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.