Saturday, January 18, 2020

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Peter Walley - The Disappearance

Alice moves into a converted Victorian house and rents the top floor. The landlord lives below. Both tenant and landlord are not who they say they are, and as each discovers the truth, it's clear one of them is going to die.

Martin ..... Lee Ingleby
Alice ..... Joanne Froggatt
Denise ..... Becky Hindley

Produced and directed by Pauline Harris.

Take This, Troll-Boy - The Cleverlys - She Ain't There

I'm warning you, you don't cut it out I'll post more of this kind of thing. 

The Notion of Libertarian Freedom Is A Self-Generating And Accumulating Poison For Egalitarian Democracy

The extent to which the United States has been reduced to a state of Trump is a direct product of all of the TV all of us watched cannot be overestimated.  He, as Reagan before him, was 100% a product of the entertainment industry in terms of their public, political manifestation.  Both of them were and are total fakes created by Hollywood and, in Trump's case, the New York City media, shit-level, NY Post right up to the Big Gray Drab and the broadcast and local cabloid TV and hate-talk-shock-jock radio was even worse.  

If the United States were a reading country, it might have gotten bad but it would not have gotten as bad as this.  In the Trumpification of the United States I think we are seeing the real life results of the untillectualization of the People when they go from a state of functional literacy to post-literacy that is worse than the illiteracy of previous eras.  The media is a machine that creates lies and illusions and purposeful lies and illusions on behalf of those who own and control it, the rich.   I think we are at a point where we do, in fact, find out what happens to a people who don't know the truth which would have made them free, but who, instead, buy the lie and the lie kills them. 

The naive view of freedom as preached by the ACLU, the lawyers and legal scholars of the "civil liberties" industry, popular culture, perhaps starting in the 1920s but accelerating after WWII, has been given the test of time and the results are Trump.   The modernist amoralization of "enlightenment," whose definition of "freedom" is one we all imbibed from our childhoods turns out to produce consumer-corporate-fascist oppression.  That modernism, a child of 18th century materialism refuses to acknowledge that there is good and there is evil and if you don't actively promote the good and discourage the evil, evil, being far more attractive for those so enticed than such things as being unselfish and doing the hard work to determine the truth.   

The idiocy of the truncated, ambiguous language First and other amendments to the Constitution assumes that if you just let nature take its course, the truth will win, the correct morality, which cannot be defined and determined with the rules of mathematics and the physical sciences would emerge as if by magic, was stupid.  It was put into place by men whose own lives and means of making money and fomenting and winning a war certainly contained the lessons disproving that.  As I've noted, the great historian Paul Finkelman has documented the extent to which the most powerful of them really didn't want to deal with a Bill of Rights, and they did a rather bad job of crafting one.  I suspect that a lot of them finding religion unstylish in their time, didn't want to have to really grapple with what that really means.  I think a lot of them didn't want to have to think too hard about their slaveholding and murderous land grabbing ambitions in terms of morality.   

But democracy of the only kind that is worth fighting for, egalitarian democracy is, itself a moral position that must be taken with a full commitment to its rightness or it is not really believed in at all.  It must be held with the assertion that it and its prerequisite moral bases must be promoted over those positions which attack and corrode it no matter what those are.  Ideologies of inequality, ideologies of moral indifference and amorality and immorality - which are empowered by lies being permitted an which are inevitably opposed to equality cannot be tolerated in the way the ACLU-Warren Court read the First Amendment.  When that is done in the age of modern, mass media and post-literacy, the catestrophic results, such as we see, today, are inevitable. 

Any legal, civic or intellectual claim that we must allow lies and bigotry their say, to allow anti-democratic ideologies and the promotion of inequality, such as has reigned for the past fifty-five years, has gotten its test of time and the results are the descent into fascism we have now.  It is failed, it destroys the very thing that it claimed to be based in, the promotion of freedom. 

Friday, January 17, 2020

Billy Strayhorn - Lush Life - Geri Allen Trio

Geri Allen --Piano
Dave Holland --Bass
Jack Dejohnette --Drums

The lushest Lush Life without singing I've ever heard.  I don't post a lot of standards but this is great.   Dave Holland and Jack Dejohnette and Geri Allen.  Her playing with the last eight notes of the melody for the last minute or so is so intense.

J. S. Bach: Sonata No. 4 in E Minor BWV 528

Bálint Karosi, clavichords

Upper clavichord by Renée Geoffrion
Pedal Clavichord by Charles Wolff, Canton MA

This Is What It's About

Journey to Liberation: The Legacy of Womanist Theology

So many theologians I need to read, so little time. 

Stupid Mail

Nope, not even trying to get me to do it by bringing up Mick and his old Stones is going to get me to go there.  

I've noted that I smile every time some young person makes someone my age upset by a slighting, condescending remark about "boomers".   Anything they say that breaks the spell of self-obsessed, self-regard among the dumbest of my age cohort has to be to the good.  All that stuff was just PR salesmanship bull shit, all along. 

On The Accusation That "The Jews Copied The Story Of Adam and Eve"

I, like you, am not a student of either the languages or the early literature of Mesopotamia.  I only know about the Epic of Gilgamesh from what other people have said about it and it really hasn't interested me enough to read a translation of it.  If it were of continuing relevance to politics and life as the Hebrew scriptures are, I might read it but I'm far more interested in the Mosaic tradition, the Prophets and the Gospels and Epistles because those are, as Habermas, Kloppenberg and others have pointed out, the source and sustenance of the morals and values that find their political expression in egalitarian democracy, the only legitimate form of government there is.  

If, as you claim, the "Jews" stole the story of Adam and Eve from what is claimed to be an older tradition - something which I rather doubt, considering what I've read about that alleged borrowing would make the parallels tenuous enough to exist in the imaginations of those drawing them and not in the actual history of the Genesis stories - that does nothing to devalue the Hebrew telling of them. 

It's a rather odd way to debunk the truth-value of something by pointing out that the same truth is shared by different peoples in different times.  I'd have rather thought that would be evidence supporting the reliability of it. Multiple attestation is generally taken as support for what is asserted.  But not in the modernistic-atheistic way of thinking in which everything, including rules of evidence must come out with the preordained atheist conclusion.  

Perhaps "the Jews" knew those stories and made their telling of them consistent with their own moral insights.  That's not an uncommon thing to do, I think a lot of the alleged modern, "skeptical"  or "critical" distortion of the Bible does that, only giving them a reading that prefers amorality if not immorality.  Which would certainly not be an analysis that is to the discredit of the people who wrote down Genesis.  

So, no, what I said about the value of the story of Adam and Eve is a valid way of reading it.  If the Mesopotamian story of Enkidu (which I know only from doing what you obviously don't ever do, fact checking claims made before I write about them) has any such value, then good.  If it provides more confirmation that self-deification and self-aggrandizement leads to death, good.  Though I think a lot of the alleged parallels are rather ambiguous and unconvincing. 

It would, by the way, be a lot less surprising to find that the small, relatively back-water and constantly besieged and conquered people who produced those Scriptures would be influenced by one of the major political, military and intellectual powers of the time than the later, European, especially the insular English language imagination of them would imagine them to have been.  Maybe that's because for most of two thousand years, the perspective of those times and places were only available to later Europeans from the Hebrew writings, not from an ability to read languages and literature recorded in cuneiform or other writing systems. 

The Hebrew Scriptures are full of talk about such influences, especially objections to them leading the Children of Israel astray in the worship of foreign gods and taking up immoral practices - temple prostitution is one that springs to mind - from them.  I think it is one of the most remarkable things about that tradition that it asserted that they owed their very existence as a people to the obedience to God's will and the morality that freed them from slavery and peril as a distinct people under the domination by the major powers that surrounded them.  What brought them out of slavery under Pharaoh.   As I mentioned, the Scriptures are all about the importance of morality, of the Hebrew elucidation of justice and radical economic justice and of its preservation, noting that the very existence of the Children of Israel depended on that.  Over and over, again, it attributes military disasters, foreign invasions and exiles to the failure of those to whom The Law was given, to follow it.   Over and over again it attributes disasters coming from unjust rulers often going with foreign values and morality in opposition to the Mosaic teachings of radical egalitarianism. 

I think today, in the United States, with Putin working hand in glove with American billionaires, millionaires and our own haters of egalitarian democracy to destroy the only thing that makes the United States worth preservation, nothing could be more relevant than that reading of the First Testament. 

Also, in opposition to later, European imaginations, that was almost never about the one item in The Law that is fixated on, sex, it is about the failure to practice economic support for the poor, injustice to the widow and orphan, the oppression of even the stranger among them.  The real story of Sodom and Gomorrah is all about that, as the mentions of it in the later Prophetic writings note, something which the later European pagan imagination, in which that kind of radical, economic justice is either deemphisized or unknown, distorted into being all about sex. 

Looking around, in response to your objection, I did find this interesting because the book of the Jewish scriptures it finds the closest parallels with is one I find unappealing, one that almost always leaves me cold. 

The closest parallel between a biblical text and the Epic of Gilgamesh is seen in the wording of several passages in Ecclesiastes, where a strong argument can be made for direct copying. The author of Ecclesiastes frequently laments the futility of “chasing after the wind” (for example, Eccl 1:6, Eccl 1:14, Eccl 1:17, Eccl 2:11, Eccl 2:17, Eccl 2:26, Eccl 5:16, etc.), a notion reminiscent of Gilgamesh’s advice to the dying Enkidu: “Mankind can number his days. Whatever he may achieve, it is only wind” (Yale Tablet, Old Babylonian Version). Earlier in the story, Gilgamesh persuaded Enkidu that two are stronger than one in a speech containing the phrase, “A three-stranded cord is hardest to break” (Standard Babylonian Version, IV, iv). Similarly, Ecclesiastes tells us, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work…. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Eccl 4:9-12). These may simply be common sayings picked up by both authors, but Eccl 9:7-9 seems to directly quote the barmaid Siduri’s advice to Gilgamesh on how to deal with his existential angst:

When the gods created mankind,
They appointed death for mankind,
Kept eternal life in their own hands.
So, Gilgamesh, let your stomach be full,
Day and night enjoy yourself in every way,
Every day arrange for pleasures.
Day and night, dance and play,
Wear fresh clothes.
Keep your head washed, bathe in water,
Appreciate the child who holds your hand,
Let your wife enjoy herself in your lap.
(Meisner Tablet)

This advice sums up the message of both the Epic of Gilgamesh and Ecclesiastes, two texts that wrestle with the search for meaning in the face of human mortality.

I don't find much that's useful for promoting egalitarian democracy in that.  I think it's more likely to lead to Trumpian self-indulgence and Republican-fascists acting like there never will be an accounting.  I think a pending sense of an accounting coming is far more in line with the Hebrew Scriptures and is invaluable in prodding people to do what's right. 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Trolling, Trolling, Trolling

"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

What she didn't say is what happens to people who stand in place and people who are always trying to run backwards to 1962 or whenever.   Friggit.   I'm beginning to think responding the the ones who stay in place isn't worth it, anymore, never mind the even slower ones. 

I'm moving ahead, Lent starts here, now. 

The Total Idiocy Of Making Man The Measure Of All Things

It is one of the dishonest, or stupid, conceits of atheism that it is a means of achieving that absurd impossibility, objectivity.  Human beings are the ones who are doing that, human beings cannot, in any way, escape the fact that their point of view is not and cannot be one that escapes all of the vicissitudes of that fact, it doesn't even do a particularly good job of escaping any of those by such humanly invented strategies as scientific method. 

Someone didn't like me pointing out that materialism imposes human understanding as the limiting factor of the size and nature of the "reality" it declares.  

One of the numbest things about materialism is that since materialists declare the limits of reality, those have to fit inside human understanding.  If materialism is not limited in that way, it ceases to have any meaning, at all and they may as well not have bothered to express it. 

What we conceive of as "the material universe" whether that is the original atomist abstraction of little particles of matter which are solid and indivisible or those who want to use the most up to date model of the atom as a more sophisticated and evidenced substitution for that original misconception we believe came from the Greeks but which, I'll betcha, they stole from uncited Semetic people in the middle-east or the Africans in Egypt, - anyway, all of that is a product of the human imagination, it cannot, as nothing we think, escape from the limits that human minds impose on what we can think.  Some scientists, such as A. S. Eddington have understood that.  I've used a passage from him before. 

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.

That's the kind of thing that drove atheists nuts - enraging some, leading others like Russell into a bitter decades long despair.  And the problem for them was, that was what current physics was up against, what I said I thought was the beginning of what John Horgan noted was the current decadence so much science has been brought to.  Atheists who have to face that look into an empty dark abyss, Eddington didn't see an abyss because he was a Quaker, not an atheist.   

I'm not one either which is why I don't have the dumb idea that people have the ability to limit the boundaries or character of reality.   You've got to be a humanist to have the idea that man is the measure of reality and humanism is either religious (I'd still reject its central premise, then) or it turns in and eats itself.  

That is something that idiotic 1930s era atheist religion, "Humansim" proves.  As it became, especially as that idiot student of John Dewey, the trustfund Stalinist, Corliss Lamont made it after he bought it out in the 1950s,  the modern "Humanists" prove the very thing they want to make the measure of all things is something their hatred of God requires them to debunk and destroy.  A number of people those shameless fame-fuckers have given their "Humanist of the Year" award to have spent their careers trying to obliterate the human mind that can't be made compatible with their ideology,  Daniel Dennett, Rebecca Goldstein, Stephen Pinker, Richard Dawkins, B. F. Skinner, . . . 

It was one of the central insights in the old fable of Adam and Eve and the the fall, that human self-aggrandizement, self-deification, leads to nothing but death.  If you read those old stories for what they mean instead of mistaking them as biology or history, they're incredibly impressive. 

The Age of Eutrophic Enlightenment Decadence - "no one reads your stupid blog"

I have no idea who most of the people who read my blog are, though the automatically gathered statistics blogger puts together, the once or twice a year I remember to notice those, say that anywhere from a couple of hundred to a few hundred unique hits a day happen, most of those on the more recent posts, so I think someone is reading it.  Even if they don't, I still would do this. 

The fact is I get a lot out of writing out what I'm thinking on these subjects, be they political or the more general reason for why politics matters and why egalitarian democracy matters and is worth struggling for, morality.  That would include how morality is made real among us in how people, animals, the environment we depend on are treated and the only really durable motive of that strong enough to work, its source in the intentions of God, whether you call God that or Allah, or Bondye or The Dharma.  That, in human history, in human society, among the nations has proven, over and over again to be the only reliably strong source of equality, justice, economic justice that extends over all three, people, animals, the environment, that is effective and is sustainable.  I was certainly not brought to that conclusion easily or entirely gladly as a rather clueless, smug and contentedly dumb agnostic when I started to see that, oddly enough when going on thirty years ago, now,  I read John Dominic Crossan whose work I value but whose view of the Gospels I don't find very convincing now.  

I think the modernist model of morality which is, as Marxism is, at its least bad an hopeless attempt to recreate in scientistic-materialistic-atheist terms what the center of the Jewish scriptures, Old and New Testaments document in epic fashion - complete with its long series of confessions of failure to do that and its warnings of how they went wrong when they went against that morality and its source.   I see that as an excellent way to see the history of the United States, founded on a combination of idealistic culmination of Mosaic justice but immediately doomed to disaster through rational accomodation with evil, imperial genocide, slavery, gender and class inequality.  I think the history of the United States is, ironically, both a demonstration of what happens when people try to follow the morality as taught in the Jewish tradition of Moses, the Prophets, Jesus, Paul and James, but have made a pact with the devil and the struggle for egalitarian justice, especially in its most difficult aspects of egalitarian economic justice. 

As I have been pointing out, materialism, the primary god of modernist atheism is a stupid god which can not only never produce a durable, life changing commitment to practice justice in a sufficent manner, it can't even explain human minds.  I think the issue I dealt with the last two days is the quintessential and decisive proof of that in the materialist model of the mind that is fully enshrined in academia where the elimiative materialists like Paul and Patricia Churchland and other idiots of their kind hold faculty positions at universities to spout the most obvious of absurd nonsense that negates the entire purpose of a university, what its faculties are engaged in, what its students and their parents pay and go into enormous debt to achieve - those who aren't there merely to get credentialed or to make money by maybe playing a pro sport and the like.  

Ours is an age of "enlightenment" decadence in the extreme and we were brought here through the scientistic-modernistic-materialistic-gods of atheism.  That is so strong that, as the Trump evangelicals prove, whole loads of nominal Christians have fully bought into it while they deny that's what they've done.  They've got their like in the Catholic church, as we have also seen this week, up to and, perhaps especially, in the College of Cardinals.  

I don't know the extent to which I'd have figured this out if I didn't think about it so as to write about it. I'm sure I'd do the reading, that's so interesting on its own, right now Elizabeth Johnson's Creation and the Cross is showing me how Anselm led the West into a rather disastrous view of God which, I suspect, has been a great help to discredit Christianity and has contributed to our terrible situation. But I've got to think about it more.  

I do know that unless people feel a sufficently strong reason to not be selfish in their deeds, their thoughts and words, they act as badly as the worst of Americans.  And the only thing that has worked to fight that, in the American context, is taking that Jewish moral tradition as seriously as anything.  There's a reason that the last great success of American egalitarian liberalism was pushed through in the early Johnson years, when the Civil Rights Movement was led by The Reverend Martin Luther King jr. and his colleagues, many of whom were either ministers or deeply religous, such as Diana Nash - one of my great heroes - was.  And that its success ended when the secularists grabbed the spotlight.  That's the meaning of my lifetime. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Hate Mail

Ah, you don't understand that materialism is a closed, monist system that declares that everything that is is material.  It is a closed system, there is no room for anything else.  If you can't account for something in terms of matter-energy, in the current expression of it, it is declared to not be possible.  

I am not a materialist monist, I have no problem with a plural reality and I wouldn't be stupid enough to make such a declaration about the ultimate and limited character of reality.  One of the numbest things about materialism is that since materialists declare the limits of reality, those have to fit inside human understanding.  If materialism is not limited in that way, it ceases to have any meaning, at all and they may as well not have bothered to express it.  

Hate Mail

If you can't explain the mind that thinks up materialism with materialism, it not only sort of refutes the validity of materialism, it obliterates it.  Unless you can answer the first of those questions, the argument might continue but the side supporting materialism - even if you call it "naturalism" or "physicalism" or any of the other names for the failed ideology - hasn't even made it to the starting line. 

I find it so telling that scientists as astute as Gould and Lewontin still hold with an ideology that is so incompetent and have to believe that it is believed because they want it to be so and not due to any merit contained in it.  

But I don't, for a second believe that supporting materialism is the real goal of such people, I don't think they really care about that.  Never mind the likes of Sean Carroll, Jerry Coyne and Steven Weinberg.   

I think that arguing for materialism is a weapon against religion and, as I think is fairly obvious, a rather desperately reached for, ineffective weapon.  Its success depends not on such mid-brow followers thinking it through but on not thinking about it hard at all.  I think that resort is made, not because they like materialism, it is because they dislike religion, in most cases, in the modern era, Christianity.*  And that effort saturates the retrospective life sciences, the alleged scientific study of minds and behavior and other such fields as those in theoretical physics where actual observation is not possible.  It is present in the actual scientific literature as a subtext in a way that such scientists go all paranoid over the merest possible, not even expressed inkling that things like the Big Bang and the fine-tuning of the universe imply a conscious creator, railing against such science in Nature magazine, for the love of Mike.   The do that because they get away with murder in that regard on behalf of atheist-materialism all the time.  Read the passage from Haeckel's The History of Creation - a scientific text cited many times by scientists as science, including Darwin. 

I would now expect such an effort to take advantage of any proposed area of scientific study in which observation, measurement and analyses of actual data that derives from actual observation is impossible.  Such fields as cosmology and evolutionary biology and such ideological speculation as string-M theory and multiverse stuff will be largely motivated by the desire of atheists to confirm atheism by misguided attempts to use science to attack religion.  As I noted the other day in pointing out how the claims that Darwinism had disposed of a teleological view of life had, in fact, made arguments that reinforce the legitimate belief in a probability of intelligent design.  They have to pretend they're doing what they're not to even make their arguments.  I would say that's pretty much a sure sign that they've got nothing. 

*  Though I would not think it is the motive of lefties like Lewontin and Gould, I think it is the radical egalitarianism of The Law, the Prophets and the Gospels that are the first motives in the long campaign in the modern era against Christianity, the predominant carrier of that egalitarianism in the West.  Science, academic study is a human activity carried out by humans with their own interests at heart, what they do will be informed by what they want for themselves as much as anything else. 

 I think the form of that which is found in Marx is especially confused because it pretends to promote social egalitarianism even as its application turns out to be just another form of gangsterism and the materialism of Marx provides no intellectual support for the legitimacy of any morality.  

What the Marxists with power have done in a highly concentrated way is to reproduce the scandalous history of nominal Christianity gaining worldly power, starting in the time of Constantine, and proving the rightness of Jesus proclaiming that he had no worldly kingdom - the scandal of Christianity with political and economic power has given its enemies, atheist or religious, enormous propaganda value.  

Unlike Marxism, though, every act of evil that can be charged against Christians  can be proved to be at odds with the ultimate authority of what constitutes the religion of Jesus and his early movement.  You cannot do evil by doing unto others what you would have them do unto you, loving your enemies and praying for those who hurt you, forgiving debts, turning the other cheek. etc.   You can't say the same thing about, for example, the eugenic-genocide that comes with Darwinism because Darwin, himself, said that such genocides would be beneficial for the health of the survivor-murderers.  He, himself, in letters endorsed imperial genocide as a boon for the future of the world. 

Benedict Walks Back From The Attack On Pope Francis

Vatican scandals that don't involve sex or money probably have a smaller audience than the ones that do, though since they inevitably are about power, maybe they should have a bigger one than they do.  

The one I posted about the other day was based on what was clearly information released by the anti-Francis right about the book to keep Francis from relaxing the rules for priestly celibacy*in order for married men to be ordained as priests. The big news Sunday and Monday was that the emeritus Bishop of Rome, Benedict XVI was the co-author of what was clearly an attack on his successor, the other named author was a right-wing Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, who heads the Vatican Liturgy office.  Now we find out that Benedict has told him to remove his name as co-author of the book.  I am skeptical, but it is apparently being claimed he didn't intend to be seen as attacking the Pope. 

Though the circumstances as to how an old essay he wrote which, from what I can gather, Sarah asked to use in a book on the topic got turned into "co-authorship" are sketchy - Sarah has produced correspondence with Benedict that he claims as support for listing him as co-author - it's clear that, now he or at least his chief aid and private secretary, Bishop Georg Gänswein, have moved to distance himself from the attack.  

I will start by saying I made a mistake, Monday, based on a faulty memory, though accuracy would have made my point better.  It was during Benedict's papacy that the married Anglicans were allowed to become Catholic priests when they wanted to leave because they didn't want women to be priests.  How he would, then, explain opposing Pope Francis allowing married Catholic men to do the same would be interesting to see.  One of the articles posted yesterday made that point and it pointed out that Benedict had also written about what is so little known even among Catholics, that the Eastern Rites who are as Catholic as Roman Catholics have married priests and have all along without the most right-wing Popes or clerics in the West batting an eyelash. 

Some of the blame for this as the previous attacks on Pope Francis such as those centered around the sleazy Bishop Carlo Maria Viganò and, especially those which are in collusion with many American right-wingers, are due to Pope Francis' desire to be a nice guy, not moving to replace hold-overs from the two previous Popes who were notorious for appointing really bad bishops and cardinals.  I recall one priest commentator saying the U. S. Catholic Conference of Bishops was at about the lowest point it had ever been after JPII and Benedict XVI's appointments.   I would hope that Pope Francis replaces Robert Sarah, getting him out of power, soon.   There are a whole host of Bishop and Cardinal hold-overs who have waged war on Francis who he really should remove.  It's one thing to be a nice guy but his focus should be on The People and their welfare and not on the power and perks of the prelates.  Lots of those need to be taken down a few pegs. 

*   I was rather shocked to be told, while discussing this with a relative yesterday, that a very effective and beloved parish priest who was a close friend of my parents had admitted to a number of people that he had fathered a son as a young priest, who he had supported and was very close to though privately, not publicly.  The priest died a long time ago.  I don't now anything about the son's mother and whether or not she was on good terms with the priest, though he apparently had provided for them both.  

Having met him, I would expect he'd have done what was responsible.  It makes you wonder just how many such situations there are and how many allegedly celibate priests father children who they walk away from.   If they were married to the mothers of their children, they couldn't do that so easily.  If priestly celibacy were to be made not mandatory, maybe they'd have no excuse to not do the right thing.   

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

I think Simps saw the words "The Total Idiocy" and was hoping it was a post about him.  He comes here for the attention he sometimes gets, though he doesn't go away when I won't give it to him.  OCD doesn't cover it. 

But using him has unsurprisingly reached another point of pointlessness.  It makes me feel as cheap as making fun of someone who is mentally disabled would.  Because that's exactly what it is.  His response to this mornings post was like it was written in pablum.  I think I'm going to start Lent early this year and just ignore him. 

The Total Idiocy Of The Materialist Model Of The Mind

 "I'm an old-fashioned materialist," Gould said. "I think the mind arises from the complexities of neural organization, which we don't really understand very well."

John Horgan: Stephen Jay Gould on Marx, Kuhn and Punk Meek

Last  month I decided to, from time to time, ask a series of questions I asked five years ago, questions about problems with the materialist model of the mind that that man I loved, Stephen Jay Gould, believed in as one of those a priori committments that his friend Richard Lewontin admitted motivated so many scientist-materialist-atheists. I hold that that committment has far more of a presence directly in the actual body of science than almost anyone other than, perhaps, Lewontin and Gould would admit. 

The number of questions in my list grew as I asked them once a month for the entire year, they may grow in number as new aspects of the absurdity of that materialist model of the mind occur to me. 

If our minds arise from "complexities of neural organization" - or to put it in a more general way - from physical structures our bodies make, there are many of the problems with that model that I hold can't be addressed by "old fashioned" or even new fashioned materialism.  Problems in regard to:

- Ideas we've never before had as individuals - our individual brains would have to contain physical structures to be the source of such new ideas, each brain would have to make the structure to effectively be that idea, on its own.

- Ideas that have never been had in the history of human beings or, as would seem reasonable to believe, the entire history of life on Earth, perhaps in the history of the universe. 

Here are some questions in regard to that materialist model of the brain.

1.  How would our brains know they had to make a new structure to be a new idea before the physical structure to BE that idea was present in the brain?

2.  How would it know what the right structure it had to make to be that idea and not to make some other idea was before that idea could, under this materialist framing, exist in that brain?  Presumably the right idea would have to have the right physical structure to be the material substrate of that idea and not another one.  If it is asserted that that structure would not have to be a fairly or exactly precise one to be the right idea and not a wrong one, that would give rise to a whole series of other problems with the materialist claim.

And in that series of problems would be how different peoples brains would know how to make the same structures to be the same idea shared by different people, especially in regard to different brain chemistries and structures, not to mention the enormous problem of how that same idea could be had IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES.  That last one would seem to me to, as well, give rise to a long series of questions as to how the different structures to be the same idea in different languages could possibly produce the same abstract entity.

3.  How would it know how to make that structure to be that idea before it contained that idea?

4.  How would it know it had made the right structure to be that right idea and not a different structure to be a different idea?

5.  This last one gives rise to the question of how the brain would judge the rightness of what it made, especially difficult because what it had made would be the only representation of something to put that idea in the brain, it would not have any reliable thing to compare to it to judge its correctness.

[Update:  The very apprehension that something might be wrong with a new idea would, itself, be a new idea which the brain would have had to make a structure to generate and which would have to be judged as to its rightness or wrongness.]

6.  How would it make the structure to be that idea, especially an idea that had never occurred in the history of the human species, in real time that would match the human experience of coming up with new ideas that work.  That is something we do hundreds of times, thousands of times every day in the normal course of living our lives, probably doing it hundreds of times before we've been awake for five minutes as we navigate around in space. 

The typical atheist attempts at answers I got leaned heavily on "DNA" "natural selection" which were naive in the extreme.  "DNA" can't possiblly contain a code to create strings of amino acids - what DNA does - for novel ideas that have never existed in the history of our species and what strings a amino acids it makes cannot be folded into a workable, biologically active form by cellular chemistry (which would also have to have a priori "knowledge" of what it was to do in order to fold such novel structures) none of which could possibly happen fast enough in real time to work in terms of the human experience of thinking.

[Update:  Which, editing this on the fly, as always, makes me wonder where "DNA" "natural selection" and protein-folding mechanisms in cellular chemistry generate and store their knowledge of how to do these things.]

The atheist resort to the analogy of computers was both unworkable and it partakes of the typical naivety of materialism that mistakes the machine metaphor for human thinking that computing was invented to be.  Such materialists who make such naive resort to computers as a model for the thing it is a model of are modern day Pygmalions recreating the act that most normal children outgrow at a very  young age of attributing minds and consciousness to their teddybears or dolls.

I will stop here and say no one, from the most knowledgeable scientist or philosopher to the most humble of person of no education is under any obligation to believe any scheme that even the most brilliant theorist comes up with if it does not match their experience of how fast they come up with new ideas or even ideas that are new to them.  Seeing something in your line of vision that you haven't seen before is a new idea to you every time it happens.  Hearing a sound you've never heard before is the type of experience that, though it might not be called an idea, would have to be accounted for in this materialist model of the mind. 

Rejecting a theoretical model that cannot work in your considered experience, even one thought up by someone who works at a great university and who holds a Nobel or other honor, is not an act of ignorant intransigence, it is entirely reasonable and well within our rights.  Believing in something that cannot, honestly, match our own experience as we experience is an act of credulous faith of the kind atheist-materialist-scientists often demand as they mock credulous faith as something they never demand.

Update:  Anticipating some of the dodges around the problem of the same idea being held in different languages, I would guess someone would claim that the idea could be the same but only expressed in different languages after the idea was present as a structure in the brain.  That ignores that quite often new ideas come to us by communication in different languages, very, very often through translations.  If an axiom or other idea in mathematics is learned from a textbook in dozens of different languages, the same structure to be that idea would have had to have been transferred in drastically different forms, I would question whether or not reading something in your mother tongue and another person reading exactly the same words in a second language are really the same act.  I would insist that the materialist model that Gould and every materialist must hold must claim that all of those different experiences are capable of producing the same physical structure to "be" that idea in many, many different brains.   And in the case of something like mathematics, the ideas so shared and transferred often have no apparent physical experience to aid understanding of them.  The more abstract the idea, the more implausible the materialist claims become. 

A related problem that occurs to me in regard to that is that even in the same language, the same idea is often expressed in a myriad of different ways but it is still held to be the same idea.  It would seem to me that the very notion of an idea having meaning or coherence would have to be, if not destroyed, seriously damaged or complicated when subjected to the ideology so desired to be true by these men of science and mathematics whose very framing would be dissolved by their chosen a priori ideological preference. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Post Script

I have documented here and elsewhere for more than a decade that neo-Nazis in the current resurgence of neo-Nazism have embraced Darwinism, by name and even among those who are official Darwin haters, by their actions and claims.  I verified it in the man who wrote the neo-Nazi book which is noted to be the second most popular Nazi book after Mein Kampf,  William L. Pierce.  I noted it the other day in a current "alt-right" blogger and, within the past few weeks as asserted by those at VDARE.  

More than a century after the Darwinist biologist Vernon Kellogg warned that the scientists in the German military establishment based their military goals on what he called "neo-Darwinism" - by which I would imagine he meant the growing trend in Darwinism to accept a genetic basis of inheritance - which the Nazis immediately after the war adopted and made the basis of their eugenic-genocide program, finding inspiration in the independent English language eugenics movement and its program of scientific racism, it's high time to attack it at the root.  Which is what I do whenever this comes up.

Natural selection is an ideology based in the most vicious forms of class interest and racism and it will always - for as long as it is a believed ideology in science - produce what it has been producing for its entire existence.  It can't be made safe,  its founding motivation guarantees that. 

"with what you claim it would be impossible to verify anything in biology"

You guys will always clutch the pearls and immediately go for the most ridiculously baseless claims about what I said, lying about that in the process.  I've been at opera rehearsals where there were fewer histrionics. 

There are many things that biologists can study, make sufficient observations, accurate measurements, legitimate analyses of, but when you can't you can't.   

All I pointed out was what Richard Lewontin said in his article, which is blatantly and obviously true about a range of claims made in evolutionary biology, mostly but not exclusively made in order to support the ideology of natural selection, any such claims that it was true of could not legitimately be held to be scientific. 

For other things, especially in biology where so many of the multitude of forces operating are individually so weak, no conceivable technique of observation can measure them.  In evolutionary biology, for example, there is no possibility of measuring the selective forces operating on most genes because those forces are so weak, yet the eventual evolution of the organisms is governed by them.  Worse, there is no way to confirm or reject stories about the selective forces that operated in the past to bring traits to their present state, no matter how strong those forces were.  

That was based on a series of inabilities.

- "The multitude of forces operating are individually so weak that no conceivable technique no conceivable technique of observation can measure them. 

That means 

- 1. they can't be observed and, 

- 2. they can't be measured.

I would assert that that would mean any claims about them cannot be tested and cannot be either verified or nullified.   

[Update: And if you can't observe them HOW DO YOU KNOW THEY ARE THERE?  By this admission, you certainly wouldn't be able to verify even that in many cases if not in every case. ]

The example given by Lewontin focuses on the central claims of Darwinism as it is universally defined, today.  

- "There is no possibility of measuring selective forces operating on most genes because those forces are so weak" , 

I would have to have it spelled out for me which genes other than a few that kill the organism or render it sterile he would assert such selective forces can be measured for. I trust Lewontin that there are some other such genes he was thinking of but I'd like to know.

- And, still, Lewontin claims, "yet the eventual evolution of the organisms is governed by them" to which I'd say, if you can't observe them and if you can't measure them, how do you know that? Especially considering the next admission.

-  "there is no way to confirm or reject stories about the selective forces that operated in the past to bring traits to their present state, no matter how strong those forces were."

That is my point that no matter what you want to assert about organisms that had "traits" that gave them an advantage or caused them to be selected out of the history of their species and whatever species that evolved from them cannot ever be verified because any necessary information that would support whichever claim you made about it "NO MATTER HOW STRONG THOSE FORCES WERE" is unverifiable.   

What all Darwinists do and have done from the start is what the old biology books used to mock Lamarck for, making up explanatory stories, in the quintessential example, how giraffes grew long necks to eat leaves out of trees.  In my part of the post-WWII generation, we were then, falsely, told that Darwin overturned that by "discovering" natural selection.  I didn't learn for decades after that that Darwin, himself, not only fully believed in Lamarckian inheritance, he came up with his own scheme for how it happened and published it.  Apparently the ones who created the mythic St. Charles Darwin weren't all that interested in getting their facts straight so much as they were in promoting a phony mascot for the current version of Darwinism. 

They all do it whenever they make assertions about organisms which they cannot observe because they are lost in the past, they do it whenever their interpretations of the scant remains as found in fossils are based on insufficient information about numbers and who left more descendants than others of their species to support those claims.  I would say they not seldom do so about those they can see in order to squeeze them into adaptationist, Darwinist just-so stories. 

I think my post yesterday about the impossibility of determining what, if anything, animal husbandry, on farms, in kennels, what selective breeding of animals and plants in laboratories can tell you about what, if any, relationship that has to what has happened in the wild, again,almost all of which is lost forever in the lost past, is pretty clear.  

Tell me how they can know what they're seeing is the same thing as what they claim happened to produce species.  I could have pointed out it was one of the early and continuing critiques of Darwin's theory that generations and generations of intensive artificial selection and breeding had yet to produce a new species, apart from a few sterile hybrids.  If the Darwinists wanted to claim that but those didn't reproduce their kind so I'd argue they weren't an actual new species that could tell you a thing about the successful species that the theory was alleged to explain.  Which, considering all of the above, it doesn't. 

That those listed inabilities are, in the extreme, inconvenient to scientists who want to study these enormous and mostly invisible, unmeasurable things doesn't do a thing to remove those problems or reduce their relevance.  As I said, when I faced a similar problem in a different field of study, my faculty adviser very rationally and very honestly said,  "That's just too bad, it can't be done."   Now, aren't you ashamed to have someone in the humanities be more honest about the limits of empirical knowledge than thousands of you guys in science?  

Oh, I wouldn't say I'm a lousy writer, I'm more of a lousy editor.  That's what sets may a professional writer apart, they've got a good editor, editors have made more than a few writing careers. 

Update: I can't play a fiddle but I'm a virtuoso when it comes to playing a Simp.  I troll Duncan by posting these little things the Simp will post there. 

Benedict Sets Himself Up As Anti-Pope Or Lets Himself Be Made One, To Protect Clerical Despotism

I don't know to what extent Benedict XVI knows he is a figurehead of a right-wing neo-integralist movement, I wouldn't think calling it a neo-fascist  movement of Catholics is at all unfair.  I can't believe he is so mentally debilitated that he doesn't realize the use he is made of by them, it's been going on for at least three decades, now.  He, of course, takes the position that John Paul II had before he died and ceased to be a living figurehead for them, one who could be used as a weapon in current battles on current issues. 

I also don't know how much of this new book demanding clerical celibacy he wrote, the latest attack on Pope Francis and the likelihood that he will relax the rules on priestly celibacy in response to the pleas of Catholic bishops in many countries who see the Catholic church being decimated by the lack of priests as the celibate only priesthood turns into a relic of a past, despite decades of prayers and recruitment campaigns.  It isn't turning around and, I dare say, won't.  

I believe I'm right that Benedict XVI, as first Fr. Ratzinger, then as a bishop was never a pastor of a congregation, he never functioned as a parish priest, preferring to work as a professor of theology in a university, going directly from the artificial environment of the university directly into the ruling hierarchy to be tapped as John Paul II's enforcer on such matters as maintaining the enhanced clericalism that JPII favored.  And that is at the heart of his attack on the man who succeeded him when he performed the most responsible and popular act of his papacy,  his resignation.  His inability to break the stronghold of a corrupt Vatican clique, one that developed during the long papacy of JPII and his own was the definitive mark of his papacy,  That was until he made his rare decision to leave,  the only responsible course he could have taken.  Imagine the condition the Catholic church would be in if he and the henchmen he put or kept in place were still governing the Catholic church.  The sexual abuse scandal, alone, would have shattered it. 

The choice of Francis was seen, from as soon as he stepped out from behind the maroon curtains, not wearing the ridiculous clerical drag that Benedict favored and saying, "Good evening,"  as a good one in terms of pastoral care of The People of the church.   The biggest mistakes Francis has made, such as his defense of a Bishop who didn't deserve his defense, have generally been when he deferred too much to the clerics as opposed to The People, only he has quickly realized when those mistakes were mistakes.   Ratzinger's years as a theologian, then as JPII's enforcer would never have gotten him to that correction. 

I think if Pope Francis does not move to relax the rule on celibacy, the Catholic Church will suffer permanent damage, a trend that will continue for as long as the unmarried clerics maintain the power,  which is the primary motive of the clerical side of the neo-fascist movement mentioned above.  That is their motive, they know that as soon as married men are allowed to be priests*  the strangle-hold on power by the celebate clique they belong to will be broken, for good.  I think it is also an expression of the deep misogyny that is ubiquitous among them, something which is one of the mortal sins of the all-male power structure of the Catholic church.   

I think one of the primary beneficiaries of the maintenance of the all-male stranglehold on power in the official Roman Catholic church may well be the Women Priests movement and the Catholics in the growing Intentional Eucharistic Community movement who celebrate the liturgy as a community, sometimes led by decommissioned ordained Catholic men, by ordained Women or by lay people, often saying the prayers of consecration together as they break bread and pass the cup.  

Like it or not, the Catholic church is changing with or without the permission of the Pope.  Whether that is Benedict XVI or, yes, Good Pope Francis.  

* I have, of course, not seen the book which is coming out in a few days but I wonder if Ratzinger and his co-author will talk about JPII allowing married, ordained defecting Anglican priests to become fully authorized Catholic priests when he wanted to express his anger at Anglicans permitting the ordination of Women.  I, somehow, have a feeling that even the most accomplished academic theologian in the history of the papacy won't be able to explain his way out of that as he campaigns against married Catholic men having the same position that JPII gave to Anglicans.  

Update:  I should point out that as much of a reactionary in terms of Church policy and as he has allowed himself to become a tool of secular as well as clerical fascists, even Benedict XVI would be considered at least a moderate if not a leftist in American politics.  From a recent piece in The National Catholic Reporter

Our Catholic theology also leaves wide scope to the individual Catholic to choose her political preferences after having formed her conscience with the assistance of the teachings of the church. Historically, loyal Catholics have usually found their most suitable political home within the arms of parties on the left. I am guessing Burch and his colleagues at CatholicVote would disagree with these words:

" Democratic socialism managed to fit within the two existing models as a welcome counterweight to the radical liberal positions, which it developed and corrected. It also managed to appeal to various denominations. In England it became the political party of the Catholics, who had never felt at home among either the Protestant conservatives or the liberals. In Wilhelmine Germany, too, Catholic groups felt closer to democratic socialism than to the rigidly Prussian and Protestant conservative forces. In many respects, democratic socialism was and is close to Catholic social doctrine and has in any case made a remarkable contribution to the formation of a social consciousness. " 

These words are not mine. They were penned by Pope Benedict XVI.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

This Is How Stupid It Gets - Hate Mail

Even if you believe in natural selection or assert its reality there is no way to know if ANY instance of human breeding of animals, on the farm or a kennel or in a science lab, produces any knowledge about what happened in the wild in the lost past or even today that could support natural selection.

We have no idea if what is produced would be in anyway comparable to what would happen in nature.  Survivors of animal husbandry which are allowed to go on to breed are determined by the breeder, which ones are to die are also selected by the breeder for his purposes which, in every case, are not in the interests of the animals he kills and, ultimately, not even the ones he allows to live to breed. 

We have every reason to be skeptical of that producing the same thing as would happen in nature, it's quite possible that the animals that Darwin and later Darwinists would deem "fittest" or "superior" would anywhere from often to always not be the same who would survive and breed in greater numbers in the wild.  The same is true for plants produced by selective breeding and hybridization.  In some cases, human selective breeding produces types that have distinct and, in many cases, serious problems, in not a few instances, that includes sterility or an inability to have offspring. 

The use of animal breeding as a sort of model of natural selection was inept for a number of reasons.  One, if your object is to support a non-teleological ideology in regard to nature is so glaringly obvious that I'm amazed it, alone, didn't generate a huge literature of disconfirmation of Darwinism as invented by Darwin, resting so heavily on the alleged evidence of animal husbandry, something taken up by, first, eugenics and, unsurprisingly, considering what I point out about the motives of animal husbandry, above, eugenics-genocide.  

EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS IN SUCH ANIMAL HUSBANDRY, SELECTIVE PLANT BREEDING, IS AN INTENTIONAL ACT BY HUMAN BEINGS WHO HAVE A GOAL IN DOING IT.  It is a supreme example of intentional teleology.   The sought ends are an intrinsic part of it, those engaged in it will often change their methods if their ends are not produced by their program of animal breeding. 

It's the same idiotic claims made about such things as the production of synthetic DNA in labs in the delusion that abiogenesis can tell you anything reliably believed about the origin of life on Earth.  That claim, so often made is scientists synthesizing DNA or whatever is "a way to disprove intelligent design".  The fact is ANY SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENT IS A PRODUCT OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN FOR THAT REASON, ALONE,  YOU CAN'T POSSIBLY USE IT TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THE SAME THING WOULD HAPPEN WITHOUT INTELLIGENT DESIGN.   Even if you succeed in synthesizing something you can peddle, universally as "artificial life" you have merely proven that it can be done through intelligent design, you may have rightly been taken as having added to the side of a balance on behalf of intelligent design. 

You would have the same success as baking a cake to prove that cakes come about through random chance events.  What's unintelligent is asserting you have done the opposite of what you actually did. 

You can't even strengthen the case against intelligent design that through experiments that don't work because they were, as well, the result of intelligent design.  Making mistakes, experiments that produce null results or results that weren't anticipated are also acts of intelligent design.

we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation

People who read what I write sometimes are surprised at how often I cite the geneticist Richard Lewontin when he seems to fully believe in natural selection and Darwinism of a less fundamentalist type than reigns in even real science, as opposed to the more influential, more fascist friendly type of it that poisons the imaginations of a majority of educated people.  

I have enormous respect for Lewontin, though my admiration isn't blind to what he really claims and the enormous disagreements I have with what he says.   This is an answer to a spammed comment. 

That kind of Darwinism is so pervasive that it is fully evidenced in the actions and declarations of some of the most vehement Darwin haters whose Biblical fundamentalism leads them to deny that evolution of species is, in fact, among the most supported ideas in the history of the life sciences.  Darwinism is a vast enough and, oddly, varied enough scientific ideology to include different and often viciously hostile camps.  And they can get real down and dirty about it. 

On top of that Lewontin is an admitted materialist and atheist, though I would never accuse him of the idiocy of scientism. He is too honest and too forthright in his criticism of science and his acknowledgement of what it really is to say the kind of stupid things in that regard such as Bertrand Russell and so many other eminent scientists have claimed for science. 

One thing he said in his famous essay-review of the very uneven book by his one time debating team partner on behalf of science and the teaching of biology in the public schools,  Carl Sagan, "Billions and Billions of Demons", is something I've noted before. It's a famous passage of that review. 

Lewontin came right out and admitted the extent to which it is the personal preference of his fellow materialists and not anything about science or scientific method or the discoveries of science, lead them to demand materialism or atheism under those or any other ideological labels chosen rules.  It comes down to what they choose to believe and that choice of belief in material monism leads to their claims about the world. 

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.

I will note that I'm rather disappointed in Lewontin for the condescending phrase, "no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated,"  though it points out the extent to which club membership is taken as a prerequisite to have your skepticism or even informed objections regarded as worthy of consideration.  Or, perhaps it's another admission that we are really dealing, at the bottom of things, not with the "objective knowledge" that science claims for itself (unless the scientists are being very carefully though insincerely scrupulous)  but with a hierarchy of preferences, some of those reasonable, many of them based in peer-group interests.  I would include, class snobbery.  Not all of us non-initiates are mystified.  I will leave addressing Lewontin's rather naive and uniformed conception of religious belief for another time. 

That is a declaration of a materialist monistic ideology which claims that all of reality must have closure under a single framing.  A framing which, though he doesn't state it, must be in line with human conceptions and our ability to imagine things.  Any claimed humanly understood monistic system must include that filter, that it has to be limited by human understanding.  Which means that anything which exceeds human limits, can't be admitted to be real, no matter how much it just goes on being. 

That is what lies behind that demand of the kind that was made by Cosmides and Tooby and is ubiquitous in those who demand that unsubstantiated just-so stories, patent absurdities, entirely unsupported claims be accepted.  It has to be that way because that structure of material reality MUST BE THERE DAMN IT!  And shut the fuck up!, can just be an understood command without stating it.  I think that the reaction of a lot of the fundamentalist rejection of Darwinism is based more on the understood command and not the arguments about evolution.   I think Lewontin understands that, up to a point. Hardly any of his fellows do. 

It was exactly the ideology the final confirmation of which the proto-Nazi Ernst Haeckel hooted and rejoiced that the theory of natural selection had provided in a book Darwin endorsed and praised as a work of science, The History of Creation

Whilst, then, we emphatically oppose the vital or teleological view of animate nature which presents animal and vegetable forms as the productions of a kind Creator, acting for a definite purpose, or of a creative, natural force acting for a definite purpose, we must, on the other hand, decidedly adopt that view of the universe which is called the mechanical or causal. It may also be called the monistic, or single-principle theory, as opposed to the twofold principle, or dualistic theory, which is necessarily implied in the teleological conception of the universe. The mechanical view of nature has for many years been so firmly established in certain domains of natural science, that it is here unnecessary to say much about it. It no longer occurs to physicists, chemists, mineralogists, or astronomers, to seek to find in the phenomena which continually appear before them in their scientific domain the action of a Creator acting for a definite purpose. They universally, and without hesitation, look upon the phenomena which appear in their different departments of study as the necessary and invariable effects of physical and chemical forces which are inherent in matter. Thus far their view is purely materialistic, in a certain sense of that “word of many meanings.”

I will forego the temptation to go into what exactly was naively premature about Haeckel's declaration of the triumph of "the mechanical view of nature"* which has been rather decisively disconfirmed in the 20th century, because it still is the ideological framing that even scientists who should certainly know better, such as Lewontin, stick to out of their preference.  Haeckel, along with all of the other horrors of that book, proclaimed:

This final triumph of the monistic conception of nature constitutes the highest and most general merit of the Theory of Descent, as reformed by Darwin.

Which I hold is one part of why Darwinism became the predominant framing of understanding taught and enforced as the only allowable point of view in science, even as massive problems in Darwin's original formulation of natural selection came up almost immediately.  Haeckel confirmed that both he and Darwin held that Lamarckian inheritance was a vital necessity of Darwinism, declaring in the most scathing terms he could imagine that to hold with a genetic view of inheritance was no better than to hold with the Mosaic fable of the beginning of life. Clearly, Darwin's Darwinism was incompatible with that, though, as other Darwinists have pointed out without particulate inheritance, natural selection doesn't work.  And those problems continue with subsequent neo-Darwinist framings of evolution, especially when it is held to be THE way in which species evolved with all of the Darwinistic political-economic and ideological stuff packed into that framing.  

I think that Lewontin is an excellent example of how even someone as honest as he is can overlook or ignore the huge problems with Darwinism, including one which for any honest view of science, would exclude it from being considered scientifically valid.  

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

I've quoted that passage from Lewontin several times because it is such a definitive means of seeing that it can't follow valid scientific methods,it cannot be observed or measured in the lost past and its current attempts to make such determinations are not that impressive, either.  If you can't observe or analyze or measure things, I don't know, but I was told you can't consider what you say about them to be contained in science.  

Perhaps he would forgive one of the uninitiated for having noticed a few things about these topics. 

* In other places and lectures, Lewontin warns, over and over again about the consequences of believing our metaphors are more than metaphors, yet that metaphor is one that science has fully bought into from its beginnings in Descartes, Bacon and others.  There are some in the early history of science, such as Galileo and Galvani and Kepler who never bought into a monistic mechanistic ideology who clearly didn't fall into mistaking that metaphor as any more than that.  What Lewontin is demanding is, in fact, the monistic view that I'm sure he would feel uneasy with knowing he shares with a Haeckel.  I suspect he knows that that mechanistic view of reality is a metaphor that doesn't really work. 

It is ironic that while those initiated by academic culture, believing they are entitled to all the honors and benefits occurring thereto, proclaim that monotheism is guilty of any sin they can think of, against all evidence in many cases, they cannot see that the monism they embrace, especially in the last century they lived through, had oceans of blood on its hands.