Saturday, August 9, 2014

What I Am Doing Today or I'm Not Playing Hooky, Really

Cutting my experimental oat crop today.  I think it's ready, I've never grown oats except as green manure before so I'm not certain - the books aren't very helpful.
I'm using a scythe, unfortunately without a grain cradle, so far but I will be getting a snathe that I can attach one to for my further experiments.  I have to say, I like this one a lot.

And I'll try making this one, this afternoon.  Only I won't cut quite the same fine figure as the UK Scythe Champion (They have a title for that, really) in the video.  I'll look more like the old guy in the first one. Or what this guy must have looked like before he learned to do it.

Friday, August 8, 2014

It's Time For The Atheists Who Aren't Assholes To Prove They Exist

Never having heard of Rick Wiles before reading about his projectile vomiting of hatred over "christian" radio last night, the most that can be said about him is that his shtick is a good example of stuff I said should not be on the radio, television or other mass medium, here, the other day.

“This Ebola epidemic could become a global pandemic and that’s another name for plague,” Wiles said. “It may be the great attitude adjustment that I believe is coming. Ebola could solve America’s problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography and abortion... If Ebola becomes a global plague, you better make sure the blood of Jesus is upon you, you better make sure you have been marked by the angels so that you are protected by God, if not, you may be a candidate to meet the Grim Reaper.”

I challenge anyone to match anything he said in that with the Gospel of Jesus, the rest of the books of the Second Testament or the First Testament, for that matter. The guy is clearly a fraud and a liar when he presents himself as a Christian. Apparently he also believes that Obama is spreading Ebola by injection so he's about as up to date and sciency as the pseudo-Islamic nutcases who spread paranoia about polio vaccines and medical treatment, thus killing and maiming Muslims.

You would think that the facts of who has gotten Ebola and who is endangered by it, in a country like Libera which has a population which is more than 85% Christian, many of the victims reported to be family members who are dying and at risk in entire families as they care for their loved ones and Christian missionaries who are infected as they care for people they don't even know would be the best refutation of the Rick Wiles of the world.

But, and I'm sure you would have about as hard a time predicting this as that an egg dropped on a rock would break, the typical response is to be hatin' on Christians.  Some, at places like Salon, have been gleefully wishing that it would be possible to wipe out Christians, or religious people in general,  with Ebola.  Apparently they want to do the Wiles thing even more than that hate-talker because I doubt the percentage of Liberians covered by his hate list would equal 85% of the population.  

This ever so much reminds me of the hate-talk on the night that Dr. George Tiller died and the atheist Wurlitzer cranked up to blame Christians for his murder (Yes, Duncan, it was on your blog that time) only, that would include Dr. Tiller who was ushering at his Reformed Lutheran Church as he was murdered.

While I have held that not all atheists are assholes, it's high time for those people to do what atheists are always demanding of God, prove they exist by speaking up against the ones who are.  It's time that they put up or settle for people assuming they're OK with this kind of hate talk being a fixed trait of atheists.

Atheist Claims Give A Gift To intelligent design (in the lower case meaning of that phrase) (perhaps in the capitalized form as well)

Extended from part of a blog brawl.

No scientific theory can have anything scientific to say about the origin of life and, in any case, it is not equipped to comment on whether or not that origin was the result of The Creator.  For science to have anything real to say about an original organism(s) it would have to actually have resolvable fossilized remains of that organism and only that organism.  And even those remains would certainly not answer the question of how it was created.

If the theory of an original organism from which all life today is descended is true, and it is the theory I believe, then one thing is certain about it, it, unlike every single subsequent descendant of it, didn't come from a living organism but somehow, by unknowable processes, came together, began to live, presumably to metabolize, sustain and build whatever structure it had and, most incredibly of all, successfully reproduce itself in a way it hadn't ever done before*.

At each stage, this organism would have had to perform what were almost certainly the most complex chemical reactions to have ever happened on the planet, perhaps in the solar system or galaxy, and done it successfully and to have survived that, repairing any damage it may have sustained in the process.  And, it being alive, it would have had to have successfully done what were very complex physiological processes that would be entirely unprecedented and done those successfully the first time.  There would be none of the theoretical practice sessions of natural selection to get it right, the failures being merely unsuccessful models, the first organism was sui generis (in the most radical sense in which that term can be used) and its success could not be the product of trial and error.   Error would have killed it and it would have left no descendants.

Personally, I doubt that could have happened without an intelligent agency controlling it, intelligence that, if it were contained within the organism would only magnify the already incredible improbability of every single stage of that original organisms life happening, successfully, so as to produce the line and then the interacting chains and webs and billions of threads of life that arose and diverged from it.  Of course, anything that can be said about that isn't a scientific conclusion, for or against, since it is based on absolutely no evidence but entirely on imagination and assumptions.  Just as anything that can be said about any organism for which no direct evidence is available, here or elsewhere in the universe, you know, the kind of living beings that atheists like Carl Sagan like to make up out of wishful thinking and unwarranted assumptions of analogy to organisms they know on Earth.

But that is all speculation.  The "science" of abiogenesis,  which was invented by Oparin explicitly to support his atheism, will certainly never have that fossilized remnant of that original organism and almost as certainly never even get within many hundreds of millions of years near that event, so even the earliest resolvable fossils about which anything can be said with any confidence won't answer those questions.  Among the reasons for that is that every subsequent organism will have had the drastically different origin of biological reproduction.   The original organism would be radically different from every, single one of its descendants.

Atheists hate it when you point that out because they, as much as creationists, need to pretend they know how life began on Earth, not for scientific purposes, because without evidence science can't be done, but so they can deny that an intelligent agent was involved in it and claim that declaration is science.

Well, it isn't science and it never can be because even if they had the knowledge of that mechanism, they would have gained that knowledge through their own intelligence.

And that would be merely a description of what happened, it wouldn't have made what happened in the unknown conditions under which it happened, happen.   If, as so many atheists like to pretend, what Urey and Miller did, produce amino acids or more complex molecules in a laboratory, under conditions which were certainly NOT like any that existed on the early Earth,  was relevant to the origin of life, they would have unwittingly lent support to the necessity of intelligent design being part of the process.

If they could come up with the plan and design of their experiment and do it in a modern laboratory, their intelligence is an essential component in that process.  IT WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED WITHOUT THEIR INTELLIGENCE MAKING THE CRUCIAL CONTRIBUTION.   They would not have proved that it could have happened in the conditions under which the first organism arose in the absence of intelligent agency, they would have merely shown that those things could be done with it. If abiogenists and their atheist fan boys want to pretend that what they've produced has the reliability of science, telling us something about the original organism, they have unwittingly provided those who believe in intelligent design the ability to point out, correctly and irrefutably, that intelligence was required to do what they did.  But, then, atheists quite often do things unwittingly in claiming science is their property.

*  Update:  Rereading this to see how many mistakes I made I should have added that the original organism, since it would have lived for a time, may very well have had to REGULATE its chemistry, which would be essential for its continuing and to coordinate every aspect of its life.  If, as some of the many competing creation myths of abiogenists insist, RNA (or even more unlikely, DNA) was part of that, presumably some containing membrane to allow sufficient accumulation of chemical components for its action would have been part of it, too.  How that original organism would have known how to do that, with no instructions inherited from a parent organism and how it would have known how to repair its containing membrane when it reproduced are questions I'd need answered before I bought any of those theories.

When it's living organisms that are the subject, all of those and almost certainly many other, yet unknown, issues vital to their life and reproduction would have to be addressed and positively resolved.  I will say, flat out, that science will never do that and come to a conclusion that even all other Creator hating, materialist scientists specializing in that form of ideological speculation will accept.  There is no reason for anyone to accept any of it in the absence of that total agreement or even with it.  Someone will whine that what I've said here isn't science.  No, it isn't as I said in the beginning of this piece.  And when science can't refute an idea, everyone is free to accept or reject it or pretend to not take a position on it on whatever other basis they will.

Update 2:  Someone has objected to my including metabolism in what the original organism would have to have done.  Well, if it reproduced it had to have had enough physical material to reproduce itself and that would mean it would have had to have taken in more material than it originally contained to do that.  And they would have had to turn those materials into a biologically active form, within their own body structure.   You see how complicated it is when you're talking about living organisms as they would really have to be for them to do what you believe they would have to have done?    You can't just imagine that stuff up, it happened the way it did and only in the way it did and you can only know that by observation.

Update 3:  Ennui for Dummies

@Kevin Boyle Ah, the old "turtles all the way down" argument. You believers never seem to tire of it.
Lemme ask you this, Einstein. If it is "impossible that this [DNA] formed itself by accident" and required "intelligence", then it follows that it is impossible that this "intelligence" formed itself by accident, too, isn't it? What formed that, then?
I await your detailed explanation, complete with relevant data to support it.

@Ennui for Dummies @Kevin Boyle "turtles all the way down"   Do you idiots even consider whether or not your atheist cliches are appropriate to what was said?
What I said is that without evidence of the original organism that provided the information of how it came into being, sustained its life and reproduced, science could say nothing scientific about it.  It can't even say if it happened once, in an incredible string of seeming improbabilities, or, vastly multiplying those impossibilities, more than once.   I have actually had atheist true believers in Urey and Miller, while bringing up the range of things that would have had to happen, just as a result of random actions,  claim that it must have happened more than once.  
If you want to claim that Urey and Miller did something relevant to the solution of that enormous problem, it is you and other atheists, the two scientists included, who have given intelligent design proponents the ability to point out that WITHOUT THEIR INTELLIGENT DESIGN THEIR EXPERIMENT NEVER WOULD HAVE HAPPENED.[There is no way to demonstrate through an experiment that it ever would have happened without intelligent input. Doing the experiment creates the impossibility of demonstrating that, which is one of the reasons that you can't deal with the presence of The Creator using science.]
That's one of the thing with you materialist-atheist dolts, you figure that if you don't like a logical point that it is illegitimate when the only valid judgement of a logical point is that it is logical.   In that you are at least [as bad as], and in many cases worse than some of the more reasonable of fundamentalists who understand at least that much about how logic works.
To answer your question, God is uncreated not a thing in the universe that is created, that is sufficient to answer that. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Last Words of Copernicus Sacred Harp #112 At Noon

Update:  I haven't been able to trace the authenticity of it, but I've read that Copernicus requested that his epitaph be, in English translation,

O Lord, the faith thou didst give to St. Paul , I cannot ask; the mercy thou didst show to St. Peter, I dare not ask; but, Lord, the grace thou didst show unto the dying robber, that, Lord, show to me.

I will admit that if I found the authentication of that it would tickle me pink.

Democracy Will Die by The Lie

One of the more remarkable things about our era is how it isn't lies that have become disreputable, it is morality.   When our society, our politics, our courts and other institutions are pervaded with lies and liars, it is calling their lies, lies that is forbidden.  Perhaps that is because of the possibility of lawsuits that won't get thrown out before they become expensive, it is certainly related to the fashion of even Supreme Court judges rejecting their job description as arbiters of the truth.  Perhaps the problem is that the incredibly low quality of justices appointed and confirmed by a lazy and cynical Senate during Republican administrations don't lead other justices to trusting them.  I mean, look at how Alito lied in his decision in the Hobby Lobby case, as proven in Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissent. Such a court as the Roberts court and the Rehnquist court that got away with imposing the worst president in our history in a baldly political act, is hardly trustworthy.  Such courts, with no use for the truth have even rejected the role of a judge as the one who legally determines the truth, make a show of a respect for the truth very much a very rare and sometimes thing.

The courts and the FCC and other regulators have given the media pretty much a carte blanche for lying about politicians and politics and, increasingly, even private citizens, without suffering any real penalty.  Perhaps that is due to how many of the regulators are the product of the same elite law schools as have given us the Supreme Court.   In an aside, it was gratifying to see Robert Reich noting how the Ivy League universities have produced our elite criminal class of oligarchs and their intrinsic role in the complete corruption of American society, politics and touching on their corruption of the law as well as business and financial institutions.   For American democracy to survive, the stranglehold on American institutions of the Ivy Leaguers and their legal theories will have to go.

The absurd corrective of "more speech" the antidote to slander and libel and bigotry which the media "free speech" absolutists recommend is entirely inadequate to prevent the damage of lies, especially those multiplied and magnified by the large media organizations that employ most of them.   The period when "free speech" has gone from being a vital tool of telling the truth to a permission to the hugely rich porn industry and onward to being the major tool by which the Berger, Rehnquist and now Roberts courts have attacked representative democracy, has entirely disproved that theory of free speech.   "More speech" can be more lies told by the same liars that the "more speech" was supposed to correct.  We now have an absurd situation in which lies are protected by courts, even issued by the in court rulings, and the truth is suppressed in the media that is supposed to be the last best defense of government by an informed public.   Only, it's not at all an uncommon situation, it is the common operating procedure for despots and dictatorships around the world and in history, societies in which lies are empowered and the truth is punished.

This can continue or we can stop fetishizing free speech that protects lies and liars who are destroying democracy.   But to do that we also have to stop pretending that people are incapable of discerning the difference between lies and the truth in most of the important contexts in which that must be done in everyday life.   We have to reassert our powers to do that in a democratic context.   I think that the free speech absolutist cult grew out of the distrust of governments by liberals when they saw how bad it could get in the Nazi and fascist governments of the 1930s and 40s.  They lost faith in the ability of democratic governments and courts and politicians working within the framework of democracy to do what dictatorships reject, discern the truth and use it to make life better.  Only their solution, suspending critical judgement of speech, pretending that, somehow, allowing lies to be broadcast freely will produce a situation in which by magic, the truth will win, enabled the same force that produced those very dictatorships. *

There was never any reason to be fair to fascists or nice to Nazis, there was never any reason or even right to pretend that their theories and ideas haven't been given one of the most disastrous of all tests in real time that human beings have ever given to theories and ideas and they failed them absolutely.

In the end of her book, The Walk Down Mainstreet,  showing life in a small Maine town in the throes of and aftermath of a state basketball championship in the late 1950s, Ruth Moore has a scene in which the former basketball star who was sent to prison for armed robbery comes back to his high school to look at the trophies and the picture of him on an earlier state championship team.  In having a nasty conversation with the old principal who encounters him, he says that while he was in prison he read Mein Kampf which some idiot liberal had donated to the prison library, no doubt in line with "being fair to all points of view" or that the prisoners "had a right to read all sides"  that was part of the same "free speech" fetish in that period.  Just for the record, no one ever always read "both sides" of things, that was a pose behind which there was just more pose.  The young thug had been converted to Nazism by reading the book mixing it with his own self-pity, to the horror of the principal.   Moore obviously saw the stupidity of ignoring the fact that the world had just seen what permitting Nazi propaganda to become influential and effective in the real world meant.  Perhaps she also wanted to make the point that the Nazis gained their first foothold by appealing to thugs and criminals who were their first soldiers even before they gained power, officially. The same kind of people who the gun industry and the Republicans on the bench recruit and arm with their Second Amendment fetishism.   It is such an obviously dangerous mix, that danger massively proved by both recent history and the current world today, that anyone who pretends it can't happen here is a total idiot.  

It is so bizarre today to have the same people who loudly scoff and mock "magical thinking" ignoring the truth that we have learned about how dangerous permitting lies in the mass, electronic media is, in favor of their own magical thinking that giving permission for the magnification and multiplication and continual repetition of those lies will, somehow, produce the triumph of the truth, clearly, by magic.

The worst idea can defeat the best idea if the worst idea is promoted through the media.  That is a truth revealed by human experience, in real life, in real societies.  It is a truth that speech in the media produced Nazism, fascism, the mass slaughters of history, the attempted genocide in Rwanda was a product of free speech and free press, that truth falsifies the theory of free speech absolutism.   Our own Supreme Court proves that the slogans of the free speech fetishists can be used to attack our democracy on behalf of the stinking rich oligarchs who will give massive endowments to the elite law schools and universities where such theories are taught and made official legal dogma and which, in a self-reinforcing cycle, produce Supreme Court justices who give the First Amendment that meaning.  

Democracy will die by the lie and it's not going to go out with a whimper but with mass slaughter, of us,  civil insurrection, civil war and it will likely not rise again. It certainly will not rise in any safe way unless lies are called lies and are punished when they are broadcast, the liars banned from the media.   I'd have banned Mein Kampf from prisons and any other book that promoted violence and murder.  There is no rational case for allowing them the same protection of books and ideas that promote equality, moral obligations and democracy.  Democracy doesn't owe anti-democratic evil the time of day, never mind the protection of the law.  It doesn't owe those who enable it more than total rejection.

* The promotion of free speech absolutism by the Marxist left in the United States and other Western democracies was never anything but self-serving.  The idea that "if we suppress the speech of Nazis it will be used to suppress us" is just stupid.  There was never any comparable advantage given to the speech of leftists under that absolutism.   When's the last time you heard a democratic socialist, or even just a real liberal,  being given equal time on American radio or TV?   How often does Diane Rehm have on competent democratic socialists to balance her typical panels of people from Cato and Am. Enterprise Inst, balanced by some NPR journalist (who is supposed to be impartial) or some bleeting dolt from The Brookings Prostitution?

The duping of liberals by Marxists, anarchists and others who solicited our pity while they rejected or scoffed at democracy, was one of the stupider things that happened in the past century and more.  We never owed them any more than we owed fascists or Nazis, and we gave all of them far, far more than we owed them. And that only discredited and destroyed the political effectiveness of liberalism.

I would certainly include all anti-democratic ideologies and rants in what should not automatically have total support and protection.  The domestic Stalinists were, no less than the domestic Nazis, supporting a mass murderer and dictator who totally suppressed free speech and free press as much as Hitler did,  while presenting themselves and being presented as the martyrs of free speech here.   People who advocate theories of government that depend on killing people and violating even their most vital of inherent rights should be treated in line with their own theories.  I wouldn't be surprised if, when democracies survive, they don't find something like that is a certain requirement if you want to keep it.   The lessons of history can be ignored for a people with the luxury of pissing away their democracy but those lessons will have to be repeated until they are learned and acted on.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Staple Singers At Noon

And I can't help but repost this masterpiece

The Title "Freethinker" is Generally A Lie

I have to apologize to everyone, yesterday was a hard at work and I spent most of last night mucking around in the mire that is an atheist dominated comment thread to see if I could come up with any new angle on the delusion that is and pervades atheism.   Not much new, just points to reconsider.

In short, atheists are pretty much the same thing as materialists, some in its old fashioned expression, some under its new names "phyicalism" "naturalism" which are the same thing as the old materialism trying to pretend that physics and logic didn't pretty much blow materialism out of the water about ninety years ago.  They pretend not to have known that or not that their "physicalism" and "naturalism" is identical to old fashioned materialism with a tiny twist in its statement to ignore that it has been refuted.

And they don't seem to understand that materialism means, in the words of one of their man-gods, Carl Sagan, that "The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be."   That "Cosmos"  being that material universe, the objects in the universe moving, combining and breaking apart, according to fixed rules of nature.   Though the materialists online seldom can even express that much knowledge of their faith, theirs is a radically monist system, as Sagan put it, it's all there is.  There is nothing outside of that system ruled by causation, in which one thing causes another, according to fixed law.  As mentioned the other day, that such people have gotten away with calling themselves "freethinkers" is them claiming a concept which their faith refutes and branding themselves with it.  Their thoughts are merely The Cosmos sending their materialist brains through their predetermined destiny to produce ideas that the materialist had no role in producing, before those brains die and fall apart into their constituent molecules which may go on to be consumed by a future Pentacostalist snake handler or strychnine drinker or even some more fitting example of degraded humanity like a cabloid TV pundit like Penn Jillette or Ann Coulter.  The very same molecules that produced the thinking of the greatest of scientists can go on to produce the, uh, thinking of  al Qaeda or the producers of Honey Boo Boo.   And the materialist can't explain how those molecules went wrong, in the process.  They can't even explain why one is right and the others are wrong.

To put it plainly, materialism means that any idea is merely the correct working out of physical laws working on whatever material is randomly present at the time the idea was produced.   According to materialism, no idea can be anything but the right result, since the laws of nature are invariably correct.   Which, as I've also pointed out before, idealism, realism, romanticism, Calvinism, Shintoism, Snake handling Pentacostalism, are all the right results of brain chemistry as much so as what goes on in the brains of Sean Carroll, Daniel Dennett, Larry Krauss, etc. There is no materialist explanation of how one idea can be preferable to any other idea, to do that you would have to explain what laws of nature failed in the production of those ideas.  The thinking of Bill Nye has the same value as that of Ken Hamm under a strict interpretation of materialism and, as I pointed out, as a monist system, a uniformly strict interpretation is all that is allowable under the very definition of materialism is all that it permits.

The name "freethinker" can only be applied to materialists through a lie, the claim to that name shows either a complete lack of understanding of materialism by materialists or it show a complete lack of honesty among materialists.  Since morality is, similarly, demoted to a delusion under materialism, they don't believe it's wrong to tell a lie,  a lie is merely what the randomly available molecules produced under the ambient and appropriate laws of nature that produced the lie.  You'd have to show what was wrong with the laws of nature to assert that a lie was wrong,  that is within the materialist system, and the laws of nature can't be wrong under that.   You have to believe in moral absolutes to explain why a lie is wrong and those can only exist outside of that kind of a monist system.

Either the "freethinker" is lying about being a free thinker or they are lying about having thought about it.   As they want to force everyone else into about the most rigid form of thought that dictates to everyone what they can possibly think WHILE EXEMPTING THEIR OWN THOUGHT FROM THEIR OWN SYSTEM, the word "free" would seem to mean some are more free to make up their minds than others, and they are the chosen ones to do that.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Monday, August 4, 2014

Question of the Day

Am I the only one who never got the point of Venn diagrams?   I got a good grade in the Foundations of Math course I took and at one time had what was probably a somewhat better than merely average grasp of set theory but Venn diagrams always seemed irrelevant to me.

In what might be a good example of how the set of really smart people can contain some entirely stupid thinking, here's one of the celebratory Venn diagrams I saw online today.

Since the God presumably being addressed includes that God is any number of stated ultimate superlatives, surpassing human understanding and many if not an infinite number which even surpass human definition, including the entire universe and all of existence, the diagram is stupidly drawn.   I'd give it a failing grade.

Not to mention the clever boy (a guess at the gender in which the stupid often is strong) who drew it doesn't understand much about the other sets and subsets, not to mention the intersections of them.  I mean, Saint Nicholas predates The Spanish Inquisition by any number of years and there is no record of him ever leaving Lyia in Anatolia for the Iberian peninsula that I'm aware of, give or take a few miraculous apparitions to save sailors at sea.   I'm rather doubtful that he could even be considered a member of the Roman Catholic Church.   How he comes to be in the same subset as Spider Man is also something I'd have expected even my Algebra 1 instructor to demand an explanation for.    This diagram is an element of the set of all x such that x is a rather stupid and puerile means of showing how stupid an attempt at cleverness based on putting other people down with implications of class snobbery can be.   So it's only apparent use, to show how clever the one drawing it and posting it online, is, only shows how clever they are not.   Hey, I might not see the point of Venn diagrams but that doesn't mean I can't respect the integrity of the system.  I did take the course.

Primitive Sacred Harp Style Singing At Noon

Late Afternoon Update:  
The Sacred Harp style predates the Civil War and, though, today, it is often seen as a Southern tradition, it was also influenced by a string of early New England hymn writers, William Billings, Jeremiah Ingalls, Daniel Read, etc.  I believe it is the same tradition that Charles Ives talked about in his famous Essays Before a Sonata, in which Ives' prophetic vision includes the vulgar and common forms of rural striving with high art and philosophy and with the most profound and transcendental forces of the universe.   It is contained in the ultimate universal music.

The man "born down to Babbitt's Corners," may find a deep appeal in the simple but acute "Gospel Hymns of the New England camp meetin'," of a generation or so ago. He finds in them—some of them—a vigor, a depth of feeling, a natural-soil rhythm, a sincerity, emphatic but inartistic, which, in spite of a vociferous sentimentality, carries him nearer the "Christ of the people" than does the Te Deum of the greatest cathedral. These tunes have, for him, a truer ring than many of those groove-made, even-measured, monotonous, non-rhythmed, indoor-smelling, priest-taught, academic, English or neo-English hymns (and anthems)—well-written, well-harmonized things, well-voice-led, well-counterpointed, well-corrected, and well O.K.'d, by well corrected Mus. Bac. R.F.O.G.'s-personified sounds, correct and inevitable to sight and hearing—in a word, those proper forms of stained-glass beauty, which our over-drilled mechanisms-boy-choirs are limited to. But, if the Yankee can reflect the fervency with which "his gospels" were sung—the fervency of "Aunt Sarah," who scrubbed her life away, for her brother's ten orphans, the fervency with which this woman, after a fourteen-hour work day on the farm, would hitch up and drive five miles, through the mud and rain to "prayer meetin'"—her one articulate outlet for the fullness of her unselfish soul—if he can reflect the fervency of such a spirit, he may find there a local color that will do all the world good. If his music can but catch that "spirit" by being a part with itself, it will come somewhere near his ideal—and it will be American, too, perhaps nearer so than that of the devotee of Indian or negro melody. In other words, if local color, national color, any color, is a true pigment of the universal color, it is a divine quality, it is a part of substance in art—not of manner. The preceding illustrations are but attempts to show that whatever excellence an artist sees in life, a community, in a people, or in any valuable object or experience, if sincerely and intuitively reflected in his work, and so he himself, is, in a way, a reflected part of that excellence. Whether he be accepted or rejected, whether his music is always played, or never played—all this has nothing to do with it—it is true or false by his own measure. If we may be permitted to leave out two words, and add a few more, a sentence of Hegel appears to sum up this idea, "The universal need for expression in art lies in man's rational impulse to exalt the inner ... world (i.e., the highest ideals he sees in the inner life of others) together with what he finds in his own life—into a spiritual consciousness for himself." The artist does feel or does not feel that a sympathy has been approved by an artistic intuition and so reflected in his work. Whether he feels this sympathy is true or not in the final analysis, is a thing probably that no one but he (the artist) knows but the truer he feels it, the more substance it has, or as Sturt puts it, "his work is art, so long as he feels in doing it as true artists feel, and so long as his object is akin to the objects that true artists admire."

It's dated aspects aside, it's a pretty good example of how the music of the ultimate modernist composer of the 20th century in North America, perhaps in the west, was fundamentally at odds with modernism as commonly understood.  If there is something that is not modern,  it is the style of singing of which the shape-note tradition in the south is the strongest modern survival, from which it has been reintroduced in places like New England where it had almost entirely died out. From that source came a good part of what informed Ive's Second Sonata, The Concord Sonata and his other music.  A source which he stood up as the equal to any other style or school.   Which is more radical than modernism gets.  You can understand why that other pole star of musical modernism, Arnold Schoenberg, who also found his inspiration in older music, admired Ives so much.

When a TV Celebrity Scientist Uses His Celebrity To Tell Industry Skeptics to Shut Up

Neil deGrasse Tyson, the massively promoted celebrity face of science, today, was the subject of a post on Mother Jones by science reporter Chris Mooney.   It is a good example of several of the problems with TV celebrity scientists.

1. He feels comfortable with peddling views on topics outside of, not only his specialty, but in a totally different branch of science using his identity as "A SCIENTIST" to do that.

2. In the process he completely muddies the issues showing that he really doesn't seem to understand them.   He clearly doesn't understand the difference between the hybridization of naturally occurring variations and inserting entirely novel genes into an organism, making it an artificial organism with unknowable and possibly permanent modifications.  Even Chris Mooney, while pushing the video notes that he seems to be rather confused about the science he is commenting on.*

3, He feels entirely comfortable, using his celebrity as "A SCIENTIST" to tell the critics of a massively profitable industry to shut up.  Or, being a geezer whose career as a celebrity scientist is based on a certain degree of kewlitude, "chill out".

One of my earliest blog brawls was over just an atheist demanding that laypeople must accept what scientists say.   Re-reading it after seven years, I'm glad to see I'd pointed out that the kind of authority claimed by scientists doing what the pop-hero of celebrity science,  Neil deGrasse Tyson, has been granted by virtue of his appearances on TV, lead to religious authorities, claiming a similar right to be believed provided them with their propaganda to attack religion.   I also noted another case when a celebrity scientist, another physicist, presented their superstitions about the life sciences as an example of why the public should not just trust what scientists say.

I have noticed that people and groups in the Center for Inquiry, CSICOP, and others started by the atheist ideologue and promoter of scientism, Paul Kurtz are remarkable in demanding that the skeptics of the GMO industry shut up.  I would include Tyson in that group, he certainly seems to associate with them an awful lot.  Which makes me want to know if there are any financial ties among those people and groups with the GMO industry.  Only, I guess that's one of the things we're supposed to shut up about.

The first time I remember hearing of Neil deGrasse Tyson was when he hosted some Nova programs, just about the same time I came to conclude that what was once the finest science program on American TV had become a vehicle of corporate and ideological propaganda.  I'd assumed that the Koch family was the only thing at work in that but a lot of it is also the same kind of materialistic scientism of the kind that Tyson and his media celebrity associates push.  That the pseudo-skepticism industry is telling the skeptics of industry to shut up was probably a predictable trend.   It's a big part of why I find Tyson to mostly just be annoying.

*  Chris Mooney is enough of a journalist to have noted,

In fairness, critics of GM foods make a variety of arguments that go beyond the simple question of whether the foods we eat were modified prior to the onset of modern biotechnology. They also draw a distinction between modifying plants and animals through traditional breeding and genetic modification that requires the use of biotechnology, and involves techniques such as inserting genes from different species.

Mooney has had extensive relationships with CFI, Paul Kurtz and others in the pseudo-skeptical industry, though he is also a real journalist.  I recall reading he left CFI over some disagreement about journalism so maybe he will, eventually, think more critically about the lines they are promoting.

Update During The Late Lunch Shift:  A Salon-Alternet article by the "Freethought" blogger and atheist analog of Ann Coulter, Greta Christina, which RMJ writes about today, uses, quite irrelevantly, a picture of Neil dG Tyson as some kind of atheist religious icon.  

The article, itself, is only good as an example of the jr. high logic that passes muster as atheist thinking, these days.  The neo-atheism is a fad that passed its sell by so long ago that it's sale should be legally prohibited.   I wish I could tell you that Greta Christina is the nadir of neo-atheist . um.......... thought?,  but there is even worse in comment threads.