Saturday, April 29, 2017

And Still More Hate

First.  Update 2:  Is that what he said?  Doesn't bother me.  I'd rather risk the occasional extravagant gesture and fail than be voluntarily shackled to mediocrity.  Nothing ventured, all the same. That's his method.


"Nobody cares about your old radio shows."   

Well, some people seem to want to try them.  And someone does care about them, me.  I'd post them if 2 other people listened to them.  I might post them if no one did.  

Update:  It's not him.  He's too stupid to write the rest of it.  I'm being trolled by some pseudo-skeptics or other.  Who knows, they use sock puppets too. 

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Some Plays from Theater Five

This is from a series of radio dramas from the ABC network of all places, an attempt in the 1960s to revive the form on commercial radio in the United States.  Never heard of it at the time, No idea why. What I've heard of the series, it was was surprisingly good, amazing what you can do with 20 minutes.   I can't confirm the name of the writer for Jazz Festival, I think the credit said Fieldon Pellington, Odds on the Tower was written by Richard Mackracken  the recording of The Late Matthew Dillard cut out before the credits were given.  I'd really like to be able to give credits but I can't find a text of them online. 

You can see from the links that there were a lot of them made.  

Even More Answers To Even More Hate Mail

Don't give me that bull shit.  CSICOP, now called CSI to try to get it past the sTARBABY SCANDAL is a gang of atheist thugs, their influence on journalism and science has been mostly that of an intellectual protection racket, the fee they collected is promoting their ideological thuggery. You can say the same thing about the James Randi "Educational" Foundation, Michael Shermer and all the other pseudo-skeptical rackets out there.  It has succeeded with the cowards of journalism and to a great extent within science journalism and science.  It has been a total flop with the general public who are far more interested in its Index of Prohibited Topics since its founding than they were before. 

I used to think the bad state that the public understanding of science is in had little to do with CSICOP, now I think it probably has more to do with that than I once did. 

CSICOP and the rest of the atheist-ideological agitation have no interest in the truth, no more than neo-Confederate revisionists or Hollywood are.  It's a sleazy racket. 

I wish there was some way to know which of you guys are doing this so I could know which of your heroes to target.  But I've got no problem with targeting them all, even the media saints like Sagan.  

*  Which showed that its founders and even some of the scientists were able to be every thing from totally ignorant of science - Paul Kurtz, James Randi - to practicing basic scientific incompetence - George Abel, Marvin Zelen - to duplicity and cover up - virtually all of the rest of the CSICOP "council" and "fellows" and other big wigs involved in it, especially the allegedly sainted Martin Gardner and Carl Sagan and the professional "skeptic" and now retired psych prof. Ray Hyman. 

Update:  If you're not going to bother to read the things linked to that support my claim, you're going to continue to not know what you're talking about.  The incompetence and fraud were blatant, the cover up as well, even Richard Kammann, then a current "Fellow" of CSICOP, as willing as he was to bend over backward to look for innocent motives was, through the continued cover up and lies, forced to face the fact that the whole thing was a scandal and he resigned from the cult.

Still getting no response from the 4 stony faces on CSICOP's Mt. Rushmore [ Gardner, Hyman, Randi and Kendrick Frazier], I submitted a completely new paper fully documenting all the scientific errors with sources and omitting all charges of a cover-up by Council. Called "Statistical Numerology in the Skeptics' Response to the Mars Effect," and strictly limited to a small circle of addresses, this paper finally got some results.

George Abell produced 71 pages of explanations and apologies, accepting "Numerology" with two minor disclaimers (both wrong). Ray Hyman concurred on the errors but saw them as ordinary slip-ups in the process of science. Many scientists, he argued, try to publish nonsense but are blocked by a strong system of peer reviews and editorial control. Of course, there were no such controls for The Humanist or The Skeptical Inquirer, especially since Paul Kurtz had ultimate control on both. Ken Frazier agreed that a shorter and softer version of "Numerology" could be published in The Skeptical Inquirer but emphasized that nobody was interested in this dull old topic.

My faith in the goodness of CSICOP now flowering, I set to work on a readable third version of the paper. With Hyman's case for ordinary human errors humming in my head, I hit upon the subjective validation scenario for some of the errors (see Part 1) and even convinced myself that the whole cover-up was merely selective perception by Rawlins. The happy ending was in full sight.

The glow didn't last long. Frazier cabled that the editorial board was split and to shorten it severely. Meanwhile, my innocence theory was cracking under the strain to cover all the errors, and I sensed that no version I could write would be acceptable. Strong letters from Martin Gardner and Philip Klass now defined the situation as "resolved" by the Abell and Hyman letters. I was now exhausted and feeling the pressure to pronounce the benediction.

A reply to Hyman from parapsychologist R.A. McConnell said, "Nonsense. What we are talking about is elementary statistics--Abell and Zelen's specialty--and a third professor who is enhancing his status by lending his name in a field in which he presumably has no competence whatsoever. Of course, I'll buy your claim of no conscious dishonesty. [I suspect in the context, he said I'll NOT buy your claim.] Neither was it a chance occurrence. Unexamined dishonesty is rampant in this world. I don't see how you can excuse scientists' publicly trading upon their professional reputations when they are not willing to exert self-discipline." I tried to ignore McConnell, but that phrase "unexamined dishonesty" kept haunting me. The happy ending was slipping from my grasp.

There is one thing that Richard Kammann claimed that I totally reject, his claim that Paul Kurtz, the atheist god(less)father of neo-atheism was innocent of fraud due to his total, absolute ignorance of statistics - a defense that James Randi and Phil Klass also took.   There is no way to have an informed opinion on the topics they declared forbidden without having a sophisticated knowledge of statistics, they have to be held responsible for dealing ideologically with controlled scientific research out of a basis of total ignorance of what the findings of that science were.  That is intellectual dishonesty of the worst kind, perhaps topped only by those who do know bending things every which way to try to make the carefully done science disappear out of ideological motives.  Which would account for virtually all of the rest of the CSICOP gangsters.

Hate Mail - OK, Let's Take The Gloves Off

I will confess that I'm as guilty as anyone in doing it but there is really no such entity as "science".  Science is a social phenomenon which consists of what the world body of scientists - for the purpose of discussion, those people, the overwhelming majority of them men, who publish what is called science in reviewed journals - say is science at any given time.

Science has no independent existence as an entity that does anything, it is an ill-defined, purported consensus of what those scientists say it is at any given time.  And that's a load of nonsense, too.  Because there is no one consensus, there isn't even general accord, there is constant disagreement over everything from small details to entire theories or even schools of science, which rise to prominence and fall, eventually much of what was even taken as a consensus point of view as being even absolute knowledge will be overturned as it was found to be inadequate and not infrequently just wrong.   And that's not only true of the imprecise things like nutrition or molecular genetics, it's true of physics which, may, sometimes come to general consensus about some things given a very strong experimental demonstration, has many areas under contention.  My observation would lead me to the conclusion that it is in those very areas most often driven by materialist-atheist ideology in physics that have both the most contention and a large body of speculation presented as science which, unsurprisingly, gets shoved into that boneyard of discontinued science I mentioned.  Why that stuff is held to be "harder" science than psychology which is probably the thing called science which has contributed the largest number of corpses to that mountain, I don't know.

Before you fly off the handle and whine about my observation that your substitute god, Science, doesn't produce uniform or even durable knowledge, that's allegedly one of its great virtues, that, eventually, almost everything held as "science" will be challenged and its explanatory inadequacies will catch up with it and it will be overturned or succeeded by newer science.  Said virtue includes most of what I've said above and will say below as a part of that supposed quest for ever newer understanding.  One of sciences' biggest problems is that there is a shocking amount of pretty crappy stuff that gets published as science and taught and promoted by scientists as science, some of which even scientists acknowledge is crap - generally in other fields without any professional stake in what they will criticize.  The role that professional interests, sects, cartels, etc. play in it is both obvious and, pretty much, a prohibited area of thought.

What is rejected by "science" is sometimes better science than what is accepted.  Dr. Radin and his colleagues who have produced experimental results showing things such as presentiment of stimulus or a reaction to the experience of another person who they can not see, hear, or be in contact with is certainly far better controlled experiments, far more rigorously controlled against any pollution of the process and far better analyzed than almost anything you'll hear or read reported as psychology, sociology, anthropology, nutrition science, neuroscience, etc.  But it violates the 18th-19th century notion of materialist-atheist ideology and CSI(COP) and such entities as Susan Gerbic's, PZ Myers' and Jerry Coynes' - science help us, even James Randi and Penn Jillette's flying monkey squads might go after anyone who looks at them objectively.   That shows that "science" is hardly driven by method and review, it's as much a humanly mitigated activity as any other and as liable to ideological and other pressures that will constitute what "science says" as politics.

Don't feel too bad,  we talk about "religion" as if it's a thing you can say something definite about too, when that's as dishonest a ubiquitous practice, as well.    That "religion" everyone is always slamming or lauding is an imaginary construct, too.   It does have the virtue that your materailist-atheist ideology doesn't, it doesn't so often pollute science.  Atheism pervades large parts of it.

When it works for the good, science is just great and swell, it often doesn't, such as the well-paid science done on behalf of the oil, gas, coal and other extraction industries, much of other industry, the arms industry, the military.   Anyone who can ignore that enormous part of the professional activities of science are engaged in doing evil for profit is in complete denial as to its character as a phenomenon.  Steve Weinberg and his fans, for example. Even many of the otherwise innocent maintain that illusion out of their own interest.   I've got lots of friends and family members who work in science, though most of them as teachers and not publishing scientists.  I considered going into biology and was encouraged to by my teachers.  My mother had a degree in Biology.  I've got nothing against science that I don't also have against much of politics, journalism, the media, literature, the arts and religion.  I don't treat any of those as a god substitute, either.  Why should I treat science that way?  Demanding that I hold up and genuflect to science, science as an all-knowing god doesn't seem to be very consistent with your materialist-atheist, nothing sacred claims.  Perhaps those aren't what you claim them to be, either.

Update:  If Paul Kurtz was and James Randi is entirely ignorant, that guy is a total moron.  What he says is of no importance and those he says it to are idiots.   I don't care what he says to them because they are a hermetically sealed bottle, a terrarium of folly in the shape of a ship of fools.  I wish I could paint, I'd paint that and call it "Pseudo-Skepticism".   Or "Atheist-materialism", which is the same thing.

Update 2:  Is that what he said?  Doesn't bother me.  I'd rather risk the occasional extravagant gesture and fail than be voluntarily shackled to mediocrity.  Nothing ventured, all the same. That's his method.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Joseph V. Williams II - Zozobra

Played by the composer.

Trump's First 100 Days. And What Has He Done?

Hate Mail

Ha! God In The Gaps!  I've Caught You!  That's a paraphrase of a much more vulgar statement that means the same thing. Only I didn't make an argument for "the existence of God" I made an argument against something else. 

First, while there are religious people who do make "God of the gaps" arguments, no informed or sophisticated religious people of my experience do.  I don't believe I ever have.  It is a generally unknown fact that the person who is on record as the first person arguing against the folly of "God of the gaps" was an evangelical preacher, Henry Drummond.   Though, in looking online, right now, I believe some are claiming it as a formal logical fallacy.  I'm not sure it has generally been accepted as one, though online atheists love to invent new "logical fallacies" all the time. 

Second, as a matter of fact, though the term is, to my knowledge, not used, I was arguing against something very similar,  the atheist insertion of materialism into gaps in knowledge, believing, that by asserting that some as yet unknown material explanation - generally asserting that unknown, perhaps nonexistent explanation to be "scientific" - fills in gaps in knowledge.  

Darwin's imaginary unconscious creatures on the moon, Carl Sagan's invention of atheist extraterrestrials, the Just-so stories of evolutionary psychology, atheist cosmologists bi-jillions of imaginary universes, an infinity of previous incarnations of our one and only universe*, myriads of psychological-physiological entities, imaginary social constructs, the imaginary structures in our brain which cause our consciousness, all of which are not in evidence..... and most of all, an ultimate material explanation of everything including our consciousness are the equivalent of a virtual pan(a)theon of gods that are constantly invented to shove materialist-atheism into gaps of knowledge.  The phenomenon has been going on since the dawn of science, gaining force as atheists claimed ownership of science, that it is remarkable that its existence hasn't been named before now. Some sciences consist of little else.   The usual name of "promissory notes of materialism" is good but it doesn't go far enough in identifying what they are doing when they do it.  They are making atheism in the gaps or, if you prefer, materialism in the gaps arguments against the existence of God. And that has been the actual motive of a shocking amount of what gets called science for a long, long time.  I believe it probably accounts for a large percentage of once current but now discontinued and seldom discussed science.   Some of it with quite horrific consequences.  

* I don't remember who it was who pointed out the folly of that effort because an infinite God might well have been believed to have created an infinity of universes or an infinity of incarnations of our, one universe.  If one is good (as Genesis says) why wouldn't an infinity of them not be infinitely good? None of which is a. knowledge, or b. science. 

A Contrast From Isaiah 55 - I Think This Is It With The Letter To William Graham For Now

Having read a lot of what Charles Darwin wrote in his life, reading lots of what his closest colleagues, his sons, one of his grandsons have said about him and his theory, having studied the effect of his theory in human history, it struck me last night that that letter he wrote to William Graham on July 3, 1881 condenses so much that is wrong with both his theory as a real force in human culture and the materialism that came to use Darwin as its chief icon.

Darwin's purpose is, explicitly twofold, first his desire to fight off any idea that science could be taken as a clue that there might be purpose in the universe, then to whine that Graham had slighted his theory.  

He, himself identified his chief point on which he disagreed with what Graham said in his book, "The Creed of Science"

The chief one is that the existence of so-called natural laws implies purpose. I cannot see this. 

In doing that, Darwin pretty much declares himself to be on the side of his materialist-atheist colleagues.  The reason that the idea of purpose is anathema to materialists - who are almost uniformly atheists - is that purpose would imply God, not just any old nature, pagan god, but God the Creator.  That has certainly been the chief ideological use of the claim often heard in the naive declaration that "science proves there isn't any purpose in the universe" or from those merely seeming to be more informed, "science proves there is no need of a God".

Well, science is incapable of doing either,  Any scientist who makes that claim for science shows that they have a naive understanding of science because even a successful description of a physical phenomenon or a successful prediction of an effect doesn't touch the question as to why it is like that, though it may manage a partial explanation of how it is like that.

If, as I will point out again, there is not a single particle in the material universe that physics has understood comprehensively and exhaustively, there is certainly no force or, for that matter, a "physical law" that science has understood comprehensively and exhaustively.  There are certainly aspects of those which are as unreachable as an electron and, something which always comes as news to many, including many scientists, when we talk about "physical law" we are talking about a humanly made explanation of phenomena.   If you want a good example, one of the most brilliant of all recent physicists, Richard Feynman, repeatedly noted that no one really understood one of the most successful of all scientific endeavors, quantum theory.

You would think that atheists would understand at least that much, that it was human beings who came up with what was human understanding of these matters and transmitted them to other human beings who haven't always agreed to what they mean.  You would think that Darwin, whose own law would prove so much a matter of controversy and dispute, even among those who believed in it during his life time, even from his co-inventor of natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace, would have grasped that much of it.

As for his examples debunking the possibility of believing that there might be purpose in nature, those are naive in the extreme.

... yet taking the laws as we now know them, and look at the moon, where the law of gravitation – and no doubt of the conservation of energy – of the atomic theory, &c. &c. hold good, and I cannot see that there is then necessarily any purpose. Would there be purpose if the lowest organisms alone destitute of consciousness existed in the moon?

His example of gravitation and conservation of energy and the atomic theory on the moon and his claim that they have no purpose there merely shows he is confusing the localized interests of  human beings who are observing all of that, including a very naive naturalist at Down, Beckenham, Kent for a comprehensive view.  He just can't see why, since it's no use to him, there couldn't be some other purpose that doesn't directly concern him and his interests.  Considering the developing science he was a part of would, in the coming decades, come to understand that for even many terrestrial species the moon and its phases would have an enormous importance in their successful reproduction, his example was naive in the extreme.  I won't go into his assumption that the "lowest organisms" of the moon, which existed merely in his own, self-interested, biased imagination would be "destitute of consciousness".  You would have thought that the renowned naturalist and scientist, Darwin, of all people, would have understood that you can reliably make no such assumptions about species you hadn't actually observed,   Though his theory was based on exactly an exception from the requirement of actual observation and analysis of actual examples in nature.  His ideological descendants, those foremost self-declared champions of empirical knowledge and scientific method would go whole hog on that, perhaps from his example.

But, as all atheists who do battle on this issue, he discounts the most obvious problem for their declaration that there is no purpose in the universe,  God its creator could have purposes that have not been revealed to people, not even the most extravagantly adulated scientists of our species, but which we might not be able to grasp, totally or even in part.  After all, we don't, and, currently, science holds that we can't know everything about even one, single, electron in some of its most banal aspects.   That there might be things we can't know is something that the author of Isaiah had thought of.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.   

It is certainly not a proof of purpose in the universe but it is a good reminder that there is no reason to believe that if there is a purpose in such a thing as gravitation and conservation of energy and "the atomic theory" operating on the moon or here or at the edge of the universe (whatever that means) that we very well might not grasp it.  It could be too subtle or too big to wrap our limited understanding around.

Perhaps that insight into that came to the author of Isaiah through a lens of humility that is, also, anathema to atheist-materialists.  That scientists, especially, it seems to me, British scientists, at Darwin's time, the foremost beneficiaries of the British empire and the horrible British caste system might be arrogant enough to believe they had full and ultimate knowledge is increasingly unsurprising to me.  That Americans and others who benefited from inequality could be as arrogant is no more of a surprise.

Darwin's statement made right after that, expressing his conviction that the universe is the way it is NOT by chance only shows just how naive he was.

But I have had no practice in abstract reasoning and I may be all astray. Nevertheless you have expressed my inward conviction, though far more vividly and clearly than I could have done, that the Universe is not the result of chance.

He couldn't quite understand that without purpose in the universe, without the universe being the product of intention,  the only default position that it was as it is due to chance.  Today's materialists in cosmology have understood that problem and have turned probability onto a creator god by inventing quadrillions of unknown, unknowable, universes as talismans to fend off a God they fear is implied in our one, known universe having an absolute beginning.

I have followed a bit of the many attempts to get past the crisis in atheism caused by the currently believed absolute beginning of the universe.  I've read them either inventing many universes or claiming that our one universe has bounced through an infinite number of incarnations throughout an infinite past and have been amazed and amused at the intellectual contortions that rival any Cirque de Soleil show.  I am not certain but I believe the attempt to extend the universe through a series of previous lives in the infinite past has been criticized on what it would do to the Second Law of Thermodynamics which would seem to require that the whole thing should have wound down into total chaos in the infinite past, but my knowledge of that argument is limited.  Though I don't believe the atheists have answered it, yet.

My original reason for looking up this letter was in answer to an atheist who claimed that no one believed our minds were really just caused by the chemistry and physics found in our heads, by chance.  After noting that Darwin's closest continental colleague, Ernst Haeckel had said just that in a book Darwin had endorsed as the highest of science without reservation, I noted that Darwin had expressed his fears at the implication of that, the demotion of human minds and the complete product of those minds, himself.   In that I noted that Darwin showed considerably more sophistication than the contemporary atheists who would claim that "no one believes that" even as exactly that claim pretty much rules current neuroscience and its allied field, it is the whole basis of socio-biology and evolutionary psychology and all of the many, similar schools of behavioral and social science which have been consigned to the large boneyard of discontinued science.  The mixture of atheist-materialist ideology into science has proved to be anything but a reliable means of generating durable and reliable knowledge.  Though it has certainly proven to be a fecund source of temporarily believed and at times dangerously applied belief that the claims of such scientists are reliable knowledge.

Which leads to the second paragraph in which Darwin breezily twists history to his liking and then uses natural selection to assign biological value to "so-called Caucasians" valued as "higher" and "Turks and "an endless number of the lower races" valued as "lower" and eagerly anticipated the day when the "higher" would exterminate the "lower" in absolutely explicit terms.  Which would, even in Darwin's days, certainly have been the greatest series of mass murders in all of human history.  See my last two day's posts for details.  Which leads me to contrast that with the verse in Isaiah right before the one I quoted above.

Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.

I think anyone who would not see which world view, which view of reality is more likely to lead to mass murder on an epic scale and which carries far less potential for that and which may, especially in the widest context of the Law, the Prophets and the Gospels, impede mass murder is probably either not very bright or they are completely dishonest.

Yet it is also a huge program of atheists in the modern world to assign all evil to the way of thinking which says that mass murder is not good while lying as they laud the one which has, repeatedly, from the beginning, asserted that mass murder is healthy for the human species, or at least the survivors taken to be superior.

You should consider that for Darwin, living an easy, wealthy, upper caste life in Britain, surrounded by all comforts and elegencies, nursing his many illnesses. praised as one of the foremost figures in human civilization,  he was a really bloodthirsty advocate of "struggle for existence," that is deadly violence.  Genocidal violence, since in his theory, entire populations of people needed to die for there to be "progress".   In his letter, as in others, he classifies those who he anticipates carrying out the mass murders of those he deems inferior as being more "civilised" than those they murder.  Talk about a twisted system of valuation.  It is no great shock that Nietzsche took his inspiration from Darwin.  And Nietzsche was not the last or nearly the most influential of those whose thinking was influenced by Darwin's science.

I could go on and on about the many inconsistencies in Darwin.  Consider how he turns "civilisation" into a sword he turns every which way depending on how he wants to use it.  He often attributes a purported biological crisis in the human population to "civilisation" because it allows those he deems unfit to live and have children.  This is the "crisis" which, for him and his colleagues, leads to eugenics and enthusiam for the murders of those deemed "inferior".  But, then he claims that those with the highest level of "civilisation" are superior to the "savages" who, in his previous, argument that "civilisation" was dysgenic, kill off their "unfit" and so "those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health".  But then he claims they are, never the less. destined to be exterminated by their "more civilised" "superiors".   I can only think that this double-speak went unremarked on because he was mostly presenting it to people with his same economic and class interests.   His double-speak doesn't end there.

My favorite example of that is though he decried the fact that those he deemed weak in body and mind would have children and so, according to Darwin, propagate their defects,  he was a constantly ill hypochondriac (one of the current theories is he was lacto-intolerant) who, for all of his demonstrated and frequent complaints about his health, which in others he would have called biological unfitness, he had many children, many of whom, in his name were stalwarts in the British eugenics movement.  None of them, so far as I can see, ever saw the discrepancy between Charles Darwin's claims, his life (especially his hypochondria) and his ideological claims.

So much, contained in that two-paragraph letter.  When you read it in a wider context of Darwin's work and life, the position of his theory of natural selection in history and in the wider history of materialist-atheist ideology in the real world.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Marco De Biasi-Improvvisazioni Parte I

I believe it's the composer playing his own piece but I don't know.

I've been investigating the composers who have placed or win in the composers competitions of the Boston Guitar Festival.  I'm floored by the talent and the extensions of technique and the quality of the music.  If it weren't way too late for me I'd start getting to work, besides, I sprained a finger this morning.

Here's another piece by another of those who have shown up in the list but playing another of his compositions.

Nejc Kuhar - Black Hole

I take that back, just noticed this piece did win a prize in an earlier year

What Would Trump’s Immigrant Ancestors Say?

Materialism As "The Most Common Disease In America And The Western World"

I am not the only person who has come to the conclusion that materialism is one of the greatest dangers to liberalism and, also, life on Earth.  In the talk by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel I posted last week he specifically identified materialism as a disease, "the most common disease in American and the Western world".   And, in line with my contention that materialism, especially thinking of people in mechanical terms, has the most real of consequences in a clear violation of the liberal foundations of equal rights, equality and the moral obligation to observe and respect those rights.  His speech was given in 1968 at what we hoped at the time was the height of the Vietnam War, unfortunately, Nixon would take office after his henchmen scuttled the peace talks in Paris and expand the war.

Given my recent experience with people misreading what was put down in print, I was reluctant to transcribe Rabbi Heschel's marvelous speaking full of the most wonderful and meaningful inflection which makes the irony of the words obvious (the audience, able to see his marvelously expressive face and gestures reacted to that, audibly)  I would encourage anyone who wants to get the deeper meaning of what he said to listen to him.  My transcript starts at about 14:55 but it's in the context of a conference about the Vietnam War held at the Ambassador Hotel - if you don't listen to his description of  the luxury of the accommodation and banquet at which these scholar and dignitaries  discussed the bombing, napalm attacks, massive casualties of that war as it was going on, you will miss a lot of the fuller meaning of what I had time to transcribe. Here is the video from a couple of minutes before so you can hear that.  

Note, please, the irony Rabbi Heschel conveyed in his inflection.  I can't adequately transcribe that.  I've used quotes so people won't claim to believe he was saying what the distinguished political scientist is quoted as saying.

…. One of the speakers, a very distinguished scholar, a political scientist for a very famous university here in California made an answer to a question from the floor. The question was this gentleman is very optimistic … he was optimistic about the war in Vietnam,  

“ You know we have done marvious things in Vietnam, you have no idea, you're totally uninformed.   The only bad people in America are the journalists, Amerian press people in Vietnam who write letters to the press in America saying we that we suffer casualities, etc. [unintelligble] we are doing exceedingly well and we are going to – you know – we are going to solve the problem of communism, right?  No question about it.”

So one lady,  apparently she is “uninformed and very primitive,” she raised a question, “What about the numerous civilians who are being killed in Vietnam?”…  what a silly question to ask.  And he answered scientifically he answered,  “You are mistaken, you don't realize that the number of people, the national population increase in South Vietnam is larger than the number of people killed.”  

Now I would cry, and I did, in hearing that. But this is an indication of a disease, my friends.  The disease I would like to diagnose, if I were to give you the diagnosis, simply, we think of man in mechanical terms.  We don't think of men in human terms.   And I say this is the most common disease in America and the Western world.  Therefore, I should suggest that war is a marvelous thing that it will solve all the problems it's a biological necessity.   It may not be a human necessity – understand me – what does it mean to be human?  Why don't we ask yourself that question?   

A very distinguished general in South Vietnam, I believe - or was it a, not a general, someone else, a captain, I don't know [laughter] – after destroying one of the may villages that have been destroyed by our civilization (in) South Vietnam – some primitive people, don't you know -  he said “We had to destroy the village in order to save it,” [laughter from the audience]  You've heard this, it's now a laughing matter.  What is dangerous about that statement is it has a perfect logic.   Right, yes, we saved it.  That village there'll  be no more shelter for Viet Cong.  It's a marvelous achievement it's good for America.  We destroyed the village in order to save it.  So now you hear from certain people who say we have to destroy American system in order to save it to meet some act of what some Pentagon man said of Vietnam. Right?  So don't blame the wild students at Columbia for saying we have to destroy the system in order to save it, they just repeat what the military man said in Vietnam.  All right

America's war in Vietnam would certainly fit in with a Darwinian scheme of analysis in which 'civilised" people were attacking "some primitive people" as Rabbi Heschel noted, ironically,  in passing.

Once your ear has been opened to hearing that kind of thinking, thinking about people as objects, as machines, in terms of quantitative analysis, you can hear it all over, both on the right and the left.  I hear it all the time in the various statements from the Trump regime, from ICE, from lefty blogs and magazines.  It is all the same disease of thinking of people in mechanical terms and treating them as objects to whom we owe no moral obligations.

Quantum Turks

Let me put it this way,  in order for those two sentences (see my earlier post this morning) to mean what you claim, that they don't eagerly anticipate the extermination of "the Turks", especially in the context of the rest of the text and within the work of Darwin,  after, "The more civilised so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence," "the Turkish" would have to both not exist and exist in the future, they would have to both be alive and dead at the same time.  

Now that I've pointed that out I expect the Darwin industry to start claiming that in addition to all else attributed to Charles Darwin, he also anticipated the quantum mechanics of Erwin Schrödinger.  

Do you guys ever, ever listen to what you're claiming?  

I Misrepresented Nothing

You claim "you have misrepresented what Darwin and others have said" without specifying what it was I am supposed to have misrepresented and how I misrepresented him.   I often get that from people who, if they will discuss their accusation, generally turn out to have never read anything he or "others" have said.  It is one of the foremost dodges of the St. Darwin Industry which, as I noted, is an ongoing effort.  There is even a buttress to that effort trying to turn the overtly proto-Nazi writings of Ernst Haeckel, claiming they mean what they so obviously don't.  One of its foremost figures of the unlikely canonization cause of Ernst Haeckel was represented at that link I gave.

Considering one of your intellectual persuasion tried to claim to me that when Darwin, as an example of his scientific theory of natural selection that "The more civilised so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence." "the struggle for existence" would, in the fullness of time, result in the deaths of the losers in that "struggle for existence".  You can't even make it not mean that he anticipated that "the Turkish" would be exterminated by "so-called Caucasians".  That is confirmed in the very next sentence that Darwin wrote as part of his argument that his natural selection had a major role in furthering civilization, "Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilised races throughout the world."  There is no other meaning those phrases and words could have except that Darwin thought that genocide in which "superior" "so-called Caucasians" would slaughter "an endless number of the lower races" and that the results would be salubrious for the survivors.  There is no other way to read that, it is an argument he made before, in one of his major scientific publications, The Descent of Man and in other letters, such as the one he sent to the birth-control advocate, G. A. Gaskell (I did a post presenting their entire correspondence, look it up in my archive). When one of the most lavishly lauded scientists in history makes what he purports is a scientific argument anyone reading what he said, purported to have the reliability of science, is justified as believing he meant exactly what he said..  That is especially true when he has said the same or very similar things, as science, in books published as science and in other writings over a number of years.

By the way, though I haven't done the research to confirm it, I suspect he said "so-called Caucasian" because he favored an African origin for the place humans first arose over a conflicting, even more overtly racist, scientific theory then current that humans arose in Asia.  I haven't done the research to confirm that so I didn't mention it in my post BECAUSE I TRY TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT BEING ABLE TO SUPPORT MY INTERPRETATION OF WHAT SCIENTISTS CLAIM AS SCIENCE.

You people always dismiss these inconvenient facts with the kind of breezy dismissal that you expressed, you never, ever address the relevant texts in the context of the entire work of the authors. That is probably because you so seldom have ever read them, relying on the cherry-picked, quote-mined misrepresentation of them by the St. Darwin cult.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Marek PASIECZNY 'Sequenza' (a Alberto Ginastera)

Daniel Egielman, guitar

FIRST SOUNDS: Humanity's First Recordings of Its Own Voice

A really fascinating documentary about the recently revealed earliest known recordings of sound and how the tracings of sound waves on soot covered paper have been made to reproduce sounds.  It is quite wonderful.

Note the early recording of Arthur Sullivan and his misgivings about how much bad music would be preserved the next time you hear Ted Nugent or .... well, that list would be too long for an infinity of monkeys to type out.

Been Called Out Can't Rewrite An Answer I Kind Of Already Did

Now they're whining that I'm being mean to Katha Pollitt.  I will admit that I was mis-remembering the phrase she used that I remembered while writing that piece this morning, she didn't say "religion infested," she said "Christian-inflected."   Here is the piece that came from: 

Yeah, It Makes All The Sense In The World To Blame People Who Disapprove of Sadistic Sex and Porn for S&M Porn 

I knew before I read Katha Pollitt's review of the movie 50 Shades of Grey that she'd find some way to blame it on Christians and, of course, she does.

Let’s say you’re a woman who wants to have a handsome man worship your body, desire you intensely, focus on you sexually with incredible skill, and bring you to earthshaking orgasm in about thirty seconds. You never have to exert yourself on his behalf—his satisfaction happens automatically as a byproduct of yours. If porn for women mirrored porn for men, that’s what it would look like. But let’s say, in addition, that you are marinated in a Christianity-inflected culture that inculcates women with sexual shame, insecurity about their looks and lovability and self-worth in general, and tells them in a thousand ways that men are superior, male power is sexy, and suffering is redemptive. Then you might end up with porn for women that looks a lot like Fifty Shades of Grey.

Actually, if you lived in a "Christianity-inflected culture"  you'd be more likely to have the Songs of Solomon (not exactly a book informed by Christianity, by the way) as being the raciest thing you're likely to encounter as approved literature.   You could be expected to not have BDSM porn because every single thing about it violates every single thing about how to treat other people that is taught by Jesus.   Somehow, I don't think a book in which the guy only did to the gal what he'd want done to him would sell as S&M.  You do realize they weren't married in the story, don't you?

I don't know of a widely accepted Christian theologian who taught that bondage and sado-masochism are good or, in fact, anything but deeply immoral.

can, though, think of lots and lots and lots of atheists, free speech industry hacks and the such who have advocated and supported such books, including Simone de Beauvoir and lots of totally anti-Christian writers and political theorists who have probably not been on Pollitt's to-crap-on list.

At the very least, Katha, old chum,  the authors of such stuff share more responsibility for its presence than Christianity does.   I doubt any of them were pious and strictly observant Christians, though I'd like to know of any you can list who can be convincingly accepted as such.

Oh, wait,  don't I seem to recall reading her talking about her job as a porn proof-reader in that collection of essays a dozen or more years ago?  I wonder if she ever assisted in the publication of S&M porn.  And I wonder what a review of the archive of the magazines she has worked for would reveal about support for the publication of that genre of junk.

And there was that weird essay about her Marxist study group full of her boyfriend's lovers.   I wonder if they ever went into the rape murders of Comrade Lavrentiy  Beria or the young girls forced into training as sex slaves in The Peoples Republic of North Korea or the widespread sex slavery in The Peoples' Republic of China.   Apparently none of that is inconsistent with Marxism as practiced in the real world, though I can tell you no main-line Church would ever be reasonably accused of advocating it.

Pollitt is hooked up with the Freedom From Religion gang and probably any number of other venues of that part time employment for those who are finding that the paid scribbling gig isn't what it used to be back in the age of ink on paper.   She can now be counted on to slam Christianity in just about anything she can fit it into.   Perhaps she gets paid for a kind of product placement when she puts something like that in a piece.

And, by the way, I haven't encountered a single man who has either admitted to having read the thing or who I've seen carrying the book in public.  You're way, way off base on this one Katha.

I Will Honor The Humanity Of Materialists But I'm Not Going To Pretend Their Ideology Isn't Fatal To Liberalism

Someone is disturbed by my exchange in the comments with one "Tralfaz Wizard" who, I will grant him this, was rational enough and civil enough to make it past filters and moderation.  Almost no one else who tries to post that point of view has, except when I've found it useful to let them through in the past.

I don't apologize for asserting that the logical ends of materialism are what they are and that both as a matter of logical application of their starting position and, in fact, in the claims of materialists in the literature, materialism is inimical to liberalism in its traditional American form. That liberalism  of human equality, freedom, and the equally held moral obligation on us all to respect rights and the well being of people we are unrelated to, not friends of, of even our enemies and those who persecute us.

Any materialist who claims to believe in the reality of freedom, rights, equality and, most of all, the equally held moral obligations that entails are being inconsistent with their intellectual position.  I will grant them credit for being humane to the extent they are willing to do that, just as I will admit that there are others who violate their intellectual position as an expression of  the better angels of their nature.  I would include some Biblical fundamentalists and others whose positions I would disagree with and which I think at times can lead to quite inhumane results.

But the problem with materialism is that such exceptions can't be counted on, no more than it can be counted on that Christians will live by the Gospel of Jesus,  The problem with materialism comes from materialists who live according to their faith, the problem with Christians comes when they don't live according to their faith.  Which is a big difference in judging the reality of the two ways of thinking.

I think the history of the 20th century shows that you shouldn't count on the relatively few otiose, tenured,contented members of Western university faculties to reliably reveal the qualitative content of materialism when its reality as a governing principle is apparent in the terrible dictatorships that started in the French Reign of Terror and in a line that that continues today.  I think an even more telling problem in that area is the attitude of large numbers of intellectual atheists in the United States, Britain and elsewhere, especially to the dialectical materialist dictatorships.

A couple of years ago I noted that Katha Pollit (who I once respected) was waxing nostalgically about the Progressive Labor party, the party that, failing to take over Students For A Democratic Society engineered its implosion into the stupidity of the Weather Underground.   Progressive Labor was explicitly a Maoist party and the time period of its greatest influence - such as that was - was during the Cultural Revolution in China which killed millions of people as a means of Mao and his crime family to keep and tighten their control of China. Progressive Labor overtly supported the Cultural Revolution.  Those lovely Progressive Labor folks and their supporters and those who reminisce about them with misty eyes were supporting people every bit as murderous as the Nazis.  I would say that the fact that the materialist dialectic in China was murdering Asians which might account for why white, American Marxists wouldn't count them as important but you could note the same thing for the Stalinists and others as tens of millions were being murdered in the Soviet Union.   If they had taken any of those holdings of liberalism as absolute truths - as they must be to be effective - they could never have taken the position they did then or now.  Katha Pollitt, as so many aging scribblers have, has become active in the neo-atheist agitation, especially the old "Freedom From Religion" outfit.She isn't a generally unobservant person.  I can't shake the idea that there's a connection between her materialism and her failure to see the mountains of corpses.    That's a common enough thing in Marxists sitting comfortably, working in the religion infested United States they want to change to their thinking.   I can't hold those folk to be especially nice people.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I Am Glad To Be The Instrument Of Manuel's Revenge - Hate Mail

Oh, I think it's good in the currently anglophile United States for at least someone to regularly express disrespect for the Brits.  That not all of us buy the B.S. imports from the BBC and other engines of phonied up Brit costume dramas.  I think it's good for their character development to get the same treatment they regularly give other peoples in their "comedy". 

Besides, I'm Irish, you can't expect me to just let them get away with the nonsense they sell here on PBS.  

Update:  Oh, I adore John Oliver, my favorite Brit whose name isn't Judi Dench.  If you think I'm mean to the Brits, he's savage.  Listen to what he said about the United States and Britain in ... French during his recent program about the French Election.

And in his most recent program about Ivanka and Jared 

Love John Oliver. 

Update 2: "Who is Manuel?"

I thought everyone knew Fawlty Towers.  I'm sure there are Youtubes.  "Manuel" was a moderately to quite offensive caricature of a Spanish worker at an English hotel.   It got really unfunny, fast.  Luckily they only ever made a dozen of them.  Prunella Scales was quite good in it, as was John Cleese.   

Update:  Ok, Ok, I adore Glenda Jackson, too. 

I Wonder If The Turks Know Darwin Fingered Them As Biologically Inferior And Said Their Genocide Would Constitute The Progress of "Civilisation"

After I wrote my last post of yesterday, I looked and thought more carefully about just how awful Darwin's claims in the second paragraph of that letter really were.   Here is the entire paragraph, you can check the text against that of the Darwin Correspondence Project - certainly a pro-Darwin outfit at his own Cambridge University - I copied and pasted their posting of it, changing nothing.

Lastly I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilisation than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risks the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is. The more civilised so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilised races throughout the world. But I will write no more, and not even mention the many points in your work which have much interested me. I have indeed cause to apologise for troubling you with my impressions, and my sole excuse is the excitement in my mind which your book has aroused.

You get the feeling that Darwin's "excitement of mind" was aroused because he felt that William Graham didn't give his theory, natural selection, due praise.  The structure of Darwin's argument to convince Graham of that is in line with Darwin's writing from at least the time he wrote The Descent of Man because the same argument was made in it, with a number of other named and implied "lower races" being the object of his selective scheme.  I will take the argument sentence by sentence because it's my experience that if there are Darwinists reading this, they will skate past any parts of it they don't like and pretend it doesn't mean what Darwin said.

Lastly I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilisation than you seem inclined to admit. 

Darwin is not only claiming scientific validity for his theory of natural selection, he is claiming it as having a more significant role "for the progress of civilisation" than Graham would have granted it.   In the next sentences he gives an example of just how he sees his theory as contributing to the "progress of civilisation" and the consequences of it.

Remember what risks the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is.

He cites the past in which the Turkish empire conquered a large part of Europe and rivaled European empires and kingdoms - off hand, I can't think of any country conquered by "the Turks" which were governed democratically.   And Darwin claims that "such an idea now is" "ridiculous".  The only basis of it being "ridiculous" would be if you believed the other petty monarchies, fiefdoms, parts of European empires were less "ridiculous" than the Ottomans, which would be a hard case to make. Considering that history and his theory. one thing that is ridiculous is the choice Darwin made in choosing to finger the Turks in this way.  He went on:

The more civilised so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence.

You wonder, if some Turk had been writing on this topic at the height of the Turkish empire why it wouldn't have been as legitimate an idea to say that "The Turkish race have beaten the so-called Caucaian races hollow in the struggle for existence".  But, as I've noted before, Darwin often played fast and loose with history when applying his theory of natural selection to groups he didn't like.

But that's not the most sinister thing in that sentence, it is the assertion that the military defeat of the Turks didn't only have military or historical significance, Darwin, through natural selection, gives it scientific significance with all of the implications of rigorous reliability that is carried by that assertion.  Not only scientific significance, but deadly scientific significance entirely due to the nature of his theory of natural selection.  The losers in a Darwinian "struggle for existence" die and disappear from the future.  The reason they die is due to their inferiority to those who kill them. Which is the bridge between his historically dubious claims about the Turks and the most chilling sentence yet.

Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilised races throughout the world.

Remember the context into which Darwin, himself set that sentence, his claim made to William Graham, "on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilisation than you seem inclined to admit,"  He, himself, claimed that his theory will have a role in a future in which "an endless number of the lower races (his term, not mine) will have been eliminated (that is erradicated, killed) by the higher civilised races (by his own text, the "so-called Caucasian races") throughout the world.  He is calling genocide an engine of "the progress of civilisation".  In this instance he named the Turks as a group he clearly anticipated being wiped out by "so-called" Caucasians.  Clearly, that's not only scientific racism, blatant scientific racism, it is an endorsement of genocide as an engine of progress.  I have noted before that Darwin had been making assertions to that effect since at least the publication of The Descent of Man, other members of his inner circle had been making similar racist claims based in natural selection about the beneficial results of the deaths of those who they considered "lower" by their superior, white, murderers, Darwin's closest British colleague and his protective "bull dog" Thomas Huxley from at least 1865 in his putrid essay Emancipation - Black and White,  Ernst Haeckel since at least 1868 in the book Darwin completely endorsed as representing his own views, Natürliche schöpfungsgeschichte  .

At the same time a third member of Darwin's inner circle, Francis Galton was already publishing articles and the book Hereditary Genius, the foundation of his eugenics - something he directly attributed to his reading of On the Origin of Species and which he noted his cousin Charles Darwin praised in a letter he published on Darwin's first reading Hereditary Genius.  Eugenics, in practice, was not only used in the United States, Canada and elsewhere in an attempt to either inhibit the continuation of races, it was also used as an indirect form of genocide, something which the Nazis studied and learned from in forming their own genocidal eugenics.

As I've wondered about the other groups Darwin named, specifically, as being inferior to those groups he deemed superior - no surprise is there that he counted his Brits as the pinnacle of superiority - what are we supposed to make of him today?   Taking the conventional definition of a generation as 33 years, it is just over four generations ago that he not only deemed the Turks to be scientifically identified as inferior, but that their eradication by "so-called Caucasians" was to be anticipated and such would constitute "the progress of civilisation".  He had also made claims about other groups being wiped out by their "superiors" as the advance of "civilisation".   That taint of inferiority under Darwin was biological, it was inherited, it would be passed on if such "inferior" people had children.  The great-great grandchildren of the people Darwin eagerly anticipated being wiped out because of their inherent inferiority are alive today, no doubt some of them at universities being indoctrinated in natural selection and, if not on a science track, in the cult of the post-war, plaster Saint Charles Darwin who sciency propagandists are lying about having said such things, right now.

When he chose to pick on "the Turks" Darwin was especially stupid because if there is one thing that the Turkish people were known for in history, it was as conquerors.  At any point what Darwin said about them could have been said about those they conqurered.   You have to wonder if he were aware of just who was included in that ethnic family.    Of course, as is always true in history, today's conquering rulers can be tomorrows has-beens.  Look at Darwin's Brits.  As to such conquest constituting the progress of "civilisation," in the example Darwin gave, I'd say that the idea that his Victorian Brits were civilized is a delusion.  I guess Darwin's idea of "civilisation" included those who committed genocide. By his definition, Genghis Khan must have been one of the most "civilised" men in history, his murderous "hoard" an engine of the progress of said "civilisation".  I suppose he'd agree with that if they'd been "so-called Caucasians" or, even better, Brits.

The role that such thinking denominated to be "science" with all of the rights and privileges of assumed reliability that club believes they are entitled to in the continuation of genocidal and racist thinking is important to consider.

Update:  Oh, for Petes' sake.  What do you supposed Darwin meant when HE CALLED THE DEFEAT OF THE TURKS BY "THE SO-CALLED CAUCASIANS" A LOSS IN A "STRUGGLE FOR EXISTENCE"?  Do you imagine that the losers in a "struggle for existence" were believed by Darwin to still exist afterwards?   They fucking die!  They leave no descendants.  IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE AN EVOLUTIONARY THEORY, AFTER ALL!

Jeesh!  Who ever passed you in reading in 2nd grade was practicing grade inflation.  There's a lot of that going around in these STEM emphasizing days.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Bill O’Reilly’s Downfall (And Trump’s, Too?)

Darwin's Horrible Doubt And The Further Consequences Of The Devaluing Of "Man's Mind"

In the discussion earlier, I brought up a rather well known quote by Charles Darwin in which he faces some most unpleasant consequences of a materialists' inescapable conclusions about natural selection, conclusions that, as noted, Darwin's foremost colleague, friend and associate on the European Continent, Ernst Haeckel had already drawn from natural selection with Darwin's approval (see the quote from him in the post, below).   The quote from Darwin has been discussed quite a bit.  I've seen it most often given in this form:

But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind? 

I would seem to have a higher opinion of monkeys than Darwin seems to have had, I'd rather have a monkey for an ancestor than a British aristocrat,  but that's beside the point.  What is obvious is that Darwin realized that if his theory were taken as Haeckel and, I would note, most of those I've read on the topic do, it would have to damage the validity of our minds and the products of our minds, including science.

As is so often the case, when you an read a quote in a fuller context, it becomes even more interesting.  It's clear that Darwin's qualms about the consequences of "man's mind" forced by his theory was in a wider context of the materialist arguments which so many of those who adopted natural selection seem to have had as their primary motivation in accepting it.    Here is the letter as published by the Darwin Correspondence Project:

Down, Beckenham, Kent. | (Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R)

July 3rd. 1881.

Dear Sir

I hope that you will not think it intrusive on my part to thank you heartily for the pleasure which I have derived from reading your admirably written ‘Creed of Science,’ though I have not yet quite finished it, as now that I am old I read very slowly. It is a very long time since any other book has interested me so much. The work must have cost you several years and much hard labour with full leisure for work. You would not probably expect anyone fully to agree with you on so many abstruse subjects; and there are some points in your book which I cannot digest. The chief one is that the existence of so-called natural laws implies purpose. I cannot see this. Not to mention that many expect that the several great laws will some day be found to follow inevitably from some one single law, yet taking the laws as we now know them, and look at the moon, where the law of gravitation – and no doubt of the conservation of energy – of the atomic theory, &c. &c. hold good, and I cannot see that there is then necessarily any purpose. Would there be purpose if the lowest organisms alone destitute of consciousness existed in the moon? But I have had no practice in abstract reasoning and I may be all astray. Nevertheless you have expressed my inward conviction, though far more vividly and clearly than I could have done, that the Universe is not the result of chance. But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind? Secondly I think that I could make somewhat of a case against the enormous importance which you attribute to our greatest men: I have been accustomed to think, 2nd, 3rd and 4th rate men of very high importance, at least in the case of Science.

Lastly I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilisation than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risks the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is. The more civilised so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilised races throughout the world. But I will write no more, and not even mention the many points in your work which have much interested me. I have indeed cause to apologise for troubling you with my impressions, and my sole excuse is the excitement in my mind which your book has aroused.

I beg leave to remain | Dear Sir | Yours faithfully and obliged Charles Darwin.

Note that the often excerpted quote is part of a discussion of materialist ideology and the issue of purpose in the universe, an idea that is about as repugnant as any to materialist orthodoxy:

You would not probably expect anyone fully to agree with you on so many abstruse subjects; and there are some points in your book which I cannot digest. The chief one is that the existence of so-called natural laws implies purpose. I cannot see this. Not to mention that many expect that the several great laws will some day be found to follow inevitably from some one single law, yet taking the laws as we now know them, and look at the moon, where the law of gravitation – and no doubt of the conservation of energy – of the atomic theory, &c. &c. hold good, and I cannot see that there is then necessarily any purpose. Would there be purpose if the lowest organisms alone destitute of consciousness existed in the moon? But I have had no practice in abstract reasoning and I may be all astray. Nevertheless you have expressed my inward conviction, though far more vividly and clearly than I could have done, that the Universe is not the result of chance. But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind? Secondly I think that I could make somewhat of a case against the enormous importance which you attribute to our greatest men: I have been accustomed to think, 2nd, 3rd and 4th rate men of very high importance, at least in the case of Science.

Darwin is compelled to object to the idea that "so-called natural laws" implies purpose and he goes farther in believing that all of the "several great laws" will eventually be expressed in "one single law" which is a materialist-monist project and has been for a long time, now.  In doing so Darwin was simply upholding, not science but materialist ideology.  There is no means of dealing with the issue of purpose or purposelessness in the universe with science.  Don't worry, I won't go back and go over my row with Sean Carroll over his rather too premature prediction that cosmologists were on the verge of a Theory of Everything, unless forced to.

Oddly, enough, right before he states his qualms about the consequences of natural selection for the validity or significance of our minds and thoughts, he back tracks - perhaps a result of his claimed lack of practice in abstract reasoning - that he has an "inner conviction" that "the Universe is not the result of chance".  Which is double speak because if it isn't a result of chance then his conviction that it is purposeless is entirely ungrounded.

So, instead of the claim that "no one believes that our minds are the product of chemistry and physics in our head" that is exactly what mainstream materialists have claimed to believe for centuries if not millennia.  I will give this to Darwin, he understood that what his friend, scientific colleague and close associate, Ernst Haeckel said was a real consequence of materialist ideology and one with the most serious consequences for what you could rationally believe about the nature of and product of "man's mind"   Today you can apparently get a PhD in science and be so philosophically ignorant as to not understand those consequences and so historically and scholastically inept as to claim that "no one believes" that.  It makes you wonder how they ever got through college and grad school without doing a research paper, or at least, one which required consulting the relevant literature.

This one letter,  especially in its second paragraph, deserves a going over in a way that would take a few posts.  I think the enthusiasm with which Darwin went from "The more civilised so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence."  to the chilling enthusiasm with which he anticipated, "Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilised races throughout the world." is a direct result of his materialism, his nationalism, his racism and his devaluation of human life in accord with the scheme of valuation that is inherent to natural selection.  I won't go into the possibility that that act of valuation would have to be a delusion due to the consequences of materialism.

If you introduced those two sentences on any liberalish-leftish blog and attributed them to someone who is held to have the cooties, their depravity would be roundly asserted and the person they were attributed to would be held to be a neo-Nazi or worse.  But, of course, if you told people who said it, that would make it OK or, at most, "a product of a product of his times".  Of course there were many people who held such thinking was depraved all during his lifetime.  I wonder what Lincoln would have said about it, or the American abolitionists.  I can't suspect they'd have accepted it in the name of science.

It didn't take long for Darwin's idea of "an endless number of the lower races" being "eliminated by the higher races throughout the world" for those who did that to adopt his theory as their excuse.  That was done as early as 1904. 23 years later,  in present day Namibia, as Eugen Fischer collected body parts of members of "lower races" to be sent back to science departments in European universities and conducted experiments on living prisoners in an early death camp.  For those who don't read my blog, Fischer was one of the co-authors of the book about such matters that Hitler was reading in prison as he dictated his insane rantings that became Mein Kampf.  Fischer's ideas were directly a result of his indoctrination into natural selection and the line of materialism that both Darwin and Haeckel promoted.

Hate Mail - Have You Considered That Maybe You Only Speak For Yourself

Perhaps you should consider that you and your fellow atheists who love the idea that minds are meaningless byproducts of the chemistry and physics within your heads that you are forced to believe that because the chemistry and physics at work in your brains don't come up with much.  I can't say that my experience of consciousness and thinking leads me to conclude that matches my experience of thinking but maybe it works for you guys.  

Perhaps atheism is a result of a more banal level of chemistry present in your heads but not present in other peoples'. 

Let me guess, you also believe as a result of your chemically determined thinking that you are a "free thinker".  

Update:  Well, if it's true that our minds, our consciousness, our thoughts are the mere byproduct of whatever chemistry and physics are present in our brain then it can't have any kind of transcendent meaning, it can't be anything but determined and its products can't be meaningful.   A strychnine drinking snake handler is merely playing out the results of whatever chemistry and physics is present in his mind that makes him do that but, also, Richard Feynman and Bertrand Russell were merely doing the same.  

As to the claim no one believes that, they claim they do.  Paul and Patricia Churchland do, Richard Seymore does, all materialists who have been forced to face the ultimate consequences of their ideological position do, claim to believe it.  Of course, they want an exception from their claims for themselves and those whose thinking they like but materialism is a monist system which can't have exceptions.  Only they don't really believe that either.  

And, apparently, Charles Darwin believed it.  He endorsed Ernst Haeckel's History of Creation in which he said:

By the Theory of Descent we are for the first time enabled to conceive of the unity of nature in such a manner that a mechanico-causal explanation of even the most intricate organic phenomena, for example, the origin and structure of the organs of sense, is no more difficult (in a general way) than is the mechanical explanation of any physical process; as, for example, earthquakes, the courses of the wind, or the currents of the ocean. We thus arrive at the extremely important conviction that all natural bodies which are known to us are equally animated, that the distinction which has been made between animate and inanimate bodies does not exist. When a stone is thrown into the air, and falls to earth according to definite laws, or when in a solution of salt a crystal is formed, the phenomenon is neither more nor less a mechanical manifestation of life than the growth and flowering of plants, than the propagation of animals or the activity of their senses, than the perception or the formation of thought in man. This final triumph of the monistic conception of nature constitutes the highest and most general merit of the Theory of Descent, as reformed by Darwin. 

Ernst Haeckel:  Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte  vol. 1 (translated by Ray Lankster)

Though Haeckel was certainly not prepared to accept that his thinking on the matter shared the same banal quality of physical causation as other thinking which he had no emotional difficulty dismissing as meaningless.  That's a common trait of materialist-atheists.  A lot of religious thinkers are far more ready to face the consequences of their thinking, even when they don't like it. 

Darwin, himself, said his theory troubled him because he thought that if our thinking shared the same development as animals - as I recall he mentioned apes, specifically - that he didn't see that there was any reason to believe it had any kind of transcendent significance, or truth.  I'll find the quote if you fuss about that, it is a rather famous one. 

Why does it not ever surprise me when an atheist-materialist a. is entirely unaware of the literature of their ideology and b. are unaware and unwilling to face the real meaning of their claims.
Which brings us back to my original speculation above, that atheist-materialists don't exhibit a very high level of thinking. It's one of the most simple-minded of academic poses which probably accounts for its popularity.   

Update 2:  If it's true you have a PhD in a STEM subject you only demonstrate the folly of allowing anyone who gets a bachelors degree or above to be so ignorant of basic rhetoric and basic philosophy.   You can't make what Haeckel said disappear, it was the basis of his entire career.  That it is obviously incompatible with transcendent meaning in our thinking merely shows he was a philosophical idiot in claiming that.  It's a common enough problem with the claims of materialists. 

So Many I's because I am Undecided

I said here a couple of weeks back that I intended to broaden my lecture-sermon listening from my year long concentration on the oceanic work of Walter Brueggemann.  As you might have guessed from recent posts, I've been concentrating on the work of someone Brueggemann said had been hugely influential on him, the eminent 20th century Rabbi, Abraham Joshua Heschel who, unfortunately, isn't as easy to come by on online recordings.  I have yet to start on one of his books.

I didn't expect that something Rabbi Heschel would say would throw a major curve into my thinking on the initial Supreme Court hearing that Neal Gorsuch was involved in, the church-state issue of whether or not the state of Missouri is right to deny funds to a Lutheran school in a program the state sponsors to encourage playground safety for children through the use of used tires.  I'm pretty much a wall of separation absolutist, though I will note that, as reported, such stalwarts of church-state separation on the court as Bryer and Kagan offered some points that could favor such funding, and I will admit, they make good points in the argument.

Liberal justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer joined some of the conservative justices in questioning the state about what line should be drawn when the church said it planned to use the grant money not for religious activities but to protect children on the playground.

Kagan pointed out that the selective program was offered to nonprofits. "Everyone is open to compete (for the grants) on various neutral terms," she said. "And you're depriving one set of actors from being able to compete in the same way everybody else can compete because of their religious identification."

Later, Kagan said,"But it does seem as though this is a clear burden — looked at that way, this is a clear burden on a constitutional right. And then your interests have to rise to an extremely high level."
"I'm asking," Breyer said at one point, "does the Constitution of the United States permit a state or a city to say, 'We give everybody in this city police protection, but not churches? We give everybody fire protection, but let churches burn down?'"

Still, the two justices I like the most Ginsburg and Sotomayor had arguments against the church position.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had the toughest questions for the church.

"I believe that this playground is part of the ministry of this church," Sotomayor said.
Ginsburg pointed to court precedent from 1947. "This court said in no uncertain terms what the framers didn't want was tax money imposed to pay for building or maintaining churches or church property." Ginsburg asked whether that precedent was "passé".

I hadn't paid that much attention to the case when it was in the news to think much about it, as I said, I'm kind of an automatic supporter of the wall of separation.   But, the next day I listened to that old interview that Carl Stern did with Rabbi Heschel shortly before his death and this exchange gobsmacked me at about 21:10 in the video.  My transcription.

Carl Stern: I think in most of your writing you've indicated that even where one religion has been adopted in the state there is no evidence that that has brought any happiness or any new high points of religious feeling.  Isn't that correct

Rabbi Abraham J. Heschel:  Yes I think it is the will of God that there should be religious pluralism.  One of the most important things in life a human being faces is not only to know how to build a machine but also how to overcome envy.  It's an irrational destructive power in every man!  What are the schools do about (it)… the secular schools.  Nothing!  So I'm disappointed.  (The) American educational system.. are no levels…  has proved to be a terrible disappointment.  Religious schools… it's a new problem.  I only wish I could tell you the religious schools are doing a perfect job.  I would say religious schools deserve should support because they are doing partly a good job.  At least teach people some of the great classical ideas of the religious tradition.   And we cannot live without religious tradition because take away the religious tradition what is left – you know what is left – read contemporary literature and give the contemporary literature the novels the source of inspiration for young people… that's all they get… the Psalms no one reads.  You're not allowed to read the Psalms in the school.  How can you… how can you be human … without being able… without being able to pray.  We need religious education.  The problem begins whether religious education is in such a splendid state, it isn't.  But a separate problem.  I think that I think that the aid to religious schools, in some form that would not contradict the constitution on regulations,  could in the long run prove a blessing.  The original… I fear supporting religious schools … well,  because the religion will have tremendous power … at that time….  a power we were afraid of that would compete with the state …. the idea of equality.  By now religions are so weak in America there's little to be afraid of religious power.   Therefore, I would definitely say aid for religious schools in some form would be a great contribution.

I can't say that I'm entirely comfortable with the idea but if someone like Rabbi Heschel thought this in 1972, it would be stupid to not consider what such a person had to say.  And in light of the continuing degeneration of morality in the United States, to the point where we have Trumpian fascism, brought to us by the free press, the free speech industry, the idiocy of the secular left, etc.  I'm beginning to suspect that this was just one more thing I should consider I might have been wrong about all these years.

I agree, entirely, that the abandonment of the schools and, more importantly, the media abandoning any responsibility to promote and teach even basic standards of moral content necessary for egalitarian democracy and a peaceful, decent life - in the case of the media (The Rabbi said "contemporary literature" in other places he mentioned "best sellers" in a similar indictment) they have been in the business of promoting immorality and depravity.  TV, Hollywood, and the internet have gone even farther into the sewer.  And it has had a serious effect on real life.  Rape culture, white supremacy, and a myriad of other malignancies have been a direct result of the program to not only exclude morality but to attack it in order to appeal to the basest parts of our personality and the culture which we comprise.

I am not ready to completely abandon church-state separation but I am entirely against an alternative which leaves moral nihilism as the default position.  I'd rather take my chance on a country in which the public schools and, even more so, the media are required to teach the Golden Rule and other bases of egalitarian democracy and a decent, peaceful society than one which figures it's unconstitutional to do that.  I'd certainly rather have a religious person who believes they are to treat people, as a gay man, my beloved nieces, my African-American cousins, etc. as they would have us treat them than someone who is a safely secular moral nihilist.   Secularism is not a value except in so far as it promotes that morality, when it is used to attack it, it is mostly a solution worse than what it's supposed to prevent.

Science Denialism Isn't Just Found Among The Ignorant Evolution and Climate Change Deniers

It is outrageous that the Sunday morning lie shows didn't cover the large demonstrations in support of science and the public role of science in determining the course of government.  But that's to be expected, especially if, as I recall them from when I had a TV, they are sponsored heavily by the oil, gas and other extraction industries and the energy and other corporations that profit the most from dumping carbon into the atmosphere.  You mix "free speech" "free press" absolutism with that and it produces a vountary gag order on anything that will impact their profits negatively.

Clearly, science in the public interest, or, as a group I used to support said, "Science For The People" is subversive to the corporate-fascist system that governs the free press in America.

But there are lots of other problems with science, too, some of them internal, lots of them at, as I've been pointing out, the work of atheist-materialists who have swiped science for themselves.

When people follow the rules of science with the kind of rigor that Dean Radin and his colleagues practice, when their work is replicated by others practicing the same levels of rigor that they practice, when their data and statistical analysis stand up to review and when all of it stands up to the peer-review that legitimate scientific journals practice, it is science denialism to deny that they get positive results at not only ten to one but, with some meta-analyses more than a trillion to one is as willfully ignorant as the denial of man-made climate change, the fact of evolution.  It's on the scale of denialism that resulted in a third of the respondents to that survey who claimed to not believe that 2+2 ≤ 13.  Yet that kind of science denialism is not only common among the allegedly science devoted educated class, it is enforced through bullying coercion.  You can find examples in the climate change denialism of your heroes the habitual liar, James Randi and Penn Jillette for real life evidence of that.

I learned when I was about ≤ 13 that I didn't need to kow tow to bullies and you shouldn't because it turned you into a scared little coward who was too scared to admit what you knew to be true. .

Actually, I posted the Radin talks not only because it presented experimental evidence that, far from our minds being the mere waste product of chemistry in our brains, they count for far more than that, but also because I wanted to see where the leaks in my spam filter were.  I can guarantee that some of the things I'm preparing will test both of those even more.

One of the things I recently read about the putrid James Randi noted that since the biggest bullies of scientism got together and launched the neo-atheist coercion in the form of CSICOP, belief in the public in the very things they hate the most has increased.  I think they have played a large part in the business of science denial.  The program of the oil-gas-coal industry war on climate change science pretty much follows the same procedures that CSICOP (now known as CSI due to a major scandal involving lying about science) used to shut down scientists looking at things they didn't like.  It's not any surprise that James Randi, for example, a scientific illiterate, is on record as denying climate change, too.  Some of my most read posts are on that topic.  Maybe I should do another series about professional pseudo-skepticism.

Update:  I originally said "habitual liar, James Randi and Penn and Teller because in  the article that Jillette wrote for the LA Times which I had in my notes, he claimed to speak for Teller.  I left the article in when I decided to only attribute it to the loudmouthed asshole of the assholic duo.

Here's the op-ed, by the way.  I'll warn you that Jillette is as big an asshole in it as he is in everything else he's ever done in his assholistic life.  I didn't make that up.