Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Good Ear Worm For Once - Hugh Dillon - Lost at Sea

No idea why I thought of this song today.   I only heard it once, in an episode of the program Flashpoint in which the incredibly charismatic Hugh Dillon plays a policeman and the incredibly powerful and way too little known Canadian actor Mpho Koaho did an amazing job of playing a young guy who was railroaded by a corrupt prosecuting attorney.   That was years ago and, for some reason, the song that ended the episode keeps going through my head.  A good ear worm, for once.   I'm not so hot on rock of any kind but I do like Hugh Dillon and the Headstones.

Don't Bother Telling Me About It

I must say I am never interested in what someone who couldn't tell sigma from smegma has to say about peer-reviewed scientific research.

As to Radin's talks, all he was doing was talking about experiments to try to test a long standing speculation of quantum physics.  Is there something wrong with that?

As to his qualifications,  here are just his more recent reviewed publications.

Radin, D. Michel, L., Delorme, A.  (2016). Psychophysical modulation of fringe visibility in a distant double-slit optical system. Physics Essays. 29 (1), 14-22.

Radin, D. Michel, L., Delorme, A.  (2015). Reassessment of an independent verification of psychophysical interactions with a double-slit interference pattern. Physics Essays. 28 (4), 415-416.

Radin, D. Michel, L., Pierce, A. Delorme, A.  (2015). Psychophysical interactions with a single-photon double-slit optical system. Quantum Biosystems. 6 (1), 82-98.

Radin, D. Schlitz, M., Baur, C. (2015). Distant healing intention therapies: An overview of the scientific evidence. Global Advances in Health and Medicine. Special Issue (November 2015): Biofield science and healing: Towards a transdisciplinary approach. 67-71.

Radin, D. (2015). Meditation and the nonlocal mind. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 1: 82-84.

Vieten, C. Estrada, M., Cohen, A. B., Radin, D., Schlitz, M., Delorme, A. (2014). Engagement in a community-based integral practice program enhances well-being. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 33.

Mossbridge JA, Tressoldi P, Utts J, Ives JA, Radin D, Jonas WB. (2014). Predicting the unpredictable: critical analysis and practical implications of predictive anticipatory activity. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience;8:146. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00146.

Radin, D. (2014).  Out of one’s mind or beyond the brain: The challenge of interpreting near-death experiences. Missouri Medicine, 111 (1), 22- 26.

Delorme A, Beischel J, Michel L, Boccuzzi M, Radin D and Mills PJ (2013) Electrocortical activity associated with subjective communication with the deceased. Frontiers in Psycholology, 4:834. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00834

Radin, D. I., Delorme, A.., Michel, L., Johnston, J. (2013). Psychophysical interactions with a double-slit interference pattern: Experiments and a model. Physics Essays. 26 (4), 553-566.

Shiah, Y-J & Radin, D. I. (2013). Metaphysics of the tea ceremony: A randomized trial investigating the roles of intention and belief on mood while drinking tea. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 9, 355-360.

Radin, D. (2012). Psi-mediated optimism and the future of parapsychology. Journal of Parapsychology, 76 (Supplement), 45-46.
Schlitz, M., Hopf, H. W., Eskenazi, L., Vieten, C., & Radin, D. (2012). Distant healing of surgical wounds: An exploratory study. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 8: 223-230.

Radin, D. I., Michel, L, Wendland, P., Rickenbach, R., Delorme, A., Galdamez, K. (2012). Consciousness and the double-slit interference pattern: Six experiments. Physics Essays, 25 (2), 157-171.

Radin, D. I., Vieten, C., Michel, L., & Delorme, A. (2011). Electrocortical activity prior to unpredictable stimuli in meditators and non-meditators. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 7, 286-299.

Patrizio E. Tressoldi, P. E., Storm, L. & Radin, D. I. (2010). Extrasensory perception and quantum models of cognition. Neuroquantology, 8 (4), S81-87.

Radin, D. I. & Borges, A. (2009). Intuition through time: What does the seer see? Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.

Radin, D. I., & Atwater, F. H. (2009). Entrained minds and the behavior of random physical systems.   Journal of Scientific Exploration.

Radin, D. I., Lund, N., Emoto, M. & Kizu, T. (2009). Triple-blind replication of the effects of distant intention on water crystal formation.  Journal of Scientific Exploration.

Radin, D. I. (2008). Superpowers and the stubborn illusion of separation. Subtle Energies & Energy Medicine, (19) 1, 29-42.

Radin, D. I., Stone, J., Levine, E., Eskandarnejad, S., Schlitz, M., Kozak, L., Mandel, D., & Hayssen, G. (2008). Compassionate intention as a therapeutic intervention by partners of  cancer patients: Effects of distant intention on the patients’ autonomic nervous system. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 4 (4), 235-243.

Radin, D. I. (2008). Testing nonlocal observation as a source of intuitive knowledge. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing. 4(1), 25-35.

Radin, D. I. & Lobach, E. (2007). Toward understanding the placebo effect: Investigating a possible retrocausal factor. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 13,  733–739.

Radin, D. I., Hayssen, G & Walsh, J. (2007). Effects of intentionally enhanced chocolate on mood. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing. 3(5), 485-492.

Radin, D. I. (2007)  Finding or imagining flawed research? The Humanistic Psychologist, 35(3).

Mason, LI, Patterson, RP, and Radin, DI. (2007). Exploratory study: The random number generator and group meditation. Journal of Scientific Exploration. 21 (2), 295–317.

Let's see theirs.

I will be adjusting my filters to keep all of that kind of stuff out, what they say is neither important nor is it interesting.

Saturday Evening Radio Drama - Jane Beeson - A Cry ... Almost A Scream

Rosemary Leach as the Woman
Maurice Denham as the Man   
Hilda Kriseman as the Lunderette Assistant
Eve Karpf as the Customers 

A weird little play about guilt, one of the most interesting things to me was how the woman says "The Council want me out, they want me to go".   I wonder why it strikes me as a typically British thing to say, it reminds me of Marilynne Robinson saying

There is a third option, however, described by both Smith and Marx, and, as luck would have it, indigenous to America, of a society based upon individual autonomy, to be achieved through policies of government that by act or omission enhance the specific, tangible material well-being of individual people, by creating or protecting conditions of life that enhance vigor and morale.  These include education, fair wages, wholesome food and water, and reasonable hope for one's children.  These things correspond in a general way with what Americans consider to be "Western values," yet they have have never described, and do not now describe, the condition of life of ordinary British people.  

Interesting how a line in a play can do that, make you think of something like that.  I hope that Americans faced with such a form of coercion will always have an inclination to tell such a Council to go to hell.  I hope the British people develop that attitude and get rid of the stinking class system.  

Second Feature - Alf Silver - Cold Storage 

No Need For A Hate Mail Post

I checked, my new spam filters are working. It's as if they're dead to me.  Let them rage on in their assininity among themselves, I don't care.  Their fury doesn't matter as they whistle past the graveyard of materialist orthodoxy. 

Consciousness and the Observer Effect | Dean Radin Ph.D | IONS

The audio is a bit fuzzy, sounds like it was recorded over Scype or something.  Somehow, I have a feeling that a lot of the people trying to hijack the March for Science wouldn't like this kind of science though, as Radin pointed out somewhere, all they were doing was experimental testing of perfectly standard quantum physics.   That it confirms the speculation that, other than being an illusion, consciousness is the actual substrate of physics.

My only real problem with the video is the cartoon of Galileo and the Cardinal, it was the scientific establishment of Galileo's day, who had a professional stake in the Ptolemaic system that refused to look through his telescope, not the Cardinals.   Today it's atheist-materialists who refuse to consider such science as Radin engages in with more methodological rigor than many of them practice.  There is virtually no psychology and quite a bit of other science that doesn't practice the same level of rigor but which is acceptable because it upholds conventional materialist ideology.

And those in the "skeptics" industry which seems to be trying to hijack the March are the most dishonest of all.

Update:  Here's a somewhat shorter and much clearer video covering a lot of the same material.

Yes. The Problem Of Christianity, Its Fellow Monotheistic Faiths Is That Too Many Of Its Adherents Act Like Materialists

It is objected to that I pointed out in the update to my short post of yesterday that materialists who view humans and other living beings as mere objects, will, when desired, treat people and other living beings as objects to whom they have no binding moral obligations.  The objection is that those who profess religious belief will often do the same in violation of what their religions teach as moral obligations.  That so many religious believers act as if they believe what materialism holds would, I think, show more the seductions of a materialist attitude towards other people and living beings and why that is a problem.  The members of religions that teach that those binding moral obligations to treat people and our fellow creatures well, who violate that are violating nothing about materialism.  That they can knock over a hurdle into depravity, at times, proves that anything that encourages them to do so is dangerous and evil.  And materialism encourages them to believe that those hurdles that religion and even any "ethical" system that atheists have proposed replace real morals are merely delusions, social conventions, things that, if they can get away with if and when they want to do so, they are under no moral obligation to observe or practice.  They are also told that, if they can get away with it, they need fear no kind of ultimate consequence for themselves.

That you atheists can claim the fact that some religious people act as if they believe materialism is true shows that religion is bad but that atheist-materialism is superior shows that your thinking is muddled.  The biggest problem with Christianity is that too many Christians act like materialists, not that they act too much in accord with the teachings of Jesus, the Law and the Prophets.

That's not the only large discrepancy between various claims rampant among atheists. For example, there are those most cluelessly self-declared "free thinkers" who, due to the requirements of their materialist ideology, must eventually deny the possibility of  free thought -since all things, including thought must be due to physical  causation and determined - will deny that free thought is real AND THEY DO SO IN THE NAME OF "FREE THOUGHT".

And those discrepancies and hypocrisies are on, perhaps, fullest display when materialism is expressed politically and socially.

I have mentioned how absurd it gets when such as the old-line Stalinists howled that their rights to promote Stalinism here were violated, how their First and Fifth amendment rights to promote Stalinism were violated - as they sometimes were - the man they championed not only violated those rights, he violated all of the rights of almost everyone during his reign of terror, racking up what might actually stand as a record of mass murder, terror and oppression.  If you think that kind of thing is in the past, as mentioned before, you can find their like all over the lefty magazines, letter columns, blog and other comment threads right now.  I had some dumb bell going on and on about how "class struggle" was the only way to gain rights and equality when "class struggle" aka Marxism has been given the test of time in reality instead of sociological-economic theorizing and speculation.  Marxism leads, not to freedom, equality and a decent life, it leads to mass murder and terror, it leads to the enslavement of almost all except the elites (though those elites must often live in fear of their fellow members of the elite) it leads, in the fullness of time, to the abandonment of the pantomime of state socialism for the most vicious forms of oligarchic, plutocratic capitalism on steroids.  It leads to the withering of the state as Marx predicted but only the state as  any kind of guarantor of equality, freedom, civil comity and decency but not as a ruthless machine of extraction on behalf of the elites.

Marx, for whatever feelings he claimed to have had, was a materialist whose materialist system can't escape the inescapable logical end of materialism.  Even with the best of intentions - intentions that are generally in short supply among those who can achieve power especially through revolution - Marxism is bound to devolve into an amoral horror show just as Nazism is.  In the Putin generation of post-Marxist former-Marxists, we see that Marxists will be quite capable of promoting Nazism in the West to destroy democracy which is the only real enemy of that kind of depravity.  Marxism turns out to be not only compatible with Nazism - as, perhaps, presaged in the Hitler-Stalin pact - it is its equivalent.  All materialism will be, it's definitely not what will prevent depravity because it has nothing in it to do that and everything in it which encourages depravity.  That is especially true when a belief in natural selection and its descendant ideologies are mixed in and sold as having the immovable reliability of science.  Calling Marxism "science" was one of its big selling points, As I've pointed out before, Rudolph Hess said that Nazism was merely "applied biology".

Liberalism will never get anywhere until the Marxists and other materialists are dumped because they will always end up doing things and insisting on things that are not only counterproductive, they are incompatible with the belief that we are all equally endowed with rights and the moral obligation to practice the respect for those rights and the promotion of the welfare of everyone.  Liberalism will only work if materialism is seen for the enemy of liberalism that it is.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Uncloudy Day - The Staple Singers

I love these early recordings.

Abraham Joshua Heschel An Interview With Carl Stern - 1972 - Shortly before his death

This is an interview with Carl Stern for NBC.  Can you imagine something like this on TV today?  I think one of the keys to the value of the interview is that it's one person doing the interview, not a panel of "journalists".  

I agree with him that it is a disaster that Americans are so ignorant of the Prophets "the most disturbing people who ever lived".   If Americans did know them and took them seriously we wouldn't be in the horrible position we are in, today.   His answer to "why don't you stick to spiritual issues" is especially good, he points out how radical the Prophets are, that they'd be in jail if they were around, now.

Someone should put up more of him on Youtube.  I've got lots more transplanting to do.

Materialists Don't Believe Their Nonsense Themselves - Old Business Before New Business

I don't have any interest in anything alleged lefties who could read that the Holocaust should be the subject of stand-up comedy without objection say about anything.  I went back and looked after I wrote about that and I didn't see that any of them questioned the idea.  They're a bunch of jerks.  Anyone who wasn't has obviously not stuck around there.  If I have anything to say about Eschaton it will be about what Duncan Black writes, which means I'll be writing very little about it because he doesn't write much worth engaging.


Someone has been looking into my archive and came across my challenge to materialists that I mentioned the other day.

There really isn't any question but that unless they can do the impossible, materialism, physicalism, naturalism - really all the same thing, are invalid and believing them is a superstition.  The "brain only" materialist-atheists of neuroscience and cognitive-science and all of the other insertions of atheist religion into science that maintain that our minds are merely the epiphenomena, the by-product of physical structures of some kind in the organ in our skulls.  They can't hold that our minds are anything but a result of those physical structures or there is something in the universe except matter and energy and - most clueless of all - the physical laws that govern them is not only real but the most basic and salient fact of human existence.  And if that's the case then they will have to account for how a brain makes a new structure to be a new idea before the structure to be that idea exists in the brain.  The brain has to blindly, on no information contained in the brain before that structure is there, build that structure, it has to:

- Know it needs to build a new structure
- Needs to know the nature of the structure it has to build to "be" the right idea
- It has to know how to make that structure with no information to guide it
- It has to know it has made the right structure to be the right idea.  Which is particularly hard to explain because if it built the wrong structure that would be the only physical structure to "be" the idea present in the brain.
- It has to do all of that by a credibly verifiable physical process, in the real time to match the experience of thinking new thoughts.  Maybe atheists think slower than other people but it would have to be mighty fast to match the normal experience of thinking. 
- It would have to explain how the brain does that feat of magic hundreds, thousands of times a day, in a continual process so as to account for the experience of consciousness.  

I originally figured that if they were ready to accept some kind of clairvoyance and telepathy they might salvage their "brain only" faith but I don't think that really gets them anywhere because those experiences would, also, need to be the product of physical structures so it doesn't get them out of their difficulty.  If the ideas are present in the brain as something other than a physical structure, their model short-circuits, immediately.

They can slice and dice brains, make pretty color pictures all they want, unless they come up with something to explain how that happens their model can't work.

Of course, if they're right then what any of us think isn't up to us so they shouldn't be upset when people disagree with them.  That they get so worked up when people don't believe what they do proves that they don't really believe it themselves.  If they did they wouldn't spend their time trying to convince people they're right.  There is no more obvious proof that they don't believe what they claim to know.

Update:  Why do I care that they believe it?   Because materialists who view other people as mere objects, that freedom, equality and the moral obligations to respect those in other people are delusions of material processes ("DNA" "natural selection" etc.) have no incentive to not be total assholes to people and other living beings if they want to be.  And so many do.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sam Rivers - Beatrice

Sam Rivers: Tenor Sax
Jaki Byard: Piano
Ron Carter: Bass
Tony Williams:Drums

Fuchsia Swing Song 

Atanas Ourkouzounov - Perspectives Impaires

Atanas Ourkouzounov, guitar

Trump Wants to Ride in a Gilded Coach?!

Thanks For Calling My Attention To That Leak In The Ol' Spam Filter

Let them go on ignorantly.  I used to encourage it figuring it was free, unintentional advertising, then I realized that they were so lazy and intellectually flaccid that they never read anything before reacting.   I don't care, the only thing they risk is making me feel smug.  

Also:  The claim that "the biggest school of theology in New England is closing" would seem to be based in their ignorant and illiterate hopes.   It is a minor school which has long had financial problems, it's not that old and,  well, here, I know they won't read it but you might.  I'm hardly an expert but it's my impression that theological study and writing is in pretty good shape.  

I'll patch that leak, now.   

How Totally Fraudulent Is The Polling And Survey Industry and The Science That Pretends It's Reliable

My friend RMJ has a really good post up about the study I wrote about yesterday and much more, with a link to a Vox article which is the best treatment of it I've seen in the media.   The Vox piece goes into one of the major absurdities of the methodology which, if I'd felt up to it, I should have gone into.

I ran Gervais and Najle’s conclusion by Greg Smith, who directs Pew’s polling efforts on religion. He’s not yet ready to buy it.

“I would be very reluctant to conclude that phone surveys like ours are underestimating the share the public who are atheists to that kind of magnitude,” he says.

For one, Smith says, Pew has asked questions on religion both on the phone and online and didn’t see much of a difference. You’d expect if people were unwilling to say that they’re atheists over the phone to a stranger, they’d be slightly more likely to input it into a computer. (Though Pew’s online questioning still has participants directly answer the question, instead of asking people to merely list the numbers of items they agree with. Even online, people might be uneasy answering the question.)

Also, Smith points out a weird quirk in Gervais’s data.

In one of the trials, instead of adding the “I don’t believe in God” measure to the list, the survey added a nonsense phrase: “I do not believe that 2 + 2 is less than 13.” And 34 percent of their participants agreed. Bizarre indeed. The researchers’ explanation? “It may reflect any combination of genuine innumeracy [lack of math skills], incomprehension of an oddly phrased item, participant inattentiveness or jesting, sampling error, or a genuine flaw in the ... technique,” Gervais and Najle write in the paper.

But they still think their measure is valid. When they limited the sample to people who were self-professed atheists (as measured in a separate question), 100 percent said they didn’t believe in God, which is correct. “It is unlikely that a genuinely invalid method would track self-reported atheism this precisely,” they write.

Still, more research is needed. “In time, we'll hopefully be able to refine our methods and find other indirect measurement techniques,” Gervais says. (Overall, kudos to Gervais and Najle for being forthright about their curious finding. In the past, psychologists have had incentives to avoid printing this type of contradictory finding in their papers.)

I don't know why the author would be giving them "kudos" for them publishing the obviously bogus study using an obviously bogus methodology.   Really:

“I do not believe that 2 + 2 is less than 13.” And 34 percent of their participants agreed. Bizarre indeed. The researchers’ explanation? “It may reflect any combination of genuine innumeracy [lack of math skills], incomprehension of an oddly phrased item, participant inattentiveness or jesting, sampling error, or a genuine flaw in the ... technique,” Gervais and Najle write in the paper.

Notice their speculations as to why 34% of those included answered as believing that 2 + 2 is equal or greater than 13 includes the absurd notion that any adult except those who would be classified as profoundly mentally disabled and who are certainly not answering their other questions really believes that is the case.  That, in itself, is so absurd as to impeach the validity of any of their conclusions.  The study is bogus, the methodology is crap, the sampling - far from unproblematic if statistical validity is to be considered desirable - might be the least bad thing about it.

There would be no reason to suspect that you could draw any reliable conclusions from a study that had such a result.  If some poeple answered "yes" to that question out of ignorance or "inattentiveness" or who knows why, there must have been people who answered "no" to the question out of something other than a knowledge of first-grade arithmetic.   If they couldn't be trusted to give a straight answer to that question - either yes or no - then there is no reason to believe they could on any of the other questions in the studies,

But this study is going to be published in some peer-reviewed professional journal, even as it's already being taken seriously in the un-reviewed and credulous media.  The whole thing is sold on the phony assertion that it is science and, so, reveals something you can rely on when the entire thing is absolutely not reliable even though they do a pantomime of doing what real science does.

The entire thing is a professionally interested con-job that will be supported by people who certainly know it is bogus through a kind of mutual professional protection con job.  I doubt that there is much in the social-sciences these days, certainly not what gets a lot of buzz in the media that could fulfill any real test of rigorous review.   You could ask the same of Pew or any others who do this kind of surveying.

You wonder how they could figure out how many of those answering any of their questions did so out of "inattentiveness" and, so, what rate of such invalid responses could be.  I'd love to read their methodological cat's cradle reasoning as to why anyone should believe they could figure that out.

The excellent post by RMJ goes into far more and far more important aspects of this problem and its wider implications.

Comedy As A Secular False God

It is one of those things that are just known.  Or are "known" to be known, or really, just required to be said that jokes are subversive, undermine power and, therefore, are a good, in themselves.  But there's no evidence of that.  Some despots and would be despots have attacked people and even killed people for making fun of them but that was not done out of fear, it was done out of not liking to be made fun of.  Rudolph Herzog, who did a major study of jokes during the Nazi era came to the contrary position.

Contrary to a common myth, targeting Hitler using quips and jokes didn’t undermine the regime. Political jokes were not a form of resistance. They were a release valve for pent-up popular anger. People told jokes in their neighborhood bars or on the street because they coveted a moment of liberation in which they could let off a bit of steam. That was ultimately in the interests of the Nazi leadership. Consequently, the Führer and his henchmen rarely cracked down on joke-tellers and if they did, the punishments were mild - mostly resulting in a small fine. In the last phase of the war when the regime felt threatened by “dissenters,” though, this changed. A handful of death sentences were handed down to joke-tellers, though the true reason for this was rarely their actual “crime.” The jokes were taken as a pretext to remove blacklisted individuals - people the Nazis feared or detested because of who they were rather than because of what they had done. Among others, these included Jews, left-wing artists, and Catholic priests. As I show in my book, a staunch party member could walk free after telling a joke, whereas a known “dissenter” was executed for exactly the same quip.

Just where the commonly held belief that jokes had the power to bring down the powerful comes from is something I don't know if anyone ever researched.  I think I've heard it mostly asserted by people in the entertainment industry, those who make money out of telling jokes and producing humor, some of which is funny, most of which isn't.   I assume some of them really believe it and more really want to believe it but it's obviously not true.  As I pointed out about the only people who have been destroyed by jokes are people who are vulnerable, poor people, people who are ugly or fat or unpopular, people who are stigmatized on the basis of their gender, their race, their ethnicity or their regional origin - that last one really, really hasn't worked out very well as a political tool for North-Eastern liberals or those on the West Coast in the biggest possible way.   It might hurt someone in show biz or whose job depends on getting their next bit of writing sold.  A campaign of derision, which is effective, might end the career of a comedian or a writer.  Maybe that's where they got the stupid idea from.

There are a number of similar superstitions that we are supposed to believe in with all our hearts even though it's obviously not true.  One which I've gotten huge opposition to pointing out is the myth that letting Nazis and fascists spread their hate will protect democracy - look at the Trump regime to see how well that worked out.*  Since beginning to look more closely at the idea that "anything can be funny" even the most obviously unfunny things in human history I've come more and more to believe that it is more likely to undermine liberalism than to promote it.

I think the thing that got me onto this topic, this time, the slight effort of Duncan Black, shows how much of a value lazy, bored, jaded, and superficial libertarian-liberal types value their own entertainment above anything involved with the pursuit of equality and the moral obligations to treat people well.  That's hard work, frequently not immediately gratifying and, so, about as unkew-el as possible.   The assertion of the virtue of comedy has everything more to do with entertainment value than moral value.  If Rudolph Herzog is right, jokes might, actually, be a means of dissipating political force instead of mobilizing it and, so, be something that the corporate-fascist state might well encourage,  Sort of like how Pepsi has attempted to co-opt  Black Lives Matter style protest as a kew-el thing that young people are into this year.

Why else could the idea that because someone calls something "comedy" or "humor" or, in the biggest lie of all "satire" have come to hold a sacralized position among those whose conventional, atheist-materialist, scientistic educations and acculturation admit to little if anything else having the status as sacred, not to be questioned, in a massive irony - not to be mocked, not to be joked about, not to be turned into a figure to be laughed into insignificance?   Comedy, humor, "satire" (almost nothing called that today is actually satire) make a particularly bizarre sacred object or idol or substitute for moral good.

I think that the phenomenon of the sacralization of comedy is a symptom of a country that has been driven into stupidity by entertainment.   I think, in that, the United States is catching up to class ridden Britain and the even more absurd France.  The results are already bad. They will be worse.

Don't get me wrong, I adore Samantha Bee and Stephen Colbert - one of their shows, alone, has more real humor and comedy and, on occasion, satire than the entire careers of the putrid Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, George Carlin and several other official gods of comedy thrown in.  Only don't count on them taking down Trump. They didn't prevent him, after all.   And if they went the way Duncan Black seems to want humor to go, they'd stop being funny and become a definite part of the problem.

*  I'm pretty confident that load of crap was promoted by Marxists who were too stupid to understand it not only wouldn't work for them on the basis of even-stevens, the resultant legal orthodoxy would enable fascists, white-supremacists, neo-Nazis and Republican fascists.  I am quite confident that the hands of the Corliss Lamont era ACLU would be all over it if that superstition were an object that could be dusted for prints.  I think a lot more of what that trust-fund Stalinist jerk was financing had that idiotic motive.  Though he certainly had help from other Marxists and the, mostly, secularist liberals who they easily suckered.  I think Corliss Lamont, whose prime motive wasn't even to promote Stalinism -though he was about the last overt Stalinist left standing - but atheism, might serve as a key in understanding just about everything the American left has done wrong.

If there's one thing that is certain, Vladimir Putin and his fellow post-Marxist crime associates have played the American legal-political system - especially the free-speech, free press orthodoxy - entirely more skillfully than American leftists have.  Those idiots are still pushing the Marxism that Putin and his buddies knew was a total failure beginning in the 1970s.  If the current issues of The Nation, In These Times, and other venues of the American so-called left don't have something like that in the columns or letters, you can read them online all the time.  The rump Bernie or Busters are pushing that crap in response to the Peretz-Sanders tour.  I was seeing it just this morning in comment threads, Bernie-bots who were obviously as anti-Democratic as a Republican slamming Tom Peretz and the Democratic Party.  Bernie isn't helping, though he's not so stupid as to believe that his elections haven't depended, entirely, on the support of Democrats in Vermont since he made that deal with them.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

SAM RIVERS, Mellifluous Cacophony

Sam Rivers, tenor saxophone
Ron Carter, bass
Joe Chambers, drums
Freddie Hubbard, trumpet
Herbie Hancock, piano


Sam Rivers, Tenor sax
Andrew Hill, piano
Walter Booker, bass
J.C. Moses, drums

Joan Morris, soprano-superb singer of the American language
William Bolcom, pianist - Dean of Living American Composers

This Is So Easy Even Someone Sick As A Dog Can See The Problem With It

I was asked to comment on a story in the news, that a couple of University of Kentucky Psychologists are claiming that the number of atheists in the United States, which other surveys have estimated at approximately three to ten percent* but which these guys are saying might be as high as 26%.  Well, instead of looking at Huffington Post or Democratic Underground, I looked at the preprint of the as yet unpublished article and the thing is so obviously bogus and so obviously designed to allow these people to make a big splash that anyone who takes it seriously only proves how credulous they are.

For example, take a gander at their "Genera Procedure" from which they "indirectly inferred atheism rates using unmatched count technique".

General Procedure
For both samples, we indirectly inferred atheism rates using the unmatched count
technique (e.g., Dalton, Wimbush, & Daily, 1994; Raghavarao & Federer, 1979),
a tool for inferring base rates of socially sensitive outcomes. The unmatched count technique indirectly infers underlying base rates for socially undesirable or unacceptable outcomes by randomly assigning participants to one of two versions of a count task. In one version participants indicate how many innocuous statements from a list (e.g., I can drive a motorcycle; I exercise regularly) are true of them. In the other version, participants receive a list that is identical, save for the addition of one sensitive item (e.g., I can drive a motorcycle; I exercise regularly; I smoke crack cocaine), and they indicate how many items are true of them. Crucially, nobody indicates which specific items are true of them, only how many in total. The difference between the aggregate rates in these conditions can presumably be attributed to the addition of the socially sensitive item. In using this task to indirectly measure atheist prevalence, our approach mirrors recent working using the unmatched count technique to indirectly estimate the size of the LGBT community as well as antigay sentiment (Coffman, Coffman, & Ericson, 2016). Crucially, this work includes extensive validation of the task’s utility in estimating the size of stigmatized groups, finding that the UCT does not appear to be driven by inattentive or random responding, and only generally diverges from self-reports of socially undesirable attributes (but not generic foil attributes). The task appears robust as well to participant inattentiveness and random responding (Coffman et al., 2016)

They claim their method "indirectly infers underlying base rates for socially undesirable or unacceptable outcomes by randomly assigning participants to one of two versions of a count task". Also note that they seem to be able to make it measure both the size of the LGBT community AND anti-gay sentiment.  Which would seem to me to be quite a feat, considering the entire things is based on inferences based in just what the researchers claim to want to see in their "data".  That is anything but an unproblematic or reliable procedure.

Do atheists consider their atheism socially undesirable or unacceptable?   I certainly have never gotten the impression that atheists in 2016 or even earlier feel that way.  What do the authors of the study base that in?  So, right off, even if you're credulous enough to take their methodology seriously - and I certainly don't - they might be basing their inference on a false assumption.  You couldn't possibly even begin to apply that without first finding out what percentage of atheists feel that their atheism is "socially undesireable or unacceptable".  Why not assume what you've found are members of religious minorities who might feel that atheists might be more approved of than they are.  After all, if the methods that measure atheists as 3 or even 10% of the population are unreliable, then those measuring social disapproval of atheism in the general population - what that often heard whine that atheists are a persecuted minority are based in - must be as unreliable.

My first question before reading the pre-print was why so many atheists were claimed to be such liars?  Now I know that they had nothing to base any of it on.

You wonder why atheists, after the past two decades of neo-atheist agitation, answering a poll in which their participation was anonymous would demonstrate a feeling that they would be shunned by answering the question directly.

If you want to press this there are other big, really big problems with the study which I could write about.  And since the news stories don't seem to even be based on the claims of the authors but in some vague feeling as to what they said, they're even more bogus.  They are click bait, nothing more.

All of this stuff, even those things that ask direct questions of opinions are based on the absurd faith that a. people respond honestly, b. people know the answer to what they are asked ,c. that if you asked them the same thing two weeks later that you would still get the same results and a myriad of other unfounded parts of the sociological faith system,  but none of them is reliable and none of them can really give you reliable results.  Social science (so called) has, after all reported absurd figures in which men claim to have had sex with more women than women have had sex with men and claimed that told you something about the population at large when that result is mathematically impossible. Yet they still report it and other "social scientists" whose training should have included a knowledge of mathematics sophisticated enough for them to know that result is impossible have based more "science" on such stuff.

It's all of entirely unknowable reliability.  For all any of us knows the actual figure is 33% or .3%.  It ain't rocket science, it ain't the far harder biological sciences - those which still are science, this is entirely outside of science which shows that merely pantomiming the methods of science doesn't produce science when the subject can't be honestly studied with them.

*  When I've looked at these things in the past, they ususally had to really twist things to come up with the higher percentages.

Update:  You have to wonder, if these two psychologists based at the University of Kentucky had claimed that atheists were only a percent or fewer of the population, what the articles at Huffington or Democratic Underground would be saying about it.  I suspect they would not have read the article but they would deride it as originating in Kentucky.  The authors would be trashed, made a joke.  You have to wonder what percentage of social sci-guys feel that such a study would be "socially sensitive" and what effect that would have on their "science".

Thinking About A Sick Culture On A Sick Day

I am sick as a dog.  I am working on the follow up piece to the one I posted Monday about the popular, secular, materialist inversion of morality that has made "free speech" and "comedy" no matter how depraved the content, no matter what evil it promotes, as superior to those old fashioned ideas of equality and a moral obligation to treat people morally.  

I can give you a clue that I'm going to ask why, if nothing is sacred, if morality is a mere relative matter of preference, why "free speech" and "comedy" are held up as rock solid valid values, in themselves, that override any standards of morality or decency.  I think within that are several of the major defects of secular-materialist-scientistic ideology, the unstated but truly official morality of academia, the media and, with the rise of the "originalists" and other cultivated forms of fascism, the law. 

Hoping to post more later.  

If you didn't listen to that second recording posted last evening, of the great and greatly underestimated Johnny Mercer, him singing his lyrics to that horribly abused masterpiece, Moon River, you don't know what you're missing.  It's a song that can only really come off sung with the greatest simplicity, without a Andy Williams crooning it with full orchestration.  And who would know how to sing those words better than the man who wrote them?   You can say what you will but among the classic lyricists of American popular song, Mercer is about the greatest.  I suspect that he was such a good singer had a lot to do with that. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Proof that Donald Trump is Getting Crazier

ANDREW HILL - Smoke Stack

 Andrew Hill, Piano
 Richard Davis, Eddie Khan, bases
 Roy Haynes, drums

I just love this so much.

Not So 

Johnny Mercer & Pied Pipers - Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive

There.  I just needed to get that out of my system.  Have another.  I'd never heard Mercer sing this before.

And here I thought that only Audrey Hepburn could sing it.  That's Henry Mancini at the piano for this demo.

Dorothy Shay - Feudin' and Fightin'

For Whom The Bell Trolls

I miss Lent.  I'm going to go back to ignoring my biggest troll, his buddies at Duncan Black's blog and the others who try to troll here. Dealing with cheap thinking makes me feel cheap.  It's not as if any of them have any real influence with anyone except their small circle of mutual admiration and bullying coercion.  And they don't really much like each other, for the most part.  

I'll give it 40 days. that will bring it up to the end of May and if I like it, on from there.  That I redid the spam filter might help.   They're as good as dead to me. 

Hate Mail

Big deal.  I thought the New York Times was a crypto-fascist, establishment, gay bashing rag before Duncan Black was born. The New Republic, too. And that was before the racist Marty Peretz years. 

Update:  Well, that's funny, too.  I remember the week he died that I made fun of the histrionic mourners at Baby Blue, telling them i-god was dead.  Really, they were like hired mourners keening for him.  Then the next week they all found out that Steve Jobs (who was known as a sweatshop profiteering piece of crap well before he died) had committed the really unforgivable sin of indulging in "woo" so he was consigned to atheist hell.  I got a big chuckle out of it, still do six years on.

I have never owned an Apple product and wasn't all that impressed with the ones I've used.  Though my brother's very, very old Apple bought by his Apple believing wife is still running, I've spent a lot less on PCs that do as much if not more.  When he heard how much a generic replacement cord cost for my laptop as compared to the ones his Apple using daughters keep having to have him buy, my brother was furious.  

On "The Sage of Baltimore" - Someone read one of my old pieces and didn't like it

If you want to quote H. L. Mencken as some great paragon of wisdom I would suggest you go read him on science and, even more so mathematics.  The man was a massively ignorant boob whose writings on those topics, logic, as well, shows that he was an ignoramus fueled mostly by his hostility to religion and his own sense of crude, British style common sense, which, when things extended even a little past his uninformed understanding, turned to common stupidity.  Like an otherwise ignorant Brit, he liked Darwinism for it turning inequality into science and, most gratifyingly to the bigoted snob which Mencken was, the permission it gave him to believe he and those like him were superior to the large majority of humanity.  While not really knowing much about it or understanding it.   Hilariously, for the time he lived in, he derided the mathematics of probability which was essential for the advancement of science, but, then, he also expressed his disdain of math higher than arithmetic as a form of theology.  I would guess he didn't do well in beginning algebra or something. 

The man was an ass who was moderately gifted in cynicism and acid spitting.   He was, essentially, an educated yahoo. 

Update:  If he was the valedictorian of a technical school in Baltimore, it must have had a particularly weird curriculum. Among other things, Mencken condemned the use of mathematics in science, even physics.  I can't imagine what any physics or chemistry classes he took must have been like.  In this review of Eddington's The Nature of the Physical World and Man A Machine by Joseph Needham (which I haven't read, though I might, now), notice how, at every turn, his accusation has nothing to do with the science involved but centers around his characterization of every thing he dislikes as "theology," though I suspect like easily 95% of those who use the word as invective, he never read any.  

As a student of Darwin's inner circle, I find it fascinating that he holds out for Thomas Huxley as the great man of science while deriding mathematics, which that other central figure in the Darwin circle, Francis Galton, extended.  During the next decade after Mencken's idiotic piece was written, it was just that kind of mathematical approach that would lead to the neo-Darwinian synthesis that kept the creaky and constantly in need of patching theory of natural selection going.  

Mencken compares Huxley to the figures he disdains, Planck, Einstein, Eddington, etc.  I think largely because he could understand Huxley's narrative approach but, I suspect, most of all for the thing that Huxley is most often read for, today, his anti-religious invective.  I don't think that Mencken cared at all about science, like Huxley, he was a man deeply and totally enamored of the idea of inequality on the basis of race, ethnicity and class.  He hated democracy and, really, most people.  

I think what he hated the most about the second book by Needham is illustrative of something that is ubiquitious, today. 

… And Dr. Needham, who is a biochemist, closes a brilliant demonstration that the living organism is a machine and responsive to natural laws like any other, with the amazing confession that the mechanistic theory, in the last analysis, is only “a methodological fiction.”  

Given Mencken's disdain for mathematics (he calls it "theology," repeatedly) you have to wonder what he imagines "natural laws" to be expressed in.   Since he seems to have been stupid enough to not understand that discrepancy,  his inability to understand that since science can address nothing but physical aspects of anything, those things which are quantifiable are exactly the things that science addresses most successfully and so any scientific explanation will lead those ignorant of that fact to believe the methodological fiction mentioned.  

But, that's not what really bugged Mencken, it was the same thing I've confronted over and over again, what fuels the materialist, ideological motivation of so much of today's more dubious science, that any implication that there is more to living beings than that mechanical description can lead to something other than materialistic implications. 

He called his review "The Riddle of the Universe" also the name of a popular book by Darwin's closest continental friend and colleague,  Ernst Haeckel, a book in which he furthers his Drawinian assertion of materialist monism and its own implications that are genuinely proto-Nazi in character.  The book was translated with that title into English by the British celebrity atheist of his day, Joseph McCabe - more like Christopher Hitchens than Richard Dawkins - a book which was reprinted by the American atheist version of Regnery Books or Chick Publications, Prometheus, by the late Paul Kurtz.  

Given Mencken's darker side (he had only dark and darker, no light to him), his hatred of democracy, FDR, his opposition to American entry into WWII, some say his admiration for Nazism, the subsequent history of the magazine he founded, American Mercury, going through a gradual slide from his elitist ignorance to conservative to overt and total neo-Nazism (it's been revived by neo-Nazis as an online magazine) what might seem to be ironic in a publication which started out with intellectual intentions of, really, pretensions, isn't really very ironic, at all. 

That there was a major fad of quoting Mencken in the 1970s and after, as the United States was reverting to right-wing racism doesn't strike me as particularly surprising, in retrospect. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Is There an Actual Tape of Trump’s Russia Collusion?

Mary Lou Williams - Anima Christi

Praise the Lord 

Hate Mail

Naw, that wasn't Duncan baiting me, it was him feeding his ship of fools.  

He wants to go toe to toe he knows where I am.  I doubt he wants to risk it. It might take something like work. 

As to Ross Douthat, the last thing he wants is for large numbers of Americans to practice the teachings of Jesus because the results wouldn't just be liberal, they'd be more radical than anything any secular pseudo-liberal has ever come up with.  If the mainline Protestant churches a. put even more of an effort into pushing the Law, the Prophets and the Gospel and b. regained their mid-20th century levels of participation, it would probably lead to a revival of liberalism, the real stuff that does things, not the secular academic exercise that killed it off as the 60s faded into the 70s and beyond.  

As Douthat is supposed to be a Catholic, even the two recent conservative popes had an economic-social policy that was to the left of Bernie Sanders, never mind Good Pope Francis.  I wonder, why doesn't he press for the Pope's views on capital punishment, so much in the news recently.  I would be curious to see a list of Americans on death row that recent popes have lobbied to not kill.  I wonder if anyone has ever compiled one.  

Naw, he's closer to Duncan than he is to me,  one of his fellow Ivy Leaguer, preppies.  Those guys generally always end up in either conservatism of in the flaccid, secular pseudo-liberalism that might as well be the same thing. 

I hadn't read his column because I loathe the New York Times and seldom read it unless it's necessary.  Douthat has never written anything necessary. 

Update:  More Hate Mail

There was a time I would have expected a physics teacher at a high-brow prep school associated with one of the richest universities in the United States would have understood that even he, in his higher scienciness,  had to read something to know what it said.  But, then, I hadn't caught him in his own, unedited words before. 

Tell David that anyone who believes what Simps says without fact checking has no business teaching because they're an idiot. Tell him I said so.  
I'm challenged to make a joke.  Well, I've been reading some pretty awful stuff in preparing for writing on this topic so I'm not in the joking mood.

I will observe that in the whole promotion of the idea that nothing is sacred and morals are relative (in other words, there aren't any) and that Holocaust jokes can be funny because nothing is sacred... we've paid way too high a price so college philosophy profs and associate instructors can try to get their much younger students to sleep with them.   I think that's what most of it boils down to, they want to be able to screw around without any consequences.   What almost all of it is based in.  I've long suspected that was what motivated the guy with the morals of a cat in heat, Bertrand Russell in all of his philosophical tergiversations to try to come up with a replacement for morality.  Only, he was smart enough to realize there were ultimate consequences that would result.  He was a logician.  Most of his academic and legalistic and journalistic colleagues aren't that bright.  And that's not even getting down to the hipster blogger levels. 

"this little worm begins to grow in the back of your brain"

In his book, The Heretics: Adventures With The Enemies of Science, Will Storr dedicated a chapter to his experiences of impersonating a racist so as to be able to take a World War Two tour led by the notorious David Irving, in the words of Justice Charles Gray, "an active Holocaust denier; that he was anti-Semitic and racist and that he associated with right-wing extremists who promoted neo-Nazism". The chapter deals, specifically with Irving leading the tour through Auschwitz with the purpose of trying to convince them that it was a bad forgery, "A typical Polish botch job". Even though, as Storr noted in a few places, Irving was obviously not describing what was right in front of their noses.  After the tour, Storr managed to get Irving alone so he could ask him some questions so that Storr might understand how David Irving, a man from a British military family whose family members fought against the Nazis could have become a Hitler worshiper and a Holocaust denier.  According to Irving, his denial may have begun when he was a young child looking at the comic section of a magazine;

Irving’s earliest memory of heretical thought is during the war, when he was reading a magazine that contained a comic section called ‘Ferrier’s World Searchlight’.

‘There was a picture of Hermann Göring with all his medals, Goebbels with his club foot, Hitler with his postman’s hat and it was just generally making fun of them. If you’re six or seven, you’re looking at that, you’re thinking, “But I’ve got no toys! It can’t be that these cartoon figures are the ones causing all this nuisance. Your little juvenile brain is so innocent and pure that you begin thinking. You say to yourself, “It’s possible that I’m being sold a bill of goods by somebody here.” And this little worm begins to grow in the back of your brain. You think, When I’m older and have the means, I will investigate and find out.’

Don't miss two things in that, that the comedy was credited by one of the most notorious of living Hitler apologists and neo-Nazi associates and Holocaust deniers as motivating his line of thinking which led him there.  Also, that the clear intent of the authors of the comics, what they intended their audience to think from consuming it wasn't what they instigated in David Irving.

I have decided to look more deeply into the idea that since nothing is sacred except "free speech," apparently, and maybe "comedy" that means that making jokes about the Holocaust, presumably in all of its aspects is not only possible but a positive thing.  Rereading the above passage last night made me remember an article I'd recently read about the, apparently, popular Youtube wild and crazy and increasingly overt neo-Nazi "comedian" PewDiePie, the Swedish gaming vlogger Felix Kjellberg, reportedly "the most popular personality on Youtube".

Kjellberg has long courted rumors that he is a tacit supporter of Gamergate, the anti-feminist gaming movement that directly fed into the online growth of the alt-right. At one time, Kjellberg, along with other notable YouTube personalities in the gaming community, was criticized for remaining silent and refusing to defend feminists who came under harassment during the worst of Gamergate. Though Kjellberg never expressed a specific opinion on Gamergate, some in the Gamergate movement read his lack of comment as a sign that he was on their side.

Over the past six months, members of some gaming forums and 4chan have gradually started referring to Kjellberg as being “redpilled,” a common alt-right metaphor for “waking up” to the “truth” about leftist propaganda. The image below, posted to 4chan’s /pol/ form by an alt-right supporter in December, implies that Kjellberg has adopted the fashion and grooming trends of the neo-Nazi movement, which is characterized by the “working-class” skinhead fashion code of flannel shirts and the “nipster” look — Nazi hipsters with neatly trimmed facial hair.

As can be expected, when his neo-Nazi and other depraved content is criticized he takes the position that what he says is comedy, satire.

The complicating factor here is that Kjellberg insists his humor is satirical and absurdist in nature; the resulting ambiguity is presumably why the content of his videos went unchallenged for so long. And despite the litany of evidence suggesting he’s more sincere in pushing anti-Semitism than he says, fans are rushing to defend Kjellberg’s right to make comedy his way — on a platform that has often turned its head while allowing problematic “shock” humor to flourish.

Which is a long, long way down the same road that the commercially successful Jewish comedians Ferne Pearlstein featured in her movie about whether or not it was time to make jokes about the Holocaust.  I wrote about that last week.  But someone going down a road is a bad metaphor. It's not a single person or a group of friends that are going down it and when they start getting into the really bad neighborhood where it's dangerous, they can turn back,  It's not even a single country that is going in that direction, as PewDiePie and Youtube show, it's the world.  If you want to see how dangerous one guy with a Youtube channel might be, consider how connected he was with some really big media corporations, before the Wall Street Journal made that association embarrassing to them, I take it claiming that they didn't know what they were promoting for profit.

A recent Wall Street Journal investigation into Kjellberg’s YouTube channel found a total of nine videos posted since August 2016 that featured Nazi imagery or anti-Semitic humor. In one video posted January 11, Kjellberg hired a pair of performers from the freelance website Fiverr to hold up a sign reading “Death to all Jews,” which he claims was essentially a thought experiment on the nature of the digital marketplace.

"A thought experiment" "satire, "comedy" striking a blow for free speech, etc. are, in fact, slogans and buzz words of the commercial-fascist inversion of values and morals that have brought us here.

As a result of the WSJ’s investigation, Kjellberg has lost two major partnerships — most notably with the Disney-owned Maker Studios, a major multi-channel YouTube network. Maker severed ties with Kjellberg after the WSJ emailed Disney representatives for comment on the content of his videos, and YouTube canceled the second season of his reality show Scare PewDiePie, which had been executive-produced by Maker Studios and The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. YouTube also removed Kjellberg’s channel from eligibility for its preferred-advertising program, which awards perks to the most popular 5 percent of YouTube’s creators.

We're not talking about ol' Mel Brooks putting a comb up to his nose and doing a Hitler imitation, though this is more like Gilbert Gottfried making Holocaust jokes to the daughter of a survivor on Howard Stern's show (there is a Youtube, I won't post a link).  In the article by Marjorie Ingall I posted to last week, she said that Gottfried made the most salient point about what is and what isn't allowed,

Gottfried, who turns out to be the movie’s MVP commentator (who knew?) expresses it succinctly: Nazi jokes are OK; Holocaust jokes aren’t.

Well, I'd like to see him tell that to the next aspiring Youtube channel comedian who needs to ramp it up from PewDiePie so as to get the attention and buzz.  That's the way of the comedy business, as that depraved competitive exercise in shock comedy depravity that I've written about before, "The Aristocrats" shows.   Where Gottfried started to go, where he led the Howard Stern audience, inclined to go there anyway, leads to places he doesn't want anyone to go.  But having encouraged that, he's going to find it's impossible to stop it.

The hipster pose of "nothing sacred" "everything can be funny" as supported by the Village Voice and ACLU, made by aging bloggers and their even older commentators, what began me on this topic,  inevitably leads there.  It is, really, a logical result of free speech meeting the modernist-materialist stand that there is no such thing as moral absolutes and that, because it isn't possible to identify those with scientific methods that means everything must, eventually, go.  Which is something I have to credit the insane, possibly syphilitic Fredrich Nietzsche for admitting was the result of the scientistic materialism which was the bedrock of modernism, as begun in the so-called Enlightenment.  He was honest enough, or his mental illness led to him being unrestrained enough, to admit that was where things would inevitably end up if that's the basis of a society.  That such unrestrained freedom ends up with Nazism is also no shock because the amoral libertarian anarchy that results means that the only leadership will be a result of unrestrained power, some of the most useful tools of the unscrupulous and amoral strong man will be lies and derision and stereotyping and, in the fullness of time, terror and intimidation.


I will end with a long quote from Bertrand Russell's Last Philosophical Testament.

Let us consider two theories of the good.  One says, like Christianity, Kant, and democracy:  whatever the good may be, any one man's enjoyment of it has the same value as any other man's.  The other says:  there is a certain sub-class of mankind – white men, Germans, gentiles, or what not – who we good or evil alone counts in an estimation of ends;  other men are only to be considered as means.  I shall suppose that A takes the first view, and B the second.  What can either say to convice the other of error?  I can only imagine arguments that would be strictly irrelevant.  A might say:  If you ignore the interests of a large part of mankind, they will rebel and murder you.  B might say:  The portion of mankind that I favour is so much superior to the rest in skill and courage that it is sure to rule in any case, so why not frankly acknowledged the true state of affairs?  Each of these is an argument as to means, not as to ends.  When such arguments are swept away, there remains, so far as I can see, nothing to be said except for each party to express moral disapproval of the other.  Those who reject this conclusion advance no argument against it except it is unpleasant.

The question arises:  What am I to mean when I say that this or that is good as an end?  To make the argument definite,  let us take pleasure as the thing to be discussed.  If one man affirms and other denies that pleasure is good per se, what is the difference between them?  My contention is tha the two men differ as to what they desire, but not as to what they assert since they assert nothing.  I maintain that neither asserts anything except… 

He goes on like that for a while more before he says:

I do not think that an ethical judgement merely expresses a desire;  I agree with Kant that it must have an element of universality.  I should interpret “A is good” as “Would that all men desired A”…..

Finally, the profound Russell takes a stand.  Which is what all "ethical judgement" must have "an element of universality".  Which is the closest he will get to admitting that unless you want depravity, you must hold some truths to be truly true and self-evident, embodying non-relativistic, absolute, universal moral obligations.   What he doesn't acknowledge is that unless you choose, you make a choice, you take a stand which must be on something other than the bedrock of logic or reason or the lazy, pseudo-ethical even-handed stand of agnosticism, you will get the opinion of "B" because in the absence of that moral choice, the only fall back is that selfishness wins over unselfishness and might will determine who comes out on top and who on the bottom.

I, somehow, doubt that Bertrand Russell's logic will impress your average Youtube skinhead, white supremacist, neo-Nazi or the dopey dopes who can be swayed by the spectacle and shock that such guys will mount to get followers.  If there's one thing they know it's that morality isn't kewl and that there's nothing in equality for them - trained to believe in supermen and warriors and that they, sitting in their basement computer lair as they get fatter and flabbier are the such, and irresistible to women, too.   The little worms being put in their brains, in the numbers that the most popular Youtube channels represent, are a lot more overtly neo-Nazi, white supremacist, misogynist and depraved.  The conditions covering print on pulp transmission of this are totally gone, the worst results that could be feared in the old world of text based depravity and the legal and political consequences of that are gone, for good.  The results of the modern means of infecting with bigotry, hate, lies, resentment, pathology will lead to a world far worse than the visionary Nazis could have hoped for in their wildest dreams.  There won't be allied powers to stop it if they have been succesfully propagandized - I will remind you we have a president who had a Hungarian neo-Nazi as one of his top advisors and others like him throughout his administration.  We have a white-supremacist as an Attorney General.   What hasn't changed is the thinking of those who don't think there's any problem as they preen in their higher free speechiness and modern comfort in believing that, truly, nothing is sacred.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Roland Hayes - Reginald Boardman - Did You Hear When Jesus Rose

Roland Hayes, Tenor
Reginald Boardman, piano

Three Columns About The Resurrection From April 1968

I haven't gotten any trolling over whether or not I believe in the Resurrection of Jesus this year, I suspect the people who troll me these days might not know how to spell it.  And, from what I've seen, the blog babble over it has diminished quite a lot.  I wonder if Trump might have lead a lot of them to prayer,  instead.  Oh, in preparing for this I did go to the usual places and the usual people are trying to kick some of it up, one having proved himself to be a total ass in the "nothing is sacred" department last week, in particular (see pertinent posts below).  But it's not much of an effort.

I can report that in the two years since I posted the following, I've read a lot more, both believing and skeptical material and find that I'm having a lot less trouble with the Resurrection the more I think about it, I don't think I'd have expressed it in exactly the same way if I'd written this yesterday.

This month I was harangued over The Resurrection again, though this time the dolts doing it apparently didn't have the "Second Law of Thermodynamics" canard at their disposal.  It was more idiotic than that.

I've confessed that I've got doubts about what is meant by "The Resurrection" when someone talks about that, generally they mean that the body of Jesus was reanimated like Frankenstein's moster or some equally absurd idea, one which doesn't seem to fit with the descriptions, such as those are, in the Gospels and other mentions of it in scripture.   As Richard McBrien points out, the Gospels don't tell us anything about HOW it happened or any clear account of what those who reported meeting the risen Jesus experienced.  Some, such as the account of Thomas's meeting with Jesus report a physical but different body who could be touched, a Jesus who could eat.  But not just a physical body as Jesus could appear and disappear.   Which would be scoffed at, so this reposting isn't for the scoffers who I invite to go elsewhere.

Here are three columns Richard McBrien published in April, 1968.  His understanding of what history and why The Resurrection can't be considered, strictly speaking, an historical event.  Which  will probably be too much for many of the people mentioned above to get unless they can understand what he means by that passage.


There was a time in Catholic theology when the resurrection of Jesus was not regarded as an essential part of the Redemption. The full saving act took place on the cross (St. Anselm again!); the resurrection was a kind of epilogue. Jesus rose from the dead in order to prove that he was truly the Son of God. 

The theological atmosphere in the English-speaking world changed considerably with the appearance of F. X. Durwell's biblical study The Resurrection (Sheed and Ward, 1960). It restored the Easter mystery to its proper place at the center, and not on the periphery, of our Redemption. 

Some older (and not so old) Catholics, and particularly priests, do not like to be told that the Church arrived at some deeper theological or pastoral insight after they finished their own formal religious education, in college or seminary. Significantly, they do not usually resist these insights if you can establish that we really held these views all along, but that now we are simply using different terminology. For some, this conviction has become a theological Linus-blanket. 

But this is not the situation in far too many cases, and we do the Church no real service by pretending that nothing has changed except the words. I am not suggesting here that we should ignore the past, or, worse still, reduce it to scorn. But unless we are willing to acknowledge the inadequacies and distortions of the past, we shall never purge ourselves of these deficiencies. We will have submerged our problems and, in the end, have learned nothing from history. 

I should expect very few Catholics, priests or laymen, to be able to point to any extensive treatment of the resurrection in the theology they learned some years ago. Indeed, whenever the resurrection was a topic for study, it was usually in an apologetical framework: Jesus is the Son of God, and he proved this by his miracles and especially his resurrection from the dead. (For a fuller consideration, see Avery Dulles, S.J., Apologetics and the Biblical Christ, chapter IV.) 

Now that we have rejected the idea of the crucifixion as cultic sacrifice and of the Redemption as the payment of a debt owed to God, we are free to view the resurrection of Jesus in a far richer theological perspective. 

The Redemption is the work of the Father, and it is the Father who raised Jesus from the dead for our salvation (Rom. 4:24; 8:11; 10:9; 1 Cor. 6:14; 2 Cor. 4:i4; 13:4; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:20; Phil.2:9; I Thes. 1:10; 1:21). This is the consistent tradition of Pauline theology, although it has not always been part of our catechetical formation. (Some evidence of this emerges from the emotional distress manifested by some Catholics when they learned that the newer translations of the Gospels spoke of Jesus being "raised" from the dead rather than "rising" from the dead.) 

We are, in fact, saved by the resurrection of Jesus. It is through his resurrection that he communicates the new life of the Spirit to us (Rom. 4:24-5). We are reborn in the Spirit because Jesus has been raised and glorified (Jn. 7:39; 16:7; 20:22; 1 Pet. 1:3-4). Death no longer has a final hold over any one of us. The hope of our own resurrection is founded on our faith in Christ's (1 Cor. 15). 

But if the resurrection is torn from the mystery of our Redemption and is regarded solely as a proof for the divinity of Jesus, then it can have no real meaning for the life and mission of the Church. 

On the contrary, we must see that the resurrection is at the very heart of our Christian faith ("Jesus is Lord!"). We Christians believe that human life and history can and will succeed because Jesus of Nazareth is the risen Lord. The resurrection is the ultimate promise of God that his Kingdom will be brought to perfection for us. 

Jesus has left the tomb and gone into the city. He can and must be found there. It is the Church's responsibility to locate him again and again, and release the Spirit which he possesses. The Church is his resurrection community and, as such, a symbol of hope to the world. This is the essence of the Easter message and the task of the Easter faith


It is disastrous when matters of faith are posed in black-and-white, either/or categories. Either the teaching of Pope Pius XI on the morality of birth control is perfectly correct, or the Church is no longer infallible. Either Matthew 16:18 is an absolute proof of the primacy of Peter, or the Catholic Church is not truly the Body of Christ. 

The problem of the resurrection of Jesus can yield the same kind of false dilemma: either the resurrection is an historical event, or it didn't happen at all and we are still in our sins (see 1 Cor. 15:17). 

Some Catholics may be accustomed to thinking that the resurrection is an open-and-shut case: Jesus literally and physically got up from the tomb on Easter morning and, with the same body he had before the crucifixion, walked around, meeting his disciples, talking with them, instructing them. If a photographer were present at the time, he could have "caught" the Lord with his camera. Only "liberal" Protestants deny the historical truth of the resurrection, these Catholics believe, because they, deny, in the first instance, the divinity of Christ. 

In this week's essay 1 shall bring to the reader's attention a sample of some recent work being done by Catholic theologians on the problem of the resurrection. It should be pointed out that nothing in these studies diminishes the deeper theological and religious significance of the resurrection, which we outlined last week. 

Do we really have to believe that the resurrection of Jesus is an historical event in the sense that his goings-about on Easter Sunday could have been recorded on camera if one were available? The answer is very probably "No," and the clearest expression of this view has been produced recently by G. G. O'Collins, S.J., of Cambridge University, in an article which would ordinarily not come to the attention of my readers: "Is the Resurrection an 'Historical' Event?" in Heythrop Journal (October, 1967; pp. 381-7). 

Father O'Collins notes the renewal of interest in the resurrection on the part of Protestant theologians. Those of my readers who follow the progress of theological discussion through the pages of The New York Times and the news magazines will know by now that the new "theology of hope," proposed by Jurgen Moltmann and others, accords a central place to the resurrection of Jesus. 

But Father O'Collins finds that some of the newer Protestant thinking, far from being "liberal," insists too strongly on the historical character of the resurrection. It is such an event, they suggest, that an historian could verify it by his own scientific methods. 

However, an event cannot be called "historical" unless it meets certain conditions: (1) its causality must be open to scientific examination; (2) the event must have been witnessed by impartial observers; and (3) the event should bear some relationship to the kind of happenings we commonly experience. 

The resurrection fails to pass this test: (1) we cannot investigate its causality, because the scriptures themselves do not attempt to give an account, let alone a precise and detailed account, of how it occurred; (2) only believers testified to the appearances of the Lord; (3) the resurrection bears no analogy to our common experience. 

In brief, an "historical" event is one that happens in the realm of space and time. On that basis, Father O'Collins concludes that it is not an ''historical" event. By his resurrection Christ entered a new mode of existence of the glorified body, a Spirit-filled existence in which he is the source of life for mankind (2 Cor. 3:17; 1 Cor. 15:43 ff.). 

For the most part, his glorified existence is only to be described in negatives: immortal, impassible, etc. "If in fact Christ on the far side of the resurrection continued to exist under the bodily conditions which we experience and within which the historian operates, he would not be the risen Christ" (p. 385). 

The argument here is that the resurrection is central to our redemption in Christ and yet we need not regard it as an "historical" event in the strict sense of the word. How can this be? More next week.


The resurrection of Jesus differs from the other raisings from the dead mentioned in the Gospels: e.g., the young man from Nain (Lk. 7:11- 17), Jairus' daughter (Mk. 5:35-43), and Lazarus (Jn. 11). 

First, these events are described in some detail, whereas the resurrection of Jesus took place "in the silence of God" (St. Ignatius of Antioch). Secondly, there was never a problem of identification regarding the risen Lazarus or the risen daughter of Jairus, for example; whereas we have several instances in the Gospels where even his disciples failed to recognize the risen Lord. 

But the major contrast lies in the fact that the daughter of Jairus and the others resumed their lives under normal bodily conditions and would eventually die again. They had not yet entered into the final state of their existence. 

Jesus, on the other hand, does not return to our space-time condition. With his death and burial his historical existence is completed. He has moved into his final state of existence where he is now Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17; "see also 1 Cor. 15:43 ff.). 

Does all this mean that the resurrection was not "for real," that our faith is founded on an illusion? Not at all

Something objective did happen on Easter Sunday and its effects have manifested themselves ever since. The apostles themselves proclaimed the resurrection of Jesus as a real event, because they experienced and understood it as such. St. Paul would even argue that without the resurrection our faith is in vain and we are still in our sins (1 Cor. 15:17). 

The apostles were convinced that Jesus had appeared to them at definite times and in specific places and to a particular number of persons. These events were not regarded simply as mystical experiences and certainly not as hallucinations. On the contrary, "these appearances are historical from the side of those who encountered the risen Lord, but not from the side of Christ himself" (G. G. O'Collins, S.J., Heythrop Journal, October, 1967, p. 386). 

The resurrection and subsequent appearances are not subject to verification by the objective historian, and yet they are real events. This means that we must believe not only in the redemptive value of the resurrection, but also in the event itself. This is not true, however, in the case of the crucifixion. 

While faith is required to see the cross as the tree of life, faith is not required to accept it as an historical fact. Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, and an historian can verify this. But this is not so with regard to the resurrection. And yet the resurrection is just as real as the crucifixion. "Reality" comprises more than what is narrowly regarded as "historical." 

In other words, one can accept the resurrection as a real, bodily event, without necessarily calling it "historical." I say "necessarily" because there are theologians today (and they are not all fundamentalists) who continue to insist on the strict historicity of the resurrection. (For these references, see Father O'Collin's' article in Heythrop Journal.) 

While there may be room for discussion on the precise meaning of "historical," it must be clear that no Christian can responsibly deny the reality of the resurrection. It is something that really happened to Jesus of Nazareth and not merely to his disciples and apostles (as Bultmann has suggested). 

Indeed, the reality of the resurrection is the only thing that fully accounts for the faith and proclamation of the primitive Church. The apostles were men transformed by their experience of the risen Christ. No other explanation suffices for the extraordinary events that followed Easter Sunday and Pentecost. 

Now, as then, the only effective proof of the resurrection is a living faith. The resurrection remains an event which transforms and is transforming. A community which proclaims only a biological resuscitation of a corpse which lived some 2000 years ago is, at best, an historical anachronism or a curiosity piece. 

The risen Lord can only be experienced today, as he was in Palestine, in the breaking of the bread -- as men break bread with one another and give hope to those without hope, joy to those without peace, justice to those without rights. The Church, as the risen Body of Christ, must be precisely this kind of community