Saturday, November 14, 2015

Ask A Stupid Question And You Sometimes Get Facts You Didn't Count On.

Incidentally, why do you keep calling me an atheist? I'm not. I'm a lapsed agnostic who used to not know and now doesn't give a shit. Also -- remember when atheists blew up all those abortion clinics and the government building in Oklahoma City?

The only things I know that you are are a. a past-it pop music scribbler who spends his days as a pathological blog troll looking for attention whatever way he can from such as will willingly give it and from whom he can unwillingly draw it and b. a liar.   Oh, and I should include c. an ego and megalomaniac, who doesn't seem to have developed in that aspect of his character since the age of two.   As such I am certain to within a logical certainty that you are an atheist who is lying about that, something you have in common with several people in history, one whose name begins with an "H". Convince me otherwise.

As to your desire for me to remind you of when atheists blew up all those abortion clinics, I haven't studied that issue in depth but can say that no one who took the teachings of Jesus seriously would do it.  

And as to the people who blew up the government building in Okalahoma City, I already did that this year in response to some similarly stupid comment made by some Eschaton idiots who do history the atheist way, they make it up.   I will repost that piece now. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Since Dawkins, Harris, and Their Fan-Boys Force The Issue

The challenge made to me last week, to name AMERICAN mass murders committed by atheists was one I was reluctant to answer.  Not because I couldn't but because I am loath to practice the same kind of group guilt that is the first resort of online atheists whenever some killing which has, or can be made to appear to have a religious association is in the news.  Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and other soft-handed, scientifically vetted bigots have revived the respectability of that kind of bigotry and the online intellectual world has taken it up in a way that a lot of us, fifty years ago, would never have believed we would see again in the post-Holocaust period.

Well, I did take up the challenge to some extent, noting an atheist hate-talker, serial murderer, one whose declarations, by their description,  would probably fit in easily at many if not most online atheist hate-talk venues, both blog and webloid.   I also mentioned the little known fact that Jim Jones, the pseudo-Pentecostalist and self-declared atheist was, by his own words, an atheist.   He explicitly said that he used the trappings of religion to gull people into his cult, of which, of course, he was the substitute for a god. Even as he led them to murder-suicide.  There's nothing in atheism that would keep an atheist who thought he could get away with it from pretending to be a Christian of some kind and doing what Jim Jones did.  And nothing in The Bible that would support it.

To those I could have added Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, and the man who inspired them, William Pierce, infamous as the neo-Nazi advocate of violence of the kind McVeigh and Nichols committed against the people in The Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, what was previously considered the biggest mass murder in American history prior to 9-11, the incident that Dawkins and Harris used to whip up hatred against religion and, especially, the 1.6 billion Muslims across the world.  I could have mentioned it but I don't own a copy of the book I read that in and had to borrow it over the weekend.

McVeigh read and recommended the white supremacist novel The Turner Diaries, which dramatizes attacks on Jews and racial minorities in order to establish "Aryan nations" and has scenes both of the bombing of the federal building and of an airplane being flown into a building in Washington, D.C.  The authore of Diaries, William Pierce, talked of being an atheist, as McVeigh and Nichols did occasionally, but they apparently only meant that they rejected a personal God.  Pierce held that the life force is evolutionary, with the white race at the pinnacle.

Juan Cole:  Engaging The Muslim World.

Now, I don't really get what Cole means by his assumption that they "only meant that they rejected a personal God" not having found any evidence that McVeigh or Nichols expressed themselves on that.   His attribution of replacing that with an evolutionary life force to William Pierce would fit right into some of the weirder aspects of German and, then, Nazi beliefs flowing from their interpretation of natural selection.  I don't think Ernst Haeckel or, in fact, Alfred Rosenberg would be far from it.  The belief that "the white race" would be at the pinnacle, could be directly derived from Charles Darwin and Thomas Huxley, both of whom were led to their belief in racial supremacist theories from their natural selection, a scientific racism they share with a line of the most orthodox scientific figures up to and including Watson and Crick, into the present generation.   None of which, I am sure, the people making that challenge to me or their inspirations, Dawkins and Harris would be happy to have forced me to point out.

Don't bother to challenge me to document that, I have, massively, in their own words, look at my archive.   Clearly, William Pierce was no orthodox believer in the God of Abraham, if he believed in the god substitute of Dawkins and Harris might make an interesting study, if I could stomach reading more of his hate talk.

I have read that Terry Nichols has had some remorse for what he did in prison and, though I haven't researched it, he has been accused of having a religious conversion.  McVeigh, though, didn't change his mind on that point.

In a letter to the Buffalo News daily in New York state yesterday, McVeigh used the word "sorry" for the first time, but instantly rendered it meaningless. "I am sorry these people had to lose their lives," he wrote. "But that's the nature of the beast. It's understood going in what the human toll will be."

There was anger in Oklahoma City yesterday after his claim that the bombing of a federal government building was a "legit tactic" in his war against the excesses of central government. Yesterday, his lawyer compared his role to that of a pilot who drops a bomb on a foreign country killing women and children. "He does feel for people but he doesn't feel like he did anything wrong," Mr Nigh said.

In his letter, McVeigh said he was an agnostic but that he would "improvise, adapt and overcome", if it turned out there was an afterlife. "If I'm going to hell," he wrote, "I'm gonna have a lot of company." His body is to be cremated and his ashes scattered in a secret location.

Since I doubt the guys who have been hectoring me on that point will check my references, I'll point out that it is from The Guardian, not some politically unacceptable venue.

While he was glorying in his macho declaration, his personal and seedy apotheosis, quoting that dreadful poem Invictus*, outside of the prison, Christians,  "faith heads" were protesting his execution and against capital punishment, in general.  McVeigh, of course, was not opposed to capital punishment and clearly relished his going out in that kind of glory.  He was, also, not, apparently, concerned with the other people who had been held on death row with him, also from The Guardian Article,

Before today, the federal government had not executed anyone since 1963. Most executions are carried out by the state authorities. Now death row opponents fear the floodgates may have opened. Another convict, Juan Raul Garza, is to be executed next week.

Sister Rita Gerardot, a Catholic nun who visits Terre Haute's death row, told the Guardian: "It's a very sombre mood. There's a lot of tension among the men, because they know that's their fate. They're like sitting ducks now."

Protesters from each side of the death penalty debate will be allowed to gather in separate locations. Yesterday, however, the only sign of protest outside the prison was a middle-aged man in a white T-shirt and baseball cap worn backwards holding a sign saying: "Pray for Tim's dad on Father's Day. God forgive all of us."

I have not, nor do I especially wish to do enough research to discern if  the claim made by some atheists to William Ernest Henley (also an accusation of atheism by others) online, is accurate.  I can say that I think he's a pretty awful poet and that that poem is rather stupid.  Its use by those ranging from the great and good, Nelson Mandela, to the terrorist and supporter of apartheid, Ronald Reagan might indicate that it an empty vessel into which anyone can pour anything.  If it made McVeigh able to pretend that he was the master of his fate even as he was about to be proven rather definitively not to be might be worth considering.   Its agnostic declaration of thanks to"whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul" certainly did nothing to stop McVeigh from killing many hundreds of people or to express any real remorse for having done it.

Update:  Hate against hate only doubles the amount of hate and reinforces the hate the haters are hating on.

Update 2:  Well, Mr. Atheist, you made me go back, again, and I realized that I left out that, when he was murdering at least 16 people, Jeffrey Dahmer was also a convinced atheist.  And that satisfied YOUR condition that it happen in the United States, as well.   Now, doesn't that make you happy?

Update 3:  If I'm mistaken about Darwin's relationship with Haeckel, and by the evidence of Darwin's own, published declarations, I'm not, and Haeckel's relationship with German scientific racism, and I'm not, then I shared that second misunderstanding with the atheist and eminent Darwinist, Stephen Jay Gould.

An Item From The Atheist Blog Bully's Favorite Whine List

Freki-JR, I know it's something you can't fathom but I'm not required to post comments if I choose not to and I don't choose to post comments that are free of content and merely contain juvenile insults against someone else who posts adult level commentary here.  

You've got Duncan's Kolle'g of Konventional Knowledge for that.   As I pointed out a few days ago, his decision to post your kind of dribble has driven out the adults from his blog.  I looked at the comments there from a couple of years ago as well as today, the other day and it's obvious that some of even the few relatively adult voices who could still take it then have since stopped commenting at Eschaton.  His choice to service the angry 12-year-old mentality among his commentators has resulted in what it's become.  

Update:  Now that we've identified the bizarre atheist habit of not seeing what they don't want to see, I'm working on that other symptom of their pathology that insists on reducing information to an absurd form that is created to serve their ideology instead of what it says.   They use that to distort any attempt to look at the complexity of issues in real life into some self-serving, predetermined cartoon slogan.  In short, I'll post Sims latest rant when it serves a wider purpose than just refuting it.   It doesn't serve his purpose in trying to understand why a country might be attacked instead of countries that haven't been chosen for attack.  Especially as it serves his hatred of Arabs. 

Our View Of Terrorism Has Had A Color Filter On It For Way Too Long

I am not going to write a lot directly concerning the terror attacks in Paris on so little sleep, I was up listening to Radio France Internationale, the contrast between their journalism, far better than that of any English language source I know of, and the terrorist attacks was inexpressible.  I respect that very real and courageous journalistic practice, the direct opposite of the American corporate media and such  entertainment and propaganda of which the ridiculously sanctified Charlie Hebdo as well as our cabloid TV junk, what gets called but is not journalism.

This morning the suspicion that this was organized by the so-called Islamic State crime gang is verified.  I saw Muslim and religion bashing all over the idionet, totally predictable, a reprise of the religion bashing during the Charlie Hebdo incident.  And in this attack yesterday we can see how helpful that was in preventing another attack.  The fact is that by a large percentage, the victims of the so-called Islamic State have been Muslims, with minority religions in that area also being victims of their criminality.   While I can't claim any kind of expertise in the teachings of the Quran, I gather from those who do that the actions of the Islamic State can't be justified from what it says.  Religious texts, even when they countenance violence generally establish limits within which it is to be used.  It is atheism which denies the validity of moral boundaries as anything other than mere conventions, the nihilism which comes with that which says anything goes.  I would not be at all surprised if a reading of the Islamic scriptures would show what a reading of those of its sister traditions do, that people acting under the name of Islam are actually practicing that form of anti-Islamic nihilism which is a result of the denial of morality.

We, in the West, are always shocked and horrified when terror is committed on white Europeans especially those living in Europe or North America or in Australia.   It seems to be only when it is nineteen or 128 Europeans or any number of Americans killed in a terror campaign that we seem to feel it sufficiently, to feel it as it must be felt to have any kind of decency and a claim to moral authority.   But we don't have that authority because our governments, modern, secular, have practiced terror on a vaster scale than even such criminal gangs as the Islamic State and Al Qaeda have the resources to contemplate.  The last death toll in Paris I read before starting this said there were about 128 people murdered, outright and about 250 injured, some of whom are not expected to live.  You can gain some appreciation for that scale of carnage for the carnage as TV "news" broadcast military porn in the footage of the beginning of George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, the direct cause of the rise of the Islamic State.  Listen to Wolf Blitzer's excitement as he announces the launching of 3000 Tomahawk Missiles

I wouldn't trust any estimate of how many Iraqi civilians, I would guess many of them opponents of Saddam Hussein's regime,  were killed in just that first night of terror, styled by the American media with the name"Shock and Awe".  I wouldn't be surprised if they test-marketed that slogan before they used it.   And that killing went on for years producing thousands of times more dead, it's still going on, the Islamic State crime group rose out of the wreckage of Iraq.  If you hear anyone who claims to find it incomprehensible how the Islamic State thugs could do what they did, remembering and considering this might make it a lot more comprehensible.  And this was only one such attack that could be mentioned.  It has been going on in the Middle East for decades, centuries of Western attacks against civilian populations as well as armies.  The revenge that Ronald Reagan took after the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Beirut  which killed that killed 52 people, having the USS New Jersey fire missiles into the hills of Lebanon.  If you don't remember that one incident, you can get some feel from this article about the 30th anniversary commemorations of it by the U. S. State Department.

As Secretary of State Kerrey knows well, from his nearly three decades in the US Senate and his four years  (2009-2013) as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee the actions of the USS New Jersey itself was arguably  terrorism and some experts in the International Law Bureau of the Pentagon have said as much.

This observer lived for more than a year in the Chouf village of Sweifeit, a beautiful place set high above the remains of the US marine barracks, the Beirut airport and the Mediterranean Sea where the USS Jersey and other US Sixth fleet warships are normally positioned when they come calling on Lebanon.

Neighbors still recall what some here call, “the terror days of USS New Jersey” and its shelling with both 26 inch and 19 inch shells, the former weighing up to 2,700 pounds depending how they are loaded and with what explosive mixture. Clearly visible around Sweifeit and dozens of other smaller towns, are the remains of houses and buildings not yet repaired from the intense shelling.  Also shown, are indications in the ground at various locations when unexploded shells remain imbedded. One wonders if as part of the ‘special enduring friendship between the United States and Lebanon on a person to person level” that the president spoke of this week, he might order the Pentagon to defuse and removed these huge bombs. If so he would distinguish his administration from that of the occupiers of Palestine who for more than three decades have targeted various parts of Lebanon with American supplied and US taxpayer paid weapons, including literally millions of US made cluster bombs during the 33 day Israeli aggression in 2006.

I can't find an estimate of how many civilians those bombs killed on that one retaliation.  I have read that they were so off target that it is certain that they killed many.  The reason for that is given in some sources as a choice to remix the powder used to fire them to save money.

Someone should inform the American people, including our supposed educated class,  that our government has practiced terrorism at the true world class level around the world.  In Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatamala.... And we are hardly the only Western government which has used terrorism as a means of economic and military domination throughout out history.  In the aftermath of the successful Haitian revolution against French imperial domination, the great American hero of the French Enlightenment, Thomas Jefferson*, began a series of administrations hostile to the Haitian people, including periods of support for dictators who ruled by terror.  The George W. Bush administration being the most recent of those administrations who have had a hand in fomenting violence and terror in that one Island.

This post could go on into a long series, documenting the use of terror by secular, modern Western democracies around the world.  Our terror has been more effective because of Western science.  As other places have that science, their terrorism will become more effective in murdering more people, in many places, such as many countries in Africa, the terror is armed and enabled by Western arms industries. enabled and aided by the governments in which those industries are located.  And that's just one aspect of it.

Of course none of this terror is allowed to be discussed realistically, do that and you'll be attacked or, worse, marginalized and ignored.   But, remember, we've armed the people who don't forget that terror and they aren't going to be contained anymore.  We broke it, we bought it.

*  This article from the Official Historian of the State Department is interesting for this passage contrasting the attitudes of the Adams and Jefferson administrations.

The beginning of the Federalist administration of President John Adams signaled a change in policy. Adams was resolutely anti-slavery and felt no need to aid white forces in St. Domingue. He was also concerned that L’Ouverture would choose to pursue a policy of state-supported piracy like that of the Barbary States. Lastly, St. Domingue’s trade had partially rebounded, and Adams wished to preserve trade links with the colony. Consequently, Adams decided to provide aid to L’Ouverture against his British-supported rivals. This situation was complicated by the Quasi-War with France—L’Ouverture continued to insist that St. Domingue was a French colony even as he pursued an independent foreign policy.

Under President Thomas Jefferson’s presidency, the United States cut off aid to L’Ouverture and instead pursued a policy to isolate Haiti, fearing that the Haitian revolution would spread to the United States. These concerns were in fact unfounded, as the fledgling Haitian state was more concerned with its own survival than with exporting revolution. Nevertheless, Jefferson grew even more hostile after L’Ouverture’s successor, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, ordered the execution of whites remaining after the Napoleonic attempts to reconquer St. Domingue and reimpose slavery (French defeat led to the Louisiana Purchase.) Jefferson refused to recognize Haitian independence, a policy to which U.S. Federalists also acquiesced. Although France recognized Haitian independence in 1825, Haitians would have to wait until 1862 for the United States to recognize Haiti’s status as a sovereign, independent nation.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Hate Mail on a Short Friday Afternoon

Uh, Duncan, not to put TOO fine a point on it, but the placement or use of commas isn't a matter of grammar, it is a matter of mechanics.   It is also not set in stone.  

They just don't teach Warriner's English Grammar and Composition anymore, do they. 

23. Capitalization
Rules of standard usage
24. Punctuation
End marks and commas
25. Punctuation
Other marks of punctuation (semicolon, colon, dash, parentheses, brackets, underlining (italics), quotation marks, apostrophe, hyphen)
26. Manuscript Form

Rules for preparing a final draft

But, you're right, internet writing isn't the same as formal writing, like, you know, typed on white paper in black ink and with lots of white-out on it for a teacher to mark up with a blue pencil.   And Truman C. would say that's not writing either, it's typing.  

And, troll boy, I doubt Duncan's major effort, extending to the mind boggling figure of 202 words (including elided expletive) was in reference to my little go round with his regulars yesterday.   Still, nice to see the boy getting a bit of exercise.  Those one or two sentence, not to mention one or two word posts make a fellow flaccid. A nation that uses short sentences is a nation unable to think complex ideas.  That's what you get when people use that stupid Strunk and White book instead of a real English composition text. 

Update:  How odd, Simels, I didn't recall and can't see in my archive that I've ever written about The Supremes, the girl group, not the criminals of the Supreme Court, I've written lots about them.   I don't recall writing anything about Diana Ross and the others.  I think you mean the several things I've written about Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.  I loved Martha and the Vandellas.  Was never big on the Supremes, neither the girl-group nor the old crooks in robes.  Apparently they're all the same to you.   Needless to say, as usual, you're wrong. 

Something Splendid Has Taken Leave Of Our Culture

I don't recall if this is one of the videos I've posted before, David Bentley Hart on the intellectual vacuity of the neo-atheists and, when he mentions them the late 19th-20-21st century variety of popular atheism.

He pretty much demolishes the predictable names, Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris (who he notes is such a lightweight that there isn't any reason to go into much refutation) and Dennett whose tediousness makes pointing out his massive philosophical incompetence somewhat moot if the topic is the popular conception of such things.  He includes a scant mention of Bertrand Russell who, I have to say, since more of his writing has been available to read online is probably the figure who, for me, has fallen the farthest.  That could be because he, as a logician, was able to cobble together many semblances of arguments against religion but which fall apart when looked at more closely and when fact checked are more in keeping with the dishonest cherry picking and characterization that is so obvious with a non-logician such as Dawkins or Hitchens.

As I once pointed out in a post responding to a popular atheist source claiming Francis Bacon for atheism, he said

It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion. For while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them, confederate and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity.

Bacon, of course, took the difference between truth and falsehood seriously, something which is mandatory for someone who takes the Hebrew religious tradition seriously must do, something which, when the concept of sin is rejected, goes out the window.  After that everything is all a matter of what sells, not what's true.  With atheism, once the vestigial cultural habit of truth goes out of your familial tradition - and here I will remind you that Bertrand Russell was the product of he British aristocracy - everything turns into a PR campaign selling slogans and narratives, intellectual procedures and algorithms which have a fixed result as their goal, not an open-ended process in which you are to discern whatever truth lies at the end of it.  Wisdom is the product of wise guys and facile talkers, and in that we find the intellectual origin of online chatter and the cheapened and hypocritical politics as played by cynical wonks and players.

Compare that orientation with a reading from the Catholic liturgy the other day, from The Book of Wisdom

In Wisdom is a spirit
intelligent, holy, unique,
Manifold, subtle, agile,
clear, unstained, certain,
Not baneful, loving the good, keen,
unhampered, beneficent, kindly,
Firm, secure, tranquil,
all-powerful, all-seeing,
And pervading all spirits,
though they be intelligent, pure and very subtle.
For Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion,
and she penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity.
For she is an aura of the might of God
and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty;
therefore nought that is sullied enters into her.
For she is the refulgence of eternal light,
the spotless mirror of the power of God,
the image of his goodness.
And she, who is one, can do all things,
and renews everything while herself perduring;
And passing into holy souls from age to age,
she produces friends of God and prophets.
For there is nought God loves, be it not one who dwells with Wisdom.
For she is fairer than the sun
and surpasses every constellation of the stars.
Compared to light, she takes precedence;
for that, indeed, night supplants,
but wickedness prevails not over Wisdom.

Indeed, she reaches from end to end mightily
and governs all things well.

Which culture do you think is more likely to value the truth to look for it as hard as possible, as hard as necessary to find it as opposed to resting with what you want to be true?

Hate Mail - And This Unwittingly Provided Evidence Clinches The Argument

JRNovember 12, 2015 at 11:08 PM

As usual, you haven't actually answered the question, although judging from that post I'm fairly sure you aren't actually capable of coherently understanding a question, never mind answering one.

The Thought CriminalNovember 13, 2015 at 3:25 AM

And you prove what I said in that post, yet again, even as I have pointed it out many times. It's downright pathological how you only see what you choose to see. 

This is a real break through in understanding the etiology of your form of pathological atheism. Though it doesn't explain the non-pathological type in which that particular irrational symptom doesn't manifest, it might explain most of it. Especially as it is consonant with my realization that as atheists don't believe it's a sin to tell a lie, the only restraints on their lying is either a mere disinclination to lie or a belief they can't get away with it. In this case, among themselves, they can get away with it because so many of their fellow atheists are inclined to tell the same obvious lie that they wish to be true and, so, they know they'll get away with it. 

It's worked in academia for far too long, though, where there are supposed to be some standards of enforcement that prevents getting away with it.  Yet academics whine and cry at the consequences for their general credibility.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Interim Report JR aka

Freki is sulky pri
the nudiustertian post ,  

Gummo is gnummo,
Which is to say the most

Various tots 
speak post-literate rot, 

Simels, Item:
Semper Idem  

Update:  If I diss Sims it is appropriate as he is a dissimulator.  

More On Centennial Music On Both Sides of The Border

It is remarkable that Harry Somers' opera, Lois Riel to a libretto by Mavor Moore and Jacques Languirand was produced, on commission, for the Canadian centennial in 1967.   It was produced as part of the centennial celebrations, that year, by the Canadian Opera Company with funding from sources that included the Canadian government, through the Canadian Council and the Province of Ontario.  It included performances in Toronto and Montreal, that year, a revival the next year and was broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, funded by the Canadian government.

What is so remarkable about that is the subject matter of the opera, the rebellion led by the Métis school teacher, Louis Riel, against the theft of their lands by the Canadian government under its Prime Minister, who, if you wanted to make some kind of comparison from a Stater POV might be seen as the George Washington of Canada and many of the other founding fathers of Canada as an independent country.   It delves deeply into issues of rampant criminality and corruption, the theft of the land and destruction of First Nations and those of mixed First Nations - European culture (especially French language) and, inevitably, the huge issue of Quebec nationalism.   If its production had anything to do with the subsequent events in Quebec over that issue might be interesting to know, the timing of it might be coincidental either way but I suspect those involved in the opera's creation were picking up on current events, instead of the other way round.

I think the production of such an opera for such an occasion should be an event for Canadians to be proud of.   I can't think of anything similar happening in relation to the American bicentennial (we called it the buy-centennial) nine years later.  Unless I'm misremembering something, the only piece of music I can think of produced in relationship to that which had anything like the same realistic or critical content in 1976 was William Bolcom's very fine Piano Concerto which, since it had no text, had to make its criticisms by implications and askance.

Other than that there is Roy Harris' 13th Symphony (he superstitiously numbered it 14, his estate renumbered it) for orchestra and chorus which was played by the National Symphony Orchestra,  savaged by the local press - the WaPo called it the worst piece of music ever played by the National Symphony - and immediately forgotten.  Its inspiration was, perhaps similar to that of Louis Riel, perhaps, themed around the American Civil War.  Which, I imagine, was a shock to those at Cal State who commissioned its composition.  I imagine they thought the very old Roy Harris would produce another of his forgettable patriotic works for which is is mostly, if at all, remembered*.   If that was the case, it isn't what they got.  The only revival of it I've ever known about was the heroically undertaken performance that John Malveaux mounted of it in a park at a  Juneteenth concert in 2009.  I might write more about that later.  From what I have read, Malveaux is to be credited with recording the piece, the people producing its first performance don't seem to have thought to make a recording of it.  It would be nice to be able to have heard it before to judge it.   Perhaps they believed it was too hot to handle and better left to evaporate in the ether once it had sounded.   Which is a crying shame.

The only American musical drama written for the American bicentennial I can recall, off-hand, was Leonard Bernstein's widely considered to be dreadful closed after seven performances - it didn't even make it to June, never mind July 4th -,  1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the character of which might be discerned by the odd fact that in the original production, all of the First Ladies were played by the brilliant though British physical comedian best known for her portrayal of Hyacinth Bucket, Patricia Routledge and Ken Howard playing all the presidents,   The book by Alan Jay Lerner (on acid?) is Broadway surrealistic crap.  And, as far as I could discern, no government money was involved in the production of the predictable and massive flop.   I doubt that either the Voice of America or Armed Service radio carried it, but can't say that for certain.  I have heard music from it and found it rather bad.

That the most significant piece of music to come out of the Canadian Centennial celebrations was a searing and rather brilliant opera focusing on the massive injustices and corruption of its founding generation of leaders is something I would think any country should be proud of.  I can't imagine something like that happening here.  About the most significant things I remember about serious music were the endless performances of Charles Ives' flippant Variations on America, both the organ original and in William Schumann's orchestration of it.  There was some revival of William Billing's music, mostly his Revolutionary War era anthem, Chester.  Oh, there were lots of fifes and drums, Spirit of '76 costume tableaux, that kind of stuff.  Nothing like Louis Riel that I recall, and I was paying attention.

*  The first thing which anything I've ever heard or read through that Roy Harris wrote comes to mind other than some really embarrassing and hokey Americana is that I believe in one of his pieces, as I recall, he used the time signature 11/4 but I might not be remembering even that accurately.  As I recall it was something I was given to sight read, not to study.  Listening to more than I remembered for this post, he wasn't the worst composer in the world but much of his work isn't especially good.  His seldom played 3rd Symphony showed that he had real ability, perhaps real genius, it is a piece of real quality, strength and beauty.  His music deserves to be heard

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Ned Rorem - The Real War Will Never Get In The Books

Gerald Finley, baritone
Julius Drake, piano

Update:  2 Comments


  1. "To the Editor:

    As one who has always found Dylan the singer charmless and rasping, Dylan the poet sophomoric and obvious, and Dylan the composer banal and unmemorable, I did not have my feeling changed by Jonathan Lethem's review of Christopher Ricks's book ''Dylan's Visions of Sin'' (June 13). Lethem's complicity with the author in equating Bob Dylan with Blake and Picasso, no less, must embarrass even Dylan.

    Yet assuming he is right (though what is ''right'' in such matters?), Lethem has not one word to say about the music; when he says ''music'' it's as a synonym for ''lyrics.'' Since ancient times songs sink or swim on the quality of the music to which the poems are set; but Lethem has no opinion, much less an analysis, of how the tune and harmony and instrumentation relate to the text. As for the giggly postscript by Lucinda Williams (''Love That Mystic Hammering''), she does refer to Dylan's ''sweet beautiful melodies,'' as well as to his influential ''sweet-ass attitude,'' but such notions are meaningless in responsible criticism.

    Ned Rorem

    New York "

    Ned Rorem = large idiot.

    Seriously -- what a maroon. What a tarara goondeeyay.
  2. OK, tell me what's wrong with the song? Or do you think Walt Whitman = large idiot - maroon (sic) and whatever a tarara goondeeyay is, too?

    I, by the way, have never disliked Bob Dylan's singing or his music and think it does, at times, rise to memorable poetry. So much so that I paraphrased one of his best lyrics to make a point about snobs like you.

    "If I could, I would require anyone who advocates the commodification, use, harm and destruction of other people, in almost ever case poor people, people without power, people who are vulnerable and desperate, be required to be subjected to the actual conditions which they advocate for those other people. When it's something like porn or prostitution or mining, or back breaking, dangerous and dirty work of any kind there is no nice way to say it to nice, clean people who never dirty their nails or high market clothing in a day. To paraphrase the line from Bob Dylan, their souls are dirty though their hands are clean. The stink of it is something you can't smell with your nose but it's there and pervasive and it spreads over the entire world, choking out anything good. I'm not going to spray a bit of perfume and ignore that it's poisonous"

    The only other mention of Bob Dylan that appears in a word search of my blog archive produces this answer to a lie you told about my opinion of Bruce Springsteen.

    "What I said was about rock and roll, it wasn't about Bruce Springsteen. As I recently posted links to The Guess Who that proves I can like some rockers without necessarily liking the genre. I also have linked to The Band and Motown artists as Simels mocked, I suspect because they're insufficiently white-bread and middle class enough for his usual taste. Or maybe insufficiently tied to the greater NYC area, his hub of the universe, he being at its epicenter. It's all of, by, for and about HIM in the end. I think Springsteen is a superior song writer whose performance style is his own choice. I think a lot of his songs certainly transcend the confines of surfer turned acid dropper rock that was the origin of the brawl. I would put him in the same category as Bob Dylan and The Band."
Update 2;  This, in just now from Duncan Black's Brain Trust

Steve Simels, blog malignancy • 8 minutes ago
And speaking of silly, the Norman Bates of the Northwoods seems unfamiliar--

Or do you think Walt Whitman = large idiot - maroon (sic) and whatever a tarara goondeeyay is, too?

-- with two phrases much beloved of Bugs Bunny.
 • Reply•Share › 
Gummo  Steve Simels, blog malignancy • a minute ago
If I'm reading that right, it's an equation?

Large idiot (minus) maroon (plus) tarara goondeyay (equals) Walt Whitman?

That's practically surrealism, that is.

Apparently it's too much like fact-checking for this "Gummo" to have seen that Simps is the one who introduce the mathematical symbol into the discussion.  They're real big on dotting the i's and crossin' the t's at Duncan's place.   I don't know, maybe Simps will point that out to "Gummo" though, then, maybe FOX "news" will turn into a venue of the highest of journalistic practice and those chimps will type out all of the contents of the British Museum.   And as I was joining two nouns with it, that wasn't a (minus) it's called a hyphen, which, conventionally, can be used to combine nouns used to refer to a single entity.  I'd go over the use of "and" in that comment but I suspect it would tax the attention span of a "Gummo", if that's what the wit who chose that name meant by it.  

I will probably have a substantial post later today, not one of these things I have to rush during my short breaks. 

An Atheist Unwittingly Provides The Evidence Confirming What I Said - Two Comments

JRNovember 10, 2015 at 8:49 PM

Your "Darwin's own words" is about as honest as the doctored PP video. And you still haven't explained why you are obsessing about Darwin.

The Thought CriminalNovember 11, 2015 at 1:34 AM

Considering the only words you've quoted from Darwin were the often quote-mined "aid we must give" passage, and you quote mined even that, and I've given entire paragraphs, two or three at a time, with what he cited in those paragraphs and other paragraphs and entire letters to support my point about them, I'm entirely justified in pointing that out. 

The defenders of the phony post-war, eugenics free Charles Darwin who has to be lied into existence, ignoring what he and those whose eugenics were inspired by him said, never quote him in full, ever. And they never put what he said in a full context of what he said. 

And, as I've explained, at length. over, literally dozens of posts why I've written so much about the direct relationship of Charles Darwin to eugenics in both the English language and the German language and, inevitably, for that, his relationship with Nazi eugenics, your claim that I "still haven't explained" CONFIRMS MY POINT THAT YOU PEOPLE DENY WHAT'S LAID OUT, EXPLICITLY RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES. 

Are you so blind that you can't see the evidence of your own behavior that you provide as you believe you're refuting my point that you only see what you choose to, being willfully blind to all else?

Update:  Here, for example is an old and very out of date index to just what I'd written on that topic as of two years ago, containing none of the many posts I've written on the topic, generally in response to the complaints of Darwin's champions, many of them online atheist ideologues, since then.   

The only reason anyone needs to write about history is to tell the truth about it, especially when a massive lie about it is not only widely believed, but is required to be believed by those who pretend to be all about evidence and the truth.  And, as Darwin's theory of Natural Selection has spawned and continues to spawn eugenics in various degrees of depravity and both proposed and accomplished criminality, up to and including mass murder, it is one of the more justified topics of recent history to explore in relation to the primary documentary evidence.  People who don't think that Darwin's own words and the words of the criminals who cited those words to justify their crimes are worth going over carefully are too dishonest to be safely considered part of the educated population. 

Update:  Tempting as it is to post the idiotic, vulgar, stupid and base comment that I am holding back as further proof of the degeneracy that generates atheism, I'm disinclined to do that and side track this demonstration unwittingly provided by another atheist would-be wit which proves my point made yesterday.   

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Hate Mail - Big Deal And A Really Big Deal

Oh, so well do I remember, way back before "Woody Guthrie's Guitar" got banned at the ol' Brain Trust, being part of a long discussion, not a fight, with Tena and some other folk over Charles Beard's An Economic Interpretation of The Constitution of the United States and Max Farrand's The Framing of the Constitution of the United States and other such stuff.  Back before those were available on pdfs and you had to type out things from the dead tree editions to make your arguments.  Now it's what they've bought at Amazon and watched on premium cable and how everyone who doesn't come from a major city on the East, West coast or the coast of a Great Lake are poopy-heads, what they ate or how their rumatiz and stomach are acting up. 

So, big deal.  I only pay attention to that stuff as I find it useful, now.  

I do have to say that as I was stacking wood the other day, thinking about the brawl here over the honor of St. Charles Darwin, how in the constant chorus of "You don't have any evidence" sung while pretending that massive evidence in the very words of Darwin and virtually all of the relevant figures in science wasn't provided, I think there is something to discern about the atheist personality, the ability to pretend that evidence they don't like isn't there.   

It was while thinking about a relative who, as he was dying, bitterly announced to his family, the medical staff he was being so difficult to and anyone else who visited him out of a sense of moral obligation that he was an atheist ever since he figured it all out at the age of six.  That there was nothing to it, that life sucked and then we died and rotted.   It was like the last act of a play that included the scene of him declaring at a family Christmas in front of his truly saintly parents that he celebrated by reading William Burroughs' A Junky's Christmas. 

Here he was, on his death bed,  surrounded by evidence to the contrary, all around him, of his family who had taken care of him in his long and horrible decline, grace which was certainly not easily demonstrated, considering what a jerk he was being, in real life, and he still denied it.  Maybe you had to know him and them to understand that. 

I think a lot of atheism is just a result of willful denial by people who want to deny reality that is there to be seen by people who choose to see it. 

Incredibly Powerful Stuff - Harry Somers - Louis Riel

Bernard Turgeon sings the title role of Louis Riel in the CBC's 1969 televised production of the Canadian Opera Company's groundbreaking Canadian opera, Louis Riel. Following the premiere of Louis Riel, Harold Rosenthal, music critic of England's OPERA magazine, wrote, "Bernard Turgeon's performance ... was a tour de force. His is a long and demanding role ... deeply-felt singing and acting earned him a deserved personal triumph." 

Louis Riel was described in the Montreal Star as "...undoubtedly the most exciting original Canadian creation to be placed on a stage in Canada's history..." 

It's only one scene from the opera, Turgeon must have been incredible as Riel, who he resembles to a remarkable extent.  It must be one of the harder roles in the repertoire if this is any indication, going back and forth between French and English.   Reading the history of the so called Riel Rebellion, really a defense for the lives of the Metis and First Nations people in the Canadian West who were being sold out by the Canadian government to the rich and powerful - Canadian history has as much of that kind crime as most other countries, only their intellectual class stopped denying it to the extent ours still does. 

Harry Somers' range as a composer was certainly at least as broad as Aaron Copland's,  they have a lot in common in spite of their real dissimilarities.  

Bernard Turgeon's performance should be made available in full.  This is an opera which should be in the active repertoire.  

Grasping At Straws While Hanging By A Thread

"Someone who is aggressive while they're playing a game is showing that they're really selfish."

"It's what they'd really want to do if they could [get away with it]."

Ah yes, the old "generous people are just acting altruistically but are really hiding what they'd really like to do" line of crap.   

Well, if you don't think the reality of someone who ACTS generously or unselfishly isn't a definitive difference between them and someone who lies, cheats steals and robs widows and orphans, try being on the receiving end of those two actions, I guarantee you, you will notice a difference.   Anyone who wants to pretend there is not a definitive difference in the most real of reality is delusional, though I know there are many supposed experts in human behavior who will pretend just that.   

Well, the fact is that someone who forecloses on the property at Baltimore or Pennsylvania in a game of Monopoly seems to know something that a more scientifically inclined person doesn't.  They aren't actually putting someone out of their home and onto the street, they aren't taking their sustenance or livelihood, they aren't taking a place which is full of their family memories and, perhaps the heritage their parents sacrifice heroically to give them.   The person who is losing Monopoly to them doesn't' really care about it, they don't really suffer anything from it because the thing they are losing is an imaginary fiction, not their home.   To assert that the two things have anything to do with each other, have the same moral characteristic is an absurd delusion based in the remarkable inability of so many in the social sciences to not realize that words can mean more than one thing and that the metaphors which games are constructed out of have utility merely within the unimportant conventions of games. 

That, by the way, is especially true when you're playing against a machine.  A remarkable number of people can understand that machines are not people or other living beings to whom we  have moral obligations.  Any psychologist who pretends that obviously never considered the moral issues involved when they scrap their old computer for a newer model.   It's not anything like having to wonder if it's the less cruel choice to have your pet euthanized.  

The denial of the reality of the most potent and obvious difference between some one who follows that morality which is established in the despised Abrahamic religions and some one who doesn't on the basis of "what they really would like to do" should have marked psychology as a load of B.S. from late in the 19th century.  

That it wasn't noted to be crap might indicate a preferred way of seeing life through crap colored glasses on the part of sour, cynical and hateful men because it allowed them to feel better about themselves.   Or don't they like it when someone plays their game with them as the subject?   I wouldn't claim such an assertion is science, however, without a level of rigorous study, the honest acheivement of which I don't, for a minute, believe is humanly or scientifically possible.  I'm not as dishonest as they are about that.  

No matter how much you might like to be able to discern the answer to such questions, if you can't do it, whatever you pass off as the answer isn't science, no matter how many suckers you can get to or compel to pretend it is.   Maybe people who are selling that line of crap have a desire to figure everyone operates on the same level of dishonesty as the lower grade of carny hucksters.  It's worked in university science faculties since the late 19th century.  

Monday, November 9, 2015

Harry Somers - Suite for Harp and Chamber Orchestra

Barbara Pöschl-Edrich, harp
Lexington Symphony, Jonathan McPhee, conductor

I forgot that I was intending to post a series of pieces by the Canadian composer Harry Somers last spring.  Don't remember why I stopped after two pieces so no time like the present to start it up again. With every piece of his I hear it's clearer that Somers was a great composer, one who is played way, way too infrequently this side of the border.

This piece is played by the Lexington, MA symphony.  The soloist, Barbara Pöschl-Edrich is very good as is the Lexington Symphony under Jonathan McPhee.  I have to admit I wasn't familiar with any of them before hearing this.  I looked at both Pöschl-Edrich's and McPhee's websites and the orchestra's and am hoping to hear more of their work.

I saw this while I found the Colin McPhee piece I posted at noon.  As far as I know Jonathan McPhee isn't related to the earlier composer.

Kick Up At Anything They Hear

I used to note they used to call themselves a brain trust, now it's more of an assenæum.   

Like Ms. Hepburn said,  I don't care what they say about me as long as it's not true and, with them, it's not going to be.  

Colin McPhee - Concerto for Piano and Wind Octet

Linda Lee Thomas, piano
Players of the CBC Vancouver Orchestra  - John Avison, conductor

It is one of the biggest regrets of my college years that I turned down the chance to play this piece, I never had the chance to do it again.   Obviously this was a well played record.

Update:  It was the last movement, I knew it would take a lot more practice and rehearsal to pull off than I had time for that year.  I had my senior recital, too.   I think if I'd had been asked a year in advance I might have done it and put it in my recital program.   Wind players!  They don't get that you've got more than one note at a time to play.

The Baseless Claim That Games Are An Oracle of Real Life

In thinking more about that bogus study I wrote about Saturday, the one that claims to show that Christianity makes children more selfish and "punitive", the whole business of the "Dictator Game" as a means of discerning such things is a good window into the absurdity of the social and behavioral sciences and, often, their complete dishonesty.  Also, I will again say that I can discern nothing in their "game" which even justifies calling it that and I would guess the children required to play it could see no point in it.

We are supposed to take on faith that this or any other artificial "game" is supposed to be a window into the character of children in their real lives.  Well, the first thing to consider is that this "game" isn't something the children invented or chose to play, they played a game invented by the researchers at the request of the researcher.  If a researcher had asked me to play a game that involved stickers after about the age of eleven, I think I'd have rolled my eyes and felt insulted.  It's nothing like anything I'd have done in real life, in real life I generally hated games, even the ones I was good at bored me.  I can imagine in any sample of 1,700 kids a significant percentage of them would have never chosen to play the researchers' game.  I'd like to know if any of them adopted such a "game" to continue playing it.  So the game, itself is not guaranteed to be anything revealing the real life choices that these children would make.  If that's true there is no reason to believe the game would show anything else about how the children would act in real life.

Games, even the ones children choose to play, are artificial structures, they are activities that are unlike real life, having different rules within which actions are permissible.  Real life choices to give or hoard aren't governed by rules like that in any context a child is likely to encounter.  People do things in the context of playing a game they'd never do in real life.  I've known the most charitable person in real life turn into a ruthless and heartless monopolist while playing Monopoly.  While a person already in possession of pathological tendencies can bring those to a violent video game and even find encouragement in them, you wouldn't be hard pressed to find the person who might kill dozens,hundreds or thousands of make believe beings in a video game would be completely reluctant to kill even a mouse in real life.

The conventional assertion of the behavioral sciences that these games as psychological experiments reliably show something about the real lives and real minds of people in real life is nothing anyone has to take seriously.

The success with which they do that would, I am certain, in many cases published as science, be everything from absolutely none to not anything reliably determinable and I doubt it's ever been honestly and rigorously studied.   Rigor and honesty are not the major characteristics of those fields.

I would like to know how and what results have ever been gained from any attempt to relate the results of this kind of scientific procedure and the real lives of the people who participated in the experiments.  I'm willing to say that my guess would be a rigorous attempt to do so  would not achieve anything above a null result.

Update:  So what?

Well, yeah, I know that looking rigorously might, if my suspicions are correct, invalidate a huge amount of psychology and related fields.  So what?  If those suspicions are correct then the assertion that their experiments show something about reality in real life are as invalid as they would have been if those flaws had been taken seriously in review and their studies had been rejected.

Or isn't that supposed to be how science really works, the claim that science as an oracle of reality makes?  

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Hristo Vitchev Quartet - Weber Iago's: 'Aurora'

Weber Iago, Piano
Dan Robbins, bass
Mike Shannon, drums
Hristo Vitchev, guitar

I needed something to get me going.  I love this piece.

Carla Bley - Doctor, etc/

Carla Bley's composition Doctor kept going through my head.  I could only find this recording from a set from her trio with Steve Swallow and Andy Sheppard.   I think I did it right so that's what will come up.  If not it begins about 20:40.   The rest of the set is worth listening too, of course.

Hate Mail

OK, I'll come right out and say it, the social sciences and their related fields in the alleged behavioral and cognitive sciences are dominated by atheist ideologues who permit the crappiest junk to be published as science when it supports their ideological campaign against religion.   And there is a large segment of the media which, in total ignorance of science, will promote those studies because they share that ideological agenda.  The sloppy methods permitted by those inside those fields are an open invitation to do bad science and dishonest science to yield the results you wanted to start with. 

I would call for there to be a lot more hard and honest evaluation of those studies because many of them violate statistical methods, especially in sampling but also in methods, they also have methodologies that can only be made to support their asserted results by the most tenuous of logic, and often not by anything other than the assertions of the people conducting the studies.  It is crap science, it is worse than alchemy, the alchemists at least produced something you could see and evaluate - when they weren't practicing a similar form of fraud, they inserting gold into their cauldron.  Their modern day equivalent doesn't even have to do that, they can use fools gold and the rubes of the media will believe it's the real thing. 

A Response In The Form Of A Repost

It's a sure sign of a true believer in St. Darwin that when someone points out the absolute fact that he is the inspiration of eugenics in both English and German that they will prove they are incapable of dealing with that reality without attributing all sorts of regressive ideas to their opponent.   They can't conceive of someone who, reading the primary documentation, understands what Darwin and those he cited as supportive science means and that they meant what THEY said without  also believing in so-called Young Earth Creationism.   So much of what such people believes is based on the entirely dishonest play and movie, Inherit the Wind, presented.  Such is the scientific nature of such true believers in science that their world is massively informed by fiction and costume dramas in lieu of primary documentation.

It's something that the neo-Darwinians such as the pudding-headed philosopher Daniel Dennett do to totally conventional believers in Natural Selection, some accomplished biologists who hold Darwin up as a hero, such as Stephen Jay Gould and even complete materialists and atheists such as Richard Lewontin when their statements don't in any way touch on criticism of the eugenic nature of Charles Darwin or raise any doubts about the validity of Natural Selection or its role in human history.

Even acknowledging that there are proven mechanisms of evolution of species such as genetic drift will get that kind of a reaction from the true believers in St. Darwin, quite a few of whom have never heard of genetic drift before or are aware of the fact that their plaster saint is famous for his theory of Natural Selection, not for their idea that he "discovered evolution".   Not to mention their total unawareness of the fact that Natural Selection wouldn't survive logical analysis if it hadn't had Mendelian genetics pasted on to it in the 1930s.   Not to mention that even with the promotion of it as "the supreme law of biology" its place ain't what it was even thirty-five years ago except as a sort of Creed, recited but not really understood or believed in by many of those who mumble the words by rote.  It's not a very long creedal formula, its most popular form is "Darwin rules, faith-heads drool".

And remember, they also believe they're the sciencey, empirical, reality community.

Anyway, I have a family issue that I'm going to be dealing with today and maybe for a while to come.

Here is the very first piece I ever posted on this topic in January 2008.  I hope that my detractors find the practice I adopted of putting the actual fact and phenomenon of evolving life in capitals and the mere science that attempts to study that with science in lower case as annoying as one of my first atheist detractors did.  I have to say that his being annoyed like hell about that didn't discourage me from keeping it.

I consulted a relative who is a respected research biologist, a totally conventional Darwinist and an agnostic to read the draft over for factual statements and to make suggestions.  I think it almost all holds up, though I was no where near as skeptical of Natural Selection then as I became in the intervening years as I read more of its history and saw it was hardly like the classical theories of physics or chemistry and was a lot more like an ideological framing.   Like the early Darwinist apostate, St. George Mivart, the more I learn about it from conventional Darwinists, the more skeptical I am of it.  That trend hasn't changed.

I know it won't make any difference to the febrile accusations of Darwin's Defenders, their only shield is to lie,  but it's where I've stood on this from the beginning.

EVOLUTION, evolution, ideology and the continuation of LIFE.

Part one

EVOLUTION is long. Really, really long. It encompasses the entire duration of life on the planet Earth. Most commonly that is thought today to be a period of more than three billion years. That’s a number we are all familiar with hearing but getting your mind around what even one billion - 1,000,000,000 - years really consists of is impossible. What could a billion years mean to a person? What would the first, the last and all of the varied unknown and unrecorded days, seasons, years and ages in between years one and one billion mean. They are incomprehensible in their vast duration and compass of possible experience in terms of even the longest human life span. We have no frame of reference.

And not only is EVOLUTION (upper case) long, it is also large in numbers, encompassing, literally, all of the lives of all of the organisms that have ever existed. All of the organisms which have reproduced or been produced. That number is of many magnitudes larger than even the incomprehensible billions of years already mentioned. Consider, just as a sample of the complications, the known time periods between generations of living species of rodents, and of one-celled organisms. Consider the number of fertile eggs some species of plants, insects and mollusks produce in one reproductive cycle. Each of the surviving, reproducing individuals was and is a variation, many have the possibility of having an effect on future generations. Leaving the entirely relevant question of individuals aside, imagining even the number of what we might classify as species, each comprising subspecies, varieties, and other sub groupings is incomprehensible.

Now it’s necessary to make a distinction between EVOLUTION, the actual fact of life in both its ancient and contemporary diversity and numbers, and the human science of evolution (lower case), which attempts to study the mechanisms and artifacts of all those lives and to understand many different aspects of them, including the attempts to make general assertions about them. Let’s allow the conventional beginning of the science of evolution as the publication date of The Origin of Species, 1859. In that case, evolution as a formal, scientific, study has been going on for about a hundred fifty years.

Immediately we have come on something remarkable, the difference between the billions of years that EVOLUTION has been operating and the mere one hundred fifty years that it has been studied to date. The fraction which would represent the part of EVOLUTION which is taken up by the human study of it looks something like 150 over 3,000,000,000+. A hundred-fifty years outstrips the conscious experience of most human beings by about twice, but it would appear to be like the briefest noticeable moment when opposed to the time that EVOLUTION has been continually in process*.

As a way of beginning the approximation of how complete a picture our science of evolution can give us today , other factors, of equal and even greater importance than the number of years, species, and individuals, have to be considered. While the numbers yielded by these aren’t known we can know that whatever it is would tax our imagination so as to be incomprehensible even before multiplication of factors to be considered begins. It is far from the end of it.

There is much more to consider such as the individual physical aspects of the bodies and lives of all individuals which could impinge on the processes of EVOLUTION, those which we know about, those which we will never know about due to the fact that their traces are lost for all time. The physical record available to us represents an infinitesimally small number of the physical variations that must have had some impact on the species and individuals alive today. Many of the examples available to us may or may not be representative of whatever species we might assign them to, if we were able to. Added into that the impacts of climate, pathology, nutrition, and those entirely unavailable variables, behavior and chance happening, which would properly enter into the study, the data available to study might be seen as nugatory. We can be certain that the information we have available or will ever have available is inadequate to present even a general picture of EVOLUTION, our study must, therefore, be limited to only a small part of it.

If, by some miracle, the reproduction by a single strand of life continued unbroken over more than three billion years it would produce astonishing physical variation if only as a matter of chance mutation over time. To say ‘by some miracle’ is not accurate, though, because that is literally the case of every single organism alive as you read this. It has been a single unbroken strand from the beginning of evolution that has produced each of us, no two alike. And that is entirely too simple, because we are at the ends of intertwining stands through innumerable exchanges of genetic material among different organisms, all of them subject to the possibility of mutation. Reproduction by the numbers we are considering clearly produces variety of results, in ways and almost certainly by means which we can not begin to imagine. It would be literally miraculous if it hadn’t. One thing that it is essential to keep in mind, at every moment in that three billion years there was a living being that was the offspring of living beings and which produced living beings all living in an environment that allowed them to survive.

This experiment could lead us to an important conclusion, while EVOLUTION is a fact supported by the relevant science, the belief that we know more than a tiny part of that phenomenon is absurd. EVOLUTION, in terms of human capacity, is effectively of infinite complexity**. It is almost certain that many more facts will be known if the study continues, maybe many times more than what we have now. I would propose that it is certain we can’t even suspect enormous parts of even what will be knowable.


But this daunting picture doesn’t mean that what we do know is unimportant. A mathematician once pointed out that given the infinity of topics that could possibly be taken up to study in mathematics, the question of interest becomes a matter of greatest importance. And as we have seen the possibilities surrounding EVOLUTION are equally taxing of the attention of the human species.

What do those who study evolution want from it? What uses can it be put to, what uses is it put to? To what extent do people who hope to make a profession out of the study of evolution allow their personal interests to effect their ideally objective science? Do they hope to get a certain job with people of a certain ideology? It could be the hope of professional acceptance that might shade what is concluded. It might even be that the science itself, what has been published to date and what is currently fashionable skews consideration. Does the professional study of evolution limit the science itself ? Do those engaged in it find what they are looking for and miss other things?***

And, by all means, we have to limit the consideration to those who accept that EVOLUTION is a fact and who do not try to impose an agenda which cannot be evaluated with the legitimate tools and methods of science. To do that removes someone from serious, scientific, consideration.

I have said that the science of evolution is important but it isn’t the most important thing in life. Life has gotten along for billions of years without our science, as shown in the fourth paragraph above. Somehow its having done so without the custodial care of human science almost leads to a feeling of anxiety. And yet it happened unobserved and unremarked by us.****

There is a consideration made much more interesting than evolution by necessity, today. We are in the midst of a mass extinction event caused by human activity. It endangers a huge part of the diversity of the biosphere, shutting off the lines of huge numbers of species, entire biotas are in danger of extinction. It is entirely possible that the products of science, technology, economics, politics and other human activities could kill us all.

EVOLUTION compared to the human study, evolution, is infinitely more important. Preservation of the thing studied is more important than the study of it. Our most important tool to preserve the biosphere, the only link between the entire past of life and the entirety of what life there is in the future, is politics. Politics is one of the greatest tools we have to correct human actions that endanger us all. The political success of environmental protection and species preservation is far more important than protecting any dearly cherished ideology of humans. Capitalism, communism, socialism, physics, chemistry, evolutionary biology, Darwinism - which, many of you will be surprised to realize, isn’t the same thing as evolution -, creationism, etc. None of these are as important as saving the planet, none of them would have the possibility of existing without the life of the planet being saved.

Even these cherished ideologies and theories which our educations falsely lead us to believe are paramount, are entirely dependent for their existence on the future of EVOLUTION. Whatever they can lend to that effort is necessary, whatever preserves the life of the planet is necessary, whatever endangers it must be rejected. This includes whatever these ideologies, sciences, fads, etc. do which results in preventing political change that is necessary to save the environment. Environmental science, in so far as it is used to preserve the basis of life is the most important science we have ever devised. It is the science that deserves our greatest concern and effort. It is the key to our survival.

* We could also consider the number of researchers in evolution and its allied fields and wonder how that number could compare with the range of what is included with Evolution.

** The opponents of evolution and those who deny EVOLUTION aren’t stupid. They are quite able to read and figure out the weak spots in the man made theories about it. Not being honest about those weaknesses, pretending that the fact of EVOLUTION stands or falls on the basis of current ideologies within evolution plays into their hands.

*** Maybe it is right to look at the body of professionals who make their living in evolutionary science as being the product of selection pressures, or of adaptation to their profession’s environment. While EVOLUTION is a fact supported by an amazing amount of science it is large enough and unknown enough to produce different ideas. Perhaps a different species of evolutionist would dominate the field if the cultural environment and, especially, those with the ability to fund it hadn’t favored a particular point of view. Being a casual witness to just the death match over the rather modest idea of “spandrels”, in the 90s its clear there was a struggle for survival and reproduction. How could they object to these questions being raised about their profession?

**** It is undeniable that EVOLUTION would have fared better in species diversity and, most likely, in the possibility of its continuing at all, if humans and our culture, hadn’t evolved. Though they are not entirely to blame, science and technology are some of the primary causes of the destruction of the environment. They have accelerated the process of destroying the environment through magnifying the powers of human despoilers and they have provided chemicals and mechanisms not found by those without science and technology. They have done this at a rate many times faster than they have generated the knowledge needed to preserve the planet. To deny that is as irresponsible as it is ridiculous. To allow that fact to go unsaid precludes possibilities of reform and we need reform in the behavior that results from science. Science is almost as important as politics in the struggle to save the planet.