity and exotic energy technology by an editor of Janes Publications--who is also a specialist in high-end military aircraft. The book is largely excellent and then, at the end, there's a totally gratuitous and jaw-droppingly flakey chapter about some bizarre Canadian psychic. There are a few other singularly odd moments scattered through the book including an odd "reverie" that plants the idea in the reader that exploring the topic at hand could be deadly for them. The result is that the reasonable content, for the critical reader, is thoroughly wrecked...and for no reason as these "extras" added nothing to his material!

So, we find this wrecking going on to some degree in the UFO field (which may be a sort of mega-wrecking machine anyway--no one who spots anything unusual in the skies is taken seriously any more) but almost always in anything about Black technologies (every book on Tesla is rife with wild speculation and goofy anecdotes), ancient civilizations (Atlantis), and ancient catastrophes. All the information is suspect but the common factor is what I'll call a "Strange Attractor," a ghostly presence touching a certain set of subjects and making absolutely sure that no books on these topics will ever be taken seriously by real scientists or thoughtful mainstream readers. The best one can hope for is to get a "sense" that something's up, that something's behind the curtain.

It's ironic that a writer can begin with a critique of metaphysical spookiness and end with reference to a "ghostly presence." The thing of it is, unfortunately some things are so craaazy that only a motley crew of prophets, visionaries, kooks and weirdos will be correct about them. Of course the other 99% of the time kooks are incorrect. I suppose if some UFOs/beings of light come down over Jerusalem and other ancient temples one of these days, etc., then we'll supposedly know for sure. Yet I sometimes wonder if people would know based on "seeing is believing." Provided you're not blind, that notion is a convenient metaphor for belief. It comforts we who see a limited spectrum of light in limited ways with our limited brains with the notion that our minds can encompass all knowledge worth believing or admitting as truth. In fact, one may not believe everything that is seen even now, or one may invert the sentiment too the point that believing is seeing instead. So the debates go on, many revolving around such issues.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Some people....

I've linked to Anna Venger seven times and she links to me once. Now I've as many links from smallbiztrends as her.

I rewrote that Aces and Turkeys post using blockquotes, etc. The issue reminds me of gaming and how you can tell that some guys are Aces and some are Turkeys in any given game. In some cases you can tell by the speed of learning or "getting it" that a poor fellow is a turkey in the game and no matter how many hours he plays he'll probably just plateau with other turkeys.

Rosie O'Donnell

Rosie O'Donnell once again showed her ignorance of what radical Islam and "radical" Christianity are all about yesterday on "The View" when she stated, "Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America."
Anna Venger

I heard a soundbyte on that as well. O'Donnell has a history of being a narcissistic ignoramus on the level of Michael Moore so her opinions don't carry much weight. As a result of mental disorders her opinions have more to do with her own psychological dynamics than reality as revealed by history, logic and basic forms of knowledge. It's not for me to try to give a clinical definition of what type of mental disorders she has and I don't even agree with the way psychologists usually attempt to but sometimes there are basic judgements about order vs. disorder that are so true that they are trivial or assumed by the very people that try to deny them. For instance, the biological basis of sex and sexuality as an ordered reality which can be used to define psychological disorders such as "gender identity disorder" and such where a person's feelings do not match reality, O'Donnell's mentality tends to be disordered in this way.

Gay© activists don't like the order of reality that the terms "gender identity disorder" are based on so they often work to censor the terms and play pretend again. Logical consistency is meaningless in their minds and so it is that they may publicly maintain: "No one chooses to be Gay©, why would anyone choose to be this way!" while also maintaining that psychologists should not help children with gender identity disorders in order to prevent homosexuality and sexual confusion. Apparently Rosie O'Donnell is once again playing pretend for narcissistic reasons with no concern for basic facts and logic, she wants what she wants and feels that Christians are in the way. It's either that or she's phobic, which is sometimes the case and something that is often projected by Gays© onto other people. And so it is that some insist: "They, they are all out to get me! I'll be beat down in the street and hated! It's, it's THEM!" "Say, they're probably all out to get me because they're phobic or somethin'."

O'Donnell would be right to assume that American Christians are standing in the way of the notion that rights can be based on sexual desires because Christians tend to adhere to a view of Nature and human nature as being ordered by more than one's own desires and feelings.

Children suffer the most when people fall into narcissism to the point that they are willing to deny the basic forms of order written into Nature, as Narcissus did. The pattern of narcissism is evident in the case of O'Donnell to the point that the public eye can catch glimpses of it. For instance, it was reported that O'Donnell demanded that her partner stop breastfeeding their child because she was jealous, O'Donnell has also stated that her son wishes he had a father and so on. It seems that if gender narcissism becomes narcissism in general then the best interests of children are never the focus. As a legal scholar noted of Gay© activists in general their interests in marriage as an institution and their methods have generally been structured around their own rights, their own desires, etc., with children and the interests of children generally being relegated to a means to their ends.

At any rate, Gay© activists like psychologists defining gender identity disorders about as much as they like doctors defining gay bowel syndrome. So if you are a doctor or a psychologist interested in basic forms of truth then be aware that some who define the truth by their own sexual desires will work to censor any knowledge that seems to oppose that "truth" or play pretend about you and so on. So be prepared for: "But if you say that then Gay© kids will die, just die! It's them, THEM again!"* "People aren't really dying of these diseases you just hate me personally, don't you?" no matter how trivial the truth involved actually is.

In the end you can either avoid the topic or lie but you won't be able to tell the truth about the behavior patterns involved and so on.

*On that note I'd like to know who O'Donnell was talking about. I know playing pretend isn't about specifics and facts but supposedly she's doing an actual news and opinion show.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Darwinian Fairytales

Here is an excerpt from a book I'm reading that ties in with the last two posts. The book is Darwinian Fairytales: Selfish Genes, Errors of Heredity and Other Fables of Evolution by David Stove. Like many critics of those with the urge to merge he works to define them by their texts and points out that when "evolution" has been defined in falsifiable ways by Darwinists the empirical evidence refutes Darwinian hypothesizing. I use terms like Darwinists and Darwinism instead of evolutionist and evolution because Darwinists have made the term evolution into a pollution of language that supposedly seamlessly merges with whatever they're currently imagining about the past. It is interesting how a pattern of purposely lacking specificity (and therefore lacking falsifiable forms of information) is fitting for those who argue that all organisms with information "fit" to live emerge out of formations of matter that ultimately form from...nothing and no form or information at all.

Stove notes that when it comes to specifics that can be verified based on empirical facts as compared to the textual model or theory, Darwinism is typically lacking. It seems that a philosopher is more interesting in the empirical evidence than biologists generally are or have been. E.g.:
Huxley naturally realized that, as examples of Darwinian competition for life among humans, hypothetical ancient fights between Hobbesian bachelors were not nearly good enough. What was desperately needed were some real examples, drawn from contemporary or at least recent history. Nothing less would be sufficient to reconcile Darwinism with the obvious facts of human life [evidence of cooperation]. Accordingly, Huxley made several attempts to supply such an example. But the result in every case was merely embarrassing.

One attempt was as follows. Huxley draws attention to the fierce competition for colonies and markets which was going on, at the time he wrote, among the major Western nations. He says, in effect, “There! That’s pretty Darwinian, you must admit.” The reader, for his part, scarcely knows where to look, and wonders, very excusably, what species of organism it can possibly be, of which Britain, France, and Germany are members.

A second attempt at a real and contemporary example was the following. Huxley says that there is, after all, still a little bit of Darwinian struggle for life in Britain around 1890. It exists among the poorest 5 percent of the nation. And the reason, he says (remembering his Darwin and Malthus), is that in those depths of British society, the pressure of population on food supply is still maximal.

Yet Huxley knew perfectly well (and in other writings showed that he knew) that the denizens of “darkest England” were absorbed around 1890, not in a competition for life, but (whatever they may have thought) in a competition for early death through alcohol. Was that Darwinian? But even supposing he had been right, what a pitiable harvest of examples, to support a theory about the whole species Homo sapiens. Five percent of Britons around 1890, indeed! Such a “confirmation” is more likely to strengthen doubts about Darwinism than to weaken them.

A third attempt is this. Huxley implies that there have been “one or two short intervals” of the Darwinian “struggle for existence between man and man” in England in quite recent centuries: for example, the civil war of the seventeenth century! You probably think, and you certainly ought to think, that I am making this up; but I am not. He actually writes that, since “the reign of Elizabeth . . . , the struggle for existence between man and man has been so largely restrained among the great mass of the population (except for one or two short intervals of civil war), that it can have little, or no selective operation.”

You probably also think that the English civil war of the seventeenth century grew out of tensions between parliament and the court, dissent and the established church, republic and and the monarchy. Nothing of the sort, you see: it was a resumption of “the struggle for existence between man and man.” Cromwell and King Charles were competing with each other, and each of them with everyone else too, à la Darwin and Malthus, for means of subsistence. So no doubt Cromwell, when he had had the king’s head cut off, ate it. Uncooked, I shouldn’t wonder, the beast. And probably selfishly refused to let his secretary John Milton have even one little nibble.

Huxley should not have needed Darwinism to tell him— since any intelligent child of about eight could have told him— that in a “continual free fight of each other against all” there would soon be no children, no women and hence, no men. In other words, that the human race could not possibly exist now, unless cooperation had always been stronger than competition, both between women and their children, and between men and the children and women whom they protect and provide for.

And why was it that Huxley himself swallowed, and expected the rest of us to swallow, this ocean of biological absurdity and historical illiteracy? Why, just because he could not imagine Darwinism’s being false, while if it is true then a struggle for life must always be going on in every species. Indeed, the kind of examples for which Huxley searched would have to be as common as air among us, surrounding us everywhere at all times. But anyone who tries to point out such an example will find himself obliged to reenact T. H. Huxley’s ludicrous performance.

There is (as I said earlier) a contradiction at the very heart of the Cave Man way out of Darwinism’s dilemma: the contradiction between holding that Darwinism is true and admitting that it is not true of our species now.
(Darwinian Fairytales: Selfish Genes, Errors of Heredity, and Other Fables of Evolution
by David Stove :7-9)

I.e., supposedly Darwinism applies to its own iconic imagery such as the Cave Man but doesn't actually apply now in ways that can be verified empirically and historically. Is Darwinism some type of religious mysticism based on faith in large amounts of time and invisible happenstances in the past*, or empirical science?

It seems that if evidence is lacking that Darwinian theory applies throughout known history then there is little reason to assume that it is a sound theoretical model for prehistory. Similarly, if it doesn't always apply to man as an organism then there is little reason to always try to "fit" all organisms to it by trying to imagine past sequences of events supportive of it. At some point one has to allow a hypothesis to be tested and refuted by facts.

Kronos [time] is a God who cannot be denied by any other God. Nor was he by the God of the Jews, since however speedy the Jewish God acted when he got busy, his work did take time. The point to be made is not that a priori it is necessary to assume any particular rate of evolution; but that it is inherently and absolutely unavoidable in order for life to be able to be present that successive events occur.
(Link, Kronos...that old Titan of the Kosmos, apparently some want to go back to the metaphorically dark gods of Nature.)