Saturday, May 6, 2017

Second Feature - Arch Oboler - Adolph And Mrs. Runyon

Mrs. Runyon (Bette Davis)  who had just seen her husband off to the army picks up Hitler (Hans Conried) on the Post Road between New York and Massachusetts after she wished to God she had him in her power.  

Oddly topical, right now,  if you know what I mean. 

Saturday Night Radio Drama - John Boorman - 2020


Brendan Gleeson, Stephen Rea and Angeline Ball star in ‘2020’, written and directed by John Boorman – a satirical journey into the Irish future - post-Tiger, post-Euro and post-X-Factor.‘2020’ is the sequel to last year’s skit on the Celtic Tiger meltdown, ‘The Hit List’. 

It’s 2020 and Ireland is out of the Euro, out of fuel and electricity too. From his wind-powered radio station, Jo Devlin (Brendan Gleeson) broadcasts a message of hope, inviting listeners to his barter exchange where you can “give what you can and take what you need”. But a rival faction urgently seeks a return to rampant consumerism. 

Starring Brendan Gleeson, Stephen Rea, Niall Tóibín, Emmet Bergin, Angeline Ball, Susan Fitzgerald, Kate Minogue, Oliver Callan, Paul Ronan, Joe Taylor, Mark Fitzgerald, Charlotte and JJ McNamara. With original music by Colm Mac Ioniomaire and Kevin Brew. Musicians: Frank McNamara, Charlotte McNamara, Colm Mac Ioniomaire, Mark McGrath and Kevin Brew.

Who knows, if Marine the fascist wins in France.....

As usual with Irish national radio, you have to download it to listen to it.

Why Can't You Do Both?

I am asked by a reader why I can't post on both the problems with neo-Darwinism and against Trump's fascism. I'm only one person, the new ideas that have, as Denis Noble has said, has violated all of the bases of neo-Darwinism are very complex and it generally takes me a two or more times listening to a lecture or reading a paper for me to understand enough of what is said to come to any conclusions about it.  As I said,  I suspect that's one of the things that has happened to evolutionary biology as more and more about how genes and other "sensitive organs of the cell" is learned.  It is exquisitely complex and far from easily intuited.  That includes some of the most stunningly revolutionary discoveries being discussed.  Watch that short film and listen to Lynn Margulis's narration - ignoring the annoying music track.  Every time I watch and listen to it, there is new stuff with shocking implications for someone who was brought up on the neo-Darwinian synthesis.  And there is a lot more of that,  James Shapiro's fascinating article, Bacteria are small but not stupid: Cognition, natural genetic engineering and socio-bacteriology is even more stunning.  Consider that conventional neo-Darwinian ideology holds that mammals aren't really conscious, something that I've never believed, if you read it.  I don't see how anyone could rationally conclude that the bacteria Marguils is talking about are not conscious and have and demonstrate intention.  Though that is the common view.   And that's only one extremely complicated issue involved.

And time is short, Trumpian-Republican-fascism will be defeated soon or the results will be catastrophic.  I will continue posting on different topics but the most important thing is defeating fascism and restoring a durable and safe democracy.

It Is Like What Would Happen If Nothing Were Done After Pearl Harbor

With the mounting attack by the Putin regime on the French election on behalf of the fascist candidate, along with its attacks on the American election, installing Donald Trump and other Putin regime assets, it's clear that there is a cooperative effort between fascist groups and parties in the West and the billionaire, oligarch, kleptocracy that rules Russia, today.

As in the United States, the Putin-fascist attacks on Democratic candidates in elections have taken full advantage of free speech, free press laws and the free wheeling, irresponsible media that have been generated by the laws here and in France.  That both countries have a cult of free speech-press that holds up 18th century concepts on that as civic gods is certainly no accident.  There is no human and certainly no legal entity which cannot, with enough thinking and testing, be used for corrupt ends.  Corporate and other lawyer in all countries are constantly looking for loopholes to exploit, the United States has think tanks and groups devoted to doing that domestically, it has media that has been completely cooperative with that effort, destroying the basis of American democracy as an egalitarian entity, government of, by and for THE PEOPLE.

This is nothing less than an emergency which has left the United States vulnerable to the concerted effort of a government consisting of fascist-friendly billionaire crooks with no moral inclinations or restraints who, just as American billionaires, see democracy as a threat to their crime families and cartels.  Certainly, this past year and this year have shown the total and complete vulnerability of American free speech-press orthodoxy.  The media have been more than just passively duped by the Russian ratfucking of our election, they have been active participants in it, even if they were not so inclined, their habits and tradition have made their cooperative part in it all but a totally certain thing. They have shown no inclination to vigorously and actively resist against enabling the attacks on our democracy, their professional ideology is, itself, a factor which only an idiot wouldn't understand that the Putin regime understands and exploits.

We will find out if the use of internet "media," indisputably huge part of the effort to install Trump here will ensure one of the most dangerous fascists in the West in office, where she has announced her intentions of destroying the post-war Western alliance, I have no doubt that she would do it.  A Marine LePen regimen in France will be a new Vichy government only one which will leave a democracy in Germany and in Eastern Europe vulnerable on two fronts.  I'm not expecting that there will be an expensive, disastrous military attack.  Putin's victory in the United States didn't require much more than an antiquated interpretation of the First Amendment and the legal, political, media and social entities that have flourished here under that anti-democratic interpretation.   If we don't take that fact into account and radically alter that understanding very fast, American democracy will die and it will have largely participated in its own demise through refusal to adapt to new realities and facts.   Our legal hacks, our courts, seem unwilling to address that fact, which leaves politics, the very thing which is under attack.

Update:  Pearl Harbor was a military attack, the way to address it was entering in the World War Two. The attack this time is not on a physical location and a naval base, it was done through the American media both traditional news-entertainment media and the internet.  Clearly the danger won't be removed until the way the attack was mounted is changed to protect democracy from that kind of an attack.  The ultimate goal of the First Amendement wasn't to keep the free-speech industry happy, IT WAS TO SECURE AND PROTECT THE FREEDOM AND EQUALITY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.   If that wasn't the goal of the founders, I don't care, they're long dead, we're not.  We're under attack from an organized crime gang which has already destroyed democracy in Russia.

“We thought we’d have to sue Trump today. But it turned out the order signing was an elaborate photo-op with no discernible policy outcome.”

Um, Stupy, the Freedom From Religion Foundation's lawsuit would seem to be a publicity stunt based on a publicity stunt.

There is a lingering question about whether the executive order on religious freedom Donald Trump signed in the Rose Garden on Thursday—which had been seen as a possible threat to the LGBTQ community but ultimately spared them for now—did something, nothing, or less than nothing. Whatever it is the president ultimately did sign, it bore little to no resemblance to the draft orders that had been circulating on Capitol Hill and that had stirred such angst among progressives. It’s just unclear what this EO actually does. Two of the most controversial provisions—one that would have abetted religious conscience objectors in escaping the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage mandate and one that would have loosened prohibitions on participation in political campaigns by churches and other tax-exempt groups that accept tax deductible contributions—had been watered down thoroughly by the time Trump was brandishing his pen. So much so, in fact, that by the end of the day Thursday, conservatives were slamming the effort as “meaningless” and “inadequate.” Meanwhile, the ACLU—which had announced earlier in the day that it had planned to file a challenge—simply tweeted: “We thought we’d have to sue Trump today. But it turned out the order signing was an elaborate photo-op with no discernible policy outcome.”

I mean, if the ACLU came to that conclusion....., I'd guess they would know.  RMJ did a post to the same effect not that long ago.

The FFRF is a group of hacks who collect money from dupes and who are, essentially, a publicity machine.  They are a place where hacks in the decline of their careers writing for magazines go to try to get gigs slamming religion to other atheists.   You, as they, would seem to be charging at windmills of the frauds.

Update:  Hey, you want to throw your money away keeping a bunch of buffalo butts in Madison going, I don't care.  I hope it means you won't be re-releasing any more of your crap music.  Geesh, I've heard high school garage bands that were more daring.

Atheists And The Big Fear of It Being There - Hate Mail

I got a long message which I've got to answer but which I will not publish because it is full to the brim with personal and professional invective against living people and some dead ones.   If you people would control your baser volitions I would publish your comments.

First, I didn't state any theological arguments flowing from what people like Denis Noble, Lynn Margulis and James Shapiro said, as far as I know all of them are atheists - I didn't check - or, at least, know what I do, that science isn't equipped to make arguments related to the existence or non-existence of God.

Second, atheists have made all kinds of claims for science being able to do that, since before but especially after the publication of Origin of Species, scientists starting with those within Darwin's inner circle, and, clearly - based on that letter of 1881 which I posted last week, Darwin, himself asserted theological consequences for natural selection, some of them in books considered classics of the scientific literature.  Those arguments are as obviously a scientifically unwarranted extension of what the science can legitimately say about how the physical world operates as any claims that they support a case for making science "prove" the existence of God.  In that, by an enormous percent and by extreme extravagance of claims, atheists have been entirely more guilty than religious people have, especially religious scientists and others with some knowledge of the problem.

Third, outside of science, anyone is free to do what atheists do within science, take their cues from what science has discovered and to make arguments outside of science using that information.  Since atheists have inserted those kinds of arguments into scientific activity*, scientists such as Haeckel, Huxley, Galton, Oparin, Urey, Miller, ... and right up to those today such as Dawkins and Hawking, others not purporting their arguments or conclusions to be science are justified in coming to and publishing their conclusions using the information that science generally puts out.  Of course, they should do what celebrity and would-be-celebrity atheists seldom do, be responsible and honest and parsimonious in what they assert.

One of the reasons that an atheist fanatic like Jerry Coyne is so worked up about the thinking of such scientists as Noble and Shapiro is that the simple, molecule-based reductionist arguments of neo-Darwinism were simple and could be easily turned into simple arguments for atheism.  That, with far more information than went into that neo-Darwinian synthesis becoming available in recent decades, the neo-Darwinian explanation of evolution would seem to be quite inadequate to address that new information is clearly of secondary importance to such atheist ideologues than the fact that their preferred model is outmoded.  I really think that Jerry Coyne and Richard Dawkins have always been primarily motivated by their hatred of religion, not science.

As far as I can see, the newer information as discussed by Noble, Shapiro, Margulis, et al would make the idea that mindless random mutation rules all far harder to believe.  The details as discussed in the work of Margulis on the evolution of cells, Nobel's discussion about how cells work making genes able to "do" anything and, especially, correcting and mitigating the effect of random mutations, of directing much larger changes within the genetic material in the cell than neo-Darwinism thought possible, makes it harder to believe there isn't intentional direction involved is not science but I think it is intellectually more defensible than the idea that such incredibly complex actions on and especially by presumably unconscious molecules are just working on the basis of random chance.

But I would never claim that conclusion was a scientific one, science can't demonstrate that kind of intention but its findings can certainly suggest it to someone not afraid of  it being there.  Coyne obviously is afraid of it being there.  Dawkins has even more invested in the neo-Darwinist reductionism as his entire fame is based on popularizing it, he is looking at becoming a footnote from a past in a future for which he is no longer relevant.  As to what it does to his retirement and far more profitable career in celebrity atheism, it certainly doesn't make that more secure.

* I think it's time that we admit that any such claims by celebrity or wishing-to-be celebrity scientists, using their scientific credentials or fame to use those to push ideological agendas are, in a real sense, doing science when they do that.  For the vast majority of non-scientists and scientists who work in fields far removed from the ones involved in that atheist promotion, that kind of stuff is what science as an intellectual endeavor is for them.   The supposed science of "abiogenesis" was explicitly started as an atheist endeavor and it continues as such, in large part.  Cosmology and such areas as neurobiology are dominated by atheist ideologues clearly pursuing an atheist agenda as if it were science, coming up with all kinds of stuff, in cosmology mostly unsupported by any evidence, in neurobiology proceeding from an atheist agenda to provide atheists with "evidence" shaded to have that effect.

I'll leave it to scientists to consider the damage such widely disseminated ideology as science has done to the public reputation and understanding of science and scientists.  I doubt it's been good for it.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Sheila Jordan and Gildas Bocle - Dat Dere

I'd better call it a night or I'll just start posting everything I'm listening to.

Johnny Mercer:- One For My Baby

Billie Holiday - Easy Living


Vocal- Billie Holiday
Clarinet – Buster Bailey
Double Bass – Walter Page
Drums – Jo Jones
Guitar – Freddie Green
Piano – Teddy WilsonT
enor Saxophone – Lester Young
Trumpet – Buck Clayton

Good Morning Heartache 

It's Time For In These Times To Die

An example of the lefty media doing Republican-fascists' work for them, this is the story currently at the top of the page of In These Times

In Its Defense Against Fraud Suit From Bernie Supporters, the DNC Just Dug Itself Into an Epic Hole

If the party wants to favor a candidate, that’s its own business, argues DNC lawyer.

If you want to know who Branko Marcetic is, here is the official, In These Times description of him. 

Branko Marcetic is a regular contributor to In These Times. He hails from Auckland, New Zealand, where he received his Masters in American history, a fact that continues to puzzle everyone who meets him. 

 That's right, he's a friggin' Kiwi who doesn't even live here. He lives in the country that at least one of Trump's billionaire-gay-sociopath supporters plans on fleeing to if that Trump stuff turns ugly FOR HIM. In These Times is a magazine that has earned a place on the scrap heap of history many times over. It's not the only lefty media outlet that has.  I wonder about these guys, their effect seems more than slightly assange to me.

I don't know much about the husband and wife lawyer team who brought the frivolous and massively helpful suit for Republicans except that she lost a case for a client to Trump, costing someone more than three hundred thousand in legal fees.  Reportedly during a deposition session, with Trump, she announced she was going to use a breast pump to pump mother's milk.  As a possible indication of how professional they might be.

I am not giving a link, I don't link to Trump assets pretending to be lefty magazines.

Is a Grand Jury Now Looking into Trump?

Some Point Of Strategy In Defeating The Republican Enemy

The practical work in defeating the Republican war on The American People starts with making Republicans, especially the pseudo-moderate Republicans in the Senate, understand that they will wear whatever bill gets signed by Trump for the rest of their lives and in history.  Susan Collins can be counted on to do her best to try to arrange things so she appears to oppose the Republican bill, which will be depraved, but only if her support isn't needed to pass it.  As someone said, you can always count on Susan Collins when it doesn't matter.

In the only slightly longer period, we have to replace Republicans with Democrats, it almost doesn't matter which Democrat as long as they can win the election and remove a Republican from office.  Control of the House and Senate matter, completely.  Even if you're a play-lefty who would rather see the worst Republicans in single offices so you can preen in your purity, who controls those bodies matters, entirely.

For the lefty rags who pushed the Green candidacy of Jill Stein - clearly as much a Russian asset as Trump is, your credibility was lost through your help in giving us a second disastrous Republican loser of an election in less than two decades.  Your continued carping about the impurity of Democrats has put Trump in office, when you whine about the impurity of other Democrats who lose to Republicans, you are their agents.   Democracy Now, The Nation, In These Times, The Progressive, to some extent even Mother Jones have all been guilty of that in the last two years, some of them are continuing to do that, right now.   If you continue that, you deserve to be attacked as much as FOX does because you've had the same effect in reality as it does.

Last Call At The Whine Bar

As I said last night, I really don't want to discuss the problems with the neo-Darwinian synthesis while my country and, in a real way, the world are under attack from the Republican-fascist party.

But a lot of the response to your whining complaint about me dissing the god of contemporary atheism, randomness, was condensed in an article by J. D. MacAllister* from an exchange between Denis Noble and Richard Dawkins during a long debate that seems to have been organized by Lynn Margulis not long before her death.

Denis Noble begins his presentation with the explanation that as a physiologist, he studies the interaction of gene products that produce function (e.g., heartbeat or pancreatic secretion). How many interactions he asks are possible given the human genome? The human genome is currently estimated to comprise 25,000 genes. We humans have neither the largest nor the smallest number of genes in our genome. Noble states that the number of possible interactions is calculated to be 1070,000. Noble provides a frame of reference for this astounding number. The total of atoms in the Universe as determined by the Hubble telescope is 1080. The actual number of working gene interactions is far fewer than the total number of possible interactions, but even if we considered only 1/1000th of Noble’s number, it would still be astounding.  

Dawkins states that “any power that a gene can exert over the world that improves the possibility of it replicating itself into the potentially eternal future will be favored by natural selection.” However, even considering 1/1000th of working gene interactions to be tested and the relative shortness of deep time, a different explanation of the serendipitous favorable combinations that do exist is warranted. 

Add to this that most random gene mutations studied have no or very little effect on phenotype. When a random mutation does affect phenotype, it is most often deleterious and even fatal. Therefore, the odds that a random beneficial mutation (or any accumulation of beneficial random mutations) will affect phenotype positively in terms of survival is exceedingly long.

I would note, to start with that, given that possible number of random mutations and the fact that most random mutations that affect the phenotype, the organism,  itself, are fatal, I wonder if life wouldn't have died out altogether if the mutations of them were truly random.  I can't find anyone who has made a statement to that effect or against it, I suspect that since Noble was talking to his colleagues, he might have relied on them understanding something like that.  I'd like an answer to the question.

The point reminds me of an argument I made in relation to my year long attempt to get atheists to say how a new idea could arise before the structure they said was required to "be" the idea in the brain could have been present to instruct the brain on what to build,how to build it or even that it needed to build it.  The answer given by several orthodox atheists of "DNA" brought up a similar problem of the time it would take for a trial and error method of creating the proteins involved, which would take more time than the age of the Earth by a good number.

If the chain explored all possible configurations at random by rotations about the various single bonds of the structure, it would take too long to reach the native configuration.  For example, if the individual residues of an unfolded polypeptide chain can exist in only two states, which is a gross understatement, then the number of possible randomly generated conformations is 1045 for a chain of 150 amino acid residues ( although, of course, most of these would probably be sterically [spacially] impossible ones  If each conformation could be explored with a frequency of molecular rotation (1012 sec.-1) , which is an overestimate, it would take approximately 1026  years to examine all possible conformations.  Since the syntnesis and folding of a protein chain such as that of ribonuclease or lysozyme can be accomplished in about 2 minutes, it is clear that all conformations are not traversed in the folding process.  Instead, it appears to us that, in response to local interactions, the peptide chain is directed along a variety of possible low-energy pathways (relatively small in number), possibly passing through unique intermediate states, toward the confirmation of lowest free energy.

Christian Afinsen: I believe from his Nobel lecture but I don't have time to look it up this morning.

I know some atheists don't seem to think with great facility - something they share with just about any group you could name - but I don't think if it were truly a result of random action anyone would have ever come up with even one generally accurate idea in their life time, never mind enough to account for even our everyday experience.  I mean, who has 10 to the twentysixths seconds, (or twenty-six seconds) never mind years, to make up your mind on whether or not you should keep driving through that pedestrian?  I'd love to have someone explain to me what's wrong with that idea.

Clearly, the idea of turning random chance into a creator god - especially operating under trial and error towards producing a certain end in real time -  is as stupid an idea as turning probability into a creator god or even to explain other natural phenomena.  I'd love to have the time to follow up on why and how that attempt at god-making out of math was made, especially before quantum physics was invented.  I suspect that before then it was entirely a matter of ideological convenience, afterwards its application got entirely out of hand.  It clearly doesn't work to explain some of the items most vital to the atheist agenda, such as disposing of the origin of life, the evolution of life species or our minds through its naive invocation.

*  I can't get a link to the article, though you can get to it online, HOMAGE_TO DARWIN DEBATE COMMENTARY.docx.   It is in one of those annoying "dox" Word format documents.  I saved it and opened it with Libreoffice.   Or you can listen to the very long debate, including an incredibly interesting film presented by the late Lynn Margulis (with incredibly annoying background music) as well as hearing what was said.  I will note that Margulis would seem to like debunked historical fables as much as her divorced husband, Carl Sagan, did.   She sort of hashes a citation of the common received baloney about the Huxley-Wilberforce debate which had been debunked by historical methods decades before.  I guess scientists don't really have much respect for the methods of history in finding truths far more reliable about far more complex areas of experience, in many cases, than science can.  At least when a good story is more gratifying to them than accurate historical accounts.  Bishop Wilberforce was not a scientific ignoramus, he was a member of the Royal Society and Charles Darwin, himself, in a letter said Wilberforce had found exactly the weakest points in his case.  I used to enjoy reading Thomas Huxley but you can add him to the number of fallen gods of my intellectual adolescence who have fallen under the weight of having their entire works available to read online.  He was a total pig and a thug.

I really do research these posts.

Update:  I've fiddled and fiddled with the html in that first paragraph from that summary of the debate and this is the best I can do.  Sorry, I'm no html wizard.

The Republican-fascist Party Is At War With The American People.

If there were any doubt that the Republican Party is not merely amoral but morally depraved, the vote on kicking tens of millions of people off of health insurance  - in the United States an effective ban on poor people and even many middle-class people being able to GET healthcare - removed any honest doubt on that matter.  I'm sure in the coming hours we'll find out more and newer horrors which the Republican Party pushed through.  Included is allowing states to allow insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.  Included in that is allowing them to deny rape victims coverage on the basis of their having reported the crime against them and trying to prevent pregnancy or I'd guess, even trying to prevent sexually transmitted diseases transmitted by the rapist.

With this vote, Republicans, decidedly and completely including those officially given the ridiculous title "moderate" Republicans,  have shown there is nothing to putrid, even too unpopular for them to vote for and to celebrate.  The man of the hour, last night, the Men's Fittness style sadist, Paul Ryan and the rest of them celebrated big with Donald Trump, a man who has broken all of the promises he used to con people into voting for him in regard to the quest to repeal the presidency of Barack Obama.   Which is what this was always about, using the racism of a large number of voters to rally them to elect Republicans, the party of racism, treason and squeezing money out of everyone for billionaires and millionaires.

There should be a policy to target any of the stinking Republicans who can be thrown out.  The piece of crap from Maine's Second District, the totally degenerate Bruce Poliquin, is on the the radio as I type this lying about why he voted for something that will hit his district far harder than the First District whose Chellie Pingree most certainly voted against the Republican bill.

This is a declaration of war against the American People, literal violence which will kill people in large numbers, destroying the economic security of many others.  Everyone involved in it, including those in the media should be targeted.  

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Many Faces of Mr. Guyette - Stuck in Vermont

I'm going to put the critique of natural selection aside for a while and concentrate directly on the theme of this blog, politics and how the left can win election and change laws for the better.  If that doesn't happen things like what happened in the House of non-Representatives did today will happen.

But right now,  I needed this.

The Shame and Cruelty of the GOP

Um. Your Connection Is A Disconnect Because You Think It's Science Whereas I Don't - Hate Mail

Pointing out that God is not visible, not measurable in response to me pointing out that Richard Lewontin admitted the same thing about supposed selective pressures supposedly controlling evolution is not going to get an atheist guy like you far.  No rational, informed religious person tries to treat God scientifically, atheists in their numbers are constantly putting purported invisible, unobservable, immeasurable, unquantifiable, unknowable entities directly into science, making them weapons against and substitutes for God the Creator.   

I wonder at them not understanding the inconsistency or irony of their holdings. 

Tim Radford, in his review of Stephen Hawking's Grand Design noted:

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

That troll is a person who spent his 
Youth only on fun, quite content-less
And now in old age, 
He's really no sage,
His dribble is non compos mentis.  

Update:  Ah, well, my blogging days are numbered by how long I can still see the screen. What's your excuse?

Cleaning Up The Spilled Whine

Materialists have a large whine cellar but one stocked with a vast number of a very limited number of cheap varieties. They go from the cheapest of bum varieties to mid-range somewhat popular but cheap varieties in an unending series of old bottles of the stuff.   That's a metaphor, in case you're one of those whining about that.   None of those is cheaper and more ubiquitous than anything dealing with the phony St. Charles Darwin figure who is their idol.

I think that Denis Noble is wise in avoiding taking on the massive figure of St. Charles Darwin in his lectures, there isn't really much of a scientific reason for doing it, as he points out, without making that point exactly,  Charles Darwin's natural selection stopped being of active scientific relevance way back in the last century if not before.   But I don't think avoiding him and natural selection will remain a viable political strategy of those trying to make progress in science or outside of science. Without the very neo-Darwinian synthesis of the 1930s, without attaching a particular understanding of Mendelian inheritance to natural selection, natural selection doesn't work at all.   As H. Allen Orr, one of Jerry Coyne's graduate students, noted in a criticism of Daniel Dennett's ridiculous view of natural selection he said:

Now Dennett is an able philosopher and this argument is surely not news to him. So why is he ineluctably drawn to the view that cultural change involves some brand of Darwinism? The reason is that he believes natural selection is an "algorithmic process," a blind, formal procedure whose operation is guaranteed to return a certain kind of result. A defining property of an algorithmic process is its "substrate neutrality": An algorithm does a job and returns a result whatever the input. Dennett concludes that natural selection, as an algorithm, is also substrate neutral. One can select between genes on chromosomes, codes in a computer, or ideas in a culture. As long as mutation, replication, and differential survival occur, any substrate can be selected. For instance, ideas can change (mutate), they can spread (replicate), and some can die out while others persist (differential survival), so we would seem to have a substrate suited for selection. Following Dawkins, Dennett claims that the substrate that gets selected in cultural evolution is the "meme," any memorable idea, jingle, or fashion that lasts long enough to get copied by another person.

This substrate neutrality argument is supremely important to Dennett. It -- and nothing else -- explains why selection can be lifted from its historical base in biology. It is what makes Darwinism so dangerous. But Dennett slips here. While it is true that many different kinds of substrate can be selected, it is simply not true that Darwinism works with any substrate, no matter what. Indeed Darwinism can't even explain old-fashioned biological evolution if the hereditary substrate doesn't behave just right. Evolution would quickly grind to a halt, for instance, if inheritance were blending, not particulate. With blending inheritance, the genetic material from two parents seamlessly blends together like different colored paints. With particulate Mendelian inheritance, genes from Mom and Dad remain forever distinct in Junior. This substrate problem was so acute that turn-of-the-century biologists -- all fans of blending inheritance -- concluded that Darwinism just can't work. Modern evolutionary genetics was born in 1930 when Sir Ronald Fisher cracked this problem: Population genetics shows that particulate Mendelian inheritance saves the day. It is just the kind of substrate needed for evolution by natural selection to work.

I have put the most important part of that for my argument into blue letters.  I'm not a biologist, never mind a geneticist and am certainly not equipped to judge the extent to which the newer findings concerning the actual behavior of genes in living organisms and the obvious and important influence of non-genetic inheritance plays in normal, everyday reproduction does to this idea but I can't believe it doesn't make it far more complicated than even H. Allen Orr pointed out at the end of the last century.

But that was something that Darwin not only didn't believe in as he definitely believed not only in the inheritance of acquired trait, he is reported by his most qualified scientific colleagues in his extended inner circle in rejecting the very theory of Weissman that is central to the reigning orthodox neo-Darwinian dogma.

The immense significance of this positive knowledge of the origin of man from some Primate does not require to be enforced. Its bearing upon the highest questions of philosophy cannot be exaggerated. Among modern philosophers no one has perceived this more deeply than Herbert Spencer.  He is one of those older thinkers who before Darwin were convinced that the theory of development is the only way to solve the   enigma of the world. Spencer is also the champion of those evolutionists who lay the greatest weight upon progressive heredity, or the much combated heredity of acquired characters. From the first he has severely attacked and criticised the theories of Weismann, who denies this most important factor of phylogeny, and would explain the whole of transformism by the c all-sufficiency of selection.  In England the theories of Weismann were received with enthusiastic acclamation, much more so than on the Continent, and they were called  “Neo-Darwinism” in opposition to the older conception of Evolution, or “Neo-Lamarckism.” 

Neither of those expressions is correct. Darwin himself was convinced of the fundamental importance of progressive heredity quite as much as his great predecessor Lamarck; as were also Huxley and Spencer. 

Three times I had the good fortune to visit Darwin at Down, and on each occasion we discussed this fundamental question in complete harmony. I agree with Spencer in the conviction that progressive heredity is an indispensable factor in every true monistic theory of Evolution, and that it is one of its most important elements. If one denies with Weismann the heredity of acquired characters, then it becomes necessary to have recourse to purely mystical qualities of germ-plasm. I am of the opinion of Spencer, that in that case it would be better to accept a mysterious creation of all the various species as described in the Mosaic account.

If you want to refute Haeckel on those points, let me know when you had a chance to talk to ol' Chuck at his home base at Down.  Though I especially loathe the proto-Nazi, Haecke,  I especially like the last line and I hope Jerry Coyne will read it.

If the strength of non-genetic inheritance and the influence of non-genetic or extra-genetic influence in determining the actual organism is shown to be far stronger than now known (though perhaps quite subtle, a point which is entirely relevant when it's a question of natural selection) does to the primacy of particulate inheritance and, so, natural selection, I don't know.  I can't see that the issue isn't ultimately relevant to the retention of the idea of natural selection.

I am not as convinced as Denis Noble is that science isn't gradually making it necessary to leave Darwin behind.  I would suggest comparing Darwin's classical definition of gradual change as the engine of evolution of new species with what Denis Noble says at about 6:00 on that second lecture I posted yesterday.  Here's Darwin from the sixth, what some consider the definitive edition of The Origin of Species:

Again, it may be asked, how is it that varieties, which I have called incipient species, become ultimately converted into good and distinct species, which in most cases obviously differ from each other far more than do the varieties of the same species? How do those groups of species, which constitute what are called distinct genera and which differ from each other more than do the species of the same genus, arise? All these results, as we shall more fully see in the next chapter, follow from the struggle for life. Owing to this struggle, variations, however slight and from whatever cause proceeding, if they be in any degree profitable to the individuals of a species, in their infinitely complex relations to other organic beings and to their physical conditions of life, will tend to the preservation of such individuals, and will generally be inherited by the offspring. The offspring, also, will thus have a better chance of surviving, for, of the many individuals of any species which are periodically born, but a small number can survive. I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term natural selection, in order to mark its relation to man's power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer, of the Survival of the Fittest, is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient. We have seen that man by selection can certainly produce great results, and can adapt organic beings to his own uses, through the accumulation of slight but useful variations, given to him by the hand of Nature. But Natural Selection, we shall hereafter see, is a power incessantly ready for action, and is as immeasurably superior to man's feeble efforts, as the works of Nature are to those of Art.

I have pointed out this statement by Jerry Coyne's teacher, Richard Lewontin before, in which he states, both correctly and bravely, that much of proposed, purported natural selection can't be observed or even measured due to what he takes to be the unmeasurable weakness of selective factors over the unobserved and, inevitably, forever lost past.

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

Richard Lewontin:  Introduction:  It Ain't Necessarily So

How do you know a force which is unobservable or measurable is there?  How can such unverifiable stories be real science?  How do you know it isn't all imaginary or an artifact of your indoctrination into your professional field?  How do you know that you're not imagining something you want to be there, being there?  Reading that passage was one I remember because it was the thing which led me, more than anything else, to doubt that natural selection was in any sense real but was a conventional meta-narrative, exactly one of those "stories" or rather a story-line which was introduced by Darwin and Wallace into science, which became the way that scientists explained things and, most importantly, a required article of faith which is still required by anyone who is to be taken as respectable in science or outside of science even with its tremendous baggage of supporting inequality, injustice, violence, murder, which didn't even end with the example of the Nazi's eugenic murders but which is one of the foremost uses of natural selection today.  Sociobiology and evolutionary psychology are and have been used to destroy the assumptions of equality and the ability to improve lives, families, groups and communities.   That is something which was warned about by scientists, including Richard Lewontin and others in the Sociobiology Study Group from the mid-1970s.   Note this article from the old Science For The People magazine from 1976 [Page 7 of the Pdf].  Note the quote, the foremost organ of the supposedly liberal media, the New York Times jumped on the bandwagon and said:  

Sociobiology carries with it the revolutionary implications that much of man's behavior toward his fellows … may be as much a product of evolution as the structure of the hand or the size of the brain. 

That is something which has been used, by, not only journalists and other writers and advocates, but scientists to reinforce existing economic, social and political elites, racial elites, men over women, since the introduction of natural selection in the first edition of the Origin of Species, inequality is the engine of death which it purposes as the means by which nature rules everything.  That is a record that is there to be read, the history of natural selection as just that kind of "revolutionary" entity in society, politics and academia.  It is something which has never gone away and, as can be seen in such allegedly leftist scientist as the Marxists Karl Pearson and Haldane, will never be safely altered. I think that so long a science has not gotten past the requirement to patch up natural selection, its potential for promoting inequality and, yes, even murder, will always be there and, at times, that potential will be realized in blighting and ending lives.

I don't have anything to lose in asking these questions and pointing these things out.  It requires no bravery on my part to do it, at all.  Someone whose income or career or standing could easily be destroyed by doing that would likely find the cost of doing so too great.  Look at what has happened to those who criticized evo-psy (for most purposes the same thing a sociobiology), even those who already had tenure and standing.  Look at what a jerk like Jerry Coyne says about Denis Noble.   I do think, from the work that Noble and other are doing, that eventually the neo-Darwinian ideology will be replaced, replacing natural selection or even just admitting that these new findings will either lead to having to either patch it up again or to scrap it will be a harder sell.  I do fear that it's going to take a lot more in the way of horrific consequences before that inevitable part the stories making inequality and death a progressive force life before that will happen.  If they didn't learn from what the Nazis did, what will it take?

Republicans Are The Party of Russian Backed Treason

Chuck Grassley has always been a whiny, hypocritical piece of garbage but his decision to protect the Trump regime's treason against the United States is a new low, even for him.   As a long standing Senator for Iowa, he is a piece of garbage that the people who voted for him have responsibility for.  As Rachel Maddow pointed out, Lindsay Graham and Chuck Grassley both proved yesterday that they are are setting the table for trying to sink the supposedly responsible Senate investigation into the Trump-Russia ratfucking of our presidential election and our government.  

This is about the most serious issue active today.  It's clear that the leadership of the Republican party are going to try to derail an investigation into one of the most serious attacks against the United States in our history. 

Update:  Yeah, sometimes I wish Rachel  would go without the buildup part of her pieces, it can bury the lede, but that's her style and a lot of what she says is important.   Maybe she figures the stuff she uses in her buildup would get buried if she didn't include it.  I took her buildup in that story to mean she's getting threatened by lawyers in an attempt to harass her and NBC into dropping the Russia story.  If that's the case it should be its own news story, though maybe their lawyers have advised against that.  

The Republican Party is a fascist party, I've been telling people that for years, now.  It isn't a normal American party, it's like what would have happened if a fringe party of the past had become dominant.  

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Why Won’t the Press Ask Trump Anything?

Denis Noble Takes Apart Dawkins' Selfish Gene Theory

Here is the second of the two lectures given by Denis Noble which I've listened to several times.  It is more concise and, in some ways, easier to understand than the lecture given several years earlier.

I believe it was given in China in 2014, based on what I believe is the article (which I have only had a chance to skim, so far) he mentions in discussion of Richard Dawkins' not understanding the metaphorical nature of his gene selfishness ideology as a metaphor and Noble's, I think, quite erudite elucidation of the metaphorical nature of it by turning it on its head, at about 7:28.

A lot of the lecture is a critique of Dawkins' theory of gene selfishness which pretty much leaves out the entirely relevant fact that DNA does just about nothing and, certainly, nothing physiological or even biologically meaningful without a huge number of other operations within the cell which it depends on completely to do anything.  That, alone is worth listening to it for.

Some of the highlights in supporting material are his presentation of DNA knockout experiments, one of his own (c.15:45) an extremely revealing one in which an enormous range of various markers were knocked out in yeast (c.18:15) and, perhaps most interesting was the production of a cross-species clone between a gold-fish and carp, putting the DNA from a carp into a denucleated gold-fish egg cell and the successfully produced adult having the DNA from a carp definitely not being a carp or a gold-fish but obviously having characteristics more like the gold-fish whose DNA it doesn't have but whose cellular physiology it does have.

I especially liked the point where he quoted the Nobel prize winning biologist, Sydney Brenner as saying:  "I know one approach that will fail, which is to start with genes, make proteins from them and to try to build things bottom-up."  Which overturns quite a lot of the common received wisdom common to millions of people who were educated over the past eighty years.   Another quote I liked was from another focus of Jerry Coyne's flame warring, James Shapiro,  "It is difficult (if not impossible) to find the genome change operator that is truly random in its action within the DNA of the cell where it works."  Clearly the simplistic view of "genes" of "DNA" of biological inheritance of biological determinism that we were all sold through our educations under the neo-Darwinian synthesis is outmoded and the assumptions that sprang from that, as mentioned before, covering a huge range of everything from the academically inert to the politically and legally potent are naive when they aren't malicious.


Someone whined about my post this morning,  I would point out that a prediction was made about the political effects of the ultra-neo-Darwinism of Sociobiology, which soon morphed into evolutionary psychology by the eminent scientists, graduate students and others in the Sociobiology Study Group in 1975.

Each time these ideas have resurfaced the claim has been made that they were based on new scientific information. Yet each time, even though strong scientific arguments have been presented to show the absurdity of these theories, they have not died. The reason for the survival of these recurrent determinist theories is that they consistently tend to provide a genetic justification of the status quo and of existing privileges for certain groups according to class, race or sex. Historically, powerful countries or ruling groups within them have drawn support for the maintenance or extension of their power from these products of the scientific community.

Their statement, Against "Sociobiology", is both accurate in hindsight and foresight, especially in foresight.  They could have predicted both Thatcherism and Reaganism and the destruction of the movement for equality and economic and social advancement as that form of biological determinism took hold in the general culture.  Though I think they, as scientists and Darwinists  clearly desired to exempt science by blaming Herbert Spenser for a phrase he did invent but it was an idea that the most eminent scientists were even more central in creating.  Darwin, at the urging of his co-inventor of natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace, explicitly said that natural selection mean the same thing as survival of the fittest in the fifth and sixth edition of Origin of Species.  But even before that, it was Darwin who inserted Malthusianism into evolutionary biology and who adopted his cousin, the even more eminent scientific polymath, Francis Galton's extension of natural selection into eugenics.  It was almost inevitable that natural selection would have led to it, as Leonard Darwin pointed out in 1939,  Wilhlem Schallmeyer, in his independent invention of eugenics in Germany relied solely on The Origin of Species, not on Francis Galton.  Though he certainly was influenced by Ernst Haeckel's immediately depraved interpretation of natural selection which Darwin endorsed without reservation.

If They Don't Stop It I'll Grow Overconfident

You know, Stupy, if you want to make someone feel shame or to be inhibited by your criticism it helps if you hadn't, over a number of years given them every proof that you're an immature, habitual liar whose integrity is non-existent.  It's too late for you to make me feel anything but smug or encouraged that something you disapprove of is probably not entirely wrong.   Just as I would never feel anything but honor at being targeted by someone like Trump, I am not bothered by your impotent attempts to discourage me.  Anyone who has witnessed your act for the past decade who can still buy it is too stupid to bother with, as well.

I Was Serious About The Possible Opportunity To Revive The Idea Of Improving Lives In Light Of The Fall Of Neo-Darwinism

I think there is certainly a political effect in believing in biological determinism, especially in the extreme ultra-neo-Darwinist version which E. O. Wilson and Richard Darwkins and their colleagues pushed beginning in the 1970s   If our fates as individuals, as families, as gender, racial, ethnic, etc. groups is determined in a fixed manner by "our genes" then any attempt at improvement of the lives of people living today and, so, the future of their children is everything from bound to fail to foolish.

It is no more a surprise that since an increasing number of people, especially those indoctrinated by intro-level courses in college, have been indoctrinated to believe that we're merely the "lumbering robots" controlled by and at the service of our genes starting in the mid-1970s that the countries where that ideology has become the strongest, Britain and the United States, has seen the steady destruction of government programs to improve the lives of various underclasses, racial and ethnic underclasses.   I don't think it's unrelated to the backlash to feminism which has included massively promoted propaganda about irremediable differences in "male and female brain" and the fixity of gender roles as well as intellectual abilities.

The model that educated people were previously indoctrinated in, behaviorism, was both deterministic and wrong but it notably held that animals and people could be trained by conditioning in ways that would be effective and salubrious.  I think that there is probably a lot to be learned about how the educated class that run the media, the legal system, educational institution, various professions, governments and research science are taught and led to think about things and to articulate thing and the character of what those people come up with for policies and laws.

One thing that  is an important part of that consideration is that a strongly biologically deterministic view of life inevitably favors those already with wealth and, so, power.   There is no mistaking the fact that eugenics arose out of natural selection, first by Galton's assertions of the inherited intellectual superiority of the wealthy class which his family were part of.  In his letter praising his cousin's first major book inventing eugenics, Hereditary Genius, Charles Darwin, himself, says that it changed his thinking from believing that teaching and training and application to those could make a decisive difference to believing that our fates in that are far more fixed than he had.


3rd December

"MY DEAR GALTON,--I have only read about 50 pages of your book (to Judges), but I must exhale myself, else something will go wrong in my inside. I do not think I ever in all my life read anything more interesting and original--and how Well and clearly you put every point! George, who has finished the book, and who expressed himself in just the same terms, tells me that the earlier chapters are nothing in interest to the later ones! It will take me some time to get to these latter chapters, as it is read aloud to me by my wife, who is also much interested. You have made a convert of an opponent in one sense, for I have always maintained that, excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work; and I still think this is an eminently important difference. I congratulate you on producing what I am convinced will prove a memorable work. I look forward with intense interest to each reading, but it sets me thinking so much that I find it very hard work; but that is wholly the fault of my brain and not of your beautifully clear style.--Yours most sincerely,

(Signed) "CH. DARWIN"

I don't doubt, for a minute, that Darwin, belonging to a different branch of the same family* was certainly gratified if not predisposed to believe their superiority was a matter of blood inheritance.  So were the other members of the various elites which so rapidly adopted eugenics and started, immediately, to use it in ways to oppress and, yes, kill off the underclass.  They'd already had a good start with the sociology of Malthus giving them an excuse to make the lot of the poor even worse so as to harry them out of existence, setting up the death camp, slave labor, workhouse system.

Traditionally, the United States was far less invested in that kind of British class depravity, ours being more of the robber baron, parvenu, type, though there was certainly racism which is exactly the same kind of biological determinism.  But things certainly changed for the worse, especially in the intellectual class which took biological determinism to heart and used it differently.  It definitely had a role in exacerbating the damage of racism.  In some ways American use of determinism was less bad but in others worse than the Brits did.  Of course, in the United States, they had to contend with a population which used to be more independent minded and with resistance and rebellion against oppression more in their culture.   There was the stronger influence of religious traditions which included taking the Mosaic Law regarding the provision of the poor more seriously, as well.  As that last one was weakened, one of the major mean of Americans resisting their oppression was removed.

If the new thinking about biology will be able to pull the legs out from under the fascist regime of biological determinism in the same way that attempts to improve people through training with the supplanting of behaviorism with ultra-Darwinism did, I don't know.   But it is worth thinking about.   If people stop being convinced that there is no reason to try to improve the lives of the underclass, that there is hope in trying to improve lives, it might work.  If people continue to believe that genetic inheritance is a fixed, unalterable and inherited determiner of intellectual and class status, that inequality is natural and a fact of nature, there isn't much hope in striving for equality.  There is a reason that fascism has always, informally or formally, scientifically or non-scientifically, embraced biological determinism. and inherited roles.

At the worst, people can be taught to believe in their own inferiority, though there will always be women, members of racial minorities, who will rebel against that.  I think it's high time to encourage those rebellions, especially in light of the new biological findings that support attempts to make lives better instead of defining life as fixed at conception.

If enough of a fuss is made, I will go over the behind the scenes campaign of Francis Crick to rally support for the scientific racism of Arthur Jensen among his fellow scientists and other such, little known efforts of some of the most extravagantly adulated scientists of recent times.  Though it will have to wait, it takes time to look up those citations and documents online and I'm having some serious difficulty with my eyesight right now.

 * As Marilynne Robinson pointed out in Mother Country, the British elite were pretty much all the product of cousin marriage.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Hadda Brooks - The Thrill is Gone

Don't You Think I Ought To Know 

I looked for the musicians on the album these are from but they aren't listed.  I know Hadda Brooks was in the movie allegedly of In a Lonely Place, where the picture of Bogart is from, but not in that scene. 

Trump is Panicking About Russia

Great News Current Biology Supports The Intellectual Basis of The Great Society - Prof Denis Noble - Dance to the Tune of Life Lecture

A whiny comment that came in last night objected to the observation that science does not produce uniform agreement on not only details or even major issues but, sometimes, on huge issues.  One of the first lines of refutation of that which came to me was to suggest that they go to Jerry Coyne's blog and cult,  Why Evolution is True* and search its archives for the name James Shapiro, one of Coyne's colleagues in molecular and evolutionary biology at his own University of Chicago and read the venom with which that champion of rationality and reason, Jerry Coyne frothed like an insane terrier biting at the fence to get to his adversary.

I did that to test it and, indeed, you will find many posts in which Jerry Coyne does that.  I would have also suggested going to Huffington Post where James Shapiro answered Coyne, though not in the manner of an insane terrier for a contrast.

But when I did that I saw that five years ago Coyne went after another scientist, Denis Noble, a biologist who has made notable contributions to mathematical modeling and physiology and who has written about the growing acknowledgement that the neo-Darwinian synthesis that has more or less ruled evolutionary biology and has a strong influence in a number of other fields is, as another eminent figures in recent biology,  Lynn Marguilis has said, is pretty much been overturned by recent discoveries.

I have managed since last night to listen to two lectures given by Denis Noble and the contrast between Coyne's venom spewing and wreckless bomb throwing couldn't be more obvious.  As obvious, given Noble's citations, quotations and lines of reasoning, on such topics as epigenetic modification of organisms, cellular chemistry, cellular physiology, and several things that I hadn't heard about but which really shocked me, he's got more than venom and bombs to back him up.

Here is the complete lecture.  I will note some times of some of the most interesting things below.

If you want to hear just him addressing Coyne, someone has extracted that part of the lecture.

Listening last night, several things really jumped out at me.  One was Denis Noble attributing both a very important idea and a very mistaken idea to Erwin Schrödinger, from his book What is Life.  Given the joke I made last week about what would have to be the claim that the "struggle for existence" would have to leave entire ethnic groups both alive and dead at the same time, finding Schrödinger playing an important part in this lecture was rather surprising.  He's mentioned a few times, the first at about 7:20 - times given for the first video.

In his list of papers demonstrating that DNA, though important, is not important without the cellular chemistry and physiology that makes it work at all the one I found most stunning was the one in which the DNA to produce flagellae were taken out of bacteria but that, even with that removed from the parent cells, within four days its descendants were producing flagellae really impressed me as surprising.  That is at about 24:00

A more general problem that I found interesting was that in passing Noble said there was really no way to prove or disprove that mutations in DNA were truly random. At about 47:00.  Which is interesting for several reasons.  One is whether or not something can be proven to be random or merely random within the limits of human reasoning or ability to come to that conclusion.  I doubt people can ever really know if something happens on the basis of random chance because there is no way of knowing if there is an order which we can't perceive or calculate but which seems to us to be random or chaotic.  Though for a lot of things that doesn't matter since the real concern is conscious manipulation of data or purposeful but perhaps unconscious manipulation of data.  If something is as close to a random order as we can make it, maybe that's enough.  But it still wouldn't tell you if something like mutations out of our control are truly random.  At least that's what I got out of it.

Most important for the purpose of my political blog is the wide range of areas, academic, social, political and legal in which the neo-Darwinian synthesis has spread its influence.  At about 51:40. There is a real reason that things like Dawkins' selfish-gene ideology and neo-eugenics* have had fans in the political right in the United States, Britain and elsewhere.  I mean, when David Brooks and Andrew Sullivan are just some of the fans of science, there's a reason of reinforcing the economic elite and racial and class ordering.   What a successor to the neo-Darwinian orthodoxy that Coyne and Dawkins uphold will do in politics, it's too early to know.

One thing that is definitely not good news for the political right is that the new thinking, especially the idea that acquired traits are real, important and heritable, will make the idea that government should do nothing for the poor, the unprivileged, members of beleagured minorities to improve their lives and prospects - that such things are not fixed in "our DNA" and unalterable and so it's a waste of time and money to do something.   If it will revive The Great Society - hopefully next time without a war to destroy it - is worth thinking about.

I am certainly more skeptical of Darwin and his influence than Denis Noble and I think the reason that many if not most of the neo-Darwinians hate the new thinking so much is a bit different from Nobel's speculation on that.  I think that the reason that Coyne is so unhinged about what he said is the reason he's usually unhinged, God.  The feature of random change, another aspect of probability being their current God substitute is endangered by a lot of what Noble said.  The tale of DNA producing us in all of our features is such a simple creation story that anything more complex, with some features that could suggest purpose would definitely mess up their settled dogmas and doctrines and even their mythos.  Coyne hates it so much because it challenges his religion.

Considering how Noble presents the evidence of recent science, I can't see any reason to believe that mind - not our brains but our minds, OUR intentions, OUR, goals, OUR ends doesn't have a real, biological and durable influence on these things.  His discussion of the inheritable influence on stroking parent animals and the biological mechanisms by which those experiences and the effect of them are communicated to the cells and the genome certainly suggest something like that.  I think obviously increasingly complex nature of not only the working of DNA but how it is controlled, mitigated by and corrected by incredibly complex cellular activity makes it far more respectable to doubt that it is the result of blind, random chance.  While that is certainly not something that science can answer, it's nothing that anyone needs to be ashamed of as a result of some kind of intellectual bullying.   One thing that's clear from Noble's talk, it's the reductionist program of the Coynes and Dawkins that is denying current science out of motives no less ideological.

Of course, Denis Noble doesn't mention The Great Society, that's my conclusion.  I would love to hear the argument against that conclusion.

*  Evolution is true, that's true, but how it happened has produced lots of bad ideas that aren't true.

**  It is stunning how many of those involved in both creating the neo-Darwinian synthesis were full fledged, anti-equality eugenicists.  I'll list some of them if insisted on.  I can't think that is an accident.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Trump’s New War on Free Speech

Just Wondering

I wonder what would happen if Barack Obama took the 400 large to talk to the fat cats and told them exactly what they don't want to hear.   Not that I expect that to happen but no one knows what he's going to say.  What if he tells them exactly what they don't want to hear? 

If I were Obama and someone offered me that much money to give a speech I'd take it but I can't imagine saying something about someone with that kind of money to hand out that they'd like hearing. 

I wish someone would test me like that. 

Update: RMJ raised a similar point before I did.   And much more

"our way of living revolves around one principle, self-interest... This is a fallacy according to religion..."

The interview between Carl Stern and Rabbil Abraham Heschel I transcribed a while back continues in this interesting set of issues.   I'm posting it today because I won't be around until tomorrow night. There is a lot to say about it but I'm going to post it, today.   I think the most important thing in it is Rabbi Heschel's discussion of how we have been told that needs and interests are the real goals of life, something that springs from a materialistic ideological holding about human life, all life, really and a pseudo-scientific, psychological and economic as well as a Darwinian model of life.

You might read it considering how it might help someone to understand what makes Donald Trump and those around him tick.  When Rabbi Heschel asks, "Can you imagine humanity without love?   If love is only self-interest, then love is a fake, a pretense."  I dare you to not think of Donald Trump and his personality, his celebrity, his career in both real estate and TV, his regime.  I'll not comment on his marriages.

Apropos of some of my posts about Darwin, I ended with Rabbi Heschel's statement that people are to have purpose, ends, in life, that we don't merely exist as consumers in a neo-malthusian, Darwinian scheme of material existence.  I doubt that animals do, either, though we can't have access to their understanding their ends.  Instead of demoting people into a degraded animal, I would elevate animals.  As it says in Genesis God made covenants with them, so I would think that idea is implicit in that declaration.

If you want to hear it instead of in my transcription (flaws and all) it begins on the video at about 23:40.  Again, I can't convey the Rabbi's inflection that carries a huge amount of his meaning, especially when he's characterizing the thinking of other people and when he's conveying irony.  

Carl Stern:  You believe that organized religion is in a weakened condition

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel:  I think so.  But we have to put the blame not only on the religious people and [the] religious establishment but also to the people who belong to the establishment, on the members, on the plain people.   You see, actually, the role of religion has declined as a result of countless assaults from all directions.  So what is the outcome?   In the past a hundred years ago two hundred years ago, a parent who had a gifted boy* had a great dream, the son should be a Rabbi, a minister, priest.   Today, a man with a gifted boy [would] like him to be a doctor of medicine, a banker, a lawyer, so the gifted boys are being kept away by many people – blame the people.  But the religious leaders are to blame there is a decline in religious thinking in religious passion, a detachment from the real problems.   

Let me say to you the following:  the central problem in The Bible is not God but man.  The Bible is a book about men, rather than mans' book about God.  And the great problem is how to answer. to response to the human situation and somehow religion religious leaders have often become petrified in their own traditions and understandings and couldn't relate to the burning issues of the day.

Carl Stern:  How is it responding today?

Rabbi Heschel:   How is it responding today?  Not too well.  A great many religious leader have given up faith altogether.  They are deluding themselves.  I have told you before.  Self-deception is a major passion in human life.   There are a great many people who use the word “God” and don't believe in him.  Let me give you an example.   One of the most popular definitions of God common in America today was developed by a great Protestant theologian [Paul Tillich, I believe], “God is the ground of being.  So everybody is ready to accept it.  “Why not?  Ground of being, causes me no harm, let there be a ground of being ….  not causing me any harm… I'm ready to accept it…. It's meaningless.   Is there a God who is above the ground?   Maybe God is the source of qualms, of disturbing my conscience.   Maybe God is a God of demands…. Yes, this is God, not the ground of being.   The result is we have the religious institutions without the religious belief.  We have a wave of non-belief.  I have suddenly discovered that William James was not right when he spoke about  – he was right, by the way.  I'm saying it rhetorically.   There is a will to believe but today there is a will to disbelieve.   And that will is very powerful.   To this very day our young people are craving for some deeper meaning, our young people are craving for religious outlook, what they get is stone and not bread. 

Carl Stern:  You said, though,  that there was something more than relevance needed – that's an overused expression – you use the term, in your writings, “validity,” that religion must have validity.  What makes a religion valid?

Rabbi Heschel:  If it is true.  If it corresponds to real urgencies and questions and problems.  Let me give you an example of what I (alluded?) to before.  Our entire civilization revolves around one idea.  Interest or need.  And we are taught the greatest thing alive is to satisfy ones needs and interests.  Actually, our way of living revolves around one principle,  self-interest.  Self-interest.  There's nothing else but self-interest.  This is a fallacy according to religion and religion is right,   Well, because if everything is self-interest then there is no love.  Can you imagine humanity without love?   If love is only self-interest, then love is a fake, a pretense. 

Carl Stern:  You're telling me of the nature of man not the nature of God, aren't you?

Rabbi Heschel:  Yes, the nature of God is that man should have ends, not only needs... 

* His daughter  Susannah Heschel is a well known and scholar and thinker who is well worth listening to and reading.  I am planning on going over some of her ideas in the future.

Note To A Nit-Wit

You should look up two words "centrality" and "exclusivity" because you either don't know what the first one means or you're mixing it up with the second one, which is really what you're claiming. 

You really should learn how to use a dictionary as you progress in your second childhood.  Hopefully the second one won't last as long a the first one, the idea of a 140 year old you is too awful to contemplate. 

Menschenrechten und Demokratie entsprungen sind, ist unmittelbar ein Erbe der jüdischen Gerechtigkeitsund der christlichen Liebesethik.

"You hate Seinfeld because he's Jewish."

Oh, you don't understand, I think there are things that are too serious and important to joke about. Religion is too important to make a comedy routine about, especially the seed bed of personal freedom, rights, the moral obligation to respect those and its political and social results, modern democracy, Judaism.  

The Holocaust, the murders of the disabled, the Roma, the Poles, etc.  Any humor about those things isn't funny, it's a symptom of a society plunging into fascism or worse. 

It's too important to lead me to think it's a good idea for the ignorant and predisposed to be led astray with uninformed, most often negatively stereotyped jokes about it.   As such, yeah, I pretty much reject all of that low-grade comedy that thinks that just referring to something about Judaism means it's a joke. I have too much respect for it to think that's funny.  It's an expression of internalized hatred, not comedy.  It's pathological, not entertaining.   No more than watching an obviously mentally ill person being put on stage for people to laugh at would be.   For a cheap gag-man and yuck peddler to degrade it is offensive. 

Maybe I Should Start A Regular Monday Heresy Feature

So far as I have ever been able to figure out, even after the humiliation of the sTARBABY  scandal the atheists' alleged saints, Paul Kurtz and James Randi never bothered to correct their ignorance of statistics so they could claim to know the first thing about what they were talking about.  Considering they were both alleged adults and they kept up the pretense of being champions of science and reasoning until their deaths (I assume Randi will keep up that pretense for business purposes, he's still pulling his fraud to suck in the suckers, now).   Of course, they have people like Ray Hyman to both know what he's talking about and to twist and misrepresent things - and to suppress papers when he doesn't like their conclusions, a pseudo-skeptical file drawer effect - so maybe they figured that was covered by their cult.

As for whining that I dissed what you would have to believe is the imaginary shade of the atheist St. Carl Sagan, go read his wholesale selling of baloney concerning Randi's Carlos "Hoax" fraud in which Sagan repeats the fraudulent account of it that Randi peddled in the United States eight or nine years after the Australian skeptics had exposed Randi's account as a lie pretty much from start to finish and beyond.   I remember the first time I ever saw Sagan on TV, talking about his one area of competence, planetary exploration, he was mesmerizing.  Then, encouraged by a couple of appearances on the NOVA TV series, he commercialized his pseudo-skeptical gig and became insufferable.  The guy was a lazy twerp who spread loads of nonsense, commonly held historical myth, stereotypical and inaccurate claims about people, groups, institutions and entities without much in the way of fact checking.  He was quite prepared to distort other peoples' scientific claims, such as in his absurd "Amniotic Universe" theory of human experience and continue even when the guy whose claims he cited rejected his interpretation of it.   I can go on.   I hadn't, yet, become familiar with his presence in CSICOP and his part in the cover-up of the sTARBABY scandal when he not only was one of those in the best position to understand the scandal and who may have been the one, other than one of the cover-up conspirators, George Abell, with a professional responsibility in the very field it happened in.

Carl Sagan was even more of an obnoxious media presence than the dime-store polymath Isaac Asimov back then.  Only, as far as I know, Asimov's junk contribution to the hoard of common received baloney is his ridiculous "Laws of Robotics" which some sci-rangers believe are a thing, even today.  Sagan initiated the practice of them trying to be ninja logicians, spouting charges of  and inventing "logical fallacies" and more incompetently and ignorantly, giving them a vocabulary without a shred of understanding.  I really couldn't take the pill.
Yeah, you can tell I'd agree with the New York Times new climate change denying op-ed writer because I posted this yesterday.

 .... I'm a lot more worried about Americans being sold lies denying climate change and the role that fossil fuel plays in that than in them being fuzzy about what the Earth goes around.   That's TV induced ignorance sold through oil and other extraction industries, sold by American TV for profit, even influencing the stinking New York Times who recently hired an op-ed scribbler who is selling that really dangerous lie that even more Americans believe as the friggin' world boils and burns around them.  There's no way human ignorance is going to move the Sun or the Earth though it could well end life on Earth.   I'll bet a lot of them could tell you who was on Seinfeld or some other idiotic TV show.

It's a fact that the guy who failed to read that yesterday is a huge Seinfeld fan.  You know, another racist, lily white view of life in the most overrated city on the continent.  He's got a weakness for movie directors and TV shows that give a lily white view of the place he calls home. As I recall the New York Times climate change denier is also a racist.  So he's got more in common with him than I do. Apparently so do the people who run the stinking New York Times.

 I have suggested remedial reading but I'm not sure he could read the suggestion.\

Update:  Apparently the early pioneer of peer-promotion in elementary education who never learned to read is saying it again this morning.  As to the world "scientism" being a "bullshit" word, the schmuck never learned how to use a dictionary, either.  Read through the quotes giving examples of the use of "scientism" there are some really interesting points, especially in the few I've gotten round to looking up in the last few minutes.  I've got to get some fun out of this.