Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Thimking of Simps

Hey, if thinking New York City has more than its fair share of assholes is antisemitic,  Duncan's town, Philadelphia, must be one of the hotbeds of antisemitism, at least if what I've read and heard people from The City of Brotherly Love on the topic of its rival city is any indication.   

I'd guess that's an opinion held by a large number of people in most of the country and, from my visits to "THE City" in the past, I'd say it was a self indictment because I have met fewer than a handful of people from New York City who didn't complain at how many assholes there were in the place.   If that's the criterion, then NYC must be massively antisemitic. Which, of course, would make it a highly saturated locus of assholism. 

Update:  Look, Bunky, it's not that hard.  There's a difference between knowing something and guessing something.   If you've got evidence then that will tell you what happened, if you just go with a guess you're bound to guess what you want.   

It's obvious you want it to feed your pet hatred.   You want that so much you aren't willing to wait to see if that's what happened.  You're just like Trump and the other Muslim haters, you just hate Christians instead.  

You've got a lot more in common than you'd ever want to know. 

All I've said is that guessing on the basis of no information is as bad as what they do at CNN when something like Balloon Boy comes up.  

I'm sure Duncan Black never expected to produce the intellectual equivalent of Rick Sanchez when he started Baby Blue.  

Atheists Are The Hate Mob Of The Pseudo-Left

This situation is certainly interesting in that it shows what the hate fest that online atheism really is, that they don't really care what the facts turn out to be as long as they can blame the deaths in Colorado Springs on Christianity.  

If he was targeting abortion providers, it's odd that a representative from Planned Parenthood said none of their staff were injured, last I checked.  It would be rather strange if an attack on those who provide abortion was his motive and they were his target.  Though who knows, at this point, what his motives were?   Apparently the online atheists don't need that information before they make up their minds.  

I wonder if any of the other victims, like Officer Swasey, are going to take the blame for their murder or injury because they're saying all Christians are at fault.   Maybe it's time to start collecting comments and posting those, it could make an interesting study.     

Friday, November 27, 2015

Looking over the comment threads, since I've read all of what the officials in Colorado Springs have said about the attack against the Planned Parenthood clinic up to the minute,  it's clear they've got the same journalistic instincts and practices that CNN had that fateful afternoon of Balloon Boy.  

It would be irresponsible not to speculate is, in fact, the common wisdom of the internet set.  And I can only imagine what Twitter is carrying like some pandemic disease. 

Is it any wonder why so many people believe conspiracy rumors and paranoid narratives when the people who believe they are the reality community can't wait for actual reporting by people who have something at stake in their at least trying to be accurate?  

Update:  So far, all of the Xian bashers who blamed yesterday's attack on Planned Parenthood on Christians in general have blamed the police office for his own murder.  Like Dr. George Tiller, Officer Garrett Swasey was not only religious, he and his wife were very active members of their congregation.

Garrett & Rachel Swasey

Garrett and Rachel began attending Hope Chapel in 2001. Initially drawn by its small size, they have grown to love the fellowship and teaching at Hope Chapel. As they raise their son, Elijah and daughter, Faith, they view the members of the church as their family. Both have been granted a servant’s heart by God, and are a demonstrative evidence of God’s grace to Hope Chapel.  Rachel serves behind the scenes leading and watching the little ones in the nursery. Garrett works full time in Law Enforcement and provides oversight to our Care Groups. Additionally, as an elder, you will find him sharing his teaching gift as part of the teaching team and sharing his guitar skills on the worship team.  

I haven't, yet, found anything out about the others who were killed and injured and terrorized.  

A Turkey Plummeting - And You Thought Your Schools Left Something To Be Desired

I'm told that I'm being mocked because a piece of total fiction about an alternate outcome to, not only the Second World War but the history of the ten years before that fails to note that the real Nazis were inspired by their understanding of Darwinism and Tacitus.  To which I say it's only proof of the failure of the schools the guy went to that he doesn't understand that fiction written by drug addicted, schizophrenics who don't believe that the world has an independent existence but is the product of our minds - so funny that the atheist sci worshiper is touting the work of someone who doesn't believe in what makes science possible - that such a book isn't history.   I don't know, did they give regents in history in New York in the early 60s? 

But, then, he thought that a totally fictitious screen play by Tom Stoppard, a playwright who proves that there is a down side to a subsidized theater system, a screen play in which everything from the man's name, to the allegation that he could write so much as his name, to his ever being in love with any woman, a play in which every single thing about it was totally made up constitutes biography.  

I'm allergic to historical fiction because too many people who were misinformed that they're smart by getting a college degree don't understand that they're consuming fiction.  And that's not to mention the even worse non-historical fiction in which the names are the same but, literally, nothing in the story ever happened as it did.  Apparently Stupy doesn't even get that much about the situation.  Worse, I'm told there's a TV series about it.  Imagine how confused those without college degrees will be if they watch it.  Only, maybe you've got to go to college to get that stupid. 

Update:  And now Freki-JR, a person who can't open her mouth without a lie coming out, is getting in on the act.  

Other than the Republican-fascist rent a trolls, the biggest presence of bigotry and hate-talk on blogs of the left is from atheists.   They are the KKK level haters that infest our side of the web. 

Turkeys Flying

If "Sharia Law" As An Excuse For Massive Bigotry Why Not Canon Law? Why Not The Rules of The Mormon Church?

MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Tuesday night quizzed Rep. Steve King (R-IA) about the conservative congressman's belief that Muslim immigrants from the Middle East are largely unwilling to assimilate into American culture.

Hayes played a clip of King saying earlier on Tuesday that he has not seen an example of Muslim immigrants having "assimilated" into the U.S. The MSNBC host asked King if he could back up his statement.

"Well, Chris that’s a reference to groups of people, not individuals. Of course individuals have assimilated into the broader American society. But yeah, no one has shown me an example of large groups of people that have settled into America from that part of the world that have assimilated into the broader American society," King responded.

He listed places like Dearborn, Michigan, and Little Mogadishu in Minneapolis and said that those communities appear to be similar to Middle Eastern cities.

Hayes asked if King felt that those communities with concentrated populations of immigrants were different from Chinatown in New York City.

"Of course I do," King responded. "They bring with them Sharia law, which is completely contradictory to the Constitution itself. It’s incompatible with the Americanism."

Hayes then asked, "Do you think fundamentally Muslims from the Middle East are incompatible with American democracy?"

"I believe that Sharia law is incompatible with American democracy," King responded.

What a bald face lie, in no place in the United States does Sharia law enter into the legal code of the United States,  its only presence in the United States is as an internal matter among private citizens. It doesn't have the force of law in the United States on any but a strictly voluntary basis.  

The argument that Steve King makes is just a modern version of the accusation that if John Kennedy was elected that he would rule under the laws of the Catholic church or any other, similar line of bigotry which as gone out of style.   

The Republican Party is the fascist party of the United States, it is American style fascism and, with the Republican establishment nervous about a loose cannon like Donald Trump being the leader in the polls, they're counting on what they believe is the more sell-able fascism of Ted Cruz and Steve King to get them back into the White House.   Me?  I'd trust them less than I'd trust a big-mouthed bully boy like Trump.  Not that Cruz and King are far behind in their blatant appeals to bigots and know nothings.   

For you fans of irony, Steve King is a Roman Catholic. 

For comparison, here, from an old edition of The Catholic Encyclopedia 

Thus, John Jay, of New York, who afterwards became Chief Justice of the United States, succeeded in fastening upon the Constitution of his own state a provision which denied the privilege of citizenship to every foreign-born Catholic unless he would first abjure and renounce all allegiance to the pope in matters ecclesiastical. This provision remained in force until 1821, when the power and influence of the Federal party had well nigh disappeared. During the administration of the Federalist president, John Adams, 1798-1802, that same party forced the passage of the Alien Act, under which the president might expel from the county all aliens whom he might regard as disaffected towards the Government, as well as that other Act requiring a residence of fourteen years in the country before any foreign-born person could be admitted to citizenship. In brief, the Federalists were the Native Americans of their day, and Knownothingism, as the latest and, because of its excesses, the most odious manifestation of the Native American spirit, may be said to have had its genesis in the prejudices nursed by the Federalists against foreign-born citizens and in their intolerance of their fellow-citizens professing the Roman Catholic faith. These offensive, not to say unlawful, sentiments found numerous advocates, not only among political demagogues and aspirants for public office, but also in the pulpit and in the religious press of those days. The tide of immigration which had set in was largely Irish and soon became distinctively Catholic in character. One of the inducements to this immigration was the hope it held out of release from the civil disabilities and the religious proscription under which the immigrants had laboured in their native land. When, therefore, a powerful party was founded exerting itself to exclude these immigrants from the privilege of citizenship because of their race and creed, it was most natural that they and their co-religionists of whatever race should, as they did, ally themselves with the opposing political party which supported those principles of political equality and freedom of religion which had been proclaimed as distinctive principles of the American scheme of government. The growing immigration and the increase in the number of naturalized citizens strengthened the party with which these immigrants had become identified, and the extension of their political influence, as shown at the elections, was used by the advocates of proscription as a justification of their policy. Throughout the various Native American and Knownothing movements which America has witnessed, political hostility and religious prejudice, the one supplementing the other, appear as the motive and inspiration. Knownothingism was only the development and application of the principles of Native Americanism whose character and origin we have briefly sketched.

Post Thanksgiving Missed Media Turkey of a Scandal

I am surprised someone hasn't turned a major misstatement of fact by Barack Obama in public into a major scandal.   During the hokey turkey pardoning, President Obama stated as a known fact that turkeys can't fly.  Well, that's simply not the truth.  They actually fly rather well.  Early in the fall, as I didn't see a large flock of turkeys hiding in the tall grass, when they all at once took off in flight, going right over me to the woods about a two hundred feet behind me, it almost stopped my heart.  It was a truly inspirational experience.  

The Obama daughters who made a rare appearance seem to be turning into fine young people with a good sense of humor.  I wish my mother was here to see them.   During the 2008 campaign, when the likes of Limbaugh started commenting on them I think she'd have slapped his face if she could.  She felt fiercely protective of those girls.  That's one thing the Obamas did right, shielding their children from the media.   I hope they do great things, better things.

Hate Mail - "Cherry Picking" and The Rhetoric of Thugs

I get at least one comment every fortnight or more often that I'm "cherry picking" what Darwin or someone else said in making my arguments.   Which is a stupid thing to say because whenever anyone, in any field, is citing the words and ideas of someone they don't choose the ones that aren't relevant and they don't choose the weakest possible citations to support their arguments.  Everyone picks the quotes they use to choose the most useful ones.  In my experience, in an overwhelming majority of cases, the ones who cry "cherry picking" are science-oriented atheists who, perhaps, don't understand how citation of that kind works, or, perhaps, they just don't realize that they do it all the time.  The man on whose behalf that accusation is made, in order to pretend he didn't say what he said, Darwin, did that kind of citation all the time in his books that are the basis of his fame and adulation and deification by such atheists.   And, as I've pointed out, he didn't always do so honestly or completely.

I wasn't aware of the commonly held view that all someone had to do to overcome quotation and citation was to yell,  "cherry picking" just like the same idiots yell "Godwin's law" or, even more stupidly, "the courtier's reply" and that was supposed to clinch the argument, making the quotation and citation go away.   Which is a sure sign of a failed intelligentsia which practices that or allows it to become the common misunderstanding of how thinking works.

The only way to overcome a citation is to cite a fuller quotation and the context in which that fits into the wider thinking of a writer or speaker.  Only the words of a Darwin or a Jefferson or a Lincoln can be used to overcome other of their words.  That is when it is the thinking of that person which is in question.  When it comes to the use which other, generally infamous, people make of someones' words, that's a whole other ball game because in that case, it was their understanding of those words which are at issue.  

Some of us came up in the old school of quotation and citation and thinking in which those were the rules.  I think they work better to convince people of what they aren't already convinced of, which is all the new school of ersatz rhetorical discourse seems to consist of.  The major force behind that new school is derision and coercion not reason.  It's the rhetoric of thugs.  Go look at how the popular atheist bloggers operate for a good example of how it works.   The conversion that such practices bring about might be a yard wide but it's a centimeter deep.  All it takes is for the person so convinced is to see through the dishonesty of it and that's often not very hard to do, that and them realizing they don't need the kind of hierarchical substitute for respect that clique membership is based on.   People often grow out of that, reasoned argument is more durable.

And Niebuhr's gift was to not get stuck on that...

Should have known it.  When I got the idea of doing some posts encouraging people to read the expanse of relevance that is the thinking of Reinhold Niebuhr, I should have checked because Krista Tippett already did it.  First from back when her program was called "Speaking of Faith" and today when it is "On Being".  She even has play lists with study guides etc.  While nothing replaces the actual reading of the books, the articles, the sermons (when those can be found) as a motivator she and her staff have done the work.

Here is one of the early programs she did on the topic which is quite excellent.

Moral Man and Immoral Society :
Rediscovering Reinhold Niebuhr

And here is the always useful transcript.

For my hearing and reading, it begins with a warning, noting both the use which such people as David Brooks makes of the name to support military adventures that it is doubtful he would have supported, remembering his opposition to the American war in Vietnam.  There is also something of a warning in the status of the "serenity prayer" as it was adapted first for Alcoholics Anonymous, even some of his subtlety being read out of it.   A member of my family made that very point not knowing the original, "the courage to change the things that should be changed" to "the courage to change the things I can".   Here's the original as given in the program.

 "God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other."

Especially good is hearing Niebuhr giving some of his sermons, you can hear the intelligence and the passion in his voice as well as what he's saying.   I've read some conservatives who dismiss his status as a Christian but I don't think there is any doubting his belief in the central defining things that would be any Christianity that means anything.

One of the things I have found most thought provoking was his saying that human organizations, human governments are not going to be morally uncompromised, are not going to frequently do wrong.   There is discussion of Augustine's justifiable war theory, something which I've never been able to think was compatible with the gospel of Jesus.  The earliest Christians were notable for being pacifists.   We're stuck with living in the world we live in and the exigencies that are forced on us - I have no illusions about the end of war at any time in the near future, of a society which will not be forced into having police who use force and deadly force.  I think the dangers of regularizing the military an police within a religious sentiment risks doing what the imperial Romans did and ignore the fact that what they are doing is fraught with moral compromise.  It does religion a world of evil to do that, it does no favor for the society and, I think, does no real good for the men and women who do that for society to wrap up what they do in such a tidy package of civic goody-ness because, as we see all the time, their choices and decisions will not live up to that TV show picture of what they do.

The same is true for organized religion.  The neo-atheism we suffer under is a reaction against the pseudo-Christian hypocrisy of the 1980s and 90s, the many hypocrisies of religious figures and the use of religion as a so much stage dressing masking some of the most evil institutions and individuals among us.

MR. ELIE: I can't remember which ancient Christian sage said that good and evil are joined at the spine, something like that, though. What Niebuhr meant is that we can't separate out our virtues and our vices. The very idealism that has animated so many good things in the history of this country also lead us to be arrogant, lead us to be insensitive to the cultures of other peoples, lead us to overestimate the ability to get things to go our way, and so on. Our virtues and our vices are inextricably joined. It's a religious insight that's being applied in a political situation.

MS. TIPPETT: I think one reason Niebuhr is intriguing to us now also is that he was such a bridge person, a crossover person between religious thinkers and actors, and secular thinkers and actors.

MR. ELIE: I think that's true. And I was thinking about this over the past few days in connection with Niebuhr's insights about purity. His realism was grounded in his feeling that human nature is necessarily impure. And when you try to purify society, those people better watch out because that's when things get dangerous, whether it's reforming Christians who are trying to purify things, or reforming secularists who are trying to purify things. The Niebuhrian position would be religion never was altogether pure and never will be. Let's start from a different premises.

MS. TIPPETT: Have you thought about how Niebuhr might react to the religiosity of our time, the way in which — I'm saying that and I'm realizing that was probably after he died that religion really retreated from the public sphere, and yet it's back out on the surface in many forms. And it's alarming to many intellectuals who, I think, are the same kinds of people we're talking about who would have found Niebuhr a very intriguing and helpful figure 50 years ago.

MR. ELIE: There was a lot of religious strife in Niebuhr's time as well. And it's easy to forget that, to assume that his time was one in which established religion had a comfortable place in the public life. And religious figures could act without fear of reprisal, et cetera and so forth. The religion was deep, historically committed.


MR. ELIE: The religiosity of the South was such that H.L. Mencken could sneer at it in the Bible Belt. Roman Catholics at the time were so distrustful of the public school system that they refused to send their children to it.


MR. ELIE: Certainly, American Jews didn't suffer like the Jews of Europe, but this was not an altogether hospitable place for them. So my point is that in retrospect, it looks as though that was a solidly religious age, but these things are being contested in every age. And Niebuhr's gift was to not get stuck on that

It is one thing to take comfort in, while looking at all of that unappealing and awful history that while it was happening, the man who was calling it out, who was facing up to it was the most prominent figure in Protestant religion in the United States.   I don't think that's something you'll ever find with atheism or fundamentalism.   The religious failing of fundamentalism is that it is entirely harder on those outside of it than it is on its own basic institutions and its own proclaimed ideas.

Even this one program in the list has so much material that it would take a long series of posts to go over them, the multiple points of view included certainly better than one person's thinking on it.  I'd recommend reading the book mentioned and whatever else you can find, I have to say that listening to more of his sermons is something I'm going to try to do.  There is something great in getting a writers' voice in your mind even when reading things they never recorded.  I find it helps to understand what they said.

Here, from the program, is a section of a sermon which is seasonally appropriate.

Have you studied the history of our Puritan fathers in New England? I don't want to engage in the ordinary, rather cheap strictures against our Puritan fathers because there were some very great virtues and graces in their life. But I've become convinced as I read American history that this represents the real defect in our Puritan inheritance — the doctrine of special providence. These Puritan forefathers of ours were so sure that every rain and that every drought was connected with the virtue and vice of their enterprise, that God always had his hand upon them to reward them for their goodness and to punish them for their evil.

This is unfortunate. And it's particularly unfortunate when a religious community develops in the vast possibilities of America, where inevitably the proofs of God's favor will be greater than the proof of God's wrath. This may be the reason why we are so self-righteous. This may be the reason why we still haven't come to terms in an ultimate religious sense with the problem of the special favors that we enjoy as a nation against the other nations of the world.

Why Do You Bother? for 90

Because the bigotry of the materialists and atheists is to the supposed left what the bigotry of the racists and gay bashers is to the right.  Only, since it's more than 85% of the voting population the atheists hate on, they are even more of a political loser for the left.  And also because opposing lies and hate is a moral obligation. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Art Pepper Quintet - Pepper Returns

Art Pepper - Alto Sax
Jack Sheldon - Trumpet
Russ Freeman - Piano
Leroy Vinnegar - Bass
Shelly Manne - Drums

Update:  Pepper Pot 

Art Pepper, alto sax
Russ Freeman, piano
Ben Tucker, bass
Gary Frommer, drums

Update 2:   Val's Pal

"Old 100th"

Free Church of Scotland, Inverness

A long time ago someone hired me to do some work with one of the early editions of the Genevan Psalter, I don't remember which version and I rather foolishly didn't make a note of it.  It was the one that Claude Goudimel wrote the simple, strophic, chordal settings for, though Louis Bourgeois and, I seem to recall some others, wrote the hymn tunes he set.   They were meant for use in the home, sung by amateurs, as in the Reformed church all music was sung single-lined without accompaniment.  I'm not sure it's the case that those settings made Goudimel the most widely performed and enduring composer of his time, his settings being, it would seem, in continual publication for the practical use of people in the Reform movement and probably other Protestants from the time he published them until today.   They are definitely music for use, though they are quite beautiful, transcribing all 150 or so of them all at once can sort of make your mind glaze over.

Doing that you come to take pity on the altos and tenors whose parts often consisting of just a few notes repeated for long stretches were nowhere near as interesting as the soprano, to whom Goudimel gave the melody, instead of the previous practice of having the tenor sing it, a practice which became nearly universal in all Christian hymnody in ensuing centuries.  The tradition that reached its high point in Bach's chorale settings passed through Goudimel's settings.  And the bass parts tend to be interesting having the most leaps.  But it's apparent that Goudimel had some pity for the inner voices as he generally gave them any syncopation and suspensions to break up the monotony.

While the rhymed, metrical paraphrases of the psalms are a significant compromise and the melodies aren't what you might find in Gregorian chant or a more contrapuntal setting* would contain, just about all of them are in two note values, half and whole, sometimes written as quarter and half notes, they have their strong points.  There's something to envy in their meaning to people who grew up on them and who can sing them so well.   I have no idea how much of a place they hold in the Reform tradition as practiced today but I could think of no better introduction to part singing, advanced ear training in hearing vertical harmonies as well as reading single lines and for training a choir to sing in tune than pieces like these.  That was what I was hired to do with them.  

Claude Goudimel, who began his life as a composer writing Catholic church music as well as secular music, converted to the Reform movement and was one of the people martyred in Lyon in the infamous murders of French Protestants.   But that didn't keep Catholic composers such as Orlando di Lasso from being impressed with his settings, making use of some of that material, or so I read.  I've heard his music, especially his setting of the 100th Psalm sung during mass, something which I can  imagine might have caused a ruckus in previous centuries.   We don't need to carry those old animosities into the future, we can reconcile even if our ancestors couldn't.

*  I don't mean the recitation formulas of the Gregorian Psalm tones, which are quite similar in some ways.   And Goudimel wrote a lot of rather good music in contrapuntal style, as well.

Supply Belcher - An Anthem of Praise: Psalm 100 from The Harmony of Maine 1794

Oregon State University Choir
Conductor, Ron Jeffers


Full score to The Harmony of Maine

Supply Belcher not only has one of the most smile provoking and memorable names of the early American hymn writers. he is one of the more interesting to listen to now.  His rhythms might be thought of as interestingly innovative or, if you like what you're already used to, incompetent.  I like it.  And, if you didn't notice, he hailed from my state.

Update:  Charles Ives - Psalm 100 (1898-1899)

Chorus of the Radio-Symphony Orchestra of Stuttgart
Conductor, Friedemann Keck
The bell player is unidentified.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Hate Mail

Well, I'm convinced the real difference between a non-writer like me and a real writer pretty much boils down to whether or not you have an editor. 

And as for editing,  it was one of my first lessons in this endeavor that a man who acts as his own editor has a blogger for a client. 

Update:  Emeritus Simonyi chairholder for the Public Understanding of Science, Richard Dawkins, just can't stop making an ass of himself over that 14-year-old high school freshman and his clock project.  Now he's comparing a young geek who made a clock to a child soldier, I think it's rather ironic that some guy who hates Christianity so much has an inner Crusader who can't see a Muslim, no matter how obviously innocent,  without seeing a devil.  

But, then, a lot of us figured out that Richard Dawkins was a jerk 39 years ago

Update 2:  Geesh, is Duncan providing them with so little to work with that they're still proving they can't use a dictionary? They've really devolved since they said, "Frist".   

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Darwin's Band-Aid Ass Covering

This post should only be read after my post about the paragraph that preceded it in The Descent of Man is read, though you can read it after.  You won't understand many of the points I make unless you read both as well as passages I refer to in the same book.

I haven't forgotten that I promised to give a fuller treatment to the paragraph Charles Darwin's fans will always refer to while denying that he said what he said in the rest of his second major book dealing with his theory of Natural Selection as explaining evolution, The Descent of Man.   I say his fan club and staunch defenders will refer to it because I don't recall ever seeing them give the entire paragraph but, instead, they will cut it and clip it to distort what Darwin said in it.  And they never, that I've ever seen, refer to anything else Darwin said immediately before or shortly after this paragraph.   As the bulk of that long book, whenever anything impinging on Darwin's belief that the disabled, the economic underclass and members of many families and ethnic groups and even entire races of people, due to their inherent and inherited biological inferiority present a danger to their superiors in the human species.  That their survival to reproductive age and ability to have children and propagate their alleged biological inferiority due to the effects of human civilization pose a danger to their superiors and the children of their superiors and, in fact, the entire human species.  If you think that's an exaggeration, read the previous paragraph in the post linked to above.

I will give the "aid which we feel impelled to give" paragraph as Darwin published it, then I will point out why it is one of the most  hypocritical pieces of double talk in the history of science.   Oh, yes, science, this is in a book by one of the most lionized and even deified scientists in the history of science, a book which that scientist presented as science, citing other scientists, supporting their work as reliable, even great science, in some cases in order to bolster what he said.  And it was taken as reliable science in the succeeding generations, especially by the eugenicists who Darwin cited in that manner and who, in turn, cited Darwin's eugenic declarations to support their application of Darwinism in involuntarily sterilizing and, in fact, murdering people.  Not only eugenics came from natural selection, but the advocacy and practice of killing people deemed to be unfit and whose lives were of lesser worth when and "unfit for life", a concept which was not novel when the Nazis started talking that way.


The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil. Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely the weaker and inferior members of society not marrying so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased, though this is more to be hoped for than expected, by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage.

That is taken directly from the book, not in the clipped and curried form that it is generally found in sources trying to whitewash what Darwin said.

The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused.

The first thing to notice is that while Darwin, in the previous paragraph laying out his contention of the danger of the underclass and disabled surviving to reproduce, stated his case as hard science, based on reason, he attributes the impulse to give aid to those people to mere feelings.   Five words into the statement and Darwin is already discrediting what he's pretending to say in the paragraph.   

And he continues by asserting that feeling is an aspect of our biology and not one that is primary but is a mere "incidental result of the instinct of sympathy".   "Incidental" has two given meanings in the dictionary,  "being likely to ensue as a chance or minor consequence" and "occurring merely by chance or without intention or calculation".   So even the mere feeling "to give to the helpless" wasn't even an important or necessary feeling to have.   But he's not done with weakening what he's asserting and, also, decreasing the circle in which that feeling is legitimate.  He says that feeling to give to the helpless" "was originally acquired as part of the social instincts."  Quickly mentioning that Darwin has absolutely no data or observation that could support such a statement about the social lives of our ancestors as science, inventing it merely as an incidental result of his theory of Natural Selection, his conception of that is clearly limited in the range of who such aid is rationally given to.  He makes that clear when he claims that it was subsequently - subsequent to its origin in human biology - rendered "more widely diffused".   

Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature.

In other words, even though "HARD REASON" might urge us to resist giving help to the helpless, we can't resist it.  I think the history of human kind shows that we are pretty good at checking our sympathy, Darwin's Britain was, its idea of charity were the death camps that the work houses were, among things he mentions in the previous paragraph as a danger to humanity because it kept too many of the "weaker members" of the population alive long enough to have children.  If you don't believe that, read it at the link provided above.   The noblest of Brits and those in many other places had no problem with checking that and still thinking well of themselves and others thinking well of them.  Try reading some of the Fabian tracts by people like the Webbs and Karl Pearson if you want examples of that. 

If the importance of giving aid to the helpless hasn't already evaporated under that regime of undermining it, Darwin was hardly done.  Having already made it unimportant, as he pretends to insist that such help must be given, he makes the case that doing that is dangerous, and, in fact, courting disaster.

The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil.

Read that sentence over a few times and consider what it says.  "The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient;".  Well, yeah, if you've got a cancerous tumor you might have to go through a dangerous and drastic operation to try to save your life.  It's rather harder on the patient than it is on the surgeon, something which Darwin doesn't seem to consider.  I've known doctors who don't seem to realize that, either.  I'll get back to that in a second.  

He continues the sentence "but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could be only for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil."  What the hell is he saying? Since he is using the metaphor of a surgeon operating on a patient, causing pain and - in the age before antisepsis - putting the patient at grave risk,  comparing that to society if charitable aid is given to the the "helpless", it's necessary to figure out what parts of the two things compared correspond to each other.  

The surgeon is definitely the one who might or might not "intentionally neglect the weak and helpless,"  the one in a position to withhold actions that will have an effect.  They are also the ones who Darwin says are in a position to know what's good for whoever is getting or having potentially life saving measures withheld from them.  

But who's the patient? Who ultimately receives the ultimate benefit or risk?  In the case of aid given to the helpless, well, there is no risk to them.  They have the possibility of surviving, there isn't any down side of that for them.  They clearly aren't who corresponds to the patient from whom tissue is being taken in the surgeon metaphor.  Clearly, the patient under the surgeon is society or the human species, and not the entire human species but the ones who are not "helpless".   The helpless, in Darwin's metaphor are the tissue to be removed or the diseased or damage to be repaired by the surgeon.  The helpless are the source of the danger to the "patient" who is society in general and, ultimately, the human species.  They are the tumor or other tissue or pathology which if left as is endangers the life of the patient.  Presumably, if a tumor is to be understood, their children would be metastases.    

So that leaves us to consider the "contingent benefit" and the "certain and great present evil" in considering either giving aid to the helpless or withholding it.  The "certain and present evil" in the case of the helpless is, obviously, their further deprivation and death.  The "contingent benefit" is as plainly, Darwin's asserted hygienic effect of their death, their being removed from the body of the human species.  Don't forget, not fifty words earlier he was proposing that their death before the age of child bearing would be a great benefit for the entire species, again, look at the link given above.

I will note that in the previous paragraph, medical care of the "weaker members" of the human species, vaccination, are among the things he lists as perilous means of the "weaker members" not being cut out of he body of humanity.  That juxtaposition of medical care in these two paragraphs couldn't have been merely accidental.   Again, you don't have to take my word for it, you can read it yourself. 

No one with any knowledge of Britain in the time of Darwin could have any doubt but that the movers and shakers, those who ran society, those who Darwin would have known were his audience had no problem risking such "certain and great present evil" on behalf of the "weaker members" the "helpless" in order to bet on a "contingent benefit" to those who survived their elimination, especially themselves.   Given the laws in even all "civilised" nations, it was a sure bet.  

If that hypocritical, typically British aristocratic pose of charity were not enough, Darwin further undermines his pose of calling for "aid". 

Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; 

It really makes you feel for those guys, bearing without complaining the weak surviving.  And not only them but their children.  Anyone who believes there was no complaining about that has never read any of the literature of the British upper class, fiction and, even more so, their professed social welfare and law, the class who instituted the New Poor Law, the death camps which were the work houses, the same class who a generation or two before hanged beggars, even children for stealing a pittance during those wonderful years of the enlightenment.   And before that as monarchs as beloved of lore and BBC costume dramas as Elizabeth and her bloody father made being poor in England a crime, a homeless woman bearing a child in a parish not assigned to her punishable by severe and barbaric punishments.  The "socialists" in Britain loved to do things like cite the dangers of medical procedures such as cesarean section because it led to babies surviving and the mothers too (Karl Pearson) and the evils of the poor investing pennies in burial societies so that once they had so gratifyingly died their bodies would be given a dignified, if modest, burial.  Try reading the myriad of Fabian Pamphlets which can be found online for some real eye opening of cold, cruel, aristocratic British social welfare.   It's no wonder such alleged socialists are such a political turnoff. 

If there was one fact about the British upper class it is that they had little to no intention to bear the survival of the poor, the destitute, the disabled, surviving and having children without complaint and without taking cruel and drastic means to discourage their existence. That was all well established before Darwin gave them the excuse of an alleged peril their biological nature and survival presented to the entire body of the human species.   Those were his "undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind".   There was no reason to believe that the already barbaric and cruel means of discouraging the poor, especially those unfit for work in the British industrial system, those living in its urban and agricultural slum,  from continued life when they were unable to create wealth, would be intensified by such dire warnings about the danger of their children even being born. 

but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely the weaker and inferior members of society not marrying so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased, though this is more to be hoped for than expected, by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage.

Just what Darwin meant by this is made especially interesting by his son, George, writing an article calling for the mandatory, involuntary and permanent annulment of marriages if one of the spouses was judged mentally ill.  What did Darwin mean by a "check in steady action" if not something that would either restrict or discourage the "weak" from being able to marry?   Which is bizarre because Britain, as a result of the New Poor Law already had a disastrous situation in which men who fathered children out of wedlock were exempted from supporting the children they fathered.  Which had already led to an increase in infanticide, the murder of children under the "baby farming" industry which sprang up, something already splashed across the newspapers in sensational cases at the time Darwin wrote this.  It wasn't uncommon for children, so murdered, to be found wrapped in paper on the street all over Britain.  And that's only one aspect of the disaster that would come from preventing the poor, the "helpless" from marrying.   I don't know what Darwin imagined his audience would understand as the benefits that were "more to be hoped for than expected" from his dim, faint, barely glowing, not even flickering hope of avoiding disaster.   But he pretty well extinguished it as he said it was "more to be hoped for than expected".   Given what a stupid idea it was, maybe that was, for the first time in this hypocritical exercise in ass covering,  saying something like the truth.

Those were things the audience for Darwin's books knew from reading the British newspapers, following the current events of the Britain they shared with such observers as Charles Dickens.  That is essential to realize before you can really get an understanding of what that famous passage really means.  The reason that no one in the succeeding generations of Darwinists, the eugenicists, the so-called "Social Darwinists" - who were actually just Darwinists - and others up till today didn't take this paragraph seriously, at all.  It was Darwin giving himself the most transparent of ass covering when what he passed off as the most reliable of science was a moral atrocity which favored his family and his economic class at the expense of the helpless, the weak, those who could be considered by any dominant group as inherently and biologically and so, permanently inferior. 

I could go on, comparing this piece of nonsense to other passages in the book, the one not far on in the book in which he exempts even the "useless drones" bred by the aristocracy and the wealthy class in general from the impediments of Natural Selection in their far more lavish material wealth they inherit regardless of their fitness than what he says is a total disaster at sub-sustenance levels meted out to the "weaker members" the "helpless".  As I first noted seven years ago, no doubt the level of wealth which wasn't insalubrious to the wealthy - but which he identifies as a disaster for the poor and lame - -  no doubt included the income levels of the Darwins and Wedgewoods.   It is especially interesting in his case as he was a famous hypochondriac and valetudinarian who some modern students of Darwin suspected of chronic lactose intolerance but who, despite his own, perceived unfitness fathered a large family, two of whom died young.  But, the odd thing is, that the laws of science he so vehemently asserted as a necessary means of understanding the underclass, didn't seem to apply to him, his family, members of his class and those above them in the British Class System.  That was one of the more widespread and enduring aspects of Darwinian science. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

They will have to be dealt with appropriately, because otherwise, by natural selection, they would form the germ cell of a new Jewish revival.

In re-reading what I wrote this morning, I saw a mistake in one thing I said, I said that Natural Selection had never been used to recommend the murder of the Irish, that was not true because among the 11 million European Jews the Nazis planned on murdering the Jewish citizens of Ireland were among them.  Jewish-Irish being citizens of Ireland are as Irish as anyone whose name begins with an Mc.

In response to comments.

That Natural Selection was part of the thinking of the Nazis as they planned their genocide is undeniable as it was mentioned in the minutes to the Wannsee conference by Reinhard Heydrich, specifically in relation to the genocide of the Jews.  From the Jewish Virtual Library

One of Heydrich's subordinates, Adolf Eichmann, took minutes, thirty copies of which were evidently distributed among the participants and other interested parties in the following weeks. The only surviving copy, marked No. 16 out of 30, was found in March 1947 among German Foreign Office files by American War Crimes investigators. After that discovery, the minutes, or "Wannsee Protocol," rapidly attained postwar notoriety.

The document's resonance derived above all from the coldly bureaucratic clarity with which it articulated a pan-European plan of genocide. The minutes are summary rather than verbatim, so we cannot be sure of all that was said, but the principal element of the conference was evidently Heydrich's lengthy exposition of past, present, and future policies. Some parts of the minutes were shrouded in euphemism, as when Heydrich discussed what the Protocol refers to as "new possibilities in the East." A table slated 11 million European Jews, listed by country, for inclusion in these "possibilities." Because of such euphemisms, Holocaust deniers among others have claimed that murder was not on the agenda, but elsewhere the Protocol is unequivocal:

In large, single-sex labor columns, Jews fit to work will work their way eastwards constructing roads. Doubtless the large majority will be eliminated by natural causes. Any final remnant that survives will doubtless consist of the most resistant elements. They will have to be dealt with appropriately, because otherwise, by natural selection, they would form the germ cell of a new Jewish revival.

Elmo Hope All Star Sextet - On It

Donald Byrd - Trumpet
John Coltrane - Tenor Sax
Hank Mobley - Tenor Sax
Elmo Hope - Piano
Paul Chambers - Bass
Philly Joe Jones - Drums

I've been concentrating on less known jazz masters who so often played with those who would become better known.  Elmo Hope is another good example of those who aren't as famous today. That could be because of his early death at 43 or maybe because his style of music isn't as overtly virtuosic as many of those who became better known.   Like Billie Holiday he was a drug addict who had his cabaret license pulled by the police.  But what lasts are the recordings.  He played with the best.
I should post a warning that I'm off work all week long.  It's my experience that the week of Thanksgiving is one of the weirdest in blogging so anything could happen. I will post something substantial but usually things posted this week go largely unread so it's a reason to save it for the weeks after. 

In the mean time, MOP HEADS.  

Update:  Hey, it wasn't me who was a fan of Guy Lombardo,  it was that guy who Sims, apparently, considers a musical ignoramus,  Louis Armstrong.  

Louis Armstrong Loves Guy Lombardo
Elijah Wald

Louis Armstrong often referred to Guy Lombardo's Royal Canadians as his favorite band, but this fact is rarely cited and almost never pursued. Critics and historians who celebrate African American music tend to dismiss Lombardo's music as boring, mainstream pap, unworthy to be treated alongside the masterpieces of Armstrong or Duke Ellington. Thus, while celebrating Armstrong, they ignore his musical opinion—and that of the public, which made Lombardo's orchestra the most popular dance band not only of white America, but also at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom. How have such prejudices affected our views of the past? How has our understanding of black musicians been limited by an insistence that they fit modern definitions of hipness or authenticity?

I merely pointed that out to Simps, one time.  If I had to choose between Steve Simels and Louis Armstrong to influence my aesthetic development, I'd be a simp to not choose the greatest genius in the history of Jazz over, well, the Simp. 

Hate Mail - About "St. Darwin"

I got more complaints about me sarcastically calling ol' Chuck, "St. Charles Darwin".   There are obvious reasons I've started doing that, the irony of his place in the pantheon of atheism, foremost. Another is that there is no such title for what he really is to them, a god, not unlike the Roman Cesar-gods, a figure to whom we are to give worship and praise even as we ignore the real man and his real place in history.   In the absence of such a title denoting deity, St. will have to do.   Doing so is not out of keeping with what the man himself and his inner circle did during his life time, constructing a sanctified public persona, complete with personal mythology, for him.  Thomas Huxley was his ruthless publicity agent, one worthy of a Hollywood movie containing one.  He and Francis Galton planned Darwin's epic funeral, an affair which sounds like it could have rivaled a royal funeral, and his entombment, ironically, in the same cathedral in which they crown and marry those inbred folk. That is where they put the mortal remains of saints, after all.  And it worked.  Richard Feynman might have snarked about the status given the papacy but it's summer stock compared to the promotion machine of the Darwin industry.

I have also gotten more requests to go into more detail over the position of Darwinism in neo-Nazism, which I will do but which is some of the most repulsive research I've ever done.  I must say that considering the position Darwin's Natural Selection has played and still does in Nazi antisemitism and the desire to commit racial genocide, that the people who they hope to murder would seem have more of an incentive to look critically at the far from secure nature of that dogma than they have.  While Darwin, quoting the flaming bigot and eugenicist W. R. Greg, dissed the Irish and obviously gave their fellow bigots fodder for their efforts (it was the day of "No Irish" signs) no one ever, so far as I can see, used Natural Selection as a reason for our extermination.   

If the reason that those who are the targets of neo-Darwinism haven't questioned the dogma of Natural Selection is fear of being considered low-class and unrespectable, that's nothing compared to what could and has happened.   People, many in those named groups, were involuntarily cut off from having children, confined and, yes, killed on the basis of Natural Selection.   There is nothing that would prevent that from happening again as long as the theory behind that maintains the status it has as scientific fact.  The existence of William L. Pierce and his surviving cult prove that.  We are, in 2015, the kind of country in which Donald Trump is being taken seriously as a possible presidential candidate.  I don't think something like that was true of Germany in even the early  1920s.  We have had Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush in office.  Our politics are hardly Nazi proof. 

There is no rational reason for people marked by Darwin, Haeckel, etc. in a chain of bigots up till today as inherently and eternally inferior due to our ethnic heritage to just accept that the alleged science they used to do it is unquestionable.  As I pointed out, there are Irish name people in biology and elsewhere who, unaware of Darwin putting his own unremovable mark of Cain on us, are some of his great enthusiasts.    There are people whose great-great etc. grandparents were among those whose progeny Darwin warned against as an almost certain catastrophe for the human race if not stopped from having children, who rose in income, studied science and imbibed the Darwin industry, eugenics-free Darwin unaware that if he'd had his way, they wouldn't be here because their parents wouldn't be here. Somehow, they never bothered to read him and those whose science he promoted.

Update:  Typical of a British gentleman's son of the upper class, Darwin included the British poor as among those whose ability to have children was considered to carry the unremediable and permanent danger of dysgenisis in the human population.  It wasn't merely members of ethnic groups, those unnamed but alluded to as "savages" and some named groups who he considered to be inescapably marked as those whose culling from the population would have beneficial effects for succeeding generations.  Any of those people who rose and went to universities and became full fleged members of the intellectual class are the ones I'm talking about whose ability to ascend was denied by Darwin and who, if Darwin's scientific views became law, as they did in places like the United States, Canada and Germany, might not be around today to become members of the Darwin fan club, members who, like most of them, have never read The Descent of Man or considered that it was their great-great grandparents who he was talking about in those passages.

Update 2:  I have absolutely no idea who most of the people who read my blog are, I do know that several hundred people read it every week if not every day.  If your accusation is correct and they're all creationists, I can't say that I consider it to be a problem.  If they want to read what is said here, maybe they'll learn that they don't have as much to fear from real liberals as they're led to by the atheist pseudo-liberals.   I can say that as I've read more deeply into the Bible, especially the Jewish scriptures that I've become entirely more liberal than I ever was as an agnostic.  I do think that a conservative who took what Jesus said seriously would be hard pressed to avoid becoming more liberal in the traditional American meaning of that word than an atheist who mocked what he said and the Jewish scriptures he built on.   The profound Jewish nature of Christianity is another thing I've learned from reading more deeply into the scriptures in the past three years.  Jesus was a Jew, as I mentioned, he was murdered as a Jew, with a sign put over him, his death couldn't be more strikingly like the murders of his fellow Jews in the 20th or, for that matter the 13th centuries, than if he'd been forced to wear a yellow star of David.

If any evangelical or fundamentalist or creationist reads me saying that seriously considers it, I'm not unhappy to have written it.   They have the same right to my consideration as anyone else who does me the honor of reading what I write. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Paul Chambers Sextet - We Six

Donald Byrd - Trumpet
John Coltrane - Tenor Sax
Horace Silver - Piano
Kenny Burrell - Guitar
Paul Chambers - Bass
Philly Joe Jones - Drums

Hate Mail

No, I'm not going to put up some kind of dopey trigger warning message that I've posted a piece composed with 12-tone procedures.  It's not up to me to decide for you that you're not going to like a piece of music before you've heard it.  You didn't put a trigger warning on your comment that I wasn't going to like it before I read it.  And if you think I'm going to stop posting material because someone won't like it, well, eventually that will happen, the time that happens will be called "death".  

Is the present group of adults under the age of 40 so lazy that they can't figure out for themselves that they're going to not like something but need to be instructed, before hand that they won't?   Grow up, if you're so delicate that you can't listen to a piece of music you're going to turn out not to like without psychic damage you belong in custodial care, not adulthood. 

Come to think of it, that's pretty much how fashion works, isn't it, people being told what to like and what not to like, pop "culture" pretty much all works that way, doesn't it.  Well, I don't care if you don't like it, I like it. 

Why You Should Read Niebuhr

Instead of writing a piece of my own today, I'm going to encourage you to listen to or read the lecture given by Andrew Bacevich, linked to in last evening's post.   Here is such a powerful excerpt from what he said.

"No one sings odes to liberty as the final end of life with greater fervor than Americans," Niebuhr once observed. Yet it might also be said that no one shows less interest in discerning the true meaning of liberty than do Americans. Although I would not want to sell my countrymen short — the United States has in past demonstrated a remarkable ability to weather crises and recover from adversity — I see little evidence today of interest in undertaking a critical assessment of our way of life, which would necessarily entail something akin to a sweeping cultural reformation.

Certainly, President Bush will not promote such a self-assessment. Nor will any of the leading candidates vying to succeed him. The political elite, the governing class, the Washington Party — call it what you will — there is little likelihood of a Great Awakening starting from the top. We can only hope that before too many further catastrophes befall us fortuitous circumstances will bring about what Niebuhr referred to as "the ironic triumph of the wisdom of common sense over the foolishness of its wise men."

In the meantime, we should recall the warning with which Niebuhr concluded The Irony of American History. Should the United States perish, the prophet wrote, the ruthlessness of the foe would be only the secondary cause of the disaster. The primary cause would be that the strength of a giant nation was directed by eyes too blind to see all the hazards of the struggle; and the blindness would be induced not by some accident of nature or history but by hatred and vainglory.

Change each "would be" to "was" and you have an inscription well-suited for the memorial that will no doubt be erected one day in Washington honoring those who sacrificed their lives in Iraq.

I will note that the quotation he begins with in in Reinhold Niebuhr's book, The Irony of American History.  Bacevich used what Niebuhr said, during the Bush II years to foresee the nature of the presidential campaigns and one of the aspects of the Obama administration he couldn't have foreseen which would turn such promise into a pathetic mess.   Our politicians and their campaigns don't dare to tell the truth to the voters because TV and the media have so debased our thinking that we can't accept anything other than a narrative that ultimately idolizes the Unites States as a congratulatory myth and which makes the military sacrosanct instead of what an honest view of them and the morality of the tasks which they are assigned by the corporate leadership.  I say corporate because they aren't civilian anymore because their goals aren't civic goals but those of the corporate class which funds their careers, which they hope to join on their retirement.

Note, again, that when Andrew Bacevich talked about the memorial to those who sacrificed their lives in Iraq that will be erected in Washington, he knew his son's name could well be on that memorial.  The courage to state, so plainly, what the military was assigned to do in Iraq under those circumstances is worthy of the highest respect.