Saturday, September 21, 2019

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Stephen Wyatt - Double Jeopardy

Patrick Stewart stars as Raymond Chandler and Adrian Scarborough is Billy Wilder in this entertaining glimpse inside the Hollywood film industry. In 1944 the two men came together to work on a screen adaptation of James M Cain's novel Double Indemnity. Billy Wilder is a 36 year old German Jewish émigré just making his name as a director and Raymond Chandler is a reformed alcoholic with a developing reputation as a novelist but absolutely no experience of writing for movies. The play follows their famously difficult collaboration.

Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler are legendary. The English-educated, middle-aged , would-be intellectual versus the ambitious young German émigré. Paramount Studios put Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder together because none of the big names would touch James M Cain's novel. With its adulterous lovers, and a crime that could be copied, it was judged too controversial to adapt because of the censorious Production Code guidelines. Chandler and Wilder famously hated each other but in a space of some four months locked in an office together they created an outstanding screenplay for a ground-breaking classic film.

Raymond Chandler - Patrick Stewart
Billy Wilder - Adrian Scarborough
Directed by Claire Grove

Rank And Obvious Dishonety - a footnote

Our reason was simple: the data are irrelevant. We used a classic rhetorical device, adynaton, a form of hyperbole so extreme that it is, in effect, impossible. 

More honestly put, they couldn't refute the science with science so they fell back on using, not a tool of science but one from literature and an especially vulgar level of popular persuasion.   That shows that science doesn't do what they want it to do so they attack science with that.  True to their typical practice,  if it' got a Greek name that will impress their audience of suckers, so much the more useful to them. 

In doing so they clearly prove something that has been obvious about organized "skepticism" from its origins in Corliss Lamont funded organized atheism, their scientific pretenses mask what is essentially a public relations style advocacy for their religious ideology.  

That was why the one and only scientific investigation for the Committee for the Scientific Investigation ff Claims of The Paranormal CSICOP, the infamous sTARBABY scandal was a complete and total scientific botch conducted by Harvard level scientific faculty (Marvin Zelen- A FRIGGIN' STATISTICIAN!) UCLA (George Abel - A FRIGGIN' ASTRONOMER) led by the University of Buffalo philosophy prof.  and general huckster of atheist orthodoxy,  Paul Kurtz.   It was so bad that Dennis Rawlins, who is a pretty serious example of their kind of atheist jerk, couldn't stand the dishonesty and blew the lid off of the carefully controlled cover-up which involved a virtual who's who of post-WWII atheist promotion.*

I'm not surprised that it's two psychologists who are doing it, it's pretty telling how many of the big names in organized atheism-skepticism are professors of that pseudo-science.  Dishonesty pervades all of it.   Though there are degrees of dishonesty practiced among them.  It's telling that it's the most rigorously honest of them who get the most flack and rejection. 

*  As another one of the anti-religious faithful said when he did a rigorous review of the evidence:

On the surface, this is plausible. The trouble with "sTarbaby" on first reading is that the case is too strong, and the cover-up too deep to be entirely believable. Like the other Fellows of CSICOP, I couldn't accept that Dennis Rawlins was the single honest and correct person on a nine-man Council consisting of men of such stature and reputation as Martin Gardner (whose mathematical games column in Scientific American had just been taken over by Hofstadter), Professor Ray Hyman, the Amazing Randi and Kendrick Frazier. In fact, Rawlins seemed to grasp at straws to include these bystanders in the conspiracy plot. It seemed more likely that Rawlins had let his anger get out of control and was seeing connivance in the most innocent remarks. This attitude might then explain why his analysis of the Mars effect had been ignored, and why he was eventually voted off the Council and out of CSICOP. Undoubtedly Rawlins was making a mountain out of a molehill. 

After seven months of research, I have come to the opposite conclusion. CSICOP has no good defense of the trio's Mars fiasco and has progressively trapped itself, degree by irreversible degree, into an anti-Rawlins propaganda campaign, into suppression of his evidence, and into stonewalling against other critics. In short, progressively stuck on the trio's tarbaby.

Coincidence Provides An Excellent Example Of What I Was Talking About Yesterday

I will start this by cautioning against using Wikipedia to look up anything in this area because Wikipedia has been open to a concerted, organized, years-long public effort to twist entries dealing with the Atheist Index Of Prohibited Ideas and those who maintain that area of atheist religion and those who have the gall to actually do standard and very high levels of scientific research into those things which atheists have forbidden.   I've written about Susan Gerbic's cult of those who ratfuck Wikipedia on behalf of their religion a number of times.  

So anything written there about any of the people or ideas or experiments in this area is best taken as dishonest.   

As good an example as any of the distance between the apocryphal Leplace of atheist use and the man who wrote the Philosophical Essay on Probability was recently published by the professional atheists (oh, yeah, make that "Skeptics") Arthur Reber and James Alcock in one of the major journals of their religion, "Skeptical Inquirer", an article bragging about their upcoming article protesting a paper of a large study reviewing the published reviewed literature into such forbidden topics.  It is only by chance that I found out about this yesterday.  Or maybe it wasn't by chance?

They were unable to address the experimental designs, the conduct of the experiments, the statistical analyses of the data that those experiments yielded, I mentioned that one of the patriarchs of their religion, Ray Hyman, a psychologist like these two slightly younger hierarchs in organized atheism, has had to admit that parapsychological research as done by scientists who investigate these forbidden topics is some of the most rigorous of scientific research.  

This statement from their SI article  proves exactly what I said about the ideological insertion of atheism directly into the culture and practice of science, violating the very methods that the atheists pretend to uphold in their more pious declarations:

We did not examine the data for psi, to the consternation of the parapsychologist who was one of the reviewers. Our reason was simple: the data are irrelevant. We used a classic rhetorical device, adynaton, a form of hyperbole so extreme that it is, in effect, impossible. Ours was “pigs cannot fly”—hence data that show they can are the result of flawed methodology, weak controls, inappropriate data analysis, or fraud. Examining the data may be useful if the goal is to challenge the veracity of the findings but has no role in the kinds of criticism we were mounting. We focused not on Cardeña specifically but on parapsychology broadly. We identified four fundamental principles of science that psi effects, were they true, would violate: causality, time’s arrow, thermodynamics, and the inverse square law. 

This differs in absolutely no way from what Galileo famously complained of to Kepler,  that the professors of Ptolemaic cosmology absolutely refused to look through his telescope, no doubt because they held that what they would see with their own eyes COULDN'T BE TRUE because they believed it violated their knowledge.  I wish Richard Feynman were around to address their clam about "time's arrow," perhaps "causality" as well.   I would imagine Laplace would find their use of his theory to be rather embarassing.  What they mean about it violating "the inverse square law" is rather curious as the record of Psi researchers as opposed to organized atheists is that they tend to be entirely better mathematicians than their opponents.  "Skeptical Inquirer's" place in the sTARBABY scandal which was floated on massive mathematical incompetence is a good introduction to that.*  

I will note that neither of the atheists - both of them not physicists but psychologists - did more than make that declaration of the violation of sacred principles of contemporary physics.  No doubt if I wanted to look for it, I could come up with voluminous condemnation by physicists of ideas that became standard parts of physics over the centuries in the way that Nicholas Slonimsky did by critics condemning some of the greatest works of Western Music in his lexicon of musical invective.  But, as can be seen, all you have to do in the religion of conventional atheism is make the claim, you don't have to back it up.  

So you can more conveniently contrast that to what Laplace indisputably said in his essay, here it is again:
We are so far from recognizing all the agents of nature and their divers modes of action that it would be unphilosophical to deny the phenomena solely because they are inexplicable in the present state of our knowledge. But we ought to examine them with an attention as much the more scrupulous as it appears the more difficult to admit them; and it is here that the calculation of probabilities becomes indispensable in determining to just what point it is necessary to multiply the observations or the experiences in order to obtain in favor of the agents which they indicate, a probability superior to the reasons which can be obtained elsewhere for not admitting them.  Laplace 

Clearly Alcock and Reber have no problem being "unphilosphical" in exactly the way that Laplace condemned.  They are repeating the fallback of their sect of atheism when it cannot account for clearly demonstrated phenomena, demonstrated with a level of scientific method and practice, the atheist-psycologists demanding that those are not adequate for the purpose.  Applying a standard that, if applied to the published literature of conventional psychology would dissolve their field and expose them as the equivalent of old time astrologers, phrenologist, and whatever discredited once ubiquitous field within academic and para-academic repute.  

Worse than what Laplace imagined in such people, they match those anti-Copernican teachers of science who Galileo complained about.   Remember this when you next hear an atheist talk about Laplace, Galileo, Copernicus, etc.  

*  You might want to consider just one response to some of Alcock's previous debunkery by Daryl Bem.  Other than pointing out that some of the procedures used by Bem that Alcock's debunkery depended on was standard within Alcock's field of psychology -EVEN USED BY PEOPLE ASSOCIATED WITH ALCOCK - he could point out that even the skeptical reviewers who were hostile to his research had to admit he conducted legitimate scientific research and that his analysis of the data couldn't be criticized. 

The contrast between the assessments of Alcock and the Journal’s editors and reviewers is also particularly newsworthy because it is not simply a reprise of the familiar disagreement between skeptics and proponents of psi (ESP). Like Alcock, several of the reviewers expressed various degrees of skepticism about the reality of psi, while still urging its acceptance. Unlike Alcock, however, they are all active researchers who regularly contribute to the mainstream experimental literature in psychology and cognitive science. Their task was to evaluate the logic and clarity of the article’s exposition, the soundness of its experimental methods, and the validity of its statistical analyses. They did not have to agree with my conclusions regarding psi to make those assessments. As Joachim Krueger, an experimental psychologist at Brown University, put it so charmingly: “My personal view is that this is ridiculous and can’t be true. Going after the methodology and the experimental design is the first line of attack. But frankly, I didn't see anything. Everything seemed to be in good order (quoted by Peter Aldhous in the NewScientist 16:29, November 11, 2010).”

Given that encounter between Alcock and Bem it's no wonder that he and his tag-team buddy are reverting to the tactic of refusing to look at the data, recreating exactly what the Ptolemaic professors did which, no doubt, they would cite in their hypocritical advocacy for atheist-materialist-scientism at the drop of a cliche.  Only they would misrepresent it, attributing that refusal to the already dead Cardinal who is the villain of their costume drama recreations of the events.  Their grasp of history would fit right in with the worst of Hollywood and BBC distortion of it.

"and who is for that very reason the Christ who is authoritative in all things for Christians at all times"Where Do I Get My Christian Commitment From - Chapter Four - Why I Am Still A Christian

It is not a secret.  I get it from the one whose name is so readily suppressed in Christian party programs and who is readily respected merely as "honorary chairman without a real influence.

I will break into this paragraph to say that is one of the most astonishing things about the "Christianity" that is pushed in the American media, elsewhere as the real, official way to be a Christian in the right wing TV production syndicates, the organized neo-fascist pseudo-Christian corporations, the gangster-reverends and bishops and cardinals who are never slow to make common cause with the likes of Steve Bannon.  It is true of such a large proportion of what is called "Christian" it has been that way for large stretches of time in big-official Christianity that the origin of most of the ammunition of the anti-Christians, the ones who really, truly hate it, is the very acts of those so denominated as "Christians".   What is astounding is in how all of them, the gangsters, the gangster's allies, the media that pushes the allegedly Christian allies of total depravity - that all of them are marked by their constant and consistent violation of all of the actual teachings of Jesus as found in the Gospels and the Epistles, the only sources we have of what he taught.  And they do it in ways that they must know they are violating it, despite the excuses that later writers gave them to pretend otherwise. 

Ah HA! I can hear the atheists say, there, you see, that PROVES! it's rotten.  

Well, as anyone who has worried about being bombed - the myriads who have been bombed - could find the origin of those bombs in science.  Those who are the victims of chemical poisoning by modern synthetic substances, by artificial opioids, by a myriad of other chemicals could find their origin in science.  Science largely fuels the destruction of the planet, geology done for the extraction industries might be what gets us all killed.  That is if the nuclear weapons scientists who most knowingly, with complete understanding of what they were doing,  have created and put in the hands of the very same gangster governments and their military wings, the means of ending life on Earth even by accident.  Such scientists, among them some of the most praised and honored being paid by those gangster governments.  And at times fully credentialed scientists having given or attempted to give nuclear secrets to some of the worst people who have ever lived and held power, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, the Kim regime in North Korea, etc.  The sins of the scientists dwarfs those of religion in the modern age, they outdo the inefficient evils of past "Most Christian Majesties" (in one of the most putrid of pseudo-religious non-requiters on multiple levels) and their like.

For Americans, I will point out that many of our greatest evils in the world were done in the name of "democracy,"  George W. Bush invading Iraq on the pretext of illegally overturning their dictator in order to impose democracy by fiat by an unelected leader of the United States on People who never voted for him and who, by a huge majority, have been given every reason to despise the concept of "democracy" by the Bush crime family.  The same can be said of innumerable people on many continents.  The genocide practiced against the original People of this continent on what became the United States as a result of that genocidal lebensraum program which that continues, the American apartheid system born in the enslavement of Black People and which continues in modified form even after the extra-Constitutional Emancipation proclamation,  . . . . I could go on and on and on listing sins attributable in exactly the same way to something called democracy.  

I would, though, never reject democracy - so long as it is understood as egalitarian democracy - because of the sins done under that label.   Nor would I reject the valid discoveries of science, though I think more often than not its products are dangerous at best and deadly quite often.  Note I didn't use the mixing of democracy and science in that topic I've studied in such depth, American eugenics, though that is certainly a good example of the point I'm making.   Nor will I, for the time being, bring up the Darwinian origin of eugenics as practiced by the Nazis, though, as Marilynne Robinson has pointed out, that religion of American secularism, Darwinism is pretty much always floating in very dark waters, indeed.  Unlike Christianity, its proponents never acknowledged its far greater culpability for that emblematic crime.

I get these essential Christian values from Jesus of Nazareth, who is a historical figure and not a myth, and who is for that very reason the Christ who is authoritative in all things for Christians at all times.  He proclaimed the one and only God, who had already spoken and been addressed in the history of the people of Israel, in the experiences of men and women, he proclaimed this God with a human face, as living and close.  In his whole life and in everything he did he made this face of God shine out.  When Jesus poke of this God and acted in his name, he made clear what was vague in the Old Testament,  made what seemed ambiguous there unambiguous.  The one true God of Israel is now understood in a new way.  We might sum it up by saying that he is understood as the Father of the Prodigal Son, indeed as the Father of all the lost and not simply as the Father of the devout and those who are righteous from the very beginning. 

As a sinner, myself, yes.  I have come to decide that is true.  As a gentile, yes to the God of the Jewish scriptures.  Yes to Jesus who spoke out of the Christ Spirit to us.  Still a sinner, still going on.

The sins of the Christians do nothing to negate the character of Jesus and of the Gospel, no more than someone who fudges the books negates the facts of mathematics.  

Friday, September 20, 2019

"it would be unphilosophical to deny the phenomena solely because they are inexplicable in the present state of our knowledge"

We are so far from recognizing all the agents of nature and their divers modes of action that it would be unphilosophical to deny the phenomena solely because they are inexplicable in the present state of our knowledge. But we ought to examine them with an attention as much the more scrupulous as it appears the more difficult to admit them; and it is here that the calculation of probabilities becomes indispensable in determining to just what point it is necessary to multiply the observations or the experiences in order to obtain in favor of the agents which they indicate, a probability superior to the reasons which can be obtained elsewhere for not admitting them.  Laplace 

This statement starts out with a rather obvious truth that fits in rather well with what North Whitehead has been pointing out, that rejecting ideas that don't fit into your current models of reality can't account for as obviously not existing is "unphilosophical".  Then he goes on to say something that was popularly dumbed down in the slogan Carl Sagan cribbed from better thinkers, "we ought to examine them with an attention as much the more scrupulous as it appears the more difficult to admit them."  

Among other things that could be said about this, it empowers the certainly, often self-interested assertion that some things are properly considered "more difficult to admit them."  That can assert self-interest, ideological preference directly into would-be objective science.  Atheist do that all the time with total success - until their conclusions fall as time catches up with some of them.   Ironically, it is the social sciences that are the most rampant vehicle of that cycle of rise and crashing fall of scientific ideas.

Having read that this morning while looking at Laplace's essay on probability, I can't resist pointing this out.

In the dumbed-down atheism of today, as can be seen in the phenomenon of pseudo-skepticism, even Laplace's proposal to test such ideas with rigorous applications of mathematical probability is rejected as a means of achieving what he proposed, finding out if they are true or not.   That rejection has been explicit in pseudo-skepticism since J. B. Rhine started what even Ray Hyman has had to admit is some of the most rigorous scientific examination of human behavior ever conducted and mathematicians who examined his work declared that his use of statistical analysis was flawless. 

Faced with decades of such rigorous testing and the most rigorous of statistical analysis of the results, it is the very atheists who will drop that, perhaps, apocryphal comment of Laplace to Napoleon who reject his standard of doing exactly the things that made him worth name-dropping.  Of the validity of "a probability superior to the reasons which can be obtained elsewhere for not admitting,"  taboo ideas.  

Here's one of America's foremost experts in statistics, Jessica Utts on one of those things that pisses atheists off mightily.

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For Pete's sake!  It's staring you right in the face!  Read the things that Hawking-Mlodinow say,  read Tim Radford pointing out that everything that Hawking and Mlodinow claim is pretty well in line with traditional theological claims about God.   

Contrary to the proud claim of atheists, invoking Pierre-Simon Laplace's quite arbitrarily quoted, claim to prove "God is an unnecessary hypothesis"* they are constantly reproducing God - not so-called - as a necessity to support their atheism.   What Hawking's equations are so is natural-selection to those whose professional backgrounds are more oriented to the life-sciences, so probability and random chance are a more general, mathematical manifestation of this atheist God-making.  

I will point out that one of the things all of these atheist unadmitted gods share, is that every single one of them is a God of the gaps.  That's quite different from the God of the Jewish-monotheistic tradition in any non-heretical exposition about God. 

* I'm not convinced that Laplace meant what the atheists mistranslate that remark which someone else quoted him as making to Napoleon as meaning.   As most atheists are not great readers perhaps they might want to consider this passage which is known to be an authentic statement of Laplace, from his Philosophical Essay on Probability.

 We ought then to regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its anterior state and as the cause of the one which is to follow. Given for one instant an intelligence which could comprehend all the forces by which nature is animated and the respective situation of the beings who compose it—an intelligence sufficiently vast to submit these data to analysis—it would embrace in the same formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the lightest atom; for it, nothing would be uncertain and the future, as the past, would be present to its eyes. The human mind offers, in the perfection which it has been able to give to astronomy, a feeble idea of this intelligence. Its discoveries in mechanics and geometry, added to that of universal gravity, have enabled it to comprehend in the same analytical expressions the past and future states of the system of the world. Applying the same method to some other objects of its knowledge, it has succeeded in referring to general laws observed phenomena and in foreseeing those which given circumstances ought to produce. All these efforts in the search for truth tend to lead it back continually to the vast intelligence which we have just mentioned, but from which it will always remain infinitely removed. This tendency, peculiar to the human race, is that which renders it superior to animals; and their progress in this respect distinguishes nations and ages and constitutes their true glory.

I will pass up the enormous temptation to go, at length, into what that last sentence does to the Darwinian and neo-Darwinian necessity of minimizing the distinction that their tool, Laplace, found necessary, elevating us above the animals to point out that Laplace seems to feel the need to recreate God as the origin and mover of all nature.   I will also pass up the quaintness of Laplace's conception of the astronomy of then or now as "perfection" to point out that he obviously saw it as revealing the God he did not deign to name.  

I have no such need to elevate us above animals having read that God has his own covenant with them (Genesis) and that they have their own relationship to God (Psalm 148 as given here the other day).  

Hate Mail

Here, from the first paragraph I excerpted from Alfred North Whitehead's essay The Function of Reason.

We have here a colossal example of anti-empirical dogmatism arising from a successful methodology. Evidence which lies outside the method simply does not count.

Which pretty well sums up the mainstream of atheist materialist doctrine and dogma and slogans and the popular misunderstanding of science which the likes of Richard Dawkins have promoted in his evo-psy speculations.   I wouldn't be surprised if North Whitehead didn't have in mind, at least in part, the stupid habit of the logical positivists to declare, by fiat, anything that didn't fit within their method - chosen in no small part to not fit such things in - were illegitimate areas of intellectual activity.  

That demotion of the foundational activity of science, observation of nature, out of motives of promoting the ideology of atheist materialism is ubiquitous, not only in the social sciences but is rampant in the study of evolution* - there is a two-way commerce in nonsense among them that is one of the major non-religious superstitions, today.  And it's hardly confined to the so-called life sciences these days.  It has invaded physics through the "religion for atheists" cosmology, whose late high priests demanded that as a right because where they need to bring science to support their religion, science cannot go. 

It appears that the fundamental numbers, and even the form, of the apparent laws of nature are not demanded by logic or physical principle. The parameters are free to take on many values and the laws to take on any form that leads to a self-consistent mathematical theory, and they do take on different values and different forms in different universes.

Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design 

To which Tim Radford's review gave the perfect response:

In this very brief history of modern cosmological physics, the laws of quantum and relativistic physics represent things to be wondered at but widely accepted: just like biblical miracles. M-theory invokes something different: a prime mover, a begetter, a creative force that is everywhere and nowhere. This force cannot be identified by instruments or examined by comprehensible mathematical prediction, and yet it contains all possibilities. It incorporates omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence, and it's a big mystery. Remind you of Anybody?

Tim Radford:  Review of Stephen Hawking's The Grand Design

Here we see that, though the high priest of popular atheist-materialism demanded his right to make anything he could dream up - empirical evidence be damned - to suit his ideological preferences and to exclude any evidence which doesn't suit him OR ANY NEED FOR EVIDENCE WHEN IT SUITS HIM.   Tell me that science has not been brought to a state of decadence by its attachment to atheist ideology, then tell me why I should ignore the evidence I've presented here.

*  It has to be if general statements about the evolution of species are made because virtually all of the actual process of evolution is and will always be invisible to science because the lives of organisms, individually and as members of larger groups within their species and within their species, what led to their greater or lesser success in leaving offspring demonstrating the characteristics those parents had, are not discernible in any great detail from the minuscule fractions of dead specimen that the geological record have given up or ever will give up.  The replacement of that by speculations such as Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology and, these days,  GOOD FLIPPIN' GRIEF!  by the like of Jordan Peterson, is not science, it's a particularly pretentious and ridiculous lore with a thin veneer of equations allegedly about current, often very distantly related species, pretending that that can fill in the gaping void of observation.   That so many college credentialed sci-ranger boys fall for the tripe Jordan peddles about human sex roles and lobsters is proof that The Public Understanding of Science such as evolutionary psychology peddles is rankest superstition.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

For The Love Of Mike, Did You Dolts Never Learn To Use A Dictionary?

"There's no such word as purposively". 

From Merriam Webster Online

Other Words from purposive

purposively adverb
purposiveness noun

I believe the idiot who trolled that claim was a college grad, too.  Apparently they went from 3rd grade to college and missed the lessons in how to look words up in a dictionary in 4th.  Though I'm prepared to believe their "progressive school" didn't teach dictionary skills as being, you know, old hat.  

TV has made us a nation of slow children.  Or maybe it's fall out from Strunk-White banning  adverbs.  Stupid book makes credentialed people stupid.

"But our empiricism is confined within our immediate interests"

I just got back and noticed in the post about Alfred North Whitehead's The Function of Reason, I posted the wrong passage, the second of the two I was going to use so I'll give it here.  

In talking about the dogmatic rejection of purpose in nature - though he could have said it about dozens, maybe hundreds of other thing evidenced in life - North Whitehead said:

As a question of scientific methodology there can be little doubt that scientists have been right.  But we have to discriminate between the weight to be given to scientific opinion in the selection of its methods, and its trustworthiness in formulating judgements of the understanding.  The slightest scrutiny of the history of natural science shows that current scientific opinion is nearly infallible in the former case and invariably wrong in the latter case. The man with a method good for purposes of his dominant interests, is a pathological case in respect to his wider judgement on the coordination of his method with a more complete experience. Priests and scientists, statesmen and men of business, philosophers and mathematicians, are all alike in this respect.  We all start out by being empiricists.  But our empiricism is confined within our immediate interests.  The more clearly we grasp the intellectual analysis of a way regulating procedure for the sake of those interests, the more decidedly we reject the inclusion of evidence which refuses to be immediately harmonized with the method before us.  Some of the major disasters of mankind have been produced by the narrowness of men with a good methodology.  Ulysses has no use for Plato, and the bones of his companions are strewn on many a reef and many an isle.  

He goes on to say:

The particular doctrine in question is, that in the transformations of matter and energy which constitute the activities of an animal body no principles can be discerned other than those which govern the activities of inorganic matter.  There can be no dispute as to the main physiological facts.  No reaction between the material components of an animal body have been observed which in any way infringe the physical and chemical laws applying to the behavior of inorganic material.  But this is a very different proposition from the doctrine that no additional principles can be involved.  The two propositions are only identical on the supposition that the sort of physical principles involved are sufficient to determine definitely the particular activities of each physical body.

That supposition is the foundational dogma of pretty much all of the so-called behavioral sciences and, I would argue, was imposed on the scientific study of life out of 

a. the envy of biologists for the kind of certainty which physicists and chemists could legitimately achieve, though their claims of being able to point the way to an absolute means of surpassing the necessity of empirical observation vastly exceeded the reliability of their methods.  

b. out of the general 19th century adoption of materialism as a social-ideological requirement to be seen as the best kind of scientist.  A general hostility to religion being a huge part of that.

c. out of other non-scientific desires of the scientists,  class interests of the scientists who were generally born to, or aspiring to material prosperity. 

The results of that supposition can reach enormous size when empirical observation is either radically incomplete or impossible, such as in the scientific study of evolution and in all of the so-called behavioral sciences.  It reaches some of its most ridiculous proportions in the pseudo-scientific study and academic assertions of atheists dealing with the "hard problem" of consciousness.   The absurdity North Whitehead pointed out, of scientists purposively designing experiments for the purpose of proving purposelessness is outdone by academics in science and philosophy purposely coming up with elaborate playing card castles to prove that consciousness is an illusion - failing , among other things, to notice that illusion is a state of consciousness.  

That any of the worst of that can be kept up in academic establishments, at some of the most renowned of our universities makes the old and inaccurate claims made about "angels dancing on the head of a pin" pale in ridiculousness. 

Which leads to something else North Whitehead noticed ninety years ago:

We are then led to consider the natural reaction of men with a useful methodology against any evidence tending to limit the scope of that methodology.  Science has always suffered from the vice of overstatement.  In this way conclusions true within strict limitations have been generalized dogmatically into fallacious universality. 

A friggin' men. 

*  I think organized Christian religion, religious denominations, churches get into enormous trouble when the original teachings of Jesus are replaced by church laws, church creeds, church dogmas.  The Catholic Church is only one such good example of this, something that Hans Kung has struggled against as he focused on The New Testament instead of medieval and, even more what in English is called Renaissance and romantic era church law and theology though certainly some of the theology of those times is not to blame for the excesses in those who love Cannon Law more than they do The Gospel.  That is at its worst when it replaces the requirement to love others as you love yourself, for mercy, for justice with the kind of legalism that the Catholic right so adores.

I think in psychology practically all of its methods could fit into this critique of confining their empiricism within their immediate interests, which begin with some of the worst, sloppiest and most absurd experimental design that is called science, some of the worst analysis of it claiming dogmatic and fallacious universality of the results - even when there is no demonstrable relationship between their claimed results and phenomena they claim it is related to.   I think that lacking any legitimate status of scientific reliability they replace the dogmas, doctrines, laws, claims, habits of their particular sect of psychology as their foundational authority to support all of that, falling back on the one truth of their field,  that studying the hidden, invisible minds of human beings - accessible almost exclusively through the unreliable reporting of people - is hard as their excuse.   Well, the truth is you can't do it with science, minds are not susceptible to the same things you can use to study falling and moving objects and the results of chemical reactions.  

I think that, frustrated as some of them must be with the antics (and funding) of psychology, lots of physicists and chemists and the more modestly legitimate kinds of biologists go along with letting the likes of psychologists, sociologists, good Lord, these days economists call what they do "science" out of their faith in materialist monism, they figure their successful use of scientific method for their field means that everything MUST! GODDAMMIT! be susceptible to those methods, at least in theory.

Update:  Rereading this in my habit of continual editing, it occurs to me that the reason that the Catholic right, the kind of people who Tim Busch invites to his lavish conservative, invariably capitalist "religious" confabs, which that notorious clerical ru Paul, Raymond Cardinal Burke adores, Canon law, medieval theology and, especially, the neo-medieval theology of the late Pius popes, their reincarnation in the JPII and Benedict XVI papacies, IS BECAUSE SUCH CORRUPT CHURCH LAW AND THEOLOGY WAS OFTEN, THOUGH NOT ALWAYS, WRITTEN FROM THE MOST WORLDLY OF MOTIVES.   The desire to recentralize power in Rome, in the Pope, in his court, the Curia, and the desire to fund that through donation from millionaires and billionaires is certainly implicated in that replacement of the Gospel, the teachings of Paul, The Law, and, most certainly The Prophets with corrupt legalism.

The same can be said in almost exactly the same way with those who replace the aspiration of egalitarian democracy, of economic justice, of the universalizing of a decent life - which to the best of our ability is the result of doing to others as we would have them do unto us - with the language of the corrupt U. S. Constitution.  That account for why the Republican-fascists are so enamored of "originalism" of "strict constructionist" readings of the Constitution.  Liberals who fall for that replacement, such as the lawyers and writers of the secular left,  are traitors when they are not merely suckers for it.   You will never get egalitarian democracy out of the words of the original Constitution because the corrupt founders intentionally excluded that possibility from the document.   Barbara Jordan was wrong about that.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Stupid Mail

I find that what a non-musician has to say about music is generally not very important.  That goes double when he's a professional critic.  If he says it while playing hipster at Duncan's it goes heptuple.   They should invent a multiple just for that place, stultuple. 

Update:  No, I didn't read the replies.  I told you, Duncan's is a den of dolts.   I have found them to be pretty uniformly uninterested in actually reading what they stupidly think they're stupidly commenting on.  I'd invite them to read what they think they're responding to but it's nothing they'd do even if they knew they'd been invited.  

I assume that's the reason Duncan gave up and isn't even much bothering to go through the motions, anymore.  I do find it curious that, looking around just a tiny bit, he put on the ol' black arm band for Cokie Roberts.  I told you, he's going to be sour at sixty and encouraging people to vote Republican.  I don't trust people who are Reagan fans in their youth and who have a brief fling with play-lefty stuff in their early adulthood, only he's well into middle-age now.  

Update 2:  I think this review got the Eschaton Burns fandom, their motives and their tastes quite accurately:
It’s easy to see why. Burns boasts that his American trilogy-the Civil War, Baseball and Jazz-is at bottom a history of racial relations. But it’s not a history so much as a fantasy meant for the white suburban audiences who watch his movies. For Burns, it’s a story of a seamless movement toward integration: from slavery to emancipation, segregation to integration, animus to harmony. For every black hero, there is a white counterpart: Frederick Douglas/Lincoln, Jackie Robinson/Branch Rickey, Louis Armstrong/Tommy Dorsey. In other words, a feel-good narrative of white patronage and understanding.
This, in part, explains why Burns recoils from the fact that Davis, Coltrane, Coleman and their descendents have taken jazz not toward soft, white-friendly swing sound but deeper into the urban black experience. When Davis went electric, it was as significant a move as Dylan coming out on with a rock-and-roll band (and not just any band, but the Hawks). In 1966. Dylan was jeered by the folkie elites as a “Judas”; and, despite the fact that Bitches Brew went on to be one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time, Davis is still being slammed. Burns includes a quote in his film denouncing Davis’s excursions into fusion as a “denaturing” of jazz. 

The Burns style-drilled into viewers over his previous films, the Civil War, Baseball and Frank Lloyd Wright-is irritating and as condescending as any Masterpiece Theatre production of a minor novel by Trollope: episodic, monotonous, edgeless. By now his technique is as predictable as the plot of an episode of “Friends”: the zoom shot on a still photo, followed by a slow pan, a pull back, then a portentous pause-all the while a monotonous narration explains the obvious at length.

The series is narrated by a troika of neo-cons: Wynton Marsalis, the favorite trumpeter of the Lincoln Center patrons; writer Albert Murray, who chastised the militant elements of the civil rights and anti-war movements with his pal Ralph Ellison; and Stanley Crouch, the Ward Connerly of music critics. This trio plays the part that Shelby Foote did for Burns’ previous epic, the Civil War-a sentimental, morbid and revisionist take on what Foote, an unrepentant Southern romanticist, wistfully referred to as the war between the states.

 Instead of interviewing contemporary jazz musicians, Burns sought out Marsalis, a trumpeter who is stuck in the past. “When Marsalis was 19 he was a fine jazz trumpeter,” [*]says Pierre Sprey, president of Mapleshade Records, a jazz and blues label. “But he was getting his ass kicked every night in Art Blakey’s band. I don’t think he could keep up. And finally he retreated to safe waters. He’s a good classical trumpeter and thus he sees jazz as being a classical music. He has no clue what’s going on now.”

They're essentially a bunch of aging, white,  post-literate, suburban mid to upper middle class PBS watchers.   With a few trustifarians thrown in.

*  I remember rushing home from a meeting to hear the Chicago Jazz Festival back when PBS broadcast part of it (as I recall I wanted to hear the dying Helen Humes, but she had to cancel), heard Marsalis, very young, playing with Herbie Hancock and was wowed.  He hasn't wowed me much since then. 

" Scientists animated by the purpose of proving that they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study."

Not only is the blatant and dishonest double-speak of atheist-materialists in science that I pointed out the other day ubiquitious in their formal and informal declarations, in their science, the ridiculousness of that double-speak has been noted for a long time.  Here is Alfred Whitehead North IN 1929, ninety-friggin' years ago!  pointing out the absurdity of it but also its origin in exactly the kind of thing I noted the "artificial intelligence" academics and others in computer science practice, they deal with imitating a few activities of human minds that can be sort of notated in equations and turned into algorithms and they pretend that they have reproduced the entirety of human thought or that they could possibly do that with their methods.  What he said could be said in exactly the same terms about a good part of current academic babbling, in philosophy and in science. 

Yet the trained body of physiologists under the influence of the ideas germane to their successful methodology entirely ignore the whole mass of adverse evidence. We have here a colossal example of anti-empirical dogmatism arising from a successful methodology. Evidence which lies outside the method simply does not count.

We are, of course, reminded that the neglect of this evidence arises from the fact that it lies outside the scope of the methodology of the science. That method consists in tracing the persistence of the physical and chemical principles throughout physiological operations.

The brilliant success of this method is admitted. But you cannot limit a problem by reason of a method of attack. The problem is to understand the operations of an animal body. There is clear evidence that certain operations of certain animal bodies depend upon the foresight of an end and the purpose to attain it. It is no solution of the problem to ignore this evidence because other operations have been explained in terms of physical and chemical laws. The existence of a problem is not even acknowledged. It is vehemently denied. Many a scientist has patiently designed experiments for the purpose of substantiating his belief that animal operations are motivated by no purposes. He has perhaps spent his spare time in writing articles to prove that human beings are as other animals so that “purpose” is a category irrelevant for the explanation of their bodily activities, his own activities included. Scientists animated by the purpose of proving that they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study. 

Shortly before he wrote that, he identified where such clearly illegitimate practices in science and in the wider academic culture come from, again in language that is as obviously relevant to an honest evaluation of maybe even more science and para-scientific academic and popular claims than at that time. 

Yet the trained body of physiologists under the influence of the ideas germane to their successful methodology entire ignore the whole mass of adverse evidence. We have here a colossal example of anti-empircal dogmatism arising from successful methodology. Evidence which lies outside that method simply does not count.

We are, of course, reminded that the neglect of this evidence arises from the fact that it lies outside the scope of the methodology of science. That method consists in tracing the persistence of the physical and chemical principles throughout physiological operations. 

That is so relevant to what I said that I only wish I'd known North Whitehead's essay The Function of Reason twenty years ago instead of last week.  The conceit of scientism, more ubiquitous than when his most renowned student, Bertrand Russell, so stupidly and in such a blatant non sequitur as should nave been obvious to a logician claimed that anything that could be known could only be known through science, a statement not of science but of really, really bad philosophical sophistry.   That stupidity, that double-speak, is the ubiquitous religious holding of atheists and secularists, today.   It's held by way, way too many religious professionals, as well.

The Fecundity of Secular Materialist Idols - Chapter Three Concluded

We all have a personal God;  a supreme value by which we regulate everything, to which we orientate ourselves, for which if need be we sacrifice everything.  And if this is not the true God, then it is some kind of idol, an old or a new one - money, career, sex, or pleasure - none of them evil things in themselves, but enslaving for those for whom they become God.  Orientation to the one true God, to the sole Absolute, liberates us from all these things and permits us to use them, to express ourselves as human beings with them.  Orientation toward the one true God thus makes a human being truly free in this world.  But in all this we are speaking very generally.  We must continue our reflections and peak more precisely;  Where do I get my commitment to essential Christian values from? 

Anyone who doesn't see that that is certainly true of money is in denial, whether it is in the vulgar materialism as exemplified in Trump, Putin, Xi or the billionaires they work with, who put them into power, who sustain them in power for their mutual enrichment through theft and gangsterism simply doesn't understand the Mammonist theocracy that rules economics and politics.  You can contrast that in very way to The Law of Moses which was a program to prevent that kind of accumulation of wealth in what was largely an agrarian society, specifically naming the big money crops of commerce, grain, olives and grapes as something the destitute, the widow, the orphan the alien living among you were to be provided with and with access to, the provisions for cancelling debts, forbidding the most excessive forms of debt slavery and actual slavery rampant in the region at the time. 

There is no accident about the contrast in Exodus when Moses is being given The Law on Sinai and the Children of Israel demanding Aaron make them an idol out of gold.  The false god of gold couldn't be a greater contrast to the true God who, when Moses asked who to tell the Children of Israel sent him said to tell them "I am"  to tell them "I am" sent him.  I doubt that a more perfect contrast exists in literature, one that would give us a warning against the major source of theocratic evil in our world, the one Paul warned was the source of evil, the love, the adoration, the worship of money, the God behind the smokescreen of ideological confrontation, even behind the alleged religious conflicts in almost every case.  I cannot believe that the Saudi leadership is clashing with the Iranian republic over whether to pray three times a day or five.  As in the Crusades, the real motive behind that impending blood bath is money and the power to get money. 

Hans Kung left out the most popular such god available to us no matter how much money or power we have, ourselves.  He also left out the cousins of such a god, fashion, a perception that we are worshiped by others due to thinks like being up to date and admirable.  He also left out other popular gods some of them related to professional or educational status.  The pantheon of such false gods is vast and included the "non-god" or "no-god" that I was surprised to find I had to address starting in 2006 about a month before I started writing on politics and how the American left could regain what was squandered since 1965. 

It is a good test of whether or not your "supreme value" is true or not the extent to which it frees you, truly frees you instead of, as such highly seductive false gods as self-worship, sex, money and career, it ends up enslaving you.

Fear and resentments are some of the most powerful gods working in American politics, gods encouraged by the money men as a means of controlling the masses, the gods of regional resentment, of ginned up nonsense from horse operas, the regionalist lore and superstition of the lost cause,  white supremacy, etc. Hollywood is the Rome of those religious cults.  The irony of that is that it deceives its suckers into putting the very ones who are really oppressing them into power.  The church on screen of those religions is a powerful idol in itself.  One which the pseudo-left and even much of the would-be actual left worship in the cult of "free speech - free press".

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Psalm 148 - A response

The idea of universalism is certainly present way, way back in the Scripture, including not only animals even "sea monsters" even the mountains and hail, snow and frost.   I would think that this Psalm might be an imagining of the end that Han Kung talked about in that passage I went through this morning.
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his host!

Praise him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
    and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for he commanded and they were created.
He established them forever and ever;
    he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.[a]

Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and frost,
    stormy wind fulfilling his command!

Mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Wild animals and all cattle,
    creeping things and flying birds!

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
    princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and women alike,
    old and young together!
13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his glory is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
    praise for all his faithful,
    for the people of Israel

I would note that the idea of animals in this is entirely above the traditional one that the life sciences hold, no doubt a legacy, not from the Genesis (mis)translation ordering people to subdue the Earth but as a legacy of the depraved definition of animals as insensate machines made of meat that comes from Descartes directly into science.  I won't go again into the sadistic indifference he demonstrated when he cut apart his wife's immobilized dog while the poor soul was alive and, for a time at least, conscious.  He was quite evil.  

They have to decide whether they are prepared to assume, in their lives and in the history of mankind and the world, that there is ultimately no basis, no support and no meaning - or . . .

A third difficulty is the concept of God as the "perfector" of the world and human beings.  One thing is clear.  There is not an unequivocal scientific description or projection of the future of humanity and the universe.  And I would add that none of the biblical narratives and images about the end of the world have the authority of scientific statements.  We have to understand them as testimonies of faith about the Whither of the universe which, again, science can neither confirm nor refute;  at the end of the world is God.  Just as he is the alpha, so he is the omega.  We can therefore dispense with any attempt to harmonize biblical statements and various scientific theories about the beginning and the end.  The biblical testimony understands the end on an essentially different level - as the completion of God's activity in his creation.  That means what is at the wold's end, as at its beginning is not the Nothingness which explains nothing, but God.  And this end must not simply be equated with a cosmic catastrophe and the sudden end of human history.  What is old, transient, imperfect, and evil will indeed be ended'  but this end must be understood as ultimate completion and fulfillment.  

I'm sure some might notice that Hans Kung didn't take refuge in the, perhaps, coincidental matching of the first lines in Genesis and the idea of the Big Bang, he specifically distanced the Biblical narratives from science, pointing out the fact that those who created them had a very different agenda than producing a "proof" of God.  Though it is certain that that argument can be persuasive, as is the argument for there being something to the universe instead of the nothingness that materialist nihilism, which is inevitably a monistic ideology, entails if it is taken to its logical conclusions.  I would have said "scientistic materialist nihilism" except such nihilism must, in its assertion of "the Nothingness which explains nothing", negate the substance of human minds and thoughts, including its scientific substance.  Though such scientistic materialists either are unwilling to take it to its logical conclusion or they adopt the language of double-speak in which they assert both of those mutually exclusionary monisms.  Just as any such scientistic materialist who makes any moral distinction, which science, unadmittedly, depends on - as they all inevitably do - are also stepping out of their asserted monist system to do that.  You have to trust that scientists are telling the truth about observations and data you can't witness, yourself, as just one example of that.  And believing that the truth is good and lies are bad, for another.  Though, so often, as can be heard in Republican scientific experts, on TV and before congress, many scientists will give themselves a sort of truth-free zone when it pays enough or suit their personal preferences.   I am a lot more skeptical of science as it actually exists in the real world than Han Kung is. 

I'm also sure that Catholics of my generation and many others would be surprised that Kung doesn't present the end of the world, the "end of time" with the good people going to heaven and the bad ones going to hell or being obliterated.  Kung's concept of the end as not that division but an ultimate completion to the universe, including us, in God.  In his other books he goes into that in far more detail and relating that completion with the Resurrection, not to the kind of life we have now, but more than the life we know.  It isn't exactly a modern idea but has been noted as a reasonable interpretation since, to my knowledge, since the early Cappadocians, as I recall, Gregory of Nyssa attributes such ideas to Paul and, no doubt, Paul would point to the Gospel and, being by his own confession a Pharisee, to the Law.

The next sentences present those alternatives in their plainest and starkest terms. 

The "yes" to God is neither a cloudy emotion nor a rational proof.  Human beings are faced with an alternative.  They have to decide whether they are prepared to assume, in their lives and in the history of mankind and the world, that there is ultimately no basis, no support and no meaning - or that everything has after all a fundamental basis, a support and a meaning that, to put it more concretely, there is a creator, a guide and a fulfiller.  We can mistrust the basis, support and meaning of reality and say "no" to it.  Or we can trust, and say "yes" to a God.  The "yes" to God is therefore a matter of trust - though the trust is in itself a quite reasonable trust.  There is no rational proof for such an act of trust, but there are certainly many reasonable grounds.  For only a trusting "yes" to a fundamental basis, support, and meaning can answer the question about the foundation, support and meaning of the world, and the ultimate meaning of our own lives. Only a trusting "yes" can give human beings ultimate certainty, security - and in fact a genuine system of essential values.  In this light, only the "yes" is fundamentally reasonable, not the "no," which leads to ultimate meaninglessness. 

I have come to the conclusion that this has to be true, based not on a belief that non-believers are depraved and guaranteed to be immoral.  I've certainly seen too many professed believers who are those to come to the conclusion that belief is an automatic guarantee against such amoral depravity. 

I have to conclude that materialism, atheism, scientism are more likely to produce those ends based in the many statements of moral and even intellectual meaninglessness asserted by materialists, by atheists, even, most illogically of all, by atheist philosophers, scientists and mathematicians* - who are all in the business of asserting meaning and the morality of reporting those (even in some cases, asserting the morality of being honest in that reporting) but who, when it comes down to an assertion of the ultimate meaning of their materialism as it impinges on a conscious consideration of human minds, will declare the universe is meaningless and even that consciousness is anything from meaningless to an illusion of "folk psychology".

That testimony goes back to pretty well the start of the literature of formal consideration and assertions of materialism and atheism. When atheists from the very early Carvarka school of Indian philosophy, through the classical authors of the Mediterranean, the Renaissance, Classical, Romantic and Modern period, both in philosophy and natural philosophy assert various levels of such nihilism to their belief, I'm going to have to conclude that they are sincere in their assertion, even among those such as Dawkins and Krauss who practice a high level of double-talk and those like Dennett and the Churchlands and Steven Weinberg who are more rigorous, though certainly not free from double talking or double acting on it.  It's the more pedestrian and angry assertions by popular level atheists who disclaim that as an essential component of their ideology, when taken to its conclusions, who are anything from insincere to pathetically naive.

The beginning of this paragraph in its presentation of a decision of choosing "yes" or "no" points to something I concluded over the past several years that belief is a choice, it isn't something that happens without our actual choice to believe, even if that act is not identified as such at the time.  I think it's also true of all things we arbitrarily separate from belief and consider knowledge, based in choices of things we chose to believe, often from our earliest years and will not give up to accommodate beliefs that are in violation of them.    

I'll let Kung have the last word for now, asserting that, contrary to the typical secularist-atheist-pop culture view of religion and Christianity, it provides a real basis of rational thought, of valuing the truth, of rejecting a view of life as a a merely irrational, meaningless, nihilistic ooze in a swamp of pleasurable sensation.  

Truly we do not need - as may people fear - to be irrational when we want to orientate ourselves in faith toward God, the Christian God.  On the contrary, by believing in God the understanding really "sees reason"!  And the God of the philosophers, who appeals more to some people, is by no means abolished in the process;  in the God of Jews and Christians he is what German calls, in a word with a wonderful triple sense, aufgehboben - he is affirmed, negated, and transcended in one;  affirmed, relavitized and infinitely elevated.  This God, I believe, is what we can call "the more divine God."  He is the God before whom modern men and women, who have become so critical, need not renounce their reason.  He is the God before whom they can again "pray and sacrifice, fall on their knees in awe, make music and dance,"  to take the words with which Heidegger once formulated his hope.   And so my first, fundamental answer to the question about essential Christian values is this;  I know what I can rely on and will rely on, because I believe in this living God.

Well, I do have to point out that more troubling for my purposes is what those assertions do to the effective promotion of equality and treating people and other living beings well, which all legitimate politics has as their goal.  I have come rather late to the idea that maybe actually making that real in real effective action, in real life, individually and in society depends on choosing to really believe the argument that supports it here.  Starting with the choice to believe in God.

*   Not to mention its use by authors, script writers, etc.   While typing this out I couldn't help but think of the scene Douglas Adams has in which the master of ceremonies of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe lovingly and enthusiastically revels in the futility of everything.   I can't remember which of the endless regurgitations of that radio play went wrong I'm hearing, though it's either the original radio play or the first TV film of it because I didn't need to do it anymore after that.  Nihilism gets old faster. 

Which reminds me of a passage from the minor modern poet Archibald MacLeish ("nothing, nothing, nothing at all") in which he criticized the French existentialists for the nihilism that they relished and from which they derived a rather useless ersatz morality . . . though I don't think he went that far in the passage as I have just now.   I can't find it right now but if I do I will post on it.

Monday, September 16, 2019

I'm Asked If I'm Going To Do The Burns Country Thing

No, I won't be watching Ken Burns on country music.  I don't have a TV.  I don't pay attention to what's on PBS these days - though I understand Mr. Ratburn married his boyfriend on Arthur (I do read the LGBT press) but I retired from babysitting about the time Buster Bunny visited the family with two Moms so I'm not in touch with PBS.

I hope he does better by Country than he did by Jazz, I pretty much hated that series.  I read in looking into it from your comment that he claims he didn't know much about country music before he started work on his documentary, the same bad way he started out with Jazz.  Other than him depending on some notoriously tunnel-visioned reactionaries  as his chosen experts - something he'd had trouble with in The Civil War - the thing I hated the most, and most of all was his use of short clips from recordings AND THEN TALKING OVER THE FRIGGIN' MUSIC JUST ABOUT EVERY TIME HE DID IT.   


I'd think spending, 14 hours or however long Burns' documentary is listening to the music, listening to the stories it tells, would leave you knowing more about it than watching anything Burns or any other movie maker is likely to come up with.   Even more so would be to pick up a guitar and learn few songs, try to write your own.  Country is a simpler musical form than jazz, for the most part, it can be pretty simple, like the blues that it is the cousin of when it's not identical to it.  Both could be a credible starting step to jazz so a beginner can learn a lot by making the effort, even if they conclude they've failed at it.  That would be a far, far better use for your 14 hours or however many you might spend when you've watched it over and over and over again during PBS's eternal fundraising repetitions of it.   Turning off the friggin' TV is the first step.   The computer, too. 

Update:   Here I'll save you a good part of the time you'd otherwise spend watching Ken Burns, here's about a third of what you need to know. 


Said Like A Good Sciency Secular Lefty From Before Pedophila Wasn't OK Anymore

From Richard Stallman's archived "Political Notes"

05 June 2006 (Dutch paedophiles form political party)
Dutch pedophiles have formed a political party to campaign for legalization. [Reference updated on 2018-04-25 because the old link was broken.]
I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren't voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing. 

 04 January 2013 (Pedophilia)
There is little evidence to justify the widespread assumption that willing participation in pedophilia hurts children.
Granted, children may not dare say no to an older relative, or may not realize they could say no; in that case, even if they do not overtly object, the relationship may still feel imposed to them. That's not willing participation, it's imposed participation, a different issue.

Given what he said in that recent e-mail exchange from recent weeks that has been posted online, I don't think he's sincerely changed his opinion on this, as he has claimed in the days since it the e-mails were exposed.  I will note that in the two cases that prompted him to post those, one the Dutch pedophile political party being established, the other the Jimmy Saville pedophile scandal breaking, it wasn't Catholic Priests who were the pedophiles in question.  I was tempted to see if Stallman had anything to say when it was clergy who were the criminals as opposed to that but I need to keep my breakfast down for now.

If you think I'm being hard on Stallman - who, to my knowledge, has never been accused of actually sexually assaulting or raping a child - imagine how the children he has no problem with having the likes of Marvin Minsky rape experience things.  

I didn't choose Stallman as a typical example of how, when sex is involved, the "enlightenment" libertarian pseudo-liberalsim of the secular left makes them excuse the most obvious and glaring injustices - no matter how rightheously-justy they might, otherwise cherish the thought of themselves as being, he chose himself, that all by himself.  All secular (you can in most cases safely read that as "atheist") lefties are, as recently pointed out in the comments here, 12.

And, by the way, I didn't have to go searching through his enormous archive of his political ramblings, I used the atheist wiki to do that.  Here's the picture they have of him as "St. IGNUsius" in a kind of halo hat they illustrate their bio of him with.