Saturday, February 29, 2020

Saturday Night Radio Drama - R. D. Wingfield - Outbreak Of Fear

A brutal death occurs on an unassuming coastal fishing village. 
R D Wingfield's thriller stars Leslie Sands as Sergeant Fowler, Nick Orchard as Constable Beaumont, Cornelius Garrett as Dave Clark, Paul Nicholson as the Doctor, Derek Graham as Pete Carter, Conrad Phillips as Mitchell, Gillie Graham as Rose, Fred Bryant as Fred Dickey, Douglas Leach as Albert, Deborah Paige as Kim and Patricia Gibson as Mrs Trevor.

Directed by Brian Miller 

This is a five part piece.  It's a little closer to the cosy mystery than I usually like to get but it's better than that. 

Since You Asked

Yeah, I've been helping out a family member, a school teacher, who has non-influenza based pneumonia right now and I've gone from there to doing some volunteer work where I'm in contact with various members of the public.  And I'd really have liked to have found out that I shouldn't be doing the latter since I've been exposed to whatever her pneumonia is caused by.  Is it Coronavirus?  I have no idea, neither does she, neither did her doctor who, apparently, as of last Tuesday didn't know that he should have said something about that possibility to her so she could inform the several people who have come to give her a hand. 

The idiot Trump regime has been going all Soviet-era-"we'll-bury-our-mistakes" on this, that's something you can depend on when you have gangsters running a country as the United States is, now.  And the fucking media are covering for him instead of calling him, his gang of crooks and gangsters running major Federal agencies even as they have to report that it is they who are preventing state health agencies from picking up the ball that they not only dropped but threw in the trash because of PR problems.  

So far, the most I've had is a cough and sniffles and a low fever.  That started after I'd done the volunteer work.  I'd like to have known so I wouldn't have acted in ignorance to possibly infect people.

If it wasn't Coronavirus this time, who knows when it's going to be because from what they're saying, when it hits, we're the ones who are going to be taking care of our loved ones and others because there isn't going to be a healthcare infrastructure that can take that strain.  That's what you get when it's corporations who run health care.  This country is unprepared to do what a country needs to do and until the Republican-fascists and the corporate crooks are removed from power, from the media, from the courts, it won't be.   Until people are not being lied to by the so-called Secretary of Health and everyone else, no one's going to take it as seriously as they will need to to even protect themselves. 

First Saturday of Lent

Lent is a time to sort out what we know.  It strikes me that these readings pivot on what can be known and what we know in the gospel.  In the Ezekiel passage, the "nations shall know."  they will learn of God by observing the life of Israel.  They shall know, by the exile of Israel, that God is not mocked.  Moreover, they shall know, by the restoration and gathering of Israel, that God is faithful

I will admit up front that Ezekiel is one of two of the books [see update] of the Hebrew Scriptures that leave me the coldest.  That might be more my fault than the Prophet's.  But all of that onslaught of the most lurid of violence and consequence has to be used with more caution than I think human beings are going to use on a consistent basis.  For him it was experience of life, for too man of us it is the unreality of cinematographic convention that we are left to interpret it.   And where it isn't used more cautiously than that it gives rise to all kinds of corruption of exactly the kind that Ezekiel identified as the sin of Israel that justified the exile and the destruction of the Temple [Chapters 8-11, if you want to read those, though these days most of that happens on TV, not in a Temple.]*

It is one of the the problems with modern Christians using the old Hebrew Prophets that so often the Modern Christians use them like readers of supermarket tabloids use the predictions made by phony psychics and astrologers to sensationally scare and dupe those so predisposed.   It's only when read in the context they were written to address that they become useful in real life instead of "Christian" publishing and entertainment industry and political hucksterism. 

There is a lot to be learned from the self-confession of the Jewish tradition and the subtle readings of their own experience which the Prophets offered to the world - confessions of guilt along with the hard realistic message about the subtle but real consequences of human evil.  But among some of the Prophets,you have to wade through some mighty hard reading, of divine revelation as interpreted by our mere fellow human beings, especially those of a poetic bent.  

. . . Out of knowledge of God, who scatters and gathers, and knowledge of Jesus, who is crucified and risen,  Paul knows the pastoral secret of living in the world.  He knows that  in a world governed and ordered by God, who supplies every need, the external circumstance of more or less is not definitional for well-being.  What is definitional is the assurance that God's gracious governance pertains to every circumstance of our life.  The consequence of this secret is the awareness (that Paul surely shared) that practical differentiations of plenty and want are only provisional and not definitive for us.  The assurance of all these modes of knowledge is that the generous self-giving graciousness of God outstrips our categories.  It is enough to be in God's hands

In the passage, Paul's acceptance of hardship and trials are personal ones, those hardest for us to take, it being generally easier to accept them on behalf of other people, especially those not connected to us.  Which should never, I think, lead us to the kind of peaceful calm that Paul notes his own hunger and want causes him.  I can't claim to be very good at that, but then, I wasn't given the kind of prophetic vision that Paul and Ezekiel report.  I would like to be able to do that about myself - I can't - but I would never want to feel that way about the pain of other creatures, human or otherwise sentient. 

I doubt I'd have thought about that if I hadn't been led by Brueggemann and Lent to look at those texts. I wouldn't have known to think of it, maybe as this plague or the political catastrophe we are embarked on breaks.  Which I am grateful for.  I like Lent.  It can do that for you. 

*  Update:  Reading this for typos, I should mention a lot of it happens at some "Christian" university or "evangelical 'Library' cum gift shop mall hosting a Trump rally (as often seen on TV) as the modern equivalents of the sins of Jerusalem and the Temple Ezekiel railed against. 

Update 2:  I typed too fast this morning because the other book I was thinking of isn't a prophetic book, it is Ecclesiastes which is listed as a book of "wisdom" and which is one of a couple of books I don't think belongs in the Bible.  I really don't get anything from Ecclesiastes except cynical discouragement and an advocacy for something that seems like a high-market form of paganism instead of belief. 

Entertainment Media The Origin Of The Stupid - Including Infotanement

This was published five days ago on New Scientist

Iran has reported 28 cases, but this appears to be a large underestimate because two people who have just flown from Iran to Canada and Lebanon have been found to be infected. Unless people who exit Iran by air are massively more likely to be infected than those who don’t, Gergely Röst of the University of Szeged, Hungary, says it would take 1600 to 2400 cases in Iran to produce two infected travellers – more than any official count so far in a country other than China.

This is especially worrying, says Andy Tatem of Southampton University, UK, as broader travel records show Iran has “strong connections to countries, such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, which have weaker health systems”, meaning they might not detect or contain the virus.

Some countries, such as Singapore, have detected most of the infected travellers epidemiologists calculate they should have got from China. Christl Donnelly and colleagues at Imperial College London have worked out how many infections those countries detected per passenger flight, then compared that to other countries. On average the others detected only a third as many per flight.

“We have decided not to comment on other countries individually,” says Donelly, although the WHO has been informed.

And that was five days ago.   The level of knowledge, as the article implied would happen, fast, has moved on to even more alarming effect. 

And yet last night I was reading online people whining about how unacceptably disappointed their high-school and college age kids were going to be if the people in charge of their school trips were nervous nellies and canceled them.  College-credentialed people of an age old enough to have children that age were going on like that.  And that's among people who, no doubt, all had what are now called STEM prerequisites as part of their college credentialing, even if they didn't major in a relevant subject.  

Modern education produces credentialed idiots.  TV and entertainment don't help.  They are where the problems start.  A lot of those credentialed idiots are running the government, Kudlow, for example, has a Princeton degree, I recall reading when I looked up who to blame for him.  He was a preppy, too. 

Update:  Someone has sent me a link to Wikipedia that says  Larry Kudlow left Princeton before he got his masters there.  Which doesn't signify much.  I note in reading the article that the young "Kuddles" as it charmingly notes he was nicknamed, was involved with the play-lefty group SDS while in college, I'm guessing his radicalism was entirely tied to his draft-eligibility during the Vietnam War and probably ended when he was no longer in danger of getting his ass sent to Vietnam, like so many others of the "new left" he then found a profitable position on the Republican-fascist right.   I have come to entirely distrust secular leftists, they have such a habit of doing that.  

I've seldom known of a religious leftist who took that path, other than a few Catholics like Michael Novak who discovered his "white-ethnic" identity and proved what a double-edged dagger that kind of thing can be.  I've come to more and more think it was stupid to develop such romantic nonsense about that, even as we certainly are, none of us, genetically that different from others.  The problem was the reaction against WASP domination was as bad as that domination was.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Consider The Part That Lies Are Playing In This Emerging Pandemic - And Stupidity - A Rant

I just read a health professional say that pneumonia cases not related to the flu should be considered as possible Corvid-19 infections - I just spent the last several days with someone who fits that description and I've been volunteering in public this week.  WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T ANYONE SAY THAT BEFORE I MIGHT HAVE KILLED PEOPLE?  Now I have no idea what I should be doing about it.  If you think I'm pissed off about it.  No,  I'm spewing molten lava angry about it.  

I am amazed at the college-credentialed response to the emerging pandemic, people are talking as if elective world travel on adventure-pleasure trips isn't grotesquely irresponsible at this time.  It's like they understand nothing about what health officials - real ones, not Trumpzi-regime ones - are saying about what has to be done to lessen the impact.  

Some of them are downright Trumpian in their idiotic, irresponsible insouciance.  If there's something I hate, it's irresponsible insouciance.  

As for the Trump regime and the idiots it has in charge of things, a lot of that you can thank the cabloids and other TV networks who promoted the Tea Party AstroTurf fraud during the first two years when Republican-fascists were taking advantage of the racist backlash against Obama.  Pompeo, Mulvaney, etc. were brought to power through that billionaire fraud.  Lies kill, lies broadcast on cable and TV and the internet and hate-talk radio kill thousands and millions.  Yet out Supreme Court empowers lies and the lying liars who lie them.  By the time it starts killing those geezers in black robes, it will be way too late. 

. . . sic.

Trump, Sanders, Coronavirus, . . .  You know, one of the things I learned this year is that things can get too gloomy for even an Irishman in New England in February to enjoy. 

First Friday of Lent - Walter Brueggemann from Gift and Task

It was then, as it is now, a time of profound anxiety.   It was then, as it is now, a time of ominous violence and unreliable economics in which the social fabric was so frayed that all were at risk.  In the face of such social reality, Paul commands having no anxiety "about anything."  In the place of anxiety, Paul commands peace with God.  Paul knows that being right with God is more urgent than all our strategies of self-maintenance and self-security.  Paul knows, moreover, that peace with God is beyond all our categories of explanation;  it surpasses all understanding.

The passage from the Letter To The Philippians refers to an unknown dispute within the Church there either between two women, Eudoia and Syntyche or, as some read it, between them and the larger Church, which in context was probably a small house-church congregation.  While some of the translations clearly distorted the names to make Eudoia into a man, in some interpretations of that alteration, a husband and wife, the Greek text is clear as to them both being women.  And what's interesting is that even though Paul addressed them in regard to a dispute in the Church there, he takes them seriously as his fellow ministers,  "help these women, for they have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life."  I'm not sure that the "Clement" mentioned in that context is the one who Catholic tradition considers the "Second Pope" the successor of Peter but it's clear that Paul considered them as worth mentioning as his equal and, at least by very strong implication, Paul's equal.   What you can make of other passages in other places that assign women unequal place, I don't know.  Clearly the Pauline texts are not consistent on everything, especially when he was up against social conventions and when it might be worth the trouble of going against them and when it was essential to. 

For many of us the question is,  how do we arrive at peace with God?  the answer, already given in the testimony of Ezekiel, is to turn away from transgression.  In the Ezekiel text, in verses we have skipped over, the prophet details three dimensions of the turn to God:  first, reject idolatry, the worship of phony ultimates. Second  reject exploitative sexuality that treats others as objects rather than persons.  Third, reject economic exploitation that regards neighbors as usable commodities.  In all three instances, live in the risky world of persons rather than the controlled world of things.  

I have begun to try to think through an idea I had of what politics seemed to be the result of the modernistic ideology of scientism (which is certainly materialistic and almost as certainly atheistic) as opposed to be the inevitable result of taking the Gospel teachings of Jesus, The Law, etc. seriously.*  I think this reading sets out three of the results of that world view, "the worship of phony ultimates," "treating people as objects rather than persons" especially popular when done through sexual use, and treating others as usable commodities. 

I recently realized that talking about other people in terms of their usefulness has never set right with me.  "He, or she is or they are or I am - useless" implies personal value is derived how we are set to the purpose of someone else as an object.  You can contrast that with the dignity behind the idea if you replace the concept of "use" of someone else with whether or not they are helpful.  Even saying it negatively,  "He isn't helpful" implies that he could be if he chose to instead of "he can't be made useful".    I don't know how much that will mean to anyone else but it helped me clarify my feelings about the phrase and gave a useful and more helpful alternative way of saying it.

Reading this passage, I wondered what a United States in which an effective electoral majority were at such peace through these practices would do with the various candidates running this year.  I can't believe for a second they would go for the Republicans who run on all of those things that are discouraged, especially whipping up anxiety and the view that others are objects for use.  I certainly don't think they'd have voted for Trump of the Hollywood Access tape and porn star payoffs.  They wouldn't put the Republicans in charge of anything.

Behind these three instances is the awareness that such commoditizaion of sexuality and economics leads to the commoditization of God as an object to be controlled. 

Scientism makes science into one of those gods that I mentioned atheists seem to be helpless not to invent and in the case of science it's creation was in exactly that act of commodification of all of nature, the means of controlling nature, the useful god that is used to bend nature to our ends and or profit.  It might be a rather efficient artificial god but not one you will find works, in the end. 

The relentless insistence of the Bible is that peace with God depends on right neighborly conduct.  It is for that reason that Paul commends "whatever is true," "honorable," "just," "pure," lovely and gracious.  The news is that God delights in life that flourishes, "turn . . and live!"

*  The inevitable result of applying the teachings of Jesus in politics is radical egalitarian democracy.  A world governed by those would inevitably be egalitarian. 

Note:  We're having brownouts and short blackouts here this morning, lots of wind. 

Thursday, February 27, 2020

First Thursday of Lent

God of all futures, give us the tenacity to hope, that we may not give in to fear, despair or cynicism.  In his name.  Amen

I have to thank Walter Brueggemann and Hans Kung and St. Gregory of Nyssa and his older sister St. Macrina the Younger that they have helped me to get over the terrible habit of nostalgically longing for pasts that can never come - and which were certainly not as imagined them to have been - and the present that can't endure anymore than those lost pasts can.   It is one of the features of the Jewish-Christian-Islamic tradition that creation, the universe, the Earth and the creatures who reside in them are part of an ever becoming future bent towards an end in which all of them are a part of making, an end that won't be an ending.  We don't know what that future in even our own lives will be never mind the ultimate end except that it is central to that faith that the future will prove to have been bent towards justice, that it will validate the first judgement of the Creator given in Genesis that what was created is good.  

So I've had to give up longing for pasts and even the present as it passes in front of our eyes.  I've had to give up an ultimate pessimism that comes with seeing how progress toward that ultimate end is thwarted by evil intent and ignorance, willful stupidity (which is most stupid in the most intelligent and least bad among the most humble) and all of the whole host of human failings and short comings and weaknesses.  

In the Epistle reading, Paul sets up a sharp either-or that contrasts "they" with "we."  "They" are "enemies of the cross." The cross of Jesus expresses the self-giving love that is willing to suffer for the sake of the neighbor.  The enemies of the cross are those who refuse such self-giving love and sign on with the empire of Rome that will finally execute Jesus in order to silence criticism and maintain a system of greed and exploitation giving love and the empire of greedy oppression.  

Paul imagines that we, all of us, are on one side o the other.  "They" enemies of the cross) take their "belly" (insatiable appetite) as god*, are unashamed of their boastful living, and peruse worldly possessiveness.  By contrast "we" (advocates of the cross and its performance of self-giving love) live in hope of the new governance of God.  Paul's rhetoric assumes that a decisive choice has been made by the faithful.  

[For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, live as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their end is destruction, their god is the belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.  But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself.]  RSV 

Walter Brueggemann:  Gift and Task

If I had the text with me I would contrast the view of The Cross here with that given by the late James Cone in terms of Black Liberation Theology. Though it would be to expand on the meanings of both scholars not to exclude one or the other.   

Of course, the temptation has been to break in after Paul's description:

Their end is destruction, their god is the belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things, 

and ask, "Remind you of anyone?"  But while the question is legitimate the answer wouldn't be adequate even as it was accurate.  It's a description of the cardinal virtues of secular materialism and not only in its most vulgar manifestation in Trumpism.  That is only the tackier version of what is the ubiquitous system of valuation practiced in late-stage American capitalism in the period of de-Christianization, many of those who pretend to Christianity the loudest, some of the most de-Christainized, some of the less insincere guilty of not calling out the heretical anti-Christianity of their fellow Christians.   I've certainly been guilty of that cowardice but I'm trying to get past it now.  In no small part due to Brueggemann and the others I've read. I'm a recovering "liberal" of that sort and find that the liberalism of The Law, the Prophets, the Gospel and Epistles is far more radical because it is far more real. 

Note:  I took the reading from the Revised Standard Version which matches the quotes of Brueggemann.  I don't know which translation he was consulting.  I don't think it's an enormous problem for most of these readings. 

*  I've had to realize there were things I could do and things I can't do under any possible circumstances.  I cannot talk the Chinese people into give up the cruel and barbarous wild meat industry nor the entire human species to give the cruel and barbarous domestic mass raising of ducks and pigs and other animals even though those produce one pandemic after another.  If the distinguished geneticist and epidemiologist Matthew Meselson's chilling warning given during the avian flu epidemic, that it was very possible for a world-wide pandemic to kill the entire human species ever comes true, I'd bet that the origin would have been in the meat industry, possibly in China but it could start anywhere.  The terrible influenza of a hundred years ago is believed to have started in a swine herd in France at the end of WWI, as I recall.   If that happens, at least I can die knowing it wasn't my fault.  Though I suspect if I was alive to die in it, I'd be thinking of other things.  

I strongly suspect that if the human species is to survive much longer, it will have to be a vegan future. Maybe we'll have to give up war against each other as well as against animals.  The Bible doesn't explicitly permit eating meat until after The Flood, just thought I'd throw that in for fun. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

These are the principal neighborly disciplines that connect the purpose of God to the urgency of neighborly well-being.

We live in a culture that caters to its privileged children in every conceivable way.  That often means that children lack the discipline necessary to grow into responsible adulthood.  Lack of discipline leads to narcissistic selfishness and indulgence.  But Lent, against such a cultural propensity, is a call to discipline. 

And that is, what I am afraid, is the basis of the Bernie Sanders campaign, the youth (of all ages) mania for a candidate who will not beat Trump and if, by some miracle, won the election would still cost us the Senate and never be able to put his unrealistic promises into law.   It is a terrible idea to base a political left on the "youth vote" or the vote of people who, by affluence or inclination never grow up.  I note that the Sanders website touts the movie-stars who endorse his candidacy.  Two words Susan Sarandon.  The make-believe of that "dream factory," Hollywood is an even worse place to build a real left from.  The best of them act more like 12-year-old boys without any parental supervision than even most of the college students I know.  

I am going to dip into Walter Brueggemann's Lenten writings from is book Gift and Task that I used during Advent, though I'm not going to type out the entire text nor give the liturgical readings he bases his writing on but take excerpts.  I'd recommend the book, though it only covers one year of the liturgical cycle - for a year that we are not in right now.  

What the American left needs more than anything else right now it is a lot of what Brueggemann talks about in his Ash Wednesday meditation. 

The question of discipline surfaces in the prophetic poem of Amos.  The undisciplined in ancient Israel, says the poet., "trample on the poor."  They did so by sharp market dealings, by bribery, and by skewed judicial procedures, "in the gate."  All these exploitative practices were in the service of self-indulgence, to satiates one's appetite at the expense of the vulnerable. 

In the face of such exploitation, Amos utters a series of imperatives that are in sum a summons to discipline.  Thus he says in terse sequence, "Seek the Lord,"  "seek good, "  "hate evil,"  "love good,"  "establish justice."  These are the principal neighborly disciplines that connect the purpose of God to the urgency of neighborly well-being.

Lent, which begins today, is a season of discipline that calls us away from indifferent self-indulgence that takes place through antineighborly practice.  The issue for Amos is greed in the marketplace.  These calls to discipline move beyond private piety to public practice.  We are, in Lent, not unlike the tax collector in Jesus' parable, cognizant of our sin in public practice

Walter Brueggemann:  Gift and Task: Ash Wednesday.

I am tempted more than ever to become a hermit, perhaps it's only my Irish cultural affection for strife that keeps me from doing that.  But that's a self-indulgence I hope I never give in to.  There wouldn't be any good in it. 

It's Not My Fault That Your Heroes Have Set Their Hopes On One Of The Most Unintelligent Applications of Intelligence Ever Foisted On a Naive World

It's not my fault that atheist ideologues setting themselves up in science to "prove" that the intelligent intent of the Creator is, as they so breezily like to think, "unnecessary" to explain how life first arose on Earth and, as they also like to think, elsewhere in the universe have hit on exactly what disproves the legitimacy of their effort, that they can't filter or strain out the intelligent design they necessarily put into their experiments.   It is an absolute certainty that they cannot use science to do what they want to use it for, as absolutely certain as any of the facts demonstrated with science are. 

Such atheists are always trying to use science for what science cannot do.  Certainly not science as it's supposedly done.  

Take for example the claim made by one of the most popular of the pop-atheist scientists Carl Sagan who once claimed that as soon as contact was made with "other life" that that would be it for religious belief. 

Well, the problems for that start with the fact that during Sagan's lifetime and today have no evidence of life anywhere else in the universe, the one and only one we have in evidence, not the jillions and jillions of others which the only evidence we have shows reside in no where but the self-interested, ideological holdings of their fellow atheist-ideologies who took up physics and cosmology instead of the far more complex life sciences, . . . we have no evidence of life anywhere else except on Earth so that is the only line of life that can be honestly treated with something alleged to be the methods of science.  

It's not my fault that the very methods of science and its requirements leave the atheist-ideological use of things they pretend to be science up a creek without a paddle.  THEY DO NOT HAVE THE THEORIZED ORIGINAL ORGANISM (which, by the way I believe probably is the origin of life but, unlike them, I admit that is a belief and not knowledge) THEY DON'T HAVE THE VERY SPECIMEN OF LIFE IN THE PAST THAT THEY MIGHT LEARN SOMETHING ABOUT THAT ORIGIN FROM.  I say "might learn" because it would have to be resolvable enough to know the details of its structure to understand how those MIGHT and that's a very big "might" have arisen from non-living matter and not as all subsequent life did, from life.  

Anyone who believes that scientists will, someday, have that precious, unique fossil of the original Eve-Adam ancestor of us all would more rationally believe in just about anything because its recovery and identification - before you get to it being intact enough to yield knowledge - would be more miraculous than most of the Biblical miracle stories.  Any atheist-materialist ideologue who claimed to believe that would happen is very silly, but so are the many-universe theorists and they get big bucks to make up stuff like that, too.

I think abiogenesis like the field of "exobiology" invented by Carl Sagan is a rather obvious ideological scam which does not have what they need to make their speculations into science.  Only abiogenesis has no prospect of having the one thing it would need to get anywhere whereas exobiology in some very far fetched speculation might possibly someday have an example of "other life" though the odds on that don't presently seem to be much greater than finding that original organism that uniquely arose from non-living material.

Arose or was intelligently constructed.  It is not my fault that lacking the one thing that they would need to make abiogenesis seem like it wasn't a total con-job they have stumbled on the one thing that, even more certaily, is a hurdle that these scientist-ideologues will never, possibly overcome, they can't disprove intelligent design was not needed to produce effects that they produce with intelligently designed (though not intelligently interpreted) experiments that create molecules or other things.  INTELLIGENT DESIGN, INTELLIGENCE, CANNOT BE REMOVED FROM ANYTHING THESE SCIENTIST-IDEOLOGUES DO, YOU CANNOT USE THEIR EXPERIMENTS TO DEMONSTRATE WHAT HAPPENS WITHOUT INTELLIGENT DESIGN BEING A PART OF IT.  You would as easily prove that carbon was not needed to produce organic molecules when their presence defines every bit of organic chemistry.   

That they lack what is, literally, a first-week of a first semester logical  analysis in their decades, centuries, now, long quest to dispose of God in explaining the origin of life on Earth, is also not my fault.  But they having done that and gotten away with it in the culture of science, science funding and modern universities isn't anything I'm under any obligation to pretend isn't going on right in front of our noses.  And I'm not under any obligation to not present it with all the sarcasm that such a hypocritical effort deserves.  Abiogenesis is as bogus as science as Ken Ham's bogus Noah's Ark theme park in Kentucky is to legitimate Old Testament studies. It has nothing to do with real theology.  Both entirely miss and both are expensive piles of crap. Neither should get public money that should go to real science, neither has a legitimate place in a university. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Someone points out to me that Erin PDX Said It To Simels - Or This Isn't Something You're Going To See Every Day

It's kind of hilarious for a dumb bunny in her 40s or 50s who worships Bernie Sanders to say "OK boomer" to people older than her BUT YOUNGER THAN SANDERS  who've seen the play-left blow election after election on play-lefty losers and are tired of it as a way of calling them past-it geezers. 

Simps is far from my favorite person but he's not stupid enough that even he doesn't get that.  Erin, on the other hand, is a dumb bunny.  So are Sam Seder, Michael Brooks, Cenk Ugur.  

Makes you wonder what they call their play-commie comrade Bernie Bots like Michael Moore who are right in the middle of the Boomer years.  Who, by the way, I could happily never hear another word from as long as I live.  

Monday, February 24, 2020

Another Slice Of Spam Disposed Of Before Fat Tuesday And The Fat Headed Wise Men

Republican-fascism didn't arise out of evangelical fundamentalism, it arose in the Federalist Society, in the elite law school faculties at Harvard, the U. of Chicago and other such places here the unitary executive theory of the presidency was incubated by aristocratic snobs to destroy egalitarian democracy on behalf of the rich.  It was certainly given a huge boost by the legal, judicial and journalistic supporters of privileging lies as "civil liberties".  It is through lies that all of their work was accomplished, the role of giving the media a freedom to lie with impunity was probably the major hurdle they had to get past to destroy government by an accurately informed American People of sufficient good will and a sense of decency to bend the arc of their history in the direction of justice. 

"The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure." --Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1823.

But Jefferson must have known that he left something important out even as he choose to leave it out.  In order for the press to make us free THEY CAN ONLY DO THAT IF THE CHOOSE TO TELL THE TRUTH.  He certainly knew that the press was as likely to lie if it could get away with it in order to harness the "agitation it produces" for evil purposes as ours was by the Supreme Court through its "First Amendment" rulings in the 20th century and the present one.  And our media - the media which has a real political effect - is an Iron Curtain of lies.   FOX, Sinclare, CNN, and forcryin'outloud the internet.  

Like it or not, only by the elected government of The People preventing the "free press" from lying us into fascist tyranny by traitors against democracy can Jefferson's formulation of the free press work the way he claimed it would.  The history of the use of media in the 20th and 21st centuries to destroy egalitarian democracy proves, beyond any doubt, that that quaint mid-20th century notion  of "free speech absolutism" - invented by professional scribblers, pornographers, the lawyers who they paid to lie on their behalf, neo-fascist law theorists who also came up with stuff like the unitary-executive theory is a guarantee of the destruction of democracy. 

I will note that whenever I read the aristocratic non-military revolutionary Jefferson waxing romantic over things such as "agitation" I feel my mouth twisting into a sneer.  He was perfectly willing to see the "tree of liberty" watered by the blood of others but he had no intention of his being shed for it.  I do have contempt for a writing table to tea table revolutionaries now.  I used to buy their words but now they just disgust me.  Same for a lot, though not all, of the "never-Trumpers" who had a hand in creating this fascist regime.  


Before my relative had to have bypass surgery I was intending to go over and digest some of the ideas about the neo-cons from this article in The New Republic (better than in the bad old Perez days) The Neocons Strike Back.   I'd recommend reading it because it proves how malignant the influence of intellectual snobs with credentials and positions at elite universities has been.

I'll give you a couple of passages in it about one of the worst of those, Bernie Sanders' fellow former Trotskyite, Irving Kristol, whose influence is still strong through his son, a "never-Trumper" who I wouldn't trust for a second. 

The fall of communism, in other words, set the stage for a new neoconservative paradigm. Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History appeared a decade after Kirkpatrick’s essay in Commentary and just before the Berlin Wall was breached on November 9, 1989. Here was a sharp break with the saturnine, realpolitik approach that Kirkpatrick had championed. Irving Kristol regarded it as hopelessly utopian—“I don’t believe a word of it,” he wrote in a response to Fukuyama. But a younger generation of neocons, led by Irving’s son, Bill Kristol, and Robert Kagan, embraced it. Fukuyama argued that Western, liberal democracy, far from being menaced, was now the destination point of the train of world history. With communism vanquished, the neocons, bearing the good word from Fukuyama, formulated a new goal: democracy promotion, by force if necessary, as a way to hasten history and secure the global order with the U.S. at its head. . . 

But perhaps the neoconservatives’ greatest strength lies in the realm of ideas that Irving Kristol identified more than three decades ago. The neocons remain the winners of that battle, not because their policies have made the world or the U.S. more secure, but by default—because there are so few genuinely alternative ideas that are championed with equal zeal. The foreign policy discussion surrounding Soleimani’s killing—which accelerated Iran’s nuclear weapons program, diminished America’s influence in the Middle East, and entrenched Iran’s theocratic regime—has largely occurred on a spectrum of the neocons’ making. It is a discussion that accepts premises of the beneficence of American military might and hegemony—Hobbes’s “ill game”—and naturally bends the universe toward more war

But I think an even more important article published by TNR from three years ago, noted the cynical glee with which Irving Kristol predicted the rise of someone like Trump and the uses that his fellow neo-fascists could make of him.

But one right-wing luminary did, in fact, see Trump coming—a full three decades before his arrival. In 1985, Irving Kristol, the leading founder of the neoconservative movement, wrote an article in The Wall Street Journal called “THE NEW POPULISM: NOT TO WORRY.” In it, Kristol foresaw the possibility that a conservative posing as a populist could one day lead a successful democratic uprising against the nation’s liberal elites. What’s more, Kristol argued, such an uprising was an absolute necessity to salvage America from what he had come to see as the pernicious effects of the Enlightenment principles on which it had been founded.

Kristol, a Trotskyite-turned-antiliberal intellectual, was at first repelled by the emerging populism of the 1970s, much of it tied to the religious right. In a 1972 article in his magazine The Public Interest, he described populism as “the belief that the world is being misdirected by a kind of mischievous conspiracy against the common man,” and noted with obvious condemnation the “tendency toward xenophobia and racism” of American populist movements of the past.

But unlike the old kind of populism that struck terror in the hearts of the Founding Fathers, the “new populism,” as Kristol dubbed it, was nothing to worry about. In his view, the sentiments of the people now represented a “common sense” reaction against the “un-wisdom” of the elites. What was needed, he believed, was a strong leader who could rally the masses to reclaim American democracy from the clutches of liberal intellectuals, institute a faith-based government, and bind the nation together by preaching an assertive nationalism.

As political scientist Shadia Drury has pointed out, Kristol’s evolving view of populism was heavily influenced by the reactionary political philosopher Leo Strauss, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany. Though atheistic in his own personal views, Strauss objected to the fact that the Enlightenment, and the philosophy of liberalism that constituted its political expression, privileged reason over religious faith, which he thought was the glue that held society together; without that glue, he believed, the social order would descend into Nazi-style barbarism. Through his reading of Strauss, Kristol was also influenced by the ideas of Carl Schmitt, who served as the legal-political philosopher of the Nazi regime in its early years. Schmitt considered the whole idea of parliamentary democracy, with its naïve and romantic notion of accommodation among political rivals, as absurd and futile. The key to politics, he believed, was adopting a “friend/foe” mentality of identifying your political enemy and then bringing about his political destruction. And the enemy, in his view, was liberalism itself, in all its manifestations.

I am beginning to think anyone who claimed to have learned much from Leo Strauss is dangerous to egalitarian democracy.  His heritage seems to me to be pretty much uniformly poisonous.   I would also note that the entire history of the neo-cons and their ideological claims highlight how easily the word "democracy" can be turned from everything from an oligarachic, aristocratic system of those with an inhereited status as rulers over a huge population of slaves and virtual slaves - many of them being women to the kind of thing that is the only legitimate form of government, egalitarian democracy.  Irving Kristol's "democracy" as well as Leo Struss is, in fact, such a fascist government. 

I think the problem for all of them is that they rejected the real alternative to the endless and futile search of the Socratic philosophers for an ill defined universal, the very religion that Strauss knew was essential but which he rejected.  That can, as well, be twisted by people who want to lie.  Choosing to not lie is where those differences start to be articulable and  even discernable. 

I don't trust an ex-Trot, for much the same reason. 

Carnival Is Tomorrow Meat Head - Hate Mail

Don't know much about the biologist Eugene Koonin except that it's clear he is looking of some scheme, any scheme will do, be it abiogenetic or cosmological  which will make it seem plausible that life arose by the action of the atheist's emergency contingency god "Random-Chance" and not as it seems far more plausible on the known facts to believe that it most likely is a result of intelligent design.  That is something which pervades the literature of speculative science in the 20th century, it is clearly behind the thinking of many ideolgical atheists who do science, some of whom achieve renown and fame.  And it produces some really terrible science which is, nonetheless, published by scientists in their journals and taught in textbooks and funded by the funding agencies, such is the hold that ideological atheism has and such is the near universal cultural influence of that ideology. 

And I think that this is made obvious in the abandonment of logical coherence within science by scientists of that ideological predisposition.  That is something that is made blindingly obvious by the resort to the "panspermia" theory grasped onto by people like the ultra-atheist-ultra-materialst (and also scientific racist and eugenicist, and for the same reasons) Francis Crick, most famous as the Brit half of Watson and Crick, the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA.  The problem with "panspermia" that life on Earth was introduced from extra-terrestrial sources is that it merely, as even Koonin admitted, puts off how life arose to some other place, bying at best a few billion years of the life of the Universe for Random-Chance to work his wonders (I'm sure these guys would at least feel their god to be a "he").  That atheist theory;s real nature shows that, blindingly obviously in the version Crick believed in where we are all part of an experiment set up by alien intelligence - brushing aside the improbabilities of such a thing - the same long distances and speed of travel which Crick's fellow ideological atheists used to debunk the UFO believers for a start - including who in the hell lives long enough to do an experiment that they'd have to live hundreds of millions of years to get any significant results from?  How long did Crick believe his genius aliens live?   I'd ask the obvious question - what funding agency would have given them the grant to do it?  

Anyway, a listing of the idiocy of the sciency atheist-materialists would be prohibitively long. But my point yesterday morning was to show that not only do these men of science shred scientific method, they need to obliterate logical coherency and even the meaning of words for them to do what they do.  Getting back to just why the "RNA World" model of how life arose is such a terrible scientific hypothesis he unwittingly produced a rather huge and ultimately self-destructive problem with it. 

To wit, no one has achieved bona fide self-replication of RNA which is the cornerstone of the RNA World. 

Notice in that sentence he says "no one has achieved bona fide self-replication of RNA".   Which is a self-contradictory statement.  If RNA is to be "sefl-replicating" RNA is the only "one" that could achieve that.  It would have to happen without any human scientific intervention - YET THE ENTIRE PROJECT OF PROVING THAT RNA CAN BE "SELF-REPLICATING" IS DONE THROUGH THE INTELLIGENT DESIGN OF THE LARGELY ATHEIST-MATERIALIST IDEOLOGUES WHO WORKING AS SCIENTISTS ARE PROVIDING THE INTELLIGENT DESIGN THAT THEY WILL THEN DENY IS WHAT DID IT.  And they are so stupid that they don't get why they're doing exactly the opposite of what they claim to be doing. 

You would to be witless to not understand the problem of that sentence and the process it refers to as a definitive disqualification of science to "prove" or demonstrate or give you a good idea or support a hunch that intelligent design is disposed of.  How witless is proved by what he said immediately after that

Nevertheless, there is a lot going for the RNA World.

These people are MORE willfully deluded and vastly less careful about self-criticism than any of the theologians I quote and cite on this blog, they could not hold a candle in their use of logic and reason and honest methods of scholastic discourse to Elizabeth Johnson or Walter Brueggeman, James Cone, Hans Kung, etc.  And what they do is called, is funded as and is published as being science.  

In the beginning of his book Does God Exist, Hans Kung starts with the quest for the founder of modern thought Rene Descartes whose quest was to find proof as tight as was found in pure mathematics to rest conclusions about natural phenomena on based in measurements and the direct observation of the movements and behavior of objects and, unfortunately for his wife's dog which he nailed to a board and dissected live, without anesthetics, pooh-poohing the poor dog's agonized cries as merely the noise a defective machine makes - living beings.   Clearly his desired view of reality was strong enough for him to deny not only what he was observing but what he was doing - which is a cold-blooded habit of thinking that has pervaded science as the servant of wealth and power to this day.   

But it is also a habit that allows them to pretend that they are not violating the very methods they  claim as their basic rules when they blatantly are.  And it's  not only a matter of cutting corners of supposed scientific method they'll shred the entire thing even as they pretend that's not what they're obviously doing.  And there are no more blatant shredders of it than those who use the appearance of science to conduct their ideological campaign against a belief in God in favor of their substitute henotheon of gods, disposed of and taken up as convenient, matter, matter-energy, and, as early 20th century physics made a belief in 19th century style materialism irrational (but never truly given up by its faithful)) Random-Chance.  

I was thinking about this yesterday and it occurred to me that to my knowledge the tendency of those with a mathematical knack or inclination to attribute divine power to numbers and geometrical objects shows up at least as early as Pythagoras and probably pre-dated him - I think most of what the Ancient Greeks are attributed they stole from Semitic and African people.   And such a tendency is always strongest in those who deny they believe in gods, most of all the God of monotheism.  

The atheist-materialist-scientistic mind loves to believe that our consciousness is anything from an ephemeral product of our brain chemistry to non-existent.  When you think about the way these guys think you have to wonder if it isn't the quality of their own thinking that leads them to believe that, that we are merely, at best, computers made of meat.  They were thinking that when computers were, by today's standards, really weak and unaccomplished - they were headed in that direction before they'd made the first one.   

I will admit that it gratifies me to be able to point that out to you guys.  The  outraged, hurt and angry response from some really assholish and arrogant atheists is gratifying.  I figured I should get it out of my system now because Lent starts on Wednesday.  

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Watching The Boat Headed For The Falls

I haven't commented on the Nevada Caucus yet because I can't help thinking of the famous and over-used picture The Ship of Fools based on Plato's anti-democratic set-up job in Book 6 of his Republic.  I don't buy Socrates' snobbery because the entire history of humanity proves that other than equality in democracy all governments are gang mob operations as his students proved, twice within Socrates' lifetime before, as I.F. Stone convincingly argues, the Athenians had had enough and put the brains behind those thugs to death.  

I think Bernie Sanders, if he doesn't drop out or die before the Convention, is going to be a catastrophic disaster for the Democratic Party and, so, will probably be the death of America's highly flawed Constitutional democracy.  The thugs and their lawyers and hired liars have skillfully exploited every anti-democratic feature of the Constitution and the poorly worded Bill of Rights to put the United States in the hands of thugs that match any in history for their corruption, theft and ruthlessness.  I hope if I or my nieces and nephews lives to see a new birth of egalitarian democracy in the United States - or whatever part of it manages to break away, which, itself, seems to me to be far more a viable option than ever before in my life time - they don't make the mistake of the Athenians and not dispossess the gangsters of their loot.   I don't think it would be safe to do anything short of a general economic leveling to get rid of the wealthy and their corruption of American democracy, something they have done from the start.  

I am loathe to say that I hope Sanders is forced by his health to drop out before the convention, preferably the sooner the better, because I doubt his health is up to going the course and if he dies before the election but when he is the nominee, it will be as big a catstrophe as the United States has ever faced.  And I mean that including the Civil War, World War II and the Great Depression.  

May God help the United States because it's going to take a miracle to avoid a catastrophic blood bath.  I'll believe that, fully, even as I cast my vote for Bernie Sanders if I am forced to do that.  I will do so with a complete and total conviction that it will lead to catastrophe.  I hope that I am wrong about that, I don't believe I am for a second. 

"God in the gaps" - Favorite Atheist Dodges For $10 - What is it you can be sure will come up in your hate mail after you write about this.

"With our proposal for RNA world evolution at acidic pH [5], we have suggested that the primordial ‘soup’ may have been more like vinaigrette, while Hanczyc has drawn a comparison with mayonnaise."

Here is a review comment  by the eminent (or so I gather) biologist Eugene Koonin to a paper he reviewed by Harold Bernhardt entitled The RNA world hypothesis: The worst theory of the early evolution of life (except for all the others)

Referee 1: Eugene Koonin
I basically agree with Bernhardt. The RNA World scenario is bad as a scientific hypothesis: it is hardly falsifiable and is extremely difficult to verify due to a great number of holes in the most important parts. To wit, no one has achieved bona fide self-replication of RNA which is the cornerstone of the RNA World. Nevertheless, there is a lot going for the RNA World (Bernhardt summarizes much of the evidence, and I add more below) whereas the other hypotheses on the origin of life are outright helpless. Moreover, as argued in some detail elsewhere [91], the RNA World appears to be an outright logical inevitability. ‘Something’ had to start efficiently replicating to kick off evolution, and proteins do not have this ability. As Bernhardt rightly points out, it is not certain that RNA was the first replicator but it does seem certain that it was the first ‘good’ replicator. To clarify, this does not imply that the primordial RNA World did not have peptides; on the contrary, it is plausible that peptides played important roles but they were not initially encoded in RNA.

Note that the two, the writer of the article and the eminent reviewer agree "The RNA World scenario is bad as a scientific hypothesis."  And then note that, I think with justification, it is taken as the best that the decades of very well funded research into the question of the origin of life on Earth has produced by way of an implausible scenario to get it done by purely chemical means without help from intelligent design.  The entire paper lists what I would not be surprised are one insurmountable problem after another for this, best that they've come up with so far, and in the process noting that even their fellow researchers are quick to point out those problems which were not and, for the most part, have not been surmounted.  

The comment by Koonin AFTER HE POINTS OUT THAT IT IS HARDLY FALSIFIABLE!  that the theory "is extremely difficult to verify due to a great number of holes in the most important parts" is followed by his critique of the competing theories "the other hypotheses on the origin of life are outright helpless."  

And after that, he says"

the RNA World appears to be an outright logical inevitability. ‘Something’ had to start efficiently replicating to kick off evolution, and proteins do not have this ability.

Clearly in this branch of what is denominated to be science, the concept of logical inevitability starts in that prime directive that I noted last week abiogenesis shares with such things as multi-universe conjecture in cosmology, to do anything that will allow them to pretend they have disposed of a Creator.  Of God.  Even the alleged rules of science and even, as can be seen, of having verification of claims presented as science in nature, are to be pushed aside, and, now, we see that even what is admitted is a bad and, I would say, entirely unsupported theory full of holes is declared to be a "logical inevitability" which makes me wonder which other such theories have been, as well, declared to be "logically inevitable" while so full of holes. 

I will note that in the case of Koomin, he, himself, has written a paper which admits what I accused such people of doing, making up an infinity of universes, or a virtual one - take your pick, there are multi-multiverse schemes aplenty to choose from - for the purpose of getting by the absurdly remote probability of any life of the kind we know arising spontaneously by the action of the atheist god Random-Chance. 

Here is the entire abstract of his paper, The cosmological model of eternal inflation and the transition from chance to biological evolution in the history of life

Recent developments in cosmology radically change the conception of the universe as well as the very notions of "probable" and "possible". The model of eternal inflation implies that all macroscopic histories permitted by laws of physics are repeated an infinite number of times in the infinite multiverse. In contrast to the traditional cosmological models of a single, finite universe, this worldview provides for the origin of an infinite number of complex systems by chance, even as the probability of complexity emerging in any given region of the multiverse is extremely low. This change in perspective has profound implications for the history of any phenomenon, and life on earth cannot be an exception.

Origin of life is a chicken and egg problem: for biological evolution that is governed, primarily, by natural selection, to take off, efficient systems for replication and translation are required, but even barebones cores of these systems appear to be products of extensive selection. The currently favored (partial) solution is an RNA world without proteins in which replication is catalyzed by ribozymes and which serves as the cradle for the translation system. However, the RNA world faces its own hard problems as ribozyme-catalyzed RNA replication remains a hypothesis and the selective pressures behind the origin of translation remain mysterious. Eternal inflation offers a viable alternative that is untenable in a finite universe, i.e., that a coupled system of translation and replication emerged by chance, and became the breakthrough stage from which biological evolution, centered around Darwinian selection, took off. A corollary of this hypothesis is that an RNA world, as a diverse population of replicating RNA molecules, might have never existed. In this model, the stage for Darwinian selection is set by anthropic selection of complex systems that rarely but inevitably emerge by chance in the infinite universe (multiverse).

The plausibility of different models for the origin of life on earth directly depends on the adopted cosmological scenario. In an infinite universe (multiverse), emergence of highly complex systems by chance is inevitable. Therefore, under this cosmology, an entity as complex as a coupled translation-replication system should be considered a viable breakthrough stage for the onset of biological evolution.

The two rather give away what the game is, it is to create totally unsupported, unevidenced entities to fill the huge gap in knowledge with the atheist god which they won't name as such but which I think any rational observer without their prime directive motivating their every action would have to admit is their creator god, Random-Chance.  And they repeatedly have put him into the gap of knowledge wherever needed in order to pretend that they have disposed of the Creator of monotheism.   Wise believers in religion don't put God in the gaps, among the first person to warn against it was a Scottish evangelical preacher, Henry Drummond.  

But in science, it's done all the time because, you see, their god is a mathematical one and it serves to push off all unanswerable questions even if it means coming up with theories such as abiogenesis does - to stupidly use intelligent design to deny intelligent design is necessary to do what they do with it - and by cosmologists who, being better at math than others realize that when the improbabilities against chance are up against some rather seriously discrediting time limits, they merely create infinities out of nothing but a desire to pretend they're getting rid of God with science, though they have to destroy scientific method to do so.  And they're allowed to do that because the current ideological governance of science and modern culture are far more scholastically wedded to atheist-materialism than medieval scholasticism was to Christian Catholicism.  I've mentioned before that Paul Feyerabend compared and found medieval methods of logical investigation were at times superior to the atheist-polemical methods used by post-war men of science. 

I will conclude with a passage from an article by one of my favorite critics into the laspses of scientists, John Horgan who said in regard to another of the unevidenced schemes of  such science (Francis Crick put his childlike faith in atheism in it for one) to get past the time limit on their creator god to do it 

Of course, panspermia theories merely push the problem of life's origin into outer space. If life didn’t begin here, how did it begin out there? Creationists are no doubt thrilled that origin-of-life research has reached such an impasse (see for example the screed "Darwinism Refuted," which cites my 1991 article), but they shouldn't be. Their explanations suffer from the same flaw: What created the divine Creator? And at least scientists are making an honest effort to solve life's mystery instead of blaming it all on God.

Which, fond as I am for him, is too glib in the end.  John Horgan, of course, knows he must uphold the atheist-materialist order, even though he knows more than most what's wrong with it, so he makes the obvious blunder of defining God as a created being when, at least, the Abrahamic monotheistic religions have always, from their earliest records, seem to have said that the real God is uncreated.  That is the God who could have gotten the job done within the presently known conditions and time limits in which it could have happened.  I think that, given the amount of unevidenced conjecture that the atheist-materialists have to come up with to support their multiverse resort and their hopeless shredding and mashing of scientific method in abiogenetic pseudo-science it is far less unscientific to admit that we cannot solve such questions with science and it would be better to either shut up in agnostic silence on them - if that's your preference - or to admit that you believe God did it but that how it happened is not something God chooses to reveal to us as of yet.  Maybe never will.  Just as we will never, ever have the resolvable and knowable fossil of the first organism in our line of life. 

My religious belief is based on what Jesus said about human life to humans who didn't have the luxury to waste time on worrying about that.  As we soon won't, either. 

I've obviously read more about this BEFORE I came to my conclusions about it than you have before you did.  Why don't you try that instead of watching cable TV shows about it before you go back to gaming and whining like your fellow incel buddies.  None of you seems to have anything important to say in the matter.