Saturday, July 8, 2017

That One's So Stupid It Isn't Even Hard - Update: Though it apparently is too hard for some

The statement that evolution is not directed isn't a scientific assertion, it is ideological.   Though there could also be a large component of ignorant repetition in the claim.  There's a lot of that going round in the atheist mutual admiration society.  

There is no way in science to determine if the way things are is or is not directed.   At best they can describe how things are, they have no ability to determine why they are as they are.  But that doesn't stop them from claiming they can.  

I'm not surprised that the best minds of the rump remnant say those kinds of things, it only shows they're no where near as bright as they think they are. 

Update:  Note The "somehow" in this quote from Wolfgang Pauli.

"Einstein's conception is closer to mine. His God is somehow involved in the immutable laws of nature. Einstein has a feeling for the central order of things. He can detect it in the simplicity of natural laws. We may take it that he felt this simplicity very strongly and directly during his discovery of the theory of relativity. Admittedly, this is a far cry from the contents of religion. I don't believe Einstein is tied to any religious tradition, and I rather think the idea of a personal God is entirely foreign to him. But as far as he is concerned there is no split between science and religion: the central order is part of the subjective as well as the objective realm, and this strikes me as being a far better starting point."

That "somehow" is exactly what I said above, science can't address the issue of design in nature in any ultimate sense.  "Somehow" in that sentence is an admission to the lack of that ability.  Though I think that the conclusion that there is design is an entirely rational one, certainly no more irrational than the claim that science can demonstrate a lack of design in nature. 

And, there is this from Werner Heisenberg:

“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”

I, somehow, doubt that there are better experts on natural science hanging around Eschaton than Pauli and Heisenberg. 


We all conceive of God in terms we can imagine, based on our experience and our thinking derived from our observations.  That's as true of atheists as it is for theists or others.  It's not a huge surprise that physicists, who have concentrated so long and so heavily on material objects might have a problem conceiving of a personal God but when you get right down to it, even physics, itself, depends on personal beings, us.  I think that as Heisenberg also said the universe, being stranger than people could imagine, it could be something that God could imagine, God being smarter than we are.  But there isn't any way to find that out by science because science is limited by what people can imagine.  

As I've pointed out before, one of Pauli's and Heisenberg's colleagues,  Arthur Stanley Eddington said, 

Eighteen years ago I was responsible for a remark which has often been quoted:

"It is one thing for the human mind to extract from the phenomena of nature the laws which it has itself put into them; it may be a far harder thing to extract laws over which it has had no control It is even possible that laws which have not their origin in the mind may be irrational and we can never succeed in formulating them."

This seems to be coming true, though not in the way that then suggested itself. I had in mind the phenomena of quanta and atomic physics, which at that time completely baffled our efforts to formulate a rational system of law. It was already apparent that the principle laws of molar physics were mind-made — the result of the sensory and intellectual equipment through which we derive our observational knowledge — and were not laws of governance of the objective universe. The suggestion was that in quantum theory we for the first time came up against the true laws of governance of the objective universe. If so, the task was presumably much more difficult than merely rediscovering our own frame of thought”.

Since then microscopic physics has made great progress, and its laws have turned out to be comprehensible to the mind; but, as I have endeavored to show, it also turns out that they have been imposed by the mind — by our forms of thought — in the same way that the molar laws are imposed…

Which is definitely related to another famous quote from Heisenberg:

“We have to remember that what we observe is not nature in itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning."

When a scientist starts out with an ideological motive, as so many do, especially when they are so philosophically ignorant that they don't have the insight to understand that their motive is ideological, they are MORE not less vulnerable to introducing their bias into the scientific declarations and statements.   Any of them who claim they can figure out if there isn't design in evolution is, I guarantee it, either doing so from ideological motives or they are repeating that from someone else who originally said it from ideological motives.   

Any design of the universe would have to include those things Heisenberg and Eddington mentioned which aren't susceptible to science, so science can't discern that design.  Any design in evolution would involve far more complex and hidden aspects of a far more complex range of events and results than what physicists deal with.  To expect that anyone could discern design in something that complex and unknown as something other than a personal conclusion is absurd.  

To expect that science could confirm something requiring as much and probably more information than the person who makes a personal conclusion of design in nature, that there is no design in it, is entirely absurd.   That is also an entirely personal conclusion.  At the least, it is a conclusion based on less of the evidence required to demonstrate that than a personal conclusion of design would because it pretends to be science and it would require a comprehensive knowledge which is not and never will be available to fulfill the requirements of science.  

I think that what these guys figure is an ever newer golden age of empirical rationality is, in reality, just the result of so many scientists being philosophically naive to the extent they sometimes can't analyze even their supposedly scientific statements to understand its ideological content, content which is supposed to not be there so they believe it isn't there.  

I think the culture of biology, especially evolutionary biology in all of its several areas of concentration, dealing with things which are more complex and so making any general conclusions about them more difficult, is especially vulnerable to introducing ideological content into their science, though, these days, cosmologists seem to be in a race to see who can do more of that.  Added to that fact is the pervasive influence of the Malthusian-Darwinian imposition of blatantly ideological content of the vulgar, Brit-materialist kind and that leads to a kind of science that invites ideological controversy, probably more of it than the aura of invulnerability granted by the general ignorance of science and, again, philosophy, has been prevented by that very air of mystical and ignorant awe that they claim to disdain in religion.

Any resulting hostility to and skepticism of science built up by that kind of ideological warring by scientists is tragic when it comes to some of our most dangerous applications of science and technology, such as that which has resulted in catastrophic climate change through science and technology.   I have a feeling if the atheists hadn't made those ideological claims hostile to religion and other things, hadn't promised more than they could deliver on others, hadn't made sure their claims could match what they could support, the oil and other extraction industries and those who profit from them wouldn't have had nearly as easy a time convincing people to not believe them when they had something far more important to tell us. 

So much of the current hostility to science was completely avoidable if scientists and those claiming to speak from scientific knowledge had not gone out of their way to impose an unwanted and hostile ideology by way of science.  That is especially true in the period since the 1970s and the rise of the atheist ideological effort coming out of the "Humanists" and concentrating around CSICOP (now "CSI") and the other bull shit, pseudo-skeptical groups which were all motivated out of associating science with atheism.   Even people who should have known better from the start, such as Stephen Jay Gould got involved with that stuff.  If we live long enough as a species, maybe that will be seen in the future for the terrible and damaging blunder it was.   Though a lot of that started in the 1860s and 70s from the Darwin inner circle.  I've written a little on that in the past. 

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Arch Oboler - State Executioner - Profits Unlimited

These are from the famous Lights Out series.   The second one, the one Oboler said was set far into the distant future sounds like what the world billionaire class are mostly intent on doing and not on any distant island.    What is really terrifying today is that it sounds like the dream of the psychopathic tech billionaire class who are taking over this country.  Actually, it sounds pretty much like a dream of some of the social scientists of the last half century, Oboler's postscript was excessively optimistic.   This will come up whenever people see people as things, objects for use.   

The Ionized Yeast Tablet commercials are oddly appropriate.   

Arch Oboler often composed his plays while he was lying in bed, he would often record his thoughts on a dictaphone and a secretary would transcribe them for further editing.    He was one of the at best using a theater in the imagination because he was in close touch with his.  

Hate Mail - Time To Grow Up And Stop Believing In President Bartlett and The Gang

The clearest proof that Vladimir Putin, his crime regime, the people who it employs to find weaknesses in Western countries used the American electoral system set up by the Constitution, the interpretation of the First Amendment that allows the American media to lie for the richest, even to use the push for ratings among the American media freed from any public service obligations IS THAT NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE TO PREVENT HIM FROM PUTTING THE MOST INCOMPETENT AND CORRUPT PRESIDENT IN OUR HISTORY, HIS PUPPET, IN OFFICE AND THE CONSTITUTIONAL SYSTEM AND THE COURTS HAVE DONE NOTHING TO PREVENT IT OR TO CORRECT THE CORRUPTED ELECTION.   Every day Trump remains in office, every day that the involvement of Pence, Flynn, etc. is covered up and papered over is a day that Putin's hold on our government grows. 

The American system with its cumbersome federalism, its many corrupt state governments, its regional and class paranoia, its racism its Republican favoring, rich favoring media has been and remains a sitting duck for the kind of corruption that Putin accomplished with little cost and great rewards AND IT IS NOT DOING ANYTHING TO REMOVE PUTIN'S PUPPET FROM THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY.

The Constitution has not protected American democracy, the Courts have not done much and if Anthony Kennedy does retire, the Supreme Court will be the third pillar to turn into a rubber stamp for Trump.   The Jeffersonian idea that the free press was going to rescue us from attacks on democracy has been shown to be a joke,  they created Trump and played along with him BECAUSE HIS OUTRAGEOUSNESS WAS GOOD FOR RATINGS.   The American media has corrupted the American People, it has made them cynical people unable to mount the clear-eyed idealism necessary for democracy to work.  

The American Constitution is an 18th century anachronism, it is an open invitation for exactly what Putin has done, not by some outrageous extra-constitutional means but by exploiting the weakness in our system exactly in the same way that American millionaires and billionaires have done for the entire period of  government under that Constitution.   Such billionaires are trying to actually alter it to make it worse and a more useful tool for their control.  

If you think you can refute any of this, wait till Trump, Pence and others who have been been successfully removed from office and sent to prison along with the rest of those who colluded with the Putin crime gang because nothing less than that is evidence that "the system works".   No matter what you'll hear in the American media who were instrumental in the creation and installation of Trump.   The West Wing was a fairy tale, it is make believe.  

A Pleasure Delayed - Or Why I Should Read The Local News More Than I Do

How in the world did I miss the news that one of the most infamous of scumbags in my state who I have longed to see in prison is finally being sent there?   The decades long crime spree of egg and pig factory owner, Jack Decoster finally resulted in his long overdue sentencing along with his criminal son, Peter Decoster and I was too busy paying attention to the Trump crime gang to have noticed.

The relationship of him finally getting a small measure of what he's earned for decades and the retirement from the Senate of his cousin and rumored guardian devil, Olympia Snowe, would be interesting to know.  The word in Maine politics and regulatory agency rumor mill is that she, working through Republicans in the state, made problems for her cousin disappear.  One person I know who worked in the Department of Environmental Protection (not so much these days) told me that he knew of files on Decoster and his company that disappeared mysteriously.  I haven't heard how he and his crime family have been kept from justice in other states.  It's noteworthy that he was finally found guilty, not in Maine, where his record goes back the longest, but in Iowa where he was finally brought down by selling salmonella infected eggs and making thousands sick, endangering their lives.   Perhaps the Maine Republicans who have kept him from going down before don't have as much influence there. 

There are lots of people who deserve to die in prison for their long term crimes, most of who will be kept out of there by their scumbag lawyers and judges who pamper white-collar criminals, the richer the better treated, and at least Jack Decoster is one who I think should never get out.  He is a truly evil and amoral person, one who has blasphemed against God by pretending to be religious, a Christian no less.  

Friday, July 7, 2017

Simps Gets Sciency - Hate Mail

Related image

Oh, did Neil Degrasse Tyson really say that you don't figure anything out as a result of praying?  

How would he know?  Has he tried it?  Has he got data?  Evidence?  Has he polled his fellow scientists or looked into the literature to see what those in the past said about their experience about the relationship between prayer and their discoveries?  

Online, I've seen a number of quotes about the efficacy of prayer ascribed to a number of eminent scientists but haven't ever bothered to look up their authenticity.  This one is attributed to Lord Kelvin

"Every discovery I have made that has contributed to the benefit of man He has given me in answer to prayer."

Did he say it?  I don't know and don't particularly care.  Though I do wonder what a search of some the real giants of physics, people like Copernicus, Galileo, Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, Lord Kelvin, and other sciences might have to say about their experience of a relationship between praying and their work.  You know, people who will be remembered after the TV personality, N.D.T. is remembered, if at all, for the struggle over the status of Pluto as a planet and some really crappy TV shows with really crappy fact checking.  

I do know that Simps has never figured out much of anything so what he has to say about getting something done or learning something is definitely not a product of first hand knowledge.  I don't think anything he says is a product of knowledge, it's a product of shared prejudices which he and his buddies move around like Colorforms in lieu of thinking.  

As to N.D.T. knowing the first thing about why people pray, what they pray for and what their conclusions as to the result of that is, I can't imagine him having anything important to say on the topic anymore than a washed-up, 3rd tier pop-music "journalist" would.  I mean, you'd have to take seriously what Anita Bryant or Ted Nugent said about it on the same basis and I don't.  

This Might Be The Most Important Reporting In The American Media This Week

Other than Bill Moyers Rachel Maddow is probably the smartest straight news person on American TV today and I think this story proves why that is true.

It is clear that the news media is vulnerable to being used to discredit its real reporting of fact by those who are in league with the Donald Trump regime, this is exactly the kind of thing that a spy operation would try, the kind of stuff that the Putin regime has been shown to have done in the recent French election ratfucking and, I have no doubt, in many other things.

Our media, our system under the Bill of Rights as interpreted in the past fifty-three years, is entirely vulnerable to this kind of manipulation.  With the rise of 24-7 cabloid crap it is an open invitation to be used against whatever intentions it has to be a real news operation.

There is nothing they won't use, no level beneath which they won't sink, nothing too awful for them to use to game American politics to turn it into a fascist system.  For those who are familiar with the first several years of the Nazi era, the Mussolini period, this looks dangerously like what they would have done because that's what it is.  The Putin crime family is capable of doing this, it is, without any doubt, the foremost proponent of neo-fascism and neo-Nazism in the world today, to use American fascists to discredit and destroy democracy, to subvert the very truth in order for them to destroy the democracy which they certainly don't want to succeed or even exist.

This is the kind of thing that American administrations did to prevent any kind of democracy breaking out in Latin America, the last thing that American corporations and millionaires wanted was a good example of a better government and a more equal distribution of wealth in Latin America.  Certainly there are many in the intelligence community who can see that now it's the Putin regime who have gamed our system, our Constitution and our civic faith to subvert democracy here, with those who mounted the terrorist campaign against democracy in Latin America, now the allies of a foreign dictator as dangerous as any in the past.  

One of my greatest fears is that the basic beliefs around such things as free speech and free press unleashed to lie with impunity is such a golden calf of idolatry that those won't be changed in time to save us.  There is a reason that the very fascists who put Trump in office, who are subverting American democracy are declaring themselves the real, true defenders of "free speech" today.  Putin and his cronies aren't idiots, they understand the United States in ways that our own media and academics seem to not be able to see.  Their motives in understanding us as we really are is to try to game our system for themselves.  In the age of the internet,  they find that a lot easier to do than every before.  We were safer at the height of the Soviet Union than we are now.  As bad as Republicans of the past have been, and they have been really bad, Trump is our worst nightmare.  Yet.

The gods of Secularism When Tested So Often Have Feet Of Clay

This year in my part of New England has been allergy hell, I've been continually ill since things started blooming, maybe even after things started melting and though by now the pollen situation has settled down, not this year.   So I didn't get to pointing out yesterday that RMJ has a fuller treatment with a slightly different angle on that passage from Walter Isaacson's biography of Benjamin Franklin editing Jefferson's original draft of the Declaration of Independence posted by the estimable NTodd.

RMJ's point about why Jefferson got it right and Franklin wrong is very good:

Well, no; "Franklin's edit turned it instead into an assertion of [insularity]."  The "we" who hold these truths to be "self-evident" are set apart from the "they" who don't.  Strictly speaking it's exclusionary.  It may be an exclusion you think is sound and defensible because it is presumptively rational, but rational is not a one-size fits all model that places the subject so declared beyond purview.  It simply says "we" all agree on this and if you don't, you are NOK.  And so perhaps, as played out in the history of the country begun with those words, these truths don't apply to you.

Jefferson had it right the first time.  I wouldn't have said so if I didn't know the story of this edit, but Jefferson was right, and the elder man Franklin was wrong.

He goes on to point out the problems of both but he notes that even today, or at least in our generation, people still interpreted "unalienable" truths to mean more of what Jefferson meant than what Franklin did.  Or at least the Jefferson of 1776, the Jefferson of two decades later had pretty much dropped any opposition to slavery as he increased his organization of the people he kept in slavery to increase their productivity FOR HIM.

In Isaacson's paragraph that started this off, he attributed the difference between Jefferson and Franklin to the influence of two of the leading lights of 18th century enlightenment philosophy, for Franklin, David Hume, for Jefferson, John Locke.

It reminded me of two papers I read at about the same time dealing with the philosopher who Isaacson attributed Franklin's more "enlightened" edit to,  David Hume and his blatant racism in several of his writings and whether or not he actually was due the credit his fans and those of the enlightenment as a thing claim for him along with others.

One one hand, there is Hume and Prejudice by Robert Palter, as it is published by the Hume Society it isn't surprising that it is a defense of Hume against the charge of racism and defending his right to be considered an abolitionist, on the other there is Making excuses for Hume: slavery, racism and a reassessment of David Hume’s thoughts on personal liberty, by Glen Doris, making what I consider the more persuasive argument that Hume was an obvious racist and that any opposition to slavery he expressed made a distinction between the relatively rare domestic slavery in Europe, which he abhorred, and the far more common and pressing slavery in the European colonies which didn't seem to bother him nearly that much.   Glen Doris noted that there were, in fact, enlightenment philosophers, especially John Millar and Adam Smith whose detailed opposition to slavery qualified them as authentic abolitionists far more than Hume.

I think what is at work in the inflation of virtue for someone like Hume by their intellectual partisans is similar to the deification of the Founders or any person who is held up as a hero - virtues they have little claim to must be claimed on their behalf.   I've run into that a lot here where people such as Darwin, Voltaire and other "enlightenment" figures have been elevated far past what their own written record supports.  The modern, academic, scientific, materialist, atheist milieu in which so many of the alleged leftists and not an inconsiderable number of conservatives think and write is as dependent on fudging and fables spun in the secondary and tertiary literature as any considered to be more intellectually debased.  Only when your pretense is academic excellence, violating the need to take the primary records most seriously should carry extra penalties in repute.  But that's seldom the case because dealing with the primary record often maintained in an academic library has been so difficult, up till now.   As I've noted many times, for many of those deified figures, that's over because much of if not virtually their complete writings are available for free online.

It is certainly necessary to note that Isaacson credited John Locke as being Jefferson's favorite philosopher and the inspiration of his phrasing "Sacred and undeniable" as opposed to Franklin's "self-evident" supported slavery (as well as feudal domination by an aristocracy) in his Fundamental Constitution of Carolina. In the sections of his Constitution on religious liberty Locke rather bizarrely granted slaves the right to choose their religious denomination but they weren't free to choose anything else for themselves.

One hundred and seven. Since charity obliges us to wish well to the souls of all men, and religion ought to alter nothing in any man's civil estate or right, it shall be lawful for slaves, as well as others, to enter themselves, and be of what church or profession any of them shall think best, and, therefore, be as fully members as any freeman. But yet no slave shall hereby be exempted from that civil dominion his master hath over him, but be in all things in the same state and condition he was In before.

One hundred and ten. Every freeman of Carolina shall have absolute power and authority over his negro slaves, of what opinion or religion soever.

Considering his obvious low opinion of Black people's intellectual abilities - or how could he justify their enslavement - it is strange that he would entrust those peoples' judgement with the welfare of their souls he claims to "wish well" even as he obviously distrusted it in deciding where to live, who to marry, what work they would do and, most of all, with their right to the product of their own labor. I would think that even someone who has some tendency to abhor slavery - even as they practice it, themselves - would find more of an exemption for it in Locke than a condemnation strong enough to make you give up and oppose the institution of slavery at your own cost.  Jefferson, from what can be seen of his personal record, wasn't that big on letting principle cost him anything, nevermind morality.

The "enlightenment" was a lot less enlightened and the scientific rationality of its bright lights is probably no less arbitrarily displayed than for the earlier intellectual traditions.  I noted that neither of the papers above mentioned that even as Hume and the rest of the Scottish Enlightenment philosophers were carrying on there were religious abolitionists who went a lot farther than they did, I've mentioned the great Quaker abolitionist John Woolman who was tireless in trying to convince his fellow Quakers to give up slavery and whose essays on the topic of slavery are way beyond the racism of Hume, of Voltaire, of any number of other heroes of the so-called Enlightenment.  It's too bad that Franklin - who certainly must have been quite familiar with Woolman - didn't take him more seriously.   Unlike Jefferson, who, as mentioned, increased his slavery and advocated it to his wealthy friends and their families, John Woolman, a far from rich man, spent his life on difficult, unpaid missionary trips to many of what he wouldn't live to see become states to gently agitate against slavery, succeeding in talking many of his fellow Quakers into giving it up.  He died on a missionary trip with the same purpose to England.  His journal and his several essays* are a continual insight into the moral evils he witnessed, confessing that by acting as a scribe, as a young man, he had sinned by participating in conveying ownership of slaves, his repentance in that was obviously important in his life-long abolition work.   There are others who can be mentioned, many of them former or escaped slaves, themselves, whose arguments, if they were based on the Declaration of Independence cite it and its author more out of ironic condemnation.  I've mentioned the little known David Walker already.

I think when you look at the full range of those who made abolition of slavery and going farther than that, asserting the equality of people the religious character of both efforts is noteworthy.  I think that helps identify the more reliable source of an articulation and, even more important, the dedication of lives to working and fighting for that equality as decidedly not being enlightenment rationalism but a close reading of the Hebrew scriptures and taking them seriously.  As I noted yesterday, even as Paul was giving that advice he has been understandably condemned for, slaves should obey their masters, he told the masters that they had an obligation to treat those the law considered slaves as they would like their own family members and themselves to be treated.   It is similar to another passage in which he assigns role to husbands and wives - keeping in mind that all of his epistles are trying to encourage a closer, the closest fidelity of lives lived in the world he and those he wrote to inhabited. He was only encouraging people he knew would be constantly influenced and pressured to live a pagan life in opposition to those teachings to follow them as closely as they could in reality.  He wasn't setting out commandments, that was for the likes of Jesus and Moses to do, he was encouraging a closer following of them.

If the Law that you should do to others what you would have them do unto you were followed, there would be no slavery, no racism, no treating the alien among us as unequal, of treating women differently than men were, of treating every other person the way you would like to be treated if you were in their position in life.  That requires an act of imagining yourself in the place of other people, people you might consider not as bright as you are, not as couth, not as accomplished.   That is not thinking which is scientific, not a rational consideration of gain for yourself.   It is an act of religious imagination more than it is anything else. It is the beginning of equality and democracy, it is also the end of it.  You get away from that, you've abandoned those.   I don't think you can successfully create or locate those in science.

*  Though a very good modern edition of the Journal  and his major essays edited by Phillips Moulton has been published, here is the link to an older edition of his journal and some of his other writings.   Here is one of his two major essays against slavery.  As I mentioned in a month long series of posts about the history of the abolition movement, John Woolman was one in a long line of religious abolitionists that started in the early centuries of Christianity.  I don't know that it can be used as a measure of how long it takes for something like that to take hold and have a general effect against such an entrenched, lucrative and financially advantageous thing for the rich and powerful but slavery, official and informal, legal and illegal, is hardly over now.   Especially when it is the world wide sex industry, some of the alleged liberals online sound a lot like those who weren't all that bothered by it in centuries long past.  When they can benefit from it, themselves, especially when a pittance is paid to the slaves, they can be quite OK with it.  Secularism contains nothing in it that would make any opposition to slavery or racism or anything else, a very strong force in determining someone's actions.

Update:  You might be interested in looking at the anti-slavery activity and writings of Benjamin Lay who was somewhat older than John Woolman.  Benjamin Franklin definitely knew about him because he published his tract, "All Slave-Keepers That keep the Innocent in Bondage, Apostates..." in 1737.  Lay's persistence and flair for the dramatic led to the Philadelphia Meeting to disavow responsibility for him and to disown him.   Though it's impossible to know the relative influence in actually freeing people any of these early American abolitionists were, I suspect that Woolman's tactics were more successful though I wouldn't discount the importance of Lay's work.  It was certainly better than what David Hume was up to.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

There's No Fool Like An Orange Fool

From time to time I look at the 18th century cooking videos that James Townsend and Son put on Youtube, I've even tried a few of the simpler recipes.   I liked watching the ones about making a clay oven.  

I watched the one posted on July 3rd from Mt. Vernon, one of the resident staff cook-historians made one of Martha Washington's favorite deserts, orange fool, a kind of orange custard.

Apparently some people took umbrage at the name, associating it with a certain fool with orange hair. Shades of NPR's tweeting the Declaration of Independence.  

I feel some sympathy for James Townsend who doesn't want to run a political Youtube channel but I have to say I find this funny, too.  I would suggest to him that he drop the comments but he interacts with the commentators who have given him a lot of ideas for more things to post.

I hope he finds some way to avoid it if he wants to. 

Thelonious Monk Orchestra: "Friday The 13th" - Hall Overton Arranger

Thelonious Monk, piano with Donald Byrd, trumpet; Eddie Bert, trombone; Robert Northern, French horn; Jay McCallister, tuba; Phil Woods, alto sax; Charlie Rouse, tenor sax; Pepper Adams, baritone sax; Sam Jones, bass; and Art Taylor, drums. Arrangement by Hall Overton, recorded Feb. 28, 1959.

Little Rootie Tootie 

Hate Mail

He's a lazy, ignorant, conceited bigot talking to others like him at Duncan's blog.  He hasn't learned a thing in the past fifty years of any importance and has probably read fewer books than my plumber or oil furnace technician.  It's my experience you find a lot of those on the far outer fringes of what passes as intellectual life in the NYC area.  Really, I've rarely heard hicks as bigoted as some of them.  He clearly hates the Polish people and nothing is going to change that.  He hates Christians.  He'll die a lazy, ignorant, conceited bigot.  He's got a lot more in common with the Trumpzis, only he hates a more fashionably hated range of people.

I suspect what they know about current Polish politics or history is of nugatory informative value.  It's the bigoted leading the bigoted over there. 

Update:  And the bigot responds with a Polish joke that - changing the identity to Jews - would be obviously unacceptable.

I think if Hitler had limited his extermination list to Poles and other Slavic people, the disabled, etc. he'd have wanted to do business with him. 

Duncan, you proud of your regulars yet?

Update 2:  There were always lots of assholes at Eschaton, it's just that after almost all of the non-assholes left they became an overwhelming majority.   Everyone has one but Duncan has about 75-100 most weeks. 

Update 3:  If I get a request from a sane person to post them, I'll post the Polish "joke" and his outraged condemnation of me because I don't understand ethnic stereotypes and their proper use in the higher echelons of humor he believes he inhabits.   Really, what's the difference between that stuff and Alex Jones or Michael Savage?    

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Hall Overton Quartet featuring Phil Woods - You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To

Phil Woods, alto sax
Hall Overton, piano
Teddy Kotick, bass
Nick Stabulas, drum

One More For The Mode

Jimmy Raney, guitar
John Wilson, Trumpet
Hall Overton, piano
Teddy Kotick, bass
Nick Stabulas, drums

Hate Mail - Yeah, That Again. You Diss His godship Darwin, You're Going To Catch It

The claim that Darwin and his followers didn't place a difference in value on different people or other organisms as an inherent aspect of natural selection is often claimed but it is a fraud disproved by the articulation of every major, perhaps every single proponent of the theory.   That is, of course, most noticeable to us through the immediate proposals for applying natural selection to the human species through some form of eugenics, which began almost immediately on the publication of On the Origin of Species, not only by Francis Galton but less systematically by such central figures as Thomas Huxley and Ernst Haeckel and, in the Descent of Man, by Charles Darwin, himself.

I think it is more than merely implied in the creation of the theory, using the commercial breeding of animals by humans as one of its founding arguments.  It is impossible to separate the valuation on some as opposed to other organisms, including human beings from the articulation of natural selection.  An articulation of the good of inequality and the deaths of those seen as inferior is an intrinsic part of it which will always recur in explicit, scientific articulations as long as the theory is held as a part of science.

In the theory, at its most basic level, there is the explicit though tacitly admitted act of evaluation that is based on the mere fact of survival, on the assumption that survival is better than extinction, a natural enough belief, especially for those who believed they, as exemplars of the superior - as every one of the creators and early adopters of the theory believed themselves to be - who expected to be the parents of the winners in the "struggle for existence".  

Listen to or read the great Black liberation theologian, James Cone, on the alternative view to that in which survival is not the ultimate determinant of good.

BILL MOYERS: If the President asked you for one book of Niebuhr's, which would it be?

JAMES CONE: The Irony of American History. That would be the book.

BILL MOYERS: And the core of it is?

JAMES CONE: The core of it is, is helping America get over its innocence. Helping America to see itself through the eyes of people from the bottom. And you see, America likes to think of itself as innocent. And we are not. No human being is innocent. And so, I-- that would be the book I would recommend him to read. But since he's a Christian, I would especially recommend that he reads Beyond Tragedy. Niebuhr tells us that Christianity takes us through tragedy to beyond tragedy by way of the cross to victory in the cross.


JAMES CONE: Meaning that the cross is victory out of defeat.

BILL MOYERS: And the lynching tree?

JAMES CONE: And the lynching tree is transcendent of defeat. And that's why the cross and the lynching tree belong together. That's why I have to talk about the lynching tree. Because Christians can't understand what's going on at the cross until they see it through the image of a lynching tree with black bodies hanging there.


JAMES CONE: Because what the Christian Gospel is is a transvaluation of values. Something you cannot anticipate in this world, in this history. But, it empowers the powerless. It is-- what do you mean by power in the powerless? That's what God is. Power in the powerless.

BILL MOYERS: But, the victims of lynchings are dead.

JAMES CONE: No. Their mothers and fathers aren't dead. Their brothers and sisters aren't dead. I'm alive. I have to give voice to those who did die. And all of us do. That's why we can't forget it.

BILL MOYERS: But, you know, Dr. Cone, I went online and-- and watched the video version of your speech at Harvard where you talked on Strange Fruit -- the Cross and the Lynching Tree. I must say that audience didn't seem very comfortable with that-- with that linkage, right?

JAMES CONE: No, they did not. No, because I said it at a divinity school. And that's mostly whites there. Blacks felt comfortable with it. They're-- they like that. They like that connection because it gives them a perspective on the lynching that empowers them rather than silences them. People who have never been lynched by another group usually find it difficult to understand why it is blacks want whites to remember lynching atrocities. Why bring that up, they ask? Isn't that best forgotten? And I say, absolutely not! The lynching tree is a metaphor for race in America, a symbol of America's crucifixion of black people. See, whites feel a little uncomfortable because they are part of the history of the people who did the lynching. I would much rather be a part of the history of the lynching victims than a part of the history of the one who did it. And that's the kind of transcendent perspective that empowers people to resist. That's why King knew he was going to win even when he lost by human sense.

BILL MOYERS: You think that's what he meant when he said, "I see--

JAMES CONE: The promised land?

BILL MOYERS: --the promised land?"


The reason that the affluent, the educated class invested in the modern materialist consumer society and those who hope to profit from it hate Christianity and Judaism and, I would include Islam so much isn't because those are inherently retrograde - they're not - it's because they are a total contradiction of their value systems that make inequality an inherent aspect of nature, into a good, in itself.  In some cases it merely deprives people an ability to consider themselves better than other people, though that temptation is not unknown to those who profess those religions, the religions, themselves and I will say, especially Christianity, are based on teachings of equality and of life beyond a system of valuation.

All of those derided monotheistic religions carry inside them an assertion that God created us as equals,  that we have inalienable rights, that we are rightly seen as beyond any calculation of unequal value and the use of anyone.  Being based in human texts which are imperfect and which carry the baggage of the milieu of those who articulated them and the people they were addressed to, they also carry history and assertions that are not consistent with that equality and those rights.  And if they don't, you can bet on human beings and institutions to corrupt them with inequality and privilege. But you're not going to find much by way of assertions of equality and inalienable rights outside of them, certainly not in the West and certainly not in much of the rest of world culture.  Though any system which contains them as a metaphysical truth would probably generate egalitarian democracy, I don't see that it's even begun in most places.  It's in the beginning stages even in the secular democracies in the West where it's in imminent danger of extinction.

And if you want to bring up the so-called religious right, they certainly hate Christianity when it articulates economic justice and radical equality - the very heart of The Gospel, the Prophets and The Law, even as they appropriate the words and graven images to put a false front on their vulgar materialism.  They are the Antichrist you've heard so much about but only part of it, elite, academic materialism is just the high end of their vulgar materialism.

Ultimately There Is No Getting Past The Necessity of Religious Morality If Egalitarian Democracy Is The Goal

NTodd,  has  one of his always interesting historical posts up in which he notes the history of the drafting of the Declaration of Independence by the young, more idealistic, less "enlightenment" Thomas Jefferson, which carried ideas that John Adams, his friend and colleague on the drafting committee knew wouldn't pass - the evil of slavery is mentioned by him as something they would never go for in the Continental Congress.   Adams, a savvy politician knew that his unpopularity would complicate things so when he was asked to review Jefferson's draft he didn't cross anything out, he depended on Benjamin Franklin and Roger Sherman, also on the Committee of Five, to make it more likely to pass the Continental Congress by not alienating, particularly, the Southerners.   Adams noted that he convinced Jefferson that a Virginian should be the one to draft it - apparently there was already an anti-New England bias in our politics even before our politics had started.

But that's not what I'm concerned with here.  In addition to John Adams' letter to Pickering, NTodd also quotes from Walter Isaacson's biography of Franklin, talking about his edits to the draft Declaration:

The most important of his edits was small but resounding. He crossed out, using the heavy backslashes that he often employed, the last three words of Jefferson's phrase “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable” and changed them to the words now enshrined in history: “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”"

The idea of “self-evident” truths was one that drew less on John Locke, who was Jefferson's favored philosopher, than on the scientific determinism espoused by Isaac Newton and on the analytic empiricism of Franklin’s close friend David Hume. In what became known as “Hume's fork,” the great Scottish philosopher, along with Leibniz and others, had developed a theory that distinguished between synthetic truths that describe matters of fact (such as “London is bigger than Philadelphia”) and analytic truths that are self-evident by virtue of reason and definition (“The angles of a triangle equal 180 degrees”; “All bachelors are unmarried”). By using the word “sacred,” Jefferson had asserted, intentionally or not, that the principle in question—the equality of men and their endowment by their creator with inalienable rights—was an assertion of religion. Franklin's edit turned it instead into an assertion of rationality.

We could use more such assertions of rationality in the Trump Epoch...

That last sentence is NTodd's and I agree with that entirely.  Reason can be a good thing, it is certainly an indispensable and important tool for getting through life and, when it's put to good use it can enhance the power of good intentions and conscience.  Can be, but not necessarily is a good thing.   Reason, an amoral instrument,  is just as effective a tool for doing evil.* To elevate it as the only or even merely the supreme good is to invite its use for evil.  I'd go so far as to say it virtually guarantees it.

Like it or not, the good of equality is not self-evident, it is not something which can be demonstrated as an exercise in mathematical logic, it is not something that can be treated scientifically, THE NEO-DARWINIAN CLAIM THAT SUCH TRUTHS OF MORALITY ARE THE PRODUCT OF NATURAL SELECTION IS A TOTALLY DISHONEST AND IRRATIONAL ASSERTION, BECAUSE NATURAL SELECTION ASSERTS THE GOOD OF INEQUALITY. **

EQUALITY IS ONLY ENSURED WHEN IT IS NOT STRICTLY A MATTER OF WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME, WHEN IT IS NOT SEEN AS AN EXPRESSION OF SELF-INTEREST BUT IS SEEN AS A DIVINELY IMPOSED COMMAND.  Once it is expressed in that enlightenment era artificial substitute for unfashionable morality, "self-interest" it is on the downward slope into rationally calculated self advantage and, then, jealously obtained and maintained privilege.

I think that in such things as Jefferson going from the young man who drafted a passage which John Adams - one of the few founders who never held anyone in slavery - knew would not be acceptable to the rest of the Founders to an older man who, two decades later increased his own slave holding and advocated owning more slaves to his friends because of his rational calculation of how having more slaves increased his own wealth is a microcosm of the struggle between cold, calculating reason and the assertion of the belief that all people are created equal.  That right to equal treatment can't be located by science, it is a product of belief, in any rational articulation of it I can think of, ultimately a religious belief.   Science, materialist philosophy, other systems have not come up with a rational foundation for a belief that all people are equal and endowed BY THEIR CREATOR, that would be GOD with rights which are unalienable - that is NOT REMOVABLE BY ANY PERSON OR EVEN BY UNANIMOUS VOTE OF ANY SOCIETY.  

I think that is one of the enduring problems with the Constitution, that its 18th century creators were largely under the sway of the fashionable late 18th century enlightenment which seems to always have found a way to reason their way out of any morality which would be to their disadvantage.  The provisions dealing with slavery were some of the most evil of things ever written into a Constitution by a Western country, its other impediments to egalitarian democracy, through the Electoral College, through the unequal representation in the Senate and through the rather naive construction of the Supreme Court - one of the most regressive features of our government - are things that have had quite evil effects in our history.

I have come to see American history as largely a struggle of people for equality, for morality often against the order established under the Constitution.  Look at the struggle to get the federal government to make lynching a federal crime if you want a blatantly obvious example.  As I mentioned the other week, the relation of the Second Amendment to the slave patrols, the predecessors of the lynch mobs, are a part of that issue.

Egalitarian democracy, the only kind of democracy which is worth the sacrifice of  a drop of sweat or even blood, is a question of morality at the start and at the end.   Reason applied to that end is reason well used but unless that is the goal, reason will end up enhancing inequality.  I have become entirely convinced that it is a matter of religious belief of a majority of people in a real and continuing democracy, unless they have that belief and really believe it is morally required of them, they will reason their way out of equality and into privilege and as their votes are cast that way, the whole thing goes to hell.  There was a reason that so many of the enlightenment materialists, such figures as Voltaire and Hume were full believers in inequality and not really that opposed to the enslavement of those who they believed inferior to white people, why Thomas Jefferson as he did that quintessential enlightenment act, calculating value expressed in money dropped the emancipation of slaves stuff.

There is a reason that even as they did that it was religious people such as John Woolman who campaigned tirelessly against slavery, why former slaves such as David Walker expressed their opposition to slavery in Biblical terms.  It wasn't because the milieu in which they lived required it, it is because that was the source, the foundation that their abolitionism was founded in.  As I studied the history of abolition, going back into the early centuries of the common era, it was independently discovered out of that very same source, starting at the beginning with St. Macrina and St. Patrick and others.  It's a direct result of reading Paul telling slave owners to treat those legally considered slaves as they would want to be treated, something he got from the Gospel of Jesus,  perhaps through the teachings of Hillel but, ultimately, from Leviticus, in the commandments of economic and social  and personal equality from people who believed they had escaped slavery under the Pharaoh.

There is no accident that the history of every reform, including that of LGBT rights, has depended heavily, at times exclusively, on the assertion of religious morality, on the belief in equality and unalienable rights granted by The Creator, which isn't a product of rationality but of belief.  Really, in the end, even accepting the efficacy and products of reason are dependent on belief.  As I've noted recently, the impeaching of the mind and the consciousness by modern atheists and materialists leaves reason itself without any other foundation than a belief that it is, as well, an endowment of our Creator.  Materialism is that destructive a belief.

* It was in the 1970s, looking at the doings of Henry Kissinger that I realized there were many very smart people I knew who I suspected the world would be better off without but I couldn't think of a single good person, some of them not that bright, who the world would be better off without.  It's more important to be good than it is to be smart.

** That claim is an afterthought come up with as people noted, from within the decade after the Origin of Species was published that its claims would abolish all morality, any idea of equality.  It is an irrational assertion which is a direct contradiction to the theory.  It was a patched-up PR move that was contradicted by everything which the advocates of  the theory of natural selection claimed were its results in the human population even as they mounted the con job.

The Trumpzis Hate America Or At Least The Best Thing About It

I had missed this story, that National Public Radio sent out tweets of the Declaration of Independence yesterday - they always read it on-air on the 4th of July, have been doing that for decades - Trump's supporters tweeted back at their inflammatory radicalism and calls for overturning the Trump regime. This one sums it up well:

  1. If you think NPR tweeting out the Declaration of Independence is a slam against Trump, what does that say about how you view Trump?

Kurt Eichenwald noticed:

  1. NPR tweets, as on all July 4, Declaration of Independence. Cult45 goes nuts, thinking its call 4 revolt gainst Trump
  2. Replying to can these "I support Trump cause I'm a patriot" folks not know what's in the frigging Declaration of Independence we celebrate 2DAY!
  3. Since trump fans didn't know what Declaration of Independence was and cited NPR for treason for tweeting it, will they call DofI fake news?

As usual, my thanks to RMJ for pointing this out. It is quite funny and shows just how unAmerican the Trump cult is. They are fascists, real, actual English speaking fascists come to power because for the other 364 days of every year the news media, including NPR, promotes Republicans even when they are Republican-fascists.

That isn't to say that I think everything in that document is great - though that beginning is pretty good - the section about the native population who a number of the founders were intent on  robbing of their land is both disgustingly dishonest and racist and a near total lie.  While I didn't read all of the deranged Trumpzi tweets, I have a feeling that wasn't a section they would complain about.