Saturday, January 28, 2017

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Alan Archbold - Testimony

Andrew Bennett, Michael
Cathy Belton, Sandra

A two-hander about suspicion in the face of uncertainty and how it alters relationships, how love and family loyalty can keep you from even knowing if you're facing the truth.   Even acquittal doesn't settle it. 

Note:  You'll have to download the mp3 to hear it.  I don't particularly like that but Raidió Teilifís Éireann posts them like that.  

Why Some, Not All, Atheists Go Nine Bubbles Out Of Level And Give Crap Advice 'yeah, It's Hate Mail

It is one of the most astonishing things I've found in the going on two decades of reading people's unedited thinking online just now clueless so many of the biggest sci-rangers are when it comes to even basic math.  It also is shocking about how many political types are so clueless about the fact that in order to win an election you need votes in raw numbers that are then expressed in percentages, And the third absolute fact, if you are a Democrat, these days, you need even more, more votes because the Constitution, the Supreme Court and so many state governments have rigged things in favor of Republicans.   It would seem, from reading some current and once eminent bloggers that such basic realities go out the window when the topic is the politics of religion.

There really isn't any way to know how many members there are of a group which doesn't keep track of its membership, not to mention groups that are not groups but are defined as such by sociologists. A figure I've seen used for atheists is that there are about 9,886,000 atheists in the United States - though the percentage figures you always see are hardly reliable.  In fact if you really care about accuracy, they aren't reliable at all.   According to one of the groups whose statistics are often cited, Pew, there are some interesting "facts" about atheists, one of which is 

8% of those who call themselves atheists also say they believe in God or a universal spirit. Indeed, 2% say they are “absolutely certain” about the existence of God or a universal spirit. Alternatively, there are many people who fit the dictionary definition of “atheist” but do not call themselves atheists. About three times as many Americans say they do not believe in God or a universal spirit (9%) as say they are atheists (3%).

I have seen other numbers from other organizations that lead me to believe that the number of atheists is, to a large extent, a matter of manipulation of survey questions.  Looking at the methodology of some of them would lead me to suspect that the actual number might be less than one percent, some others, as high as six percent, though I think both are as much a product of the manipulation of questioning, seeking a result by those conducting the alleged research.    

But, also, like all surveys of this type, any particular datum you include in your data, is only as good as the understanding, the competence, the honesty and the earnestness of the person who was asked to provide it.  There is no way to test the responses for their truth, accuracy or understanding of the question, that is left to being a matter of faith and what the analysis throws out in a way to rig the results.  All survey results will include data which will range from totally unreliable to somewhat more reliable, perhaps.  

And don't leave out that practice of just throwing out data you don't like.  What do you do about someone who claims to be an atheist but who is "absolutely certain" about the existence of God or a universal spirit" or about someone who doesn't believe in God but who will not call themself an atheist?  And if you just throw those responses out you aren't clarifying anything about the actual composite religious nature of the American People*.  Claiming that someone who, when given the chance, refuses to self-identify as an atheist is an atheist would only add another layer to the dishonesty of the entire enterprise of gathering such data, substituting the opinion of the surveyors for that of the people whose honest reports they are allegedly relying on. 

I have written about the phony, ideologically created group "Nones" as a means of confusing people into thinking there are more atheists in the United States than there are, but it - against all logic and all practice of accurate definition - tosses together any number of dissimilar people, believers, non-believers, people who pretend to not have made up their minds, etc.  Believers, in the breakdowns of the "Nones" tend to be far more in number than the non-believers or the "agnostics" who call themselves that.  Though I wouldn't trust the surveyors who resort to that atheist propaganda dodge to have nearly uniform means of generating their data or defining it or shoving them into that category.

Religious groups which do keep track of membership at least can tell you if someone has been a member of their church so at least those numbers are probably somewhat more reliable.  Some keep better records than others.   

In order to avoid having to continually use qualifiers because I really don't believe their survey results, I'm going to state that I'll pretend for what follows that those are reliable.  Though I want to make it clear that I don't buy them for a second. 

Anyway, the fact is that 85% of the presumed 3.1% of  American Voters identified as atheists who are reported as voting for Hillary Clinton, make up a far smaller number of people than the combined members of religious denominations who voted for Hillary Clinton both in total numbers, going from the religious denominations who gave her the least percentage of their reported votes (just under one fifth of Mormons) to the most (African Methodist Episcopalians, 92%) that number of voters is certainly not a group which Democrats can afford to ignore, not even to please such atheists as Duncan Black and Kevin Drum.  Advocating the position they did is absolutely sheer stupidity.  Given that the number of religious voters is about the largest sub-set of all voters, it would make more sense in sheer term of trying to win an election to leave one of the genders out of the discussion.  It certainly would make more sense to leave out those atheists and agnostics who advocate such stupidity.  And I do know for a fact that they don't speak for all atheists.  I doubt Barney Frank would say such a stupid thing about politics and I know my former state legislator who knew how to count votes wouldn't.  If you think I've been hard on them, he'd be likely to dope slap them.  He's had to try to win election instead of just tapping a keyboard about politics. 

*  Such composite entities don't really exist, they are a mythical creation of such pseudo-science as sociology is made of. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Andrew Hill - Dusk

Andrew Hill: piano
Ron Horton: trumpet
Greg Tardy: tenor saxophone, clarinet, flute
Marty Ehrlich: alto saxophone
Scott Colley: bass
Billy Drummond: drums

The Fait Accompli Against America

If you haven't had enough fright in you week, I'd recommend you read the e-mails of Philip Roth in the latest New Yorker on the Trump regime, especially what he has to say about the similarities and differences between the Trump regime and his novel, "The Plot Against America".  I hadn't thought about it but it does look prophetic but no more than a lot of other things dealing with the possibility that America could have taken the turn in the 1930s that it certainly has in 2017.   

It occurred to me this morning that it is exactly a century after Russia and what became the Soviet Union started its horrific experiment in dictatorial utopia only to have it turn, almost immediately into a dystopia of, till then, unprecedented bloodshed, oppression, slavery and, most of all LIES.  And it is the neo-Soviet-neo-Nazi Putin who - you have to give it to him in is pure evil - used every opportunity given to him by the American Constitution, the American political system, the American judiciary, the American media, American corporations, an American psychopath tycoon, and the American free-speech industry to install his puppet to rule us with a cast of his brats, his crime-family son-in-law and some of the most evil pirates produced by the American economic elite.  

It might be asked if our nightmare will last as long as the Soviet one did, only, fooled us again, it's still on.
Simps, when it's observations on The Archies or 1910 Fruitgum Company that I want I'll ask you first.  Until then, you don't know what you're talking about. 

An illustrious critic from Queens, 
Of music for pimple faced-tweens,
On Bartok waxed petulant,
Or rather spoke flatulence,
As wise as a pig fed soy beans.

Bela Bartók - Piano Concerto No 1, Sz 83

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, piano
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Vladimir Jurowski, conductor

Atheists Can't Count Votes

I generally read Kevin Drum's blog at Mother Jones Magazine and I generally agree with what he said and I generally like him, though, as can be seen in my archives, I also think he can be, as my father used to say,  "full of soup".  Especially those posts of a quasi-atheist-peudo-skeptical character.  I seldom read Atrios, aka Duncan Black, mostly because he hardly writes anymore but also because when he does, it's generally pointless.  Put the two together and you get one of Kevin Drum's blog posts that I think is full of soup.  It's short so I'll quote the whole thing.

Atrios writes:

"At least with the election of Trump we don't have numerous think pieces (and sweet sweet consulting cash) about how Democrats just need to pretend to love Jesus more.

I always thought that stuff was wrong politically, but also really offensive to actual religious people (I am not one). Just hit the love Jesus button often enough and the rubes will believe you.

True enough. For the moment, working-class whites have replaced religious folks as the iconic group that everyone thinks Democrats need to reach out to."

[Kevin Drum continues]

But it actually goes further than this. One of the things Donald Trump taught us last year is the ultimate hollowness of the Christian right. Trump is the most obviously unreligious person to run for president in—well, probably forever. He doesn't go to church. He hasn't read the Bible. His lifestyle would make Hugh Hefner blush. He doesn't pray. He doesn't ask forgiveness from God for his sins. He's not born again. There is literally nothing in his 70 years on this earth that suggests he's anything but a stone atheist.

But that didn't matter. All he had to do was make a few awkward and obviously fake protestations of faith, and that was that. His insincerity was palpable to anyone paying the slightest attention, but everyone decided not to pay attention. As long as he mouthed the right words, everything was fine.

The Christian right has never been about actual faith. Like any other interest group, they just want what they want: abortion restrictions, money for private schools, opposition to gays, and so forth. As long as you're on board, they don't care what's in your heart. They never have, and that's why the suggestion that Democrats need to be more publicly devout has always been so misguided. Faith doesn't matter. Empathy for people of faith doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is supporting the Christian right's retrograde social views, and Democrats were never going to do that.

I wrote on this several times after the election, especially on the figures then being tossed around by the Pew organization.  And wouldn't you know it, I wrote it in response to some of the members of Atrios' idea of an Athenaeum

Among other things I pointed out that some of the largest denominations in the United States which had a majority of its members who voted for Trump ALSO HAD A SIGNIFICANT PERCENTAGE OF ITS MEMBERS WHO VOTED FOR CLINTON.  Since a combination of such denominations as the Southern Baptists, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, The United Methodist Church, The Presbyterian Church in America - which had a Clinton vote of from 24% to 35% not to mention all of those which Pew showed as having a higher percentage who voted for Clinton as opposed to Trump ALL OF THEM HAVING A SIGNIFICANT BUT SMALLER PERCENTAGE WHO VOTED FOR SOMEONE ELSE THAT ADDS UP TO A VERY LARGE NUMBER OF VOTES WHICH DEMOCRATS CAN RETAIN AND BUILD ON,

It's a matter of figuring out actual numbers on the basis of percent of the totals and comparing them.  And, I will point out that neither atheists nor agnostics in their relatively tiny numbers voted for Clinton uniformly.  Trump got 15% of the atheist vote and 21% of the agnostic vote according to Pew.   If you want to throw in the phony category of "Nones" he got 26% of their vote, A HIGHER PERCENTAGE THAN CLINTON GOT FROM MANY OF THE MOST CONSERVATIVE "EVANGELICAL OR CONSERVATIVE" GROUPS,   EVEN THE MORMONS, gave her roughly a fifth of their votes.

It's astonishing to me that someone with a PhD in economics and a journalist sci-geek type like Drum could be so entirely clueless as to not understand that to ignore religious voters to satisfy the tiny number of anti-religious and atheist voters is mathematical incompetence that I'd expect a clever fifth-grader to be able to see.  That and the idea that in order to win an election you have to get more votes, in the case of Democrats under the neo-Jim Crow set up by Republicans, the Republican Supreme Court and facilitated by the anti-democratic founders,  you have to get even more, more votes.


This Should Be Our National Bird After Trump's Sons Have Auctioned Off The "Right" To ShootThe Last Eagle

Image result for the headless chicken

Mike The Headless Chicken 

Or maybe they could make the shade of Ben Franklin happy and make a headless turkey, go for the Founders fetish that's all the rage on Broadway. . 

Not Exactly Hate Mail - The Brain-Dead "Brain-Only" Mind Model Is A Muddle

Someone writes "I had never thought about the problem of how our brains could know what to make if ideas have to be a product of physical structures in our brains".  They continue, "I don't know if they will find an answer to that in the future so I'm not ready to say that our minds and our brains aren't the same thing".   To which I'll say,  I'm glad to have helped bring you as far as that, considering it might be an open question instead of the rigid dogma of atheist-materialism but I really do think that it's an obviously unsolvable problem for materialism because it can't be made to make sense within the framing of materialist ideology.  I would also call your attention to the enormous mountain of nonredeemable promissory notes to be paid in some ever more distant, ever more unspecified future that the cathedral of materialism rests on.

There are two choices.

Either our thoughts are an epiphenomenon of physical processes but, then the brain would have to make just the right structure to contain the information that is the content of an idea before the brain made the physical structure to "be" that idea.  In which case there is no way to account for the brain building the right idea to have something other than merely accidental content and couldn't match the actual, real-time experience of thinking and learning in real time,   Every proposal I've gotten from materialists to get round that runs smack dab into such impossibilities that it cannot get over*.

Or ideas would have to have a non-physical character which would have to be present in the brain in without any physical substrate in order to inform the brain that it needed to make something and what it was to make, not to mention how it was to make it.  Such a non-physical idea  would have to - somehow - interact with the material in the brain causing it to do what it would have to do.  In that case the materialist "brain only" ideologue would have two problems, that the idea is immaterial but very real or the same problem they debunk Cartesian dualism with, of how a non material entity can interact with the material of the brain.

I will say that it seems to me the second one is far more obviously plausible but it contains requirements that invalidate the materialism that is the only real motivation of the "brain-only" materialist pseudo-science generated to substitute for actual evidence.  I think it's far more likely that our minds are not the product of physical structures but are immaterial, and as such do not have the same limits that the physical realm are defined by.  Such an immaterial mind would not be explicable by any analogies in the physical realm because its limits would have to, then, define it as physical and I think it's pretty clear that isn't plausible in materialist terms.

Recently I've begun to wonder how much our thinking about minds is based on illusions of clarity instead of actual reality.  I think most of that is a mere habit of thought based in authoritative statements that con-artists of the past, like Freud, got people in universities to go along with.  The division of our minds into "conscious" and "subconscious" might be no more than what our minds do that are dependent on verbal articulation or are susceptible to description or manipulation by verbal articulation and to mistake those as, somehow, separable from the rest of what our minds are and do.  The very term "subconscious" is burdened with implications of inferiority to the so-called "conscious" part of our experience which we can articulate and manipulate logically.  It might be a difference between what our minds do to facilitate our physical life in the physical universe and what of our minds is not necessarily concerned with that, in which case you could just as easily call it the "transcendent" aspect of our minds instead of "subconscious".  I think art, the real thing not mere time wasting, might be a means of accessing at least some of that transcendent quality of our minds. You would also have to account for how such a partitioned mind would have any knowledge of the "unconscious" mind being able to inform the "conscious" mind.  I will point out that Freud's model has more problems in it than the Trinitarian idea of God in that God is defined as not being limited by our understanding and is certainly not a material object subject to the limits that define material objects.

Of course, none of this is science, I don't think real science can be done concerning our minds because I don't believe our minds are material objects.  If that makes someone feel uneasy or angry, that's just too bad.   Science can only really deal with very simple aspects of physical objects that can be generalized and it's not entirely successful at that.  Scientists aren't even especially good at determining what can and what can't be successfully treated with the methods of science.  But that will get me started on the pseudo-sciences allegedly dealing with human psychology, sociology and, more ridiculously, still, the minds of animals.  I'll start buying some of that when animals can articulate their thinking about their own experiences of thought.  Unless they know something we don't, even that wouldn't tell us more than either ancient or modern pseudo-science.

* I'll list some of those, again, if I have to but the list is a long one and tend to expose the magical thinking that atheists ubiquitously engage in even as they deny they do that.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Andrew Hill: Ashes

Greg Osby, Alto Saxophone:
Andrew Hill, Piano
Jim Hall, Guitar
Gary Thomas, Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Alto Flute
Scott Colley, Bass
Terri Lyne Carrington, drums

Update Ball Square

Andrew Hill,piano
Rufus Reid, bass
Ben Riley, drums

Thank You Samantha Bee I Really Needed That

First, it's obvious that someone at the Army Band took advantage of the widespread ignorance of thet title of the Sousa march used for the Theme of Monty Python.  I know what it is but I don't want to say it because I have a feeling they're going to want to show what they really think about the incoming administration by foisting it on the planners again.  Oh, and for the record, as I recall it was a Marine band that pulled the same trick on the Clinton people in 1993.  Otherwise, it almost makes me wish I'd watched the horrific concert reviewed in this clip.

Toby Keith really went with a song advocating lynching!   If I were the kind of person who said OMG!  I'd have said OMG!  Only I'd have followed it with a plea to strike the bastard down with a bolt of lightening, to burn the neo-Nazi altar and the entire priesthood of anti-Christ worshipers.   Natalie Maines said it best a long time ago.

Image result for dixie chicks t-shirt futk''

Oh, and I've been looking into the murders of the Putin regime to get some ideas of what we can expect to happen.  Reading this terrifying piece by the great saint of real journalism and democracy, the martyred Anna Politkovskaya,  Samantha, you should always prepare your own thermos and lunch and don't let them out of your sight even for a few seconds.  I don't think I can get through this without you.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

How the Media Needs to Respond to Trump Now

Let's see how much responsibility or bravery the media shows in this crisis in democracy. My guess is they'll show themselves to be irresponsible, amoral enablers of fascism.   I'd love to be wrong about it, let's see if they prove me wrong.

I predict that the Trumpzis or their sponsor, Putin, will mount a Reichstag Fire incident to try to take absolute control.  If you think Americans are not vulnerable to being duped into abandoning democracy the same way Germans were when their bizarre, irresponsible, dangerous head of state and his gang of pirates and thugs set fire to the Reichstag to do, just that,  we're not safe from that.

As Promised Or, Perhaps Threatened: checkercycle vs diceyriley

Now that's a game.  And, you know, I like all of them so I don't care who wins, though I wouldn't spend money or hours of time watching it and I don't figure any of them are entitled to abuse women or get away with being obnoxious.

Short Answer To Long Hate Mail

Anyone who believes that our minds are the product of material causation, that our minds are the same thing as our brains, that our ideas are the epiphenomina of the chemistry and physics in our neurons is, literally and by their own definition, a MEAT HEAD. 

Hate Update: Perhaps if requested I'll repost that bit of comment threadage I've been sent where such meat heads as Tlaz prove my point. Till then you'll have to take my word for it.   I really hope no human or animal life depends on whatever it is they do at that lab where she allegedly works as she gossips at Duncan's Daycare for Aging Atheists because I doubt they're that bright if they hired her. 

I'm A Thought Criminal Did You Think I Wouldn't Diss Football?

First, people get killed playing American football, they sustain long term and sometimes terminal brain damage, permanent injury and, lest anyone not notice THEY ALSO INTENTIONALLY DO WHAT KILLS, PARALYZES, CAUSES DEMENTIA, ETC.  American football, kills the body AND THE SOUL.  The audience participates in that slow motion homicide, they are an integral part of it. There is no way to honestly ignore or deny those aspects of football, if you do ignore or deny them, you are lying in a way that covers up obvious immorality.  As a nominal Catholic, it disgusted me when a relative told me the priest included praying for the friggin' Patriots to win in his sermon on Sunday, it disgusts me that such great Catholic universities and colleges as Notre Dame and Boston College are football factories.  You wonder how their graduates could be so superficial as to value football more than the education those places provide.  But, then, friggin' Cardinal Dolan gave his clueless "grasping what pleases you" prayer at the installation of the "grab her pussy" American Mussolini the other day, too.  But don't get me started on the low quality of the bishops and cardinals named by John Paul II and Benedict XVI.  The American ones are some of the worst, there has never been a worse collection in the US Catholic Conference of Bishops than in the wake of those two popes.

On a less important but still important level, I have never had anyone be able to explain to me why I should care that a bunch of guys or gals is able to get a ball to the end of a field past the people who are trying to stop them.  No one has ever been able to explain why I should be happy that half of the people doing that fail to do it more often than the ones who win, no one has ever been able to tell me why I should feel happy about half of the people watching being unhappy and half of the people watching the stupid carnage are happy about such an awful thing.   And that's not even getting to the repulsive immorality that goes along with it, the misogyny, the sense of entitlement, the more generalized violence it encourages, etc.

Other games at least theoretically lack the worst features of American football.  Hockey's violence isn't intrinsic to the game, Basketball can be played without any violence.  Baseball injuries from getting hit by a ball or from slamming into someone are not intrinsic to the game.  But a lot of the other problems, especially those involving macho posturing and deification are.  And no one has been able to tell me why I should care who wins those either.

And, really, is there anything more attention deficiency producing than watching American football? At least soccer and basketball they keep moving.  Even baseball which you have to pay attention to is less of a chore to watch.  I think if they didn't wear those raunchy spandex pants they wouldn't get much of an audience.  As one of my gay friends said to me when I said I couldn't believe he could watch the stuff,  "It's all about ass".  Um,  no thanks.  I'm not an ass man, myself.
I wonder, going on five days into the Trump regime, how many of those people on the play left who said that Trump would be better than Hillary Clinton still think so.  I say that in view of how with his green lighting of the oil pipeline, his gag order on federal agencies, blocking them from perforning their vital public information functions, the attacks on the ACA, the attacks on the very idea of the truth, it's clear that Trump, his brats, his crime-family son-in-law, his neo-fascist staffers, etc. are hell bent on destroying not only the Democratic legacy of the past century but are also destroying many of the advances made by Republicans.  I'd say that they are intent on returning to the United States to a hellish version of some of the worst of the 19th century but I'm afraid that they're probably intent on doing far worse, bringing us to places this country was saved from going in the 1930s.   I doubt anything is going to be undamaged from the Trump-Ryan-McConnell-Roberts regime which has control of this country for at least the next two or four or who knows how many years. 

So, I can't keep myself from saying, Susan Sarandon, enjoy.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Notice:  I'm having a lot of eye trouble and probably need new glasses.  Sorry for the worse than mediocre editing, please, don't think I don't know that verbs and subjects have to agree in number and any number of other lapses in editing that is a result of my not being able to see what I'm writing, sometimes. 

Dusan Bogdanovic - Omar's Fancy

Again, the guitarist isn't named

Susan Collins Is Just As Bad As All Of The Other Republican Snake Oil Shills And She Adds A Massive Amount of Hypocrisy To It

So, what symptom of criminal insanity has Trump revealed since I last looked?   Which Republican Senator has given him or one of his nominated pirates their support?  

Susan Collins, the shame of Maine before Paul LePage became THE SHAME OF MAINE with her endorsement, has a con-job, smoke-screen, fig-leaf alleged replacement for the Affordable Care Act up, along with another con-artist cum Senator from Louisiana.  One of its major cons is giving states the option of setting up the Affordable Care Act system (or a phony imitation of that) on a state by state basis.  If you're not paying attention, I noted that the two Senator con-artists running this shell game come from the "die faster, poor people, state of Lousiana"  the other comes from the state that has been under the dead weight of Paul LePage for the past six years.   

One of our Republican friendly Maine news programs tried to get the LePage administration to sign on to such a state ACA system, the last I heard they hadn't responded.  I will point out that under LePage the option to insure the poor and destitute under Medicaid was never enacted, thanks to Chief Injustice John Roberts and his fellow Republican-fascists on the court.   I'm sure that if Susan Collins con job came into law and some state tried to use it to expand Medicaid (as if that will survive the Paul Ryan-Mitch McConnell Congress) that the Supreme Court, reinforced on the neo-Nazi end by Trump's nominee would say that it was unconstitutional, as well.  

Susan Collins is rumored to want to be governor of Maine and, with the idiotic ballot access laws we have, I'm sure the Republicans can arrange another millionaire spoiler to put that piece of slime in the Blaine House.  That would be Blaine as in the slogan from his presidential campaign of  1884, “Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine, the continental liar from the state of Maine, 'Burn this letter!"*.   Susan Collins, with this latest dodge, deserves a slogan as notorious as that one.  

* A notorious crook and influence peddler during his time as a Senator, he would often include the instruction "Burn this letter," in his business correspondence.   His mansion is the governor's mansion in Maine. 

Hate Mail - The Longer I Think About What Is Claimed For Natural Selection The More Like A Delusion It Seems To Me

I wrote a piece a long time ago in which I called what is proposed to constitute Natural Selection "The Mother of All N-Factorial Problems".   A lot of your accusations and claims were answered in that post.   I've dealt with issues of natural selection any number of times since then.  A day or two before I wrote that one, I wrote one in which I quoted Richard Lewontin pointing out that the difficulties in even observing and measuring proposed selective forces made those two most basic, crucial steps which cannot be left out impossible.    He admitted that any story or scenario about those alleged forces could not be put to a test.  Unlike many who make up those stories and believe and claim and sucker even college grads into believing they've done science, Richard Lewontin certain knows better.   I underlined what I thought was most important about that for my argument.

It is not only in the investigation of human society that the truth is sometimes unavailable.  Natural scientists, in their overweening pride, have come to believe that eventually everything we want to know will be known.  But that is not true.  For some things there is simply not world enough and time.  It may be, given the necessary constraints on time and resources available to the natural sciences, that we will never have more than a rudimentary understanding of the central nervous system.  For other things, especially in biology where so many of the multitude of forces operating are individually so weak, no conceivable technique of observation can measure them.  In evolutionary biology, for example, there is no possibility of measuring the selective forces operating on most genes because those forces are so weak, yet the eventual evolution of the organisms is governed by them.  Worse, there is no way to confirm or reject stories about the selective forces that operated in the past to bring traits to their present state, no matter how strong those forces were.  Over and over, in these essays reproduced here, I have tried to give an impression of the limitations on the possibility of our knowledge.  Science is a social activity carried out by a remarkable, but by no means omnipotent species.  Even the Olympians were limited in their powers. 

Which would take many, I would now say virtually all, if not all alleged scenarios of natural selection outside of the realm of real science.  If you can't really observe or measure some proposed "trait" if they are too subtle or too anything to remove them from the very methodology of science,  if the problems involved makes it impossible for you to really test proposed ideas about them, in reality, not in Just-so fiction, then that makes all of that definitively NOT science.  I think even calling it "lore" which is often based in habitual, sometimes even careful observation, is more than most of it deserves,   Did you read my analysis of one of the most famous of those?

I think natural selection is most likely a delusion, an imposition of an all too artificial and all too humanly invented economic order*  on all of the unknown lives and events in the forever invisible past which constitutes the real "thing" we have called evolution.  My thinking doesn't deny that evolution is a fact, which I think it is.  My thinking denies that squeezing such an incredibly large, detailed, unobservable, unmeasurable, series of events over billions of years and who knows how many trillions of lives of how many billions of what we would call species of organisms into one theory or even a handful of theories is honestly possible.   I think much if not all of the "usefulness" of the theory of natural selection is an illusion in which professional pride and convenience plays entirely more of a part than biologists, real ones, and certainly the frauds who do it as social science while entirely invested in it would care for anyone to notice.

Though not all biologists, certainly not now as even some eminent ones are expressing increased skepticism about either its universal explanatory powers or even whether or not it's a good theory.

The matter of teasing out "traits"  and building them up into either adaptive or maladaptive categories is another fundamentally insoluble problem of trying to come up with science demonstrating natural selection.   You might be able to sell people on what you claim but I'll bet you won't be able to sell anyone who thinks really, really hard about the problem who doesn't have a stake in pretending you've succeeded.

If you want, I can give you some of my more recent reasons for concluding natural selection is a mass delusion among the educated.  Those tend to be rather complicated.

I have also pointed out why so many millions of college educated people today, especially those who are not of "Anglo-Saxons" or other related North-Western European ancestry (excluding the Irish) should seriously question Darwinism because, according to Darwin, they shouldn't have been born because they carry a permanent inferiority that makes us a danger to the future of the human species.  Lots of those suckers are among the biggest promoters of the naive, ignorant Charles Darwin, one based in not reading what he really said.  You don't give me a name so I can't tell but that you might not be on Darwin's hit list for those to be excluded from the future of humanity due to not only ethnic but, perhaps even more so, the economic status or your Victorian era ancestors or, most of all, the health status of those same ancestors.  When you look at the list of those on Darwins hit list or that of his colleagues whose work he endorsed, placed there on the assumptions about natural selection in the human species, that number probably includes most of the people alive today.  Including, I will bet, most of those who hold college degrees, including many of the biggest suckers for the Darwin industry post-war model.   Any claim that evolutionary biologists and, even worse, those in the so-called social sciences and, worst of all, those who claim some kind of Darwinian character for their would-be philosophy have left ideas like that aside could only be made by someone who is profoundly ignorant of post-WWII eugenic proposals, made by some of the most eminent people in the field.  For example, the famous Watson and Crick, Crick probably being a far more committed racist and eugenicist than his obnoxious American partner.

*  Here's the quote from Marx which I left out of that piece the other day.  As much as I disagree with Marx on most things, this is absolutely spot on.

I'm amused that Darwin, at whom I've been taking another look, should say that he also applies the ‘Malthusian’ theory to plants and animals, as though in Mr Malthus’s case the whole thing didn’t lie in its not being applied to plants and animals, but only — with its geometric progression — to humans as against plants and animals. It is remarkable how Darwin rediscovers, among the beasts and plants, the society of England with its division of labour, competition, opening up of new markets, ‘inventions’ and Malthusian ‘struggle for existence’. It is Hobbes’ bellum omnium contra omnes and is reminiscent of Hegel’s Phenomenology, in which civil society figures as an ‘intellectual animal kingdom’, whereas, in Darwin, the animal kingdom figures as civil society.

Karl Marx:  Letter to Engels,  June 18th, 1862

Monday, January 23, 2017

Arch Oboler - Crazy Town May 20, 1939

39-05-20 The Lima News
Oboler Radio Play Indicts
Current Affairs In World

"Crazytown" Inhabitants Show Toll Of Hate, Greed, Mistrust

"Crazytown," a stinging indictment of the present anarchic state of "world af fairs, will be presented by Arch Oboler over WEAF Saturday at 9 p. m. The contemporary fantasy is to star Edmund O'Brien, who scored a success this season as Prince Hal in Maurice Evans' Broadway production of "Henry IV." Charlotte Manson, young and talented NBC actress, will have the leading feminine role. The story tolls of two young aviators who make a forced landing in unknown territory while returning from a successful bombing expedition against civilians of a defenseless enemy city. They soon find they have cracked up in Crazytown, the place where individual moral values have become us topsy-turvy as are international moral values in the outside world. Hate, envy and suspicion are cardinal virtues; pity, love and honor are considered unforgivable sins, while murder is the only logical way of settling a quarrel.

Scary how much of Arch Oboler's Plays before and during the rize of fascism and WWII is relevant to the Trump regime.

Lies Are Truth

Southern Beale has a great post up about the weekend when all the Presidents Men and Woman literally said that lies are truth. 

I would dearly love to see the truly evil Kellyanne Conway discredited, denied a government pension and forgotten before she is indictable for crimes against humanity like Lord Haw Haw or Axis Annie but only because I'm hoping against hope the path they've set the country and world on can be avoided. And that goes for Reince, Sean and the rest of them, too. 

Keith Olbermann - Trump Is Insane He Needs To Be Removed From Office

Yes, that's one thing that has been on full display for the three and a half days of the Trump regime, he is literally insane and he's sustained on the lies people like Kellyanne Conway and Reince Pribus tell him and, worst of all, the ones he tells himself.

If Donald Trump is not removed from office, it constitutes that Constitutional crisis we were all told we had to avoid at all costs.  Well, we can't avoid it this time, he is insane for all the reasons Keith Olbermann cites and so many, many more.  I am certain that the career people at the CIA know he's insane, I'm sure even the ones at the FBI who aren't amoral political hacks and liars like James Comey know it, I'm sure even lots of Republicans in the Congress know it.

I'm betting it is going to have to reach a real crisis where a lot of people die before our disgustingly inadequate Constitutional system removes him from office.  Let's hope some of us survive it to change the stupid thing.  That is if junk like Hamilton haven't made that impossible.

Did You Really Expect Me To Care If The Patriots Are Going To Play During The American Mammonist's Religious Holiday?

So, what I have decided, and I'm not going to let you vote on this (laughter) I have decided that the Jesus movement, the earliest Jesus movement is essentially a protest against the economy of extraction and the proposal and practice of an alternative economy.  And I get that because if you look in – well, I don't know if you know the Letter of James but the Letter of James, the lead apostle, is filled with warnings about the love of money which in context means don't sign on with Rome.  But in the Epistles of Paul, in Galatians, I think it's chapter 5, Paul has a list of what he calls the desires of the flesh are greed, lust, fornication, licentiousness, quarrelsomeness, which I think names – if accumulating more money is the goal of your life, that's the kind of society you will get and that's the kind of society that we have.  So I have come to think, --- you won't mind if I say this since the Cowboys have been winners lately – (laughter)  that the NFL is basically the liturgy for that society.  The NFL is all about sex, money, and violence and they now say the NFL's slogan is “We own Sunday”. (inaudible)    Paul answers desires of the flesh with a list of the fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, humility, kindness, patience.  These are the kinds of habits that will not be developed if our commitments are to the competition system.  They are habits that are only viable if we come to regard, if we come to practice solidarity with all our neighbors.  

Walter Brueggemann, at about 17:30 here.

I would put it a bit more harshly than he did.  I have always loathed American football.

A Post Script To This Morning's Post

I just noticed that a crucial phrase in my argument this morning was inadvertently edited out and it is important enough so I'm going to turn it into a bold, large font post of its own.

Considering that all of those in the Executive Branch, in Congress and on the federal courts who are cutting women and children off of healthcare, including reproductive healthcare HAVE FULL PUBLIC HEALTH CARE AVAILABLE TO THEM it is our right to do call them on their hypocrisy. 

I don't know, does their healthcare extend to birth control and abortion?  Not that most of the mostly men among them and most of them past the age cohort for which those are vitally important aspects of health care need it.  Does it cover their adolescent children for whom that is important? 

I'm undecided as to whether or not the private lives of the children and wives of politicians, cabinet members, judges, prominent congressional staffers should be gone into by those of us excavating the mother-lode of their hypocrisy or not.   I'm inclined against that but they have no problem violating in the most intimate terms the privacy of each and every woman whose bodies they want to turn into a public interest.  

Republicans Are Probably Planning on Profiting From The Back Alley Abortion Industry They're About To Create

One of the certain effects of Republicans destroying the Affordable Care Act and trying to destroy such health care providers as Planned Parenthood is that there will be more abortions.  Whenever women cannot avoid pregnancies that are not planned and intended, there will be abortions.  Of course the plan of Republicans and other opponents of women being able to have safe, legal abortions will be what it was throughout history, when safe, legal abortions were not available, unsafe, illegal abortions were the only resort.   I came of age in a world where it was not uncommon to know women and teenage girls who had had an illegal abortion, where it was routine for women to die, need emergency care - which carried the risk of being harassed by the police and arrested - many of who were injured, some unable to carry a wanted pregnancy to term or at all.

So one of the certain effects of the actions that Trump and Republicans in the Congress and in state legislatures will be an increase in abortions not a decrease.  Which is a point which should always be made whenever these things are being discussed.

And, it must be included, they are the ones who are always attacking the availability of health care for women who do want to carry pregnancies to term, give birth and raise children.  They are the very people who will, in fact, be throwing millions of such women and their children off of health coverage.

For them to put a man in the presidency who has made screwing around outside of marriage one of his hall marks, the hypocrisy of the certain retort - stated or not -  that women who don't want to be pregnant shouldn't have sex has to be exposed as totally and absolutely discrediting of them. All of the sex lives of all of the opponents of women having access to full medical care, especially that involving reproductive rights is absolutely fair to bring up.  Considering that all of those in the Executive Branch, in Congress and on the federal courts HAVE FULL PUBLIC HEALTH CARE AVAILABLE TO THEM it is our right to do so.  It was always an ever recurring theme that men and women who were some of the loudest opponents of legal abortion had, themselves, either had abortions or had encouraged women they'd impregnated to have abortions.   The hypocrisy of Republicans and conservatives and alleged religious figures who now hold power over the lives of women is epic.

I want to know how many of them either had abortions or impregnated women who had abortions as a result of their producing an unwanted pregnancy, especially those who encouraged or coerced women to have abortions.  I will bet there are more than a few of them and I hope they are exposed. When they are taking the very public actions they are,  with the power they have, they have no right to privacy on those matters.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday Night Radio Drama - Arch Oboler - The Family Nagachi

Right after the war when Arch Oboler wrote and produced this play for the first of his series of plays, the internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry was not a popular topic.  Arch Oboler stood just over five feet tall but he had more courage than the bully boys all put together. Again, the theme is appropriate to the beginning of the Trump regime.  

Arch Oboler's Plays

If he were writing today, I would imagine he would be addressing the rampant racism, neo-fascism and neo-Nazism that was put in the ascendant by the Trump regime.   I can imagine him tearing Kellyanne and Reince to ribbons. 

This site gives what I assume is the cast, though it would appear not one of them is Asian, that's something I would guess would be different if he were doing it today. 
As I am typing this NPR has on some jerk saying that Black Lives Matter is the equivalent of the neo-Nazi =, KKK "alt-right".   I believe it's the Wall Street Journal "My Share of Plutocrat Money Matters" figurehead, Jason Riley, saying it.    The guy is scum. 

NPR deserves to die.  I'd rather have local public stations going back to editing their own news reporting to be broadcast between long stretches of classical music disc jockeying.  

Update:  And now they've got neo-Nazi, white supremacist Pat Buchanan on.  And now he's promoting Trump's puppet master, the greatest sponsor of neo-Nazism in the world, Putin. NPR deserves to die. 

The Unspeakable Truth

There is no chance for egalitarian democracy to recover or even survive as long as the law of the United States - as imposed by the Supreme Court, not by legislation  - refuses to say that lies are not to be protected, that refuses to admit that lies are a danger to freedom and democracy and that a democratic country has an interest in their suppression and that the truth, not lies, are what deserve the kind of protection mentioned in the tragically truncated First Amendment.  

Democracy will always be endangered when ideological groups which deny the political equality of all people, which rank people on a scale of value, that calls for the dehumanization of some people, the denial of the existence of the rights of some people, which advocates the violent oppression and even destruction of entire groups of people are treated the same way, by law, as the most benevolent of egalitarian groups which promote equality, democracy and a peaceful decent life.   The idiocy that refuses to make that distinction and which allows the spread of those anti-democratic ideologies through media amplified hate-talk - again, mostly permitted by the courts, not legislatures - has been what has driven the United States into the arms of Vladimir Putin in the form of the most overt hate-talker ever allowed to occupy the presidency by our defective Constitution in our modern history.   You have to go back to the worst days of Jim Crow, genocide against the Native population of North America to find this kind of a horror show as our chief executive.  

Our Constitution, especially as twisted by the Supreme Court at its frequent worst, is in basic need of major revision to protect the possibility of egalitarian democracy - egalitarian democracy being the only kind that deserves to use that word.  Just because someone wins the most votes in the disgusting Electoral College con job, that doesn't mean the results are democratic, as we saw last November, it has a number of times meant the opposite.