Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Triumph of Jerry Springer

When I first went online 12 years or so ago little did I suspect that by now the medium we so wanted to believe would revive journalism would have, instead, taken its cue from the cabloids and Jerry Springer

Computer's Down

Still not going great.  I will try again later.

This is a test.

Friday, August 15, 2014

More About Sacred Harp Singing

Here is the introduction to the series of videos recording an all-day Sacred Harp Sing.  I was kind of pleased to see it also notes that Charles Ives wrote about the tradition, praising its power and exultation.  

And here is the "Singing School" video that explains some of the sight signing system, though I have to say that I believe there are a few historical errors in what the instructor says and I would never teach the tetrachordal moveable-do which works quite well for Sacred Harp repertoire but which is far less applicable in more general musical culture.   But you don't have to worry about that because those are just details, it's the music, the power and exultation that matters. 

The Stupidity of People Who Believe They Are Brilliant A Never Ending Story

Looking for something to write about, going to the bottom looking for material, there is an article by one of Alternet's atheist-click-bait artists, C. J. Werleman

Fox News Is Really Freaked Out by Atheists
The network’s customer base is afraid, and nothing in the news business sells faster than fear.\

No, it's resentment, not fear. It is one of the current lines of atheism, that their opponents are motivated by fear when what they are motivated by is atheists insulting them and insisting everyone has to bend over backward to let them have everything their way.   FOX and the right trade in resentment, something anyone who saw the political career of Richard Nixon should have understood, or would have if they bothered to hear what their opponents were saying, instead of believing what they hoped they were feeling.

The subtitle is really the most substantial part of the article, which begins with some CNN crap from S.E. Cupp claiming that the right is more welcoming of atheism than the left.  I wish.  I'd like nothing else but for atheism to find its place where it really belongs as it carries out its hate-talk campaign against the majority of humanity. But scribbling for a magazine that is nominally of the left,  Werleman has to go through the campaign by FOX to associate atheism with the left.  In that we can see one of the more disheartening aspects of politics today, the right is a lot smarter than the left when it comes to the opportunity that people who are insulted and, so, offended present.  

In this case, atheists, in their very limited numbers,  have done everything in their very limited powers to offend most people in the United States who are Christians or, at least, religious.  The role that atheists play in their own unpopularity by being such jerks is really one of the most obvious of current phenomena, no one likes someone who is insulting them.  That is especially the case when the insults are really not much above the elementary school level of calling people "stupid-heads" made by people who are so absolutely clueless that they really believe that insulting people is a good way to win them over to your side.

Really, my fellow liberals, those are the people we have taken in and allowed to represent the left,  people who think that we will win people over to our side by conceitedly insulting them and, so, they will vote with us.   Or, rather, those are the people who we have been taken in by.

It's not rocket science for the liars at FOX to make hay by appealing to people who have been insulted by "liberal" atheists, over and over again.   It's not hard to take advantage of that, magnifying real slights, inventing slights when there are none, and inventing wars against holidays.   Like virtually everything that comes from FOX, it is a lie, it is two-faced and it is a smoke screen for their real intentions, the establishment of corporate fascism in service to the richest people on Earth.  It may be their biggest lie but, since it serves the purposes of atheists, it is the one lie that FOX tells that we are supposed to believe.  And they don't have to win over a majority of the population to succeed, a narrow margin of victory in elections will do.  The Republican right, appealing to people with a sense of grievance, have played that margin game a lot better than Democrats have.  Certainly better than the left has in the past forty-six or so years.

Considering the enormous help that atheists have been for the Republican right over the decades, I'm all for S.E. Cupp leading them to their real home, the Republican party which also despises the majority of people as it games an effective margin of them to take and maintain the power of oligarchs.  I'd love for atheists to become their problem instead of ours.   Only I'm afraid that we're not going to do the smart thing and let those obnoxious jerks go, cutting them loose to lose on their own.  Not while the up and coming organs of what passes as the online media of the left is servicing their hate speech,  doing FOX's work for them.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

To Merely Remember The Holocaust Is To Deny It by Anthony McCarthy

first posted at Echidne of the Snakes February 7, 2009

For moral obtuseness THIS Pope’s aborted rehabilitation of bishop Richard Williamson sets a landmark in this monumentally obtuse papacy. Williamson’s old-line Holocaust denial not being a giant red flag in the gossipy ruling clique at the Vatican should be the conclusive proof of what Catholic critics of Ratzinger’s and his predecessor’s papacies have said, they've filled the hierarchy with careerist yes men in service to isolated men of severely limited moral comprehension. You would think that a more developed sense of morality would be the standard that a pope is held to, but that’s been missing in the Vatican for the past thirty years.

This is the second time that Holocaust denial has figured in the news since the beginning of the year, the other was in the angry and at times irresponsible reaction to Israel’s invasion of Gaza. All of this is supremely disturbing. The Holocaust is the most important formative factor of my generation’s moral culture. The consequences of the development of nuclear weapons, giving governments the possibility to produce multiple and instantaneous holocausts, might be seen as an equally important moral problem for my generation.

The generation that directly experienced the Holocaust is passing, rapidly, away. Their direct witness is entrusted to those of us who were born after it happened. It is a witness that is under increasing attack and, as the Vatican’s PR disaster shows, it doesn't seem to inform even some of those who were alive at that time. The neo-Nazis and their allies are always a danger to that witness. Their activities show why history is important, they do want to revive Nazism, they want to exterminate Jews, mostly. That fact, the fact that Holocaust denial is largely an anti-Semitic manifestation, determines how the Holocaust is seen and the nature of the response to those who deny it. In addressing that fact, I am afraid that a huge miscalculation has been made in how we deal with the fact of the Holocaust.

For all of the good reasons to remember the past, none of them is as important as how knowing what happened can help us form the present and, so, the future. If studying the Holocaust was merely a somber meditation on the crimes of the Nazis and the lives of their victims, it wouldn't be nearly as important as it really is. In our perverted intellectual values system the merely abstract is generally held in higher repute that what is useful. That is an extremely stupid attitude. Utility, held in vulgar contempt by aristocrats going back to Plato, doesn't diminish the stature of an intellectual exercise, it consecrates it with real meaning and with living consequence. It is what the murders of the victims, the criminal intent of the murderers, the resistance of the survivors can tell us to change lives now and into the future that are the real and highest honor that memory can be given. It is the highest honor to the dead, the supreme act of remembering. It removes the Holocaust from the realm of erodible letters on a monument that will eventually be ignored through habituation and makes it a living and important fact.

The assertion by some that the Holocaust is a singular event unlike any other and so incomparable, is a disservice to those who died in it. It is a disservice to the whole of humanity. There are even those who focus on the Jewish victims of the Nazis as being apart from the others. That is to some extent understandable, but it is short sighted and, in the worst cases, repulsive. The Nazis were in the business of ranking, of classifying and valuing people. Today, with the example of the entire Holocaust as a lesson, for their victims deaths to be classified in a similar manner is among the most vulgar and disgusting acts imaginable. It is a desecration not a memorial. To set that history of death, now sixty years past, apart from the genocides that preceded it and which continue today is just as much a desecration. It is to minimize the importance of other victims. It also diminishes the impact of the murders of the Jews by making them of merely parochial interest. People who claim that the genocide against them is, somehow, more important than that of another group should be unsurprised when those other groups choose to not see it that way. The memory of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust is best preserved by seeing them as being among the larger set of victims of the Nazis and of all genocides in all of history. All of the victims of the Holocaust are our people, all of the victims of all genocides are our people.

Williamson’s denial consists largely of denying the well established figure of six-million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, citing a figure of two-to-three-hundred-thousand victims. There is a telling elision in the statement of the idea. What it really means is “aMERE two-to-three-hundred-thousand”.* Let’s learn the lesson that this grim and vulgar numbers game can teach us. How did two-hundred-thousand ethnic murder victims become of nugatory significance in the world? Consider that. Two-hundred to three-hundred thousand murders, a footnote? I seem to recall that being the estimate for another of the identified groups of those the Nazis rounded up and murdered. I’m not going to tell you which one, all of them, including Jehovah’s Witnesses** and others who are seldom mentioned in that somber roll. I suspect that Williamson’s form of numbers based denial is a warning of how the neo-Nazis will play this going forward. It is their use of how the Nazi’s murder of Jews is presented as an event that can be separated out from the rest of their crimes. Separating the attempted genocide of Jews from others might have presented the deniers with some of their present day tactics.

All genocide throughout time should be talked of as a single crime, committed by those who think they have the right to kill people based on their identity. To see all of it as a part of the same lesson, which we all have a stake in preventing and which we have a duty to apply in life is to best protect any aspect of it. That reform of our common culture is going to be mightily resisted.

Governments today, more than half a century after the Nazis were defeated, practice genocide. Governments actively support other governments that practice genocide, generally for the rankest of economic and political motives. So governments will resist both facing their own past and their present acts. Mass media are a part of this crime against history and the present. They ignore numbers of murders up to and including hundreds of thousands, one fears they would ignore numbers up into the millions again, for their own reasons. They ignore even ongoing genocides on the basis of location and ethnicity, they talk about “ethnic cleansing***” to minimize genocide when they talk about it. Americans are kept in ignorance of the huge numbers dead as the results of actions taken by our government and those they have propped up in the decades after we witnessed the concentration camps, tried and executed many of the criminals. Many of the governments who did that found it convenient to allow some of the war-time criminals to escape and escape justice due to some perverted sense of utility. There are few of us who aren't implicated in these acts of desecration to the memory of the victims of the Nazis. We are even more guilty in the genocides in the decades after we can’t use ignorance of history as an excuse.

The only way we can expunge the guilt is to face all of the genocide and to actively work to stop them now. Those who focus exclusively on the Holocaust, insisting that it is a unique event in history, even while supporting governments who have and are practicing or supporting subsequent mass murders, haven’t forgotten the lesson of the Holocaust because they’ve chosen to never learn it to begin with. The Holocaust, unless it is a living witness, one that has a determinative value in stopping the killing that is going on today, will become merely a neglected and vandalized cemetery.

* That a “bishop” could imply that hundreds of thousands of murders is of diminished moral consequence due to a lack of numbers is an indictment of his moral authority. Anyone who knew he’d said it and thought he could be taken as a religious figure is, likewise, indicted.

** I was tempted to list Jehovah’s Witnesses among other groups as a motivation to consider how we see the groups listed for extermination by the Nazis. I know that there is a temptation to rank them by group. I admit that I’m guilty of it too, though I’m trying to work my way out of it.

*** This is one of the most repulsive phrases in the English language, invented decades into the saturation of official Holocaust remembrance in the West. If there is any proof that the way we've talked about the Holocaust is entirely insufficient, it is the widespread adoption of a phrase that equates the victims of contemporary genocide with filth to be eradicated.

Update:  A point to consider is whether or not the figure of six million Jewish victims of the Nazis would be a lesser crime if that figure was less by one.  If not one, how about two?  How about reduced to the number of victims of the identified group with the next highest number of victims?  

I also recall reading, somewhere, that the Nazi hierarchy were concerned for the mental health of their Einsatz Gruppen when they were assigned to kill Jews who spoke German and "looked European" instead of those who they killed without compunction because they "looked Asian" or spoke Russian or some other language.  

The Putrid Campaign of Epic And Narcissistic Expropriation of Corpses or Nazi Thinking Here and Now

This is cross posted with my other blog because the brawl it started from is based there.

August 14, 2014 at 6:12 AM
" And let me break the news to you, Sims, you have no more of a claim to the use of those people [the victims of the Holocaust] than I do."

Sorry, Sparkles, I do. For an obvious reason.

" and, unlike you, I'm not enough of a total pig to try to use them"

Everything you've just posted here proves otherwise.

Now go do the world a favor and choke to death on a piece of matzoh.

Why would you think you have a claim on the use of the people murdered by the Nazis, or, since your comments prove that only those who were Jewish seem to matter to you, of even those people?   Because you're Jewish?  

Well, consider this, if you are going to claim some special status in regard to those murders based on your ethnicity, if you pretend that that gives their deaths some special meaning for you on account of your being Jewish, and that they can't mean the same thing to other people,  that means that other people don't have as much reason to care about those people because they aren't Jewish.   I will note in passing that you have established that you think it dishonors the memory of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust to bring up the non-Jewish victims of it, you clearly think you are justified in holding up those murders as more significant than other murders. 

I will be incorrect enough to point out that making that kind of a distinction permits people to not care as much, or even not at all about the murders of people outside of their identity group. 

To put it plainly, that is thinking not different in kind from that of the Nazis,  it establishes a hierarchy of value on the deaths of people according to ethnicity, and in that it places different values on different lives.  

If you believe it is all right for someone to value people of your own ethnic, or other identity group above that of people of other groups, then you don't need to care as much about those other people.  And, as an honest reading of their writing proves, that was exactly the thing that Charles Darwin, Francis Galton, Thomas Huxley, Enrst Haeckel said and it was also said by a line of people asserting Natural Selection in the human populations, and the short distance in time and space up to and including those scientists who Hitler and the other architects of the Holocaust consulted.  And in the post-war eugenicists who preached the same ideas only not using the "E" word. Including such luminaries as Nobel prize winners,Watson and Crick and Shockley and even such vulgarians as Charles Murray and Robert Herrnstein.   And even some who still flirt with the "E" word, such as Richard Dawkins.  

I don't have any special claims on the victims of the Nazis, there is a difference between using them to promote a racial and ethnic hierarchy and respecting that they are all equal and equal to all of the others murdered through scientific racism and eugenics. etc.  Citing their equality is an act of respect, not expropriation.   I certainly don't have any special claims on the gay men who were murdered by the Nazis because I'm gay. 

Those people belonged to no one but themselves, they certainly didn't belong to the people who took their lives.  It is epic narcissism to think you have a right to the life of someone else.   It is especially bad to stake that claim when they've already had their lives taken by other narcissists.

Update:  Well, that's what makes me The Thought Criminal.  I think the forbidden and I say the forbidden when I think it needs saying.  And with what was said to me, I think pointing out what that means needed saying. 

Update: 2 
  1. Hey Soarky--what do call somebody who denies the centrality of the Jews and anti-Semitism to the Holocaust? It's on the tip of my tongue.
  2. Holocaust denial is the denial that the Holocaust occurred or that the Nazis didn't commit the murders of millions of people, including Jews, targeted on the basis of their identity. "Centrality" is a rather ambiguous word to use because there were a number of groups specified for murder by the Nazis and even before 1919 when the Nazis began. Alfred Ploetz, one of the major figures of Nazi science already called for the murders of the "unfit" in 1895 when Hitler was six years old. I believe he was still holding that the Jews were one of the most developed cultural groups at that time. Oh, and, for the record, Ploetz got the idea of killing off the "unfit" directly from his reading of Darwin's The Descent of Man and Haeckel's History of Creation as a member of the "Freie wissenschaftliche Vereinigung" before then. I've long wondered what another member of that group, Charles Proteus Steinmetz, made of that idea and how he thought it applied to his severely disabled body. Only people with that way of thinking always figure how to make exceptions for themselves and those they value more than others.

    Jews were targeted from the start of the Nazi campaign but they were certainly not the only group targeted for death. The scientific and industrial murders began with the disabled in 1939, as was planned at least six years before the war began. That wasn't only a practice run, that was part of a program which included The Jewish People but also included a group you've made light of, The Roma,  and the Pols and any number of others. The Nazis were merely pushing the history Darwin looked forward to when he eagerly anticipated the day when the "civilised men" would exterminate the "savages" only he thought it would be groups like the Melanesians and Fuegians before it happened among European populations. I'm only admitting that he said what he said.
Update 3: steve simelsAugust 14, 2014 at 9:16 AM
The Final Solution. To the Jewish Problem.

Repeat after me, shithead: To the Jewish Problem.

Now go fuck yourself. Royally.
You simply don't understand what the Nazis were doing and the insidiousness of treating people as if they were fitting subjects for some crude forms of mathematical logic.  
Jewish People were placed in a large subset by the Nazis, based on their biological identity.  They were part of a larger set consisting of other subsets of those the Nazis held were BIOLOGICALLY UNFIT TO LIVE, the fitting enemy in a WAR AGAINST THE UNFIT.  I'd give you the German terms for those but I'd have to look up the spellings and the effort would be lost on you.   You don't seem to care about the people forced into those other subsets who were no less the targets of applied Natural Selection, that is mass murder, by the Nazis.  So, feel free to continue to prove my point. 

The practice of placing people into those kinds of subsets reached its most malignant and influential form in the eugenics movement, which, in turn, reached its most extreme form in the Holocaust.  And there was no one more responsible for that practice than Charles Darwin who people like Galton and Haeckel credited as their inspiration, not to mention people like Alfred Ploetz and Wilhelm Schallmeyer,  not to mention people like Charles Davenport.  And, in his endorsement of Galton and, especially and most effusively, Ernst Haeckel, Darwin confirmed the validity of their claims to be carrying on with his work.  Just as Leonard Darwin did in eugenics during the decades after those two died. 

Update 4:  OK, I just checked my e-mail and I'll make an exception to doing this while I'm supposed to be working.

"Jew were merely the largest such group." 

Six million dead Jews, just a statistical anomaly.

Wow. You're an even bigger asshat than Sparky. Quite an accomplishment. 

Simels, perhaps you don't understand how quotes work.  I am looking and don't find that quote in anything I said.  I think perhaps your creative lying has gotten the better of you again.  Only there doesn't seem to be any better to you.  Though perhaps you are attributing your habits of thought to me.  Clearly, to you, people in the groups murdered by the Nazis, other than the group you identify with, are merely unimportant details, not worth mentioning and that any mention of them is an offense against you.   The problem is, Simels, that people who don't belong to your group won't, then,  feel any qualms if they also want to think of people in your favored group in the same way if they don't happen to share that identity with them. Who would you be to say they are wrong if you do exactly the same thing they do?  And that is exactly how the Nazis thought.

I would be very surprised if I said that the murder of anyone, including six million people, descended to to the category of being a "mere" anything.  That's the kind of thinking you're engaged in,  turning the other people objectified into elements of a set that is then ignored as "merely" unimportant.  That is exactly what the Nazis did to Jews as well as all of those other people, it is what Darwin did to the Tasmanian victims of a successful genocide by the British, and many other named ethnic groups whose eradication he eagerly anticipated, explicitly and by name (really, Simels, read The Descent of Man and the things he cites enthusiastically).   As I said, it is the same kind of thinking, it's merely the names and identities of who are reduced to nothing by it that are different.

Last Update:  No, Simels, you misrepresented what was said by leaving the preceding sentences out, it didn't mean what you said it did by leaving that out.   And I do not let people do that on my blog. 

While Reading About Natural Selection As Applied To The Human Species

How easily, how positively these men of science assert that the deaths of children before they come of age is a benefit to humanity.

How easily we read their words and suspend the realization that they are talking about real children dying in positive terms.  

That is one of the abilities that our educations confer on us.

Even with the historical realities of the genocides of the 20th century, Hiroshima and Nagasaki and all of the others are there to inform our minds and consciences.  

We say we will never forget but we don't have to, we don't even notice what the words on the page mean in flesh and blood.   And that people do what those words advocate, in flesh and blood. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Joy of Hook-up Sex

First, I have long been on record, documented as thinking the bizarre chastity industry is totally weird and a total scam and fraud.  Second, this article by Samantha Pugsley, reposted at Salon* from xoJane, isn't much better.  It is a claim from young Samantha that her life is totally ruined, an assessment she makes from the vantage point of the world-weary wisdom she has amassed at the ripe old age of, maybe, 23?    And, also, for the record, without names of venues and dates, I am a tad suspicious that she may have made that part of it up.

The weird "chastity" ceremony she says she went through when she was 10 and the farrago of hell-fire and damnation that would attend to her if she didn't keep it till her marriage night is responsible for her having a bad time.  She says.  And, here's the rub, she wishes she'd had the carefree and promiscuous lifestyle of a member of the hook-up scene instead.

Well, as we all know from the people we know and perhaps have been,  nooooo one has ever screwed up their lives entirely by sleeping around before they married, during marriage and after marriage in the kewl hook-up scene today or - in that eternal news to the young who, despite what they believe, that their age cohort invented sex - people who are seriously old now, in the kinky swing scene so old fashioned and .... just so old, that its ridiculousness is a bit more obvious.   Really, you kids in your latest fashions and multiple tattoos and body piercings are just this season's version of the polyester leisure suited, disco scene makers of your parents and, sadly, grandparents generation.

Call me skeptical but even as awful and as tacky and as screwed up as the "chastity" industry is - and it is a total fraud and atrocity - the "screw around' industry, with its attendant STDs, unintended pregnancies, abortions, not to mention the life enhancing aspects of being involved in a series of relationships or one-night-stands with a series of losers and users and abusers doesn't have a lot to be said for it either.  Just think how kewl a really bad case of recurring herpes is. And that's one of the lesser life benefits of hook-up sex that so many have gotten from taking advice from sex-pos blogs like xoJane and the geezers running online magazines like Alternet, Salon etc. who repost those to try to get the kewl kids eyeballs on their advertising messages.  And, in a final bid to turn off a few of you kids, your parents are looking at the same thing.  Not to mention your grandparents. Kewl, no?

Hey, if the young Pugsley wants to be a volunteer mark for the pick-up artist set, pretending that what she's about is a feminist act, she can do that.  But no one has to pretend it isn't what it is, a profoundly anti-feminist, anti-liberal act.

*  I noticed that this first ran with the typo "Salong" which I was tempted to leave as it was.  Because that's about what the Salon sex articles mostly are about.

Holocaust Denial By Other Means And In The English Language Is Just Holocaust Denial

The fact is that life is shorter than is required to verify everything we must treat as fact in order to operate as functioning, decision making beings in society.  There is no choice but to believe things we either haven't or can't verify, often on no better basis than the alleged reputability of the source.  We take a chance of being wrong and doing things that are bad on that basis but we can't avoid the necessity of doing that.  In most casual and every day affairs of life, the possibility of large scale and immediate disaster is rarely encountered.  When we are acting as a society or with the enhanced power that organization and modern science and technology supply, the potential for disaster and the scale of that have a marked tendency to rise, rapidly as do the potential victims.  The mass killings of the 20th century were more effective and rapid due to those.  We have to choose what to trust but we are at risk for, at the very least, being complicit in allowing evil when we aren't very, very careful in what we choose to trust.

I really didn't want to rehash the entire Darwin Wars just now but when it just happens to be a hard fact of history that the mass murdering movements and governments of fascism and Nazism were based on biological theories of individual and group superiority and inferiority AND that the dominant scientific theory within biology at the same time was based in the benefits of the deaths of  biologically "inferior" people, their deaths enhancing the quality of the superior survivors it seems, you know, kind of important to admit that.  And with crimes that massive, there is a lot to deny and people with different motives to deny different things about the same crime.

The two denials merely concentrate on denying different aspects of the same historical fact.   That there is such an obvious match that to deny the Holocaust and the theory of Natural Selection are related is the equivalent of Holocaust denial, one denying the result, the other denying the motives of those who did what they did for those reasons which are completely in line with what the inventor and proponents of Natural Selection presented as hard science.  I don't think the academic denial of their motives is ultimately any better than the form of denial that is generally considered the more vulgar of the two.  I would say that the denial of the relationship of the Holocaust to Natural Selection is the more potentially insidious of the two,  it denies the cause produced the effects that it did. It is a more generalized denial of reality, risking a less obvious but no less real repetition of that chain of causation, even by those who may have despised the Nazis for other reasons.   In recent years, with the increased emphisis on biological determinism based in Natural Selection,  the ability to deny the relationship became a bit harder to ignore.   What was unusual in history was the brief period of reaction to the Holocaust, which suppressed that kind of use of Natural Selection to explain human culture and governments during the 1950s  up to about the mid-70s.   I date the end of that brief pause with the publication of Sociobiology The New Synthesis,  by E.O. Wilson.

There is a very specific example of  what I'm getting at.   When the infamous Holocaust denier and falsifier of history of the Nazi period, David Irving, presented his case in his lawsuit against the eminent historian of the Holocaust, Deborah Lipstadt, he called only one witness, the fully credentialed professor at a fully accredited and respected university, the evolutionary psychologist, Kevin MacDonald.   Irving didn't make an historical case of his historical claims, but made what passes as a scientific one, ultimately based on Natural Selection, the absolute foundation of evolutionary psychology and the sociobiology that are derived from it.   It was with his participation in the lawsuit that MacDonald's long history of publishing anti-Semitic assertions as science became more commonly known.

You can look over his publications history* to see the nature of it and how apparent the nature of it is.  Yet that history, on which his academic life and work were based and sustained, the relationship it had to one of the most massive murders in human history, somehow which seemed to completely go past the heads of the many, many scientists who had passed on or supported his work, even making him a reviewer and an editor of scientific journals within his branch of evolutionary science**.  I will include his publishers and reviewer in the list of those who, on the identification of what he wrote as science, approved and gave it a pass, to allow it into the realm of formal academic writing, within science, itself.

Yet on such a denial of one of our hardest of very recent historical facts, within living memory,  is the basis of the mandatory and required belief of modern academic culture founded.  Just as the writings of David Irving, now discredited by a more rigorous and sober review of it, was fully accepted within the academic culture of the study of history by even known anti-Nazi historians, it was first allowed in it as were its authors.  The intellectual elite presented both Irving and MacDonald the imprimatur of enhanced reliability that comes with the trappings of and institutions of the educated elite.   That modern academic culture can so easily host that kind of a lie, making its belief a requirement to be respected as a member of the club only proves that there is an even more basic problem with the entire thing.  Academic culture that values the truth, facts, honesty so little is academic culture that has lost any legitimate claim to respect and belief.

History, unrespected and unlearned from,  is in the process of repeating itself, it never stopped repeating itself and the academic elite does at least as much to enable it as to resist it.  Frankly, I think they got by on the laziness of the academic community who were more interested in their ease and university community Fahrvergnügen than anything else.

*  You can see his CV here, from his website.

** I am rethinking my habit of putting the word "science" in quotations when dealing with this kind of garbage because the wider scientific community has done nothing to expel such "science" from the formal literature of science, its promotion and purveyors having the full protection and enhanced repute that science provides.   Despite his exposure as a neo-Nazi sympathizer and pseudo-scientific anti-Semite, using his credentials to promote anti-Semitism, Kevin MacDonald is still a tenured faculty member who allegedly is a figure of science.   In that he merely continues the history of people working within the biology who maintain the intellectual scientific racism based in natural selection, without anyone batting an eyelash.

If science doesn't reject such stuff then it deserves to be treated with enhanced skepticism, not with rote, automatic acceptance.  And that kind of thing has happened so often in the history of Natural Selection that a scholar could base an entire academic career or found a field to study and document it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

For A Sad Occasion Chabrier: Feuillet d'album: Marcelle Meyer

I Wish The Darwin Fan Club Would Actually Read What Darwin Said

Dear Detractor,
I am on my morning break and don't have time to write it out myself but Charles Darwin, your greatest of all heroes, had similar observations about the problems that your materialism, reductionism and scientism causes for the validity of all human thought, and, Bunky, that has to include science, even evolutionary science and even mathematics.  It even applies to the intellectual product of your greathero your greatest, yet unread (by you) oracle,  Charles Darwin.

From The Darwin Correspondence Project, a letter from Darwin to William Graham*  Quoted in full, not "quote mined" "cherry-picked" or in violation of any of the lexicon of atheist nonsense.   Complete with its racism, enthusiastic anticipation of the extermination of racial and ethnic groups in favor of Europeans, [apparently he was under the delusion that the Turks had ceased to exist]  his doubts about the significance of human thought,  impeaching the reliability of science ON THE BASIS OF HIS THEORY OF NATURAL SELECTION, etc. Something which is continued in the absolute debasing of thought by nero-cognitive "science", something which is inevitable whenever you begin by insisting that the material universe is the only thing there is.  

What also jumps out at me is also Darwin's claim to have "no practice in abstract thinking" when his life's work gained its highest fame in exactly abstract thinking, since all of it is the product of his imagination, not on observed evidence. I would agree if he had put the word "rigorous" before abstract in that sentence.  If he had meant mathematics, it is remarkable how little his theories rely on measurement for what is often claimed as the greatest of all scientific theories.  I beg to differ on that estimate.

July 3rd. 1881.
Dear Sir
I hope that you will not think it intrusive on my part to thank you heartily for the pleasure which I have derived from reading your admirably written `Creed of Science,' though I have not yet quite finished it, as now that I am old I read very slowly. It is a very long time since any other book has interested me so much. The work must have cost you several years and much hard labour with full leisure for work. You would not probably expect anyone fully to agree with you on so many abstruse subjects; and there are some points in your book which I cannot digest. The chief one is that the existence of so-called natural laws implies purpose. I cannot see this. Not to mention that many expect that the several great laws will some day be found to follow inevitably from some one single law, yet taking the laws as we now know them, and look at the moon, what the law of gravitation -- and no doubt of the conservation of energy -- of the atomic theory, &c. &c. hold good, and I cannot see that there is then necessarily any purpose. Would there be purpose if the lowest organisms alone destitute of consciousness existed in the moon? But I have had no practice in abstract reasoning and I may be all astray. Nevertheless you have expressed my inward conviction, though far more vividly and clearly than I could have done, that the Universe is not the result of chance. But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind? Secondly I think that I could make somewhat of a case against the enormous importance which you attribute to our greatest men: I have been accustomed to think, 2nd, 3rd and 4th rate men of very high importance, at least in the case of Science.
Lastly I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilisation than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risks the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is. The more civilised so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilised races throughout the world. But I will write no more, and not even mention the many points in your work which have much interested me. I have indeed cause to apologise for troubling you with my impressions, and my sole excuse is the excitement in my mind which your book has aroused.
I beg leave to remain | Dear Sir | Yours faithfully and obliged Charles Darwin.
* William Graham 1839–1911
Philosopher and political economist. Professor of jurisprudence and political economy, Belfast, 1882–1909.

For The Record I Won't Pretend That Lie Isn't A Lie Anymore

Note: This goes over old material which some of my readers have, no doubt, already read, but it obviously doesn't stop needing saying as the lie it refutes is a common received superstition that is nearly ubiquitous in the educated population of the English Speaking Peoples.  I will also note that, as I've also pointed out before, the facts of recorded history, especially recent history, are as real as any of the natural history that Charles Darwin and others assert as science.  Only the documentary record which contains history is meant to convey meaning, needing far less interpretation than the fossil record and implications of physical evidence within science. When that record was produced to be part of the scientific as well as historical record, what its authors said must be taken as an accurate representation of their intentions.

Yes, I have broken that ultimate taboo of post-war academic culture, I have admitted that it is true that Darwin's natural selection supplied the scientific justification for the Nazi's scientific racism, their eugenic campaign of first sterilizing and then murdering the "unfit" beginning with the disabled and continuing on to their attempted extermination of entire racial, religious, ethnic groups.  I admit it without any qualms that I am doing anyone an injustice and with the unique pleasure of abandoning a lie I've been told my entire life.  Just to retie a loose end in the hate-mail I've been getting and enjoying.

As I found when I looked at the record from before World War Two, no one I could find denied that link, including Charles Darwin's own children, his son Leonard Darwin, as late as 1939, on the eve of the Nazi beginning their extermination, boasting of his father's role in "changing German thought in the right direction" through his influence on, not only Wilhelm Schallmeyer but even more shockingly, on Alfred Ploetz.   And they were not alone in making those associations, directly, to the Nazi's eugenics laws in the 1930s, virtually everyone I read on the topic, writing during the time of the Nazi's actual adoption and implementation of those laws, up to the beginning of the war and even into it, admitted the association of those laws to Charles Darwin's natural selection and the line of scientists who tried to apply natural selection in human society.  I searched and was unable to find a single professional or personal associate of Charles Darwin, who actually knew the man, who attempted to disassociate him from eugenics or Haeckel's proto-Nazi materialist monism, the "final triumph" of which, Haeckel, himself, attributed to Darwin's natural selection.   I studied the primary documentation of that far more extensively than anyone I've read who denies that documentation exists.  I have challenged them to produce primary material that refutes my contention and I have, as of yet, not had them produce a single piece of it that a full reading supports their claims.

No one in the post-war period who has lied about that record knew Darwin, something which many of those who produced that record did.  And, since he explicitly supported what those people were saying AS SCIENCE, Charles Darwin confirmed their association of him to their ideas.  You have to call Charles Darwin a liar about his own thinking or to deny that what he said in some of his major books to make that claim.

No one who, today, makes claims exonerating Charles Darwin of his role in producing the Holocaust, has the credibility of those who knew him, something which no one today can claim in bolstering their credibility.  They heard him off the record, candidly in a way that the record doesn't preserve.  They knew him.

I am not carrying the polluted water of the Darwin industry anymore.  It is one of the major lies of the post-war period, one that I became interested in when I realized that industries role in promoting the return of eugenics by other names.  Natural selection is an idea that has the proven power to get millions of people killed.  Lying about it and its role in human history can't go unchallenged for as long as those lies are told.

Robin Williams

Robin Williams was an improvisational comic,  one of the hardest things I can imagine in show business, something that must be one of the most stressful ways to make a living.  Keeping that up as long as he did as frenetically as he did, making chaos an art form must have taken an unbelievable effort and which cost him continual anxiety.

Improvisation, in the little I've attempted, is like juggling things you can't see because they don't exist as you have to set them up and catch them.  The joke isn't a joke, it doesn't exist until the very end of the punch line and by then you have to be starting to create the next one.   You can never have the security of knowing exactly where it is going and every one of those jokes is a big gamble, done in real time, in front of a real audience that is watching you and concentrating on what you are doing.  In my life time I can only think of Jonathan Winters who did it better than Robin Williams did, but from what I know of his life, it took an enormous tole on him too.  I am pretty sure that Williams would have admitted that Winters was the superior practitioner of the art, he had the reputation for being generous.  Though, every creative artist being one of a kind, that comparison is very limited.  No one could have been Robin Williams better than Robin Williams.

It's especially sad when the price a comedian pays to be funny for a paying public turns out to be their life.  It happens often enough in real life so that, in the hands of script writers, it risks becoming a cliche.  But a real life is what script writers feed on, the real life is real, and real tragedy is always freshly tragic.  As someone of about his age who has been dealing with the most severe depression I've ever experienced over the last fifteen months,  I can sympathize with someone who is driven to taking their life, even as I am fairly sure that my religious belief will keep me from taking that action.   But when you're facing that chasm again, especially someone who has suffered from addiction and alcoholism and who probably suspects any pharmaceutical remedies will risk that alternative hell, and you're in your sixties, it can look even darker than before.  I only wish Robin Williams could have gotten relief from the terror of depression to do more of the good in life that he had accomplished even with that debilitating pain.   I hope more people can find what works for them and they can continue to both cope and have better days. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Human Intelligence Is An Inevitable Component In Scientific Observation, Even More So Experimentation and Most Of All In Theory

Some of those who read my piece of last week about the origin of life reacted badly when I pointed out that for all their pretenses of disembodied objectivity, no science is free from the ingredient of the intelligent design of the scientist.  No experiment would have happened without the intelligent design of the scientist, no measurement* happens without the application of intelligence, not to mention that mathematics, itself, is, as well, the product of human intelligence**.  The pretense that science does not depend on intelligent design is commonly done because we are supposed to pretend that science is some kind of dispassionate and absolutely objective understanding of the universe.   And there is no more obvious fact than that our understanding is an intrinsically human activity.

The fact is, the idea that some kind of objectivity that could enter into human minds to reside there, independent of human mitigation, possibly exists is an absurd superstition. Yet it is exactly that superstition that pervades atheism and scientism.   And it is ironic that it is in addressing the insertion of the concept of intelligent design within science that atheists wishing to criticize that insertion expose their own superstitious thinking about science. And there is no area of science that is as intrinsically well adapted to make that point as evolutionary science and the separate theory of the origin of life. 

I am sure some will object to me pointing out that evolution is not directly relevant to the origin of life but evolution requires a change in organisms in a line of life. The truth is that nothing had evolved until there was at least one generation born of that organism and quite possibly, not for many generations after that.  Its origin is not an aspect of evolution.   We have no warrant to assume that evolution or even genetics is relevant to an understanding of the earliest generations of life on Earth. We don't know if what we know of inheritance, through an extremely complex chemistry in physically complex organisms, is relevant to inheritance in the earliest generations. Evidence is what would provide that warrant and there is no evidence available. Which, itself, is far too hard for many with an professional or ideological - and so emotional - attachment to Darwinism to accept.  They've been angrily fulminating, in the name of science, against that hard truth of science for the better part of a decade, whenever I've stated it.  And there have been none more angry about that than those who pretend to value, above all, the production of evidence as the gold standard of all thought.

To expand on that point, if there is one thing that is certain about a well conducted experiment it is that it is the willful act of one or more intelligent people.  The scientist has an idea about an observed phenomenon in nature or even just an idea about the universe and tries to devise human activity to reproduce the same phenomenon by artificial means under controlled conditions, excluding as many extraneous factors as possible that will prevent the experiment from demonstrating the phenomenon so the scientist can measure the factors that produced it.  In order to do that the material components that go into the experiment should be controlled, the temperature and time that those work under, controlled as well and any other physical variables possible also controlled for.  The scientist wants to do the experiment or wants to get something out out it, to reach a conclusion by means which will stand up to review and, in many cases, be repeatable under similar or slightly varied circumstances.  And the mere desire to publish something and not be overturned on review or replication or just the savage criticism of colleagues and professional rivals is an enormous component in the process. Sometimes the desire to uphold the ideological school of science that dominates in their field would seem to be the real goal.

I could go on with what the scientist wants to do in conducting an experiment or making an observation in nature and the ingenuity with which they plan on and carry out the fulfillment of that desire but my point is already served in that it is a hard fact of science that the scientists mind is an intrinsic part of what science does, it is an indispensable part of the entire process of science.  Nothing would happen without it.

In his introduction to his greatly neglected book, "Computer Power And Human Reason", the eminent computer scientist and rather impressive thinker Joseph Weizenbaum was radically honest about just what scientists and mathematicians do.  Among other things he said:

The man in the street surely believes such scientific facts to be well-established, as well-proven, as his own existence.  His certitude is an illusion.  Nor is the scientist himself immune to the same illusion.  In his praxis he must, after all, suspend disbelief in order to do or think anything at all.

I will break into this quotation to point out several things that are both obvious and remarkable in those statements.  The first is that this eminent scientist, an atheist working in one of the fields in which one of the central dogmas is that thinking is reducible to a mathematical description of a physical phenomenon, admits that what the scientist is doing is based on belief, just as much as the kind of belief the lay public mistakes for certainty.   And he identifies what the scientist does in the course of his work is to pretend that he's not doing what the layman does, willfully deludes himself so he can believe in the reality of what he is doing.

He is rather like a theatergoer, who, in order to participate in and understand what is happening on the stage, must for a time pretend to himself that he is witnessing real events.  The scientist must believe his working hypothesis, together with its vast underlying structure of theories and assumptions, even if only for the sake of the argument.  Often the "argument" extends over his entire lifetime.  Gradually he becomes what he at first merely pretended to be:  a true believer.  

Unlike many of the phenomena studied at the dawn of science, in physics, astronomy and chemistry,  the phenomenon of evolution is not apparent in casual human observation, which can only happen in the period of one human lifetime and one human act of observation in a single human being.  It happened and happens over such a long period and so subtly that no human being sees it with the naked eye within one period of observation.  Even the evidence for evolution on the shortest of time scales, within microorganisms or things such as the adaptation of viruses exposed to immunology or humanly introduced chemicals requires intentional observation over generations.  It's not a natural phenomenon like looking at a rock falling or ever throwing something up in the air to observe its falling.

Weizenbaum's comparison of the observation of science being like what a theatergoer does, is obviously spot on in the study of evolution because evolution inevitably deals with narrative descriptions of what happens to organisms, their birth, their lives in relation to their environment and in interaction with other organisms, their reproductive success and the tragedies intrinsic to physical life, the death of the original organisms, their parents and their offspring, in the narrative of evolutionary science, the eventual extinction of entire families and species.

And, since evolutionary science deals, inevitably, with many, many generations, going back well into the billions of years into the past, most of that action deals with individuals who cannot be observed and which left no direct evidence of what happened during their lives and what their physical bodies could tell us about that.  It is inevitable that evolutionary science depends, entirely on HUMAN imagination, hopefully informed by at least some evidence and entirely, from the start of it, dependent on the intelligent imagination of human beings.

In the topic I dealt with, the imagined, theoretical organism at the beginning of life which Charles Darwin imagined as a non-human Adam, the seed of his tree of life is not the product of observation but of assumptions and ideological preferences. He imagined one because, he being a British man of science, an enthusiastic volunteer in an intellectual tradition increasingly wedded to materialist philosophy among colleagues who believed that objective truth lay in a reduction of phenomena to their inert physical chemistry and physics, set down in numbers and rationalized in equations that balanced.  Their chosen oracle of the truth, science, and their ideological materialism led them to such an extreme scientism that to admit what they were doing was part of a tacitly agreed to prohibition.  I know of no other group of scientists who chose to so fundamentally ignore the real nature of what they were doing, imposing their preferred philosophical and ideological preferences to come up with a story line while pretending that they weren't an intrinsic part of that process.***

That first being, which I also believe is likely the beginning of life on Earth, is entirely the product of human imagination, in this case, entirely uninformed by evidence from nature but the product of cultural assumptions.  I share those assumptions but I'm unwilling to suspend my disbelief to pretend that the organism any human being can imagine it to have been is a real organism.  It isn't, I would assert it can't be and it certainly can't be known if it is real.

The probability of any human being correctly sifting out the truth from among the known AND THE UNKNOWN range of possible forms it could have taken, based on the biology of organisms hundreds of millions and billions of years after it would have had to have lived. is so small a likelihood as to outstrip the number of scientists pretending to do that by an enormous factor.  Their likelihood of success is not much higher than that of whoever wrote the description of the beginning of life in Genesis, it's only that the time scale on which that is known to have happened and the interrelation of species, today, has ruled out a literal understanding of that narrative. And the number and range of assertions made about that original organism seems to grow instead of to coalesce into an orthodox consensus.

I am entirely confident that if we were able to know the conditions under which life first arose and how it arose, in the one and only way it, in fact, did, that all of the contemporary narratives of that would fall as certainly and dramatically as any traditional, non-scientific interpretation of Genesis.

Let me repeat that it is a hard fact of nature that LIFE BEGAN IN THE ONE AND ONLY WAY THAT IT DID ARISE.  That one way is the only one that really matters if the truth is what you are after, all other seeming possibilities and probabilities are, in fact not the way it happened.

I think their scientific assertions about that will certainly tell us more about those who make up those beings than they will about the original organism.  In a lot of cases, I think they will tell us no more than which school the scientists work at and who their graduate faculty were.

* While science shows on cable or broadcast TV, popular science books and magazine articles or blog posts pretending to deal with science often carries the tacit audience pleasing message "No Math Required" mathematics is the language of science.   Measurement is largely what science is all about.

**  I'm sure the clever among the atheists could apply their intelligence to that statement and bring up the evidence of simple arithmetic in those wonderful animals trained to use human speech.   Well, they're using human speech they were trained to use by humans.  What that could tell us about the minds of animals who haven't been trained by humans to use human speech is unknowable because their training by humans in a human activity is an unavoidable contamination of the process.  It is also an unavoidable component of any human observation of animals in the wild who, we hope, are unaware of us observing them, their knowledge of our observation possibly altering how they would behave if they were not so aware.  The only evidence we have is that measurement is, intrinsically, a human invention.   There is no setting aside that fact in order to achieve an inhuman objectivity, a view of the universe which is separable from the mind of the human observers.  This is especially the case when the human observers are following humanly invented procedures, methods and customary conventions in doing something like science or making decisions in the legal system.  We're in it, old bean, for any pretense we like to make that we aren't, no matter how we really, really wish to pretend that we aren't possibly mucking it up with our unintended pollutions.

***  In all of the early, atheist, enthusiasts for The Origin of Species, their ideological intentions became obvious, immediately.  Galton, Huxley  and, most explicitly of all, Haeckel, immediately used the Darwinian narrative to promote a materialistic and atheistic view of, not only science, but of all of life.   It was most telling to me when I read that other famous atheist, Karl Marx, who originally was enthusiastic in telling his colleague Engles, that, despite its being contained in the vulgar British mode of thought, Darwin's theory was useful to their own dialectical materialism.  Only later did he revise his enthusiasm and note that what Darwin had done was impose a narrative imbued with the British class system on all of nature, and at variance with Darwin's own model of thought, Malthusian economics.   In studying the history of one of the earliest proposed applications of natural selection, eugenics, I have come to the conclusion that his natural selection comprises an ideological pollution of science, one which is so ingrained in the culture of biological science that it is impossible for almost all biologists to even understand it is there.  In that they recapitulate what Weizenbaum noted is inevitable in science, they mistake their intentional acts and willful beliefs for truth, pretending that their narrative is far more than it can be.

It isn't possible to divorce science from non-scientific factors.  To pretend that is to insist on something that isn't possible.  The intelligent design of science, itself, isn't, itself, scientific, at best it is a philosophical attempt at MINIMIZING extraneous or obscuring factors so we might at least get it somewhat right about some things.  Of course, the worst of those include human wishful thinking and denial of what we don't want to be true.  But the wishful thought that we can have anything but a human view of things and a denial of the fact that, we being humans, we can't have that particular wish object, is just as much a hindrance to finding reliable truth as any other obscuring factors.