Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sotomayor banned for life from Supreme Court

[Dissociated Press] In a move that has shocked the legal community, Associate Justice Sonya Sotomayor was banned for life from the Supreme Court because of racist comments.

Chief Justice John Roberts made the announcement to journalists at a noon press conference today.

Roberts, speaking with a trembling voice, told the shocked journalists that in light of the recent banning from basketball of the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers for private racist statements, he had no choice but to ban Sotomayor from the court.

"After all", Roberts said, "the Clippers owner merely made private racist comments and had no history of racist actions that would affect the public. Justice Sotomayor, on the other hand, is a Supreme Court justice who has made explicit racist rulings and has actually asserted publicly several years ago that her wise Latina racial origins and sex chromosomes rendered her better able to make judicial decisions than people who lack her race or sex."

"Furthermore", Roberts noted, "Sotomayor's recent racist ruling on the Michigan Affirmative Action case explicitly asserted that the law should discriminate for and against millions of college applicants simply on the basis of their race. She attributed collective guilt to millions of innocent people based solely on their race, and has ruled that the law demands that legal favors and disfavors be apportioned on the basis of race. It doesn't get any more racist than that."

In related news, courts, legislatures, and universities across the nation are moving to ban Affirmative Action-supporting racists who demand that the law promote racism, in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments and the Civil Rights Act.

"Our law, like our sports teams, should be colorblind." Roberts said. "We need to ban racism in our legislatures, our universities, and our Supreme Court, just as much as we need to ban racism on our basketball court."

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Bill Maher:
Bill Maher: We’re Atheists, Not Vampires. If You Can’t Handle Seeing A Cross Now & Then You Picked The Wrong Country!
Actually "vampires" is not a bad analogy for cruciphobic atheists.  They run screaming at the sight of a cross, they do their work in the (spiritual) dark, and they live off the blood of Christian ethics and culture.

But atheist cruciphobia is not a mental illness. The ideology that spawned Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot isn't a magnet for sensitive souls.

Cruciphobia is a political tactic, deliberately used to drive Christians from the public square.

Cruciphobia is hate. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Latest dispatch from the Ministry of Truth...

It's Orwell's world:
Sharpton Wants Clippers OwnerAxed: 'Prepared to Rally In Front of NBA' 
"No one should be allowed to own a team if they have in fact engaged in this kind of racial language."

Recovered from the Memory Hole:

Al Sharpton incited a riot with his anti-Semitic language in which a Jewish man was murdered.

Sharpton also incited the murder by arson of eight people in a Freddy's Fashion Mart in Harlem by calling the owner a "white interloper".

The remarkable thing is not that Sharpton is a seething anti-Semite and racist and opportunist.

The remarkable thing is that the mainstream media and the ruling political party celebrate (and employ!) the man, and celebrate him as an opponent of racism.

Orwell wouldn't have included this vignette in 1984, because it would be too incredible to include in a work of fiction.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Saint John Paul II and Saint John XXIII !

Two of our beloved popes are being declared saints today at the Vatican! St. John XXIII's pontificate was when I was a small child. I have no real memory of him, but my father-- not a Catholic and not really a religious man-- loved him. I've read some of his encyclicals and his opening speech at Vatican II. He was a wonderful pope and a marvelously clear eloquent writer.

I became a Catholic under the pontificate of St. John Paul II. He is very special to me, and has real claim on being the most consequential (in a good way) man of the 20th century. I simply love the man, as do countless of millions of Catholics and non-Catholics who understand his courage, humanity and wisdom.

We prayed "Santo Subito" for our beloved John Paul II. Our prayers for him, and our beloved John XXIII, have been answered. Please offer the Lord a prayer of thanksgiving on this wonderful day. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

What exactly are Hillary's achievements as Secretary of State?

Surely they can think of something:
State Department gets second chance to list Hillary Clinton accomplishments; it doesn't go well
Heck, if the State Department wants a glowing list of Hillary's accomplishments, they should just ask the Muslim Brotherhood.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Thursday, April 24, 2014

"Meet the Jerk"

Gregory and his wife at the White House

Michelle Malkin:
David Gregory’s problem is that he’s a jerk
Gregory is a narcissistic liberal tool with a second-rate intellect who is for all practical purposes employed by the Democrat Party. He only pretends to be a journalist-- his wife is a Washington power-broker lawyer, previously employed as executive vice president of Fannie Mae (salary was 3 million $/year, salary and bonuses-- you might ask what "legal" service she provided to earn the bonuses). She resigned just before the government took control of the criminal enterprise.

Heck, I didn't need a psychologist to tell me that Gregory's an smug elitist money-grubbing ass posing as a journalist.

May his show crash and burn, as it is crashing and burning, along with the ratings of the whole spectrum of liberal fake news/interview shows on Sunday morning. It's the talk radio effect played out on television-- the public gets a gut-full of smug slack-jawed liberal blather, and they hit the off button. Who wants to watch Gregory (or Shieffer or Stephanopoulos or Crowley) preen and pose and carry liberal water, pretending to real political analysis and probing interviews, while merely shilling for liberal elites whose ranks they strive to join?

It's simple really. Conservatives are afraid you won't understand them. Liberals are afraid you will.  Liberals never succeed when they talk out loud about their own ideas. So they suck at talking out loud.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Alice-in-Wonderland at the Supreme Court

Breaking: Supreme Court upholds MI ban on affirmative action in college admissions
The first reaction of any sane person is-- great! The Supreme Court is allowing the people of Michigan to make their own state laws. How democracy is advancing!

Obviously the decision is a step closer to a color-blind society, but that gut-wrenching irony is the fact that the Court had to rule on this at all.

The Constitution doesn't merely permit color-blind state laws. It requires them- the Equal Protection clause of the 14th amendment obviously bans race-based laws, as do the Due Process clauses of the 5th and 14th amendments. Laws that mandate racial discrimination-- which is precisely what Affirmative Action laws are-- are obvious violations of the Constitution and of the Civil Rights Act, and are an affront to the American people and to simple decency.

The fact that any judge anywhere would rule that a race-based law is Constitutional, let alone rule that the Constitution requires race-based laws, is mind-boggling. The two "justices" who voted to mandate race-based policy in Michigan should be impeached and removed from the Court.

Our judicial system is a farce. While the Michigan ruling is a slight improvement over the usual Alice-in-Wonderland jurisprudence we have come to expect from the tenured robed frauds on the bench, the very fact that anyone licensed to practice law in the United States would assert that the Constitution mandates racism is evidence of the sham that is American jurisprudence.

So I celebrate this decision, with restraint, painfully aware of the depravity that occasions it. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Neo-feudalism in California

Great essay on the amazing sociological transformation going on in California.

The elites and the party that represents their interests (the Democrats) are creating a modern feudal society, with a patina of billionaire oligarchs perched atop a mass of people just scraping by.

It's the perfect denouement of liberal politics, which has always been about power for the aristocracy achieved by keeping the proles under to boot with bread and circuses.

Neo-feudalism in the Golden State, and not a Republican in sight. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Was it sweat glands or tiny boobs? Evolutionary science never rests.

Another Dingbat Sexual Selection Theory
Evolutionary "scientists" are in a frenzy over whether the persistence of the gene EDAR in East Asians was because natural selection favored more sweat glands or smaller breasts.


Read the details of this breaking science news at the link, if you have the stomach for it.

This garbage is what passes for science in much of evolutionary biology today. All Darwinian story-telling is like this. The reason that sexual selection and evolutionary psychology are such obvious nonsense, and other story-telling in evolutionary biology is not such obvious nonsense, it that many theories in evolutionary biology speculate about esoterica about which the average reader knows nothing.

We laugh at speculation about natural selection for sweat glands or smaller breasts, but most of us don't understand speculation that is just as ridiculous about remingtonocetids, ambulocetids, and protocetids (putative links in whale evolution). All Darwinian "theory" is banality and tautology, without a shred of explanatory power. It's all the same logic. Stuff happens and survivors survive.

Most of evolutionary junk science is cloaked in jargon and esoterica that make it opaque to the kind of comedic interpretation to which evolutionary psychology and sexual selection lend themselves so naturally.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Justice John Paul Stevens is back at work

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens weighs in on the Second Amendment:
Following the massacre of grammar-school children in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012, high-powered weapons have been used to kill innocent victims in more senseless public incidents. Those killings, however, are only a fragment of the total harm caused by the misuse of firearms. Each year, more than 30,000 people die in the United States in firearm-related incidents. Many of those deaths involve handguns. 
The adoption of rules that will lessen the number of those incidents should be a matter of primary concern to both federal and state legislators. Legislatures are in a far better position than judges to assess the wisdom of such rules and to evaluate the costs and benefits that rule changes can be expected to produce. It is those legislators, rather than federal judges, who should make the decisions that will determine what kinds of firearms should be available to private citizens, and when and how they may be used. Constitutional provisions that curtail the legislative power to govern in this area unquestionably do more harm than good.
Stevens goes on with the usual liberal gun-grabber twaddle, a mix of fact-free and logic-free moral preening that would be risible if it weren't so lethal. Stevens argues, bizarrely, that the heavily-armed colonial delegates to the Constitutional Convention, who just finished fighting and defeating the most powerful government on earth with their personal weapons, really intended the "right to keep and bear arms" to apply only to government-approved organizations. They merely forgot a few words that would have made their real intention (coincidently exactly the same as Stevens' personal opinion) clear.

Stevens goes on to quote Chief Justice Warren Burger on Burger's hatred of the NRA (which, one presumes, Stevens hates also, but couldn't find any impressive-sounding quotes of himself saying so).
Burger himself remarked that the Second Amendment “has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word ‘fraud,’ on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”
Chief Justice Burger had to include the modal 'one of the greatest pieces of fraud' no doubt because he had in mind his own vote in 1973 for Roe vrs. Wade, which was the actual greatest piece of fraud ever promulgated by the Court. Actually, literal fraud-- McCovey lied about her "rape", and the seven justice majority that overturned the abortion laws of fifty states lied about the Constitution.

The NRA, an organization of law-abiding citizens who are intent on defending our Second Amendment Rights, are labeled "frauds" because they make the argument (invited by the Court) that the delegates to the Constitutional Convention meant what they said about keeping and bearing arms, which Chief Justice Burger, who was protected by armed security at no cost to himself, personally finds distasteful.

Anyway, back to Stevens. Stevens insists that federal judges have no Constitutional authority whatsoever to be telling states and localities what guns they may ban or not ban. It should be left up to the states! One presumes that Stevens' newfound solicitude for federal judges' valuable time is because federal judges are too busy telling states and localities that they can't pass laws about abortion or pray in schools or question Darwin in biology classes and that they must use racially discriminatory schemes in state college admissions, stuff that Justice Sevens believes the states should have no say in at all. With all of those Constitutionally-mandated responsibilities (none of which can be found in the Constitution), federal judges just don't have the time to enforce the Second Amendment!

So here's Stevens' five-word correction for the Second Amendment:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.”
No doubt the delegates of the Constitutional Convention, fresh from risking their lives to win our freedom with their personal arms they kept and bore, would have ratified a better Second Amendment if they had input from a sinecured pencil-pushing veteran of the Washington cocktail party circuit. But at least it's inspiring to see Stevens, retired from the Court for a couple of years now, back on the job doing what he did on the Court for three decades-- rewriting the Constitution.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Answer: because liberals are bad for blacks.

Why Are Liberal Cities Bad for Blacks?
Why would we imagine that the modern iteration of the Party of Slavery and Segregation would be good for blacks? 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Michael Crichton: "Aliens Cause Global Warming"

In 1993 science fiction writer and physician Michael Crichton (who has since passed away) delivered the Michelin Lecture at Caltech. His address, "Aliens Cause Global Warming", has become legendary. It is one of the best discussions of science politics and psychology I've read. It's been widely circulated, and you may well have read it. If you have, it warrants periodic re-reading. If you haven't, you're in for a treat.

An excerpt:

...the Drake equation can have any value from “billions and billions” to zero. An expression that can mean anything means nothing. Speaking precisely, the Drake equation is literally meaningless, and has nothing to do with science. I take the hard view that science involves the creation of testable hypotheses. The Drake equation cannot be tested and therefore SETI is not science. SETI is unquestionably a religion. Faith is defined as the firm belief in something for which there is no proof. The belief that the Koran is the word of God is a matter of faith. The belief that God created the universe in seven days is a matter of faith. The belief that there are other life forms in the universe is a matter of faith. There is not a single shred of evidence for any other life forms, and in forty years of searching, none has been discovered. There is absolutely no evidentiary reason to maintain this belief. SETI is a religion. 

He takes on a host of shibboleths.  Nuclear winter, second-hand smoke, overpopulation hysteria, and of course global warming.

His essay is a note of sanity very much needed in science today.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A bit more on anti-Semitism

Regarding yesterday's post about the JCC murders and anti-Semitism, commentor Michael makes some important points, with my replies:

Egnor, I agree with most of your sentiment, up until here: "...but we as a society need to make it clear that if you spew anti-Semitic swill ("the Jews control..."), you are radioactive and you have no place in our midst." 
This sort of thinking allows for Jews (or by extension any other people) to be held above scrutiny on the grounds that observation of their activities automatically constitutes racism, even in instances where an observation may hold merit.
Judaism is not a race. Race is a biological term, rather ill-defined, but real. Jews are of many different races, and Judaism is not a biological characteristic.

Judaism is first and foremost a religion-- a metaphysical stance. It is also a culture.

The statement "Jews control..." is nonsensical. Certainly it cannot mean that people of a certain race or biology control something. And the individuals cited almost certainly differ strongly on religious issues-- there are many atheists, liberal Jews, and a (very) few conservative and orthodox Jews in the "Jews control..." cohort. So these "Jews" share nothing in common as a religion-- they are as diverse as atheists and Hasidim. They are neither a race nor a religion.

They undoubtedly share some cultural characteristics-- they were probably raised in cultural milieus that had some things in common--  aspects of what we would call Jewish culture, although that probably varies considerably as well.

So the assertion that "Jews control..." doesn't really mean much. It does not describe a homogenous group. At most, it merely attributes some nefarious deeds to people of Jewish ancestry who probably share a few cultural characteristics. It does not describe a race or a religion, and it is a very sloppy term for a culture.

Now a term like "Liberals control..." or "Conservatives control..." or "Atheists control..." or "Evangelicals control..." or even "Orthodox Jews control..." actually means something. Whether it is true is another matter entirely, and varies from instance to instance. But "Jews control..." is just gibberish and refers to nothing meaningful.

Of course, some of the complaints about entities invoked in "Jews control..."-- the financial industry, the entertainment industry, academic, etc-- are fair targets for criticism, even harsh criticism. And I should point out that the "bad Jews" so often invoked-- commies, corrupt bankers, entertainment moguls, etc-- are almost invariably secular irreligious Jews. It is their irreligion that characterizes them, and they are not Jewish in any way that matters. It is their atheism, not their Judaism, that correlates with the evil they do.  Religious Jews are as mortified by corrupt atheists (who happen to have Jewish ethnicity) as Christians are. Many religious Jews are very conservative and very much opposed to the deeds of which the "Jews control..." cohort is accused.

Bottom line: the only thing that the assertion "Jews control..." reliably tells you is that the person saying it is, inevitably, an anti-Semitic asshole.
Should the Russians be exempt from scrutiny on the grounds that tens of millions of them were killed off (i.e. victimhood), or likewise the Chinese?
Why would I blame "Russians" for communism or Stalin? They were as much the victims as the perpetrators, and what do Russians living today have to do with what Bolsheviks did? What do Chinese people have to do with Mao, for goodness sake? Is guilt inherited?
Observations on racial, ethical or ideological grounds do not constitute racism in and of itself; it is only in the application of fostering hatred (e.g. "these people are a plague and should be ousted") where the latter comes into fruition.
"Jews control..." is inevitably an expression of hatred. I have never seen it used as a complement. Given that it means very little specifically, and it is an invariable expression of hate made by anti-Semites, there's not much to recommend it.

This is not to say that I don't believe in conspiracies and cabals. There are lots of conspiracies and lots of cabals. Pro-lifers, pro-choicers, gay activists, anti-gay activist activists, liberals, conservatives, Occupy Wall Streeters, Tea Partyers, Democrats, Republicans, the list goes on. Some of these conspiratorial cabals do control things (Republicans control the House of Representatives, Democrats control the Senate and White House), and it's perfectly proper to point it out.

"Jews" is such an imprecise term that it is meaningless to attribute "control" to them, just as it is meaningless to attribute control to "non-Jews" or "people born in November".
As Christians, we are called to be witnesses to the truth and part of that responsibility is not to allow ourselves to be ignorant of reality.
As Christians, we worship a Jew.  The Lord lived every second of His life on earth as a Jew. He's the only Jew I know who "controls" anything, and we are blessed that He does.

"Jews control..." is rhetorical and logical nonsense. Given its recent provenance, it should set off alarms, and people who assert it should be called out for the assholes and anti-Semites that they are.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Never again

As you know a neo-Nazi killed three innocent people at a Jewish Community Center and a Jewish retirement community in Kansas a couple of days ago. The two people killed at the JCC were a grandfather and his 14 year old grandson.

This homicidal monster had a lifelong history of KKK-Nazi-White Supremacist agitation, and he had spent several years in prison for plotting to kill the head of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

What a horror. Please pray for these innocents and their families, and for the safety of Jews and their friends everywhere (the grandfather and grandson weren't Jewish-- the boy was an accomplished vocalist, and they were at the JCC to audition for a show).

It's sobering to realize that in one country in the mid-20th century people just like this bastard who murdered these people weren't fringe lunatics-- they actually ran the country and committed the most horrendous crimes against humanity.

Violent anti-Semitism is a powerful force in the world today-- it is at the core of the Mideast conflict, and flares up in all sorts of places. It is most certainly on the rise in Europe.

Anti-Semitism is alive, thriving, and deadly, incredibly, more than 60 years after we promised "never again".

I blogged a few days ago about how I believe that blacklists can be good things. This murderous bastard had quite a bit of media exposure-- he had been interviewed on television and radio shows. It's not clear that a blacklist against this guy's anti-Semitic tripe would have made any difference here, but we as a society need to make it clear that if you spew anti-Semitic swill ("the Jews control..."), you are radioactive and you have no place in our midst.

Monday, April 14, 2014

What to do when you just hope that hundreds of thousands of people will die...

From the locked psych ward of global-warming activism:
Communication Dilemmas #1: Wishing Death on People Without Losing Them

Part of being a science communicator is hoping a natural disaster kills as many members of the audience as possible, as soon as possible, with as much media exposure as possible. As a communicator myself, I’d like nothing better than for thousands of middle-class white people to die in an extreme weather event—preferably one with global warming’s fingerprints on it—live on cable news. Tomorrow. 
The hardest thing about communicating the deadliness of the climate problem is that it isn’t killing anyone. And just between us, let’s be honest: the average member of the public is a bit (how can I put it politely?) of a moron. It’s all well and good for the science to tell us global warming is a bigger threat than Fascism was, but Joe Q. Flyover doesn’t understand science. He wants evidence. 
So we’ve probably reached the limits of what science communication can achieve. At this point only nature herself can close the consensus gap—or the fear gap
Cognitive scientist C. R. R. Kampen thinks the annihilation of a city of 150,000 people might just provide the teaching moment we need
You see, consensus is so often only reached after a painful confrontation with evidence. 
Knowing this, I hope against knowledge of her expected track that Cyclone Ita will wipe Cairns off the map. Because the sooner the lesson is learnt by early confrontation, the better one more population will be suited to anticipate and mitigate the vast weather and climate (+ related) disasters that lie in the immediate future and to lose all distractions on the way. 
(Let me dispel, right up front, a common and perhaps forgivable misinterpretation of this family of argument: no, Dr Kampen doesn’t mean to suggest the destruction of a single city would be sufficient. That’s just a silly strawman. As a scientist himself, Kampen is acutely aware that a single data point, such as the deletion of Cairns, would not even be attributable to man-made global warming with any confidence—let alone would it prove the planet was worse off, taking all metrics into account, under BAU. What we’re talking about here is a possibility which, with luck, would start a conversation on climate action, not end one.) 
One thing science communicators have learned the hard way is that simply blurting out the truths you know isn’t good enough. Some ideas need to be framed more carefully than others. (Dan Kahan might say “scientifically.”)
Hey, you have to admit that a conversation started by the deaths of a hundred and fifty thousand people sure would be a stroke of "luck".

Yet our science communicator is disapproving of Dr. Kampen's candor:
Unfortunately, Kampen’s writing is almost na├»ve in its candor. One can only hope the forces of anti-science never hear about it, because it’s veritably ripe for their favorite rhetorical tactic: cherry-picking, or ‘quoting.’ 
Heh (*rubs hands*)... Anti-Science Forces are already quoting him...
Let’s pretend, solo ad argumentum, that I’m on the Monckton side of the Subterranean War on Science. Now let me inform you that Dr Kampen once wrote: 
I hope against knowledge of her expected track that Cyclone Ita will wipe Cairns off the map. 
Wow. Taste the difference? By the simple trick of telling people that Kampen hopes they die without saying what he writes next (wherein he clearly explains that it’s for their own good), a rhetorician with no conscience—like a denier—could simultaneously make Kampen look like a sociopath and pander to the false stereotype of the greenie-as-armchair-genocidaire. 
That’s what we call, in science communication, an own goal.
Being a denier with no compunction whatsoever about quoting global warming loons, I'm proceeding to make Kampen and the psycho who wrote this piece look like just like sociopaths and genocidaires. It's sooo easy....

Psycho science communicator:
say so 
always return to the real issue: the dangers of the denialist agenda
When you have scientists hoping that hundreds of thousands of people will die so the political debate will swing their way, it's not the "denialist agenda" that presents a danger to the public.  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

David Hume and Lawrence Shapiro get it wrong on miracles

I really don't like Hume-- really don't like him. Hume was a closet-atheist-sophist, a triad of my least favorite things. The damage he has done to modern clear logical thought is incalculable.

Philosopher Lawrence Shapiro from the University of Wisconsin, Madison (where else?) picks up Hume's mantle, and repeats Hume's idiot argument about justification for belief in miracles.

Shapiro believes that we never have justification to believe in miracles. From Shapiro's essay, with my rebuttal:

[W]e can all agree that miracles such as Jesus rising from the dead either did, or did not, occur. My claim is that, to date, evidence for such an event — and any other event that is regarded as a miracle — is too weak to justify anyone’s belief in it as fact. 
I claim no great originality for my argument. I’m borrowing from the great Scottish philosopher David Hume, particularly Section 10 of his magnificent Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748). If there is any novelty in my presentation, it owes to the marriage of Hume’s ideas with a famous theorem in probability theory proposed by the Reverend Thomas Bayes in ‘An Essay towards solving a Problem in the Doctrine of Chances’ (1763). The technical details, fortunately, can be put to the side for our purposes.
The argument begins with an assumption that is very favourable to those who believe in miracles. Let's say that the witnesses of miracles are very reliable — far more reliable than ordinary witnesses. This is not to say that miracle witnesses are infallible. If they were, then of course we could trust their reports and there would be nothing more to discuss. But witnesses, we know, are never perfect. Things aren’t always as they seem, our eyes on occasion mislead us, and sometimes we see what we want to see. When a courtroom drama hinges on a witness who turns out to have identified the wrong person, no one doubts that such misidentifications are possible. 
Even so, for the sake of argument, let’s suppose that witnesses to miracles almost never err. Of all the reports they make in the course of their lifetime — hundreds, thousands, even 100,000 — they make only one mistake. Should we believe someone who claims to have witnessed a miracle if his or her testimony has a chance of only one in 100,000 of being wrong? 
Now I want to consider a slightly different question, albeit one that will have lessons for how we should answer the question above. Suppose you visit your doctor for a routine check-up. After testing a sample of blood, the doctor grimaces. ‘I have bad news for you,’ he says. Bad indeed. You’ve tested positive for a very lethal form of cancer. Your chance of surviving the next three years is practically zero. A treatment exists, but it carries significant costs (blindness, incontinence, all your hair falling out). Furthermore, your doctor says, the test is very good. In every 1,000 tests, it gives only one false positive – that is, a diagnosis of cancer to someone who doesn’t have the disease. Also, 0.001 per cent of the time it goes wrong the other way, giving a negative result to someone who really does have the disease. Do you opt for the treatment? 
The correct answer is this: before deciding, you need a piece of information that the doctor did not provide. Without information about the base rate of the disease – its frequency in the population at large – any facts about the reliability of test are completely useless. 
To demonstrate this, let’s first suppose that the cancer is not terribly uncommon. Perhaps it affects 0.001 per cent of the population. This means that, for every 1,000 people in the population, one person will have the disease. We also know that the test goes wrong 0.001 per cent of the time. That is, it errs one time in 1,000, and it errs in two ways. If we select 1,000 people at random from a larger population, one person in this group who is actually healthy is likely to test positive for cancer. However, the chances are that this group also contains one sick person, because the base rate of the disease, as we’ve said, is one in 1,000. Yet, because the test fails to detect cancer only one time in 1,000, chances are very good (999/1,000) that the test will correctly identify the sick person in the group. This means that, having tested 1,000 people, our test ends up ‘diagnosing’ two of them with cancer, when in fact only one of them has it. Given the base rate of the disease and the sensitivity of the test, if you’ve tested positive, the chance that you are actually sick is only 50 per cent. 
An obvious but interesting conclusion follows. If we hold the accuracy of the test constant but decrease the base rate of the disease, the trustworthiness of the test result diminishes accordingly. For instance, let’s now suppose that the base rate of the disease is one in 10,000. That extra zero means that, having tested positive, the odds of genuine sickness slip down to 10 to one. With its one-in-1,000 error rate, the test will identify 10 people as having the disease when they do not, and one as having the disease when he or she does. Making the disease rarer still, so that it affects only one in, say, 1 million people, puts the chances of illness at a vanishing 1,000 to one. So, this test of ours turns out to be no good at all when the disease for which it tests is rare.
This reasoning would be appropriate to a medical screening test used for people at random, in which there is no reason to believe that a particular disease is present.

But the appropriate analogy to a Christian belief in the Resurrection is not a medical screening test. That is, that Christians are not beginning with no reason to believe the Resurrection is true. Belief in the Resurrection, for a Christian, is belief in one aspect of a truth that has many facets and extensive confirmation in myriad aspects of their lives.

The analogy to a Christian belief in miracles is that of a patient who goes to a doctor with fever, unexplained weight loss, spontaneous bleeding, anemia, swelling of lymph nodes, and recurrent infections, who has a blood test that shows acute myelogenous leukemia. While AML is rare (incidence 1/20,000/year) and the diagnostic test probably has an error rate of at least 1/1000, the likelihood that the patient has AML is very high, and the patient would be a fool to believe that because of the incidence of the disease and of the error rate of the test that the positive result is almost certainly an error.

If Shapiro were a doctor, and told his patient not to worry about the test result, he would loose his medical license. Too bad he doesn't have a philosophy license he could lose.

The reason that the diagnosis is almost certainly true is that the prior probability of a serious hematological disorder is quite high given the patient's presenting symptoms (fever, weight loss, spontaneous bleeding, anemia, etc). The test and the frequency of the disease must be considered in context.

The same is true of a Christian's belief in the Resurrection. The Christian belief that Jesus rose from the dead is not an isolated belief, as it would be if the Christian believed that Joe Smith rose from the dead 2000 years ago, based on a few old books. The belief in the Resurrection is but one (essential) part of a Christian worldview, predicated on life experiences, study of the Bible and of theology, prayer, etc.

I believe that Christ rose from the dead because I have met Him (in prayer, in bible study, in my daily life, in my work...). Whatever confidence an atheist like Shapiro may place in my experiences, I am most certainly not accepting Christ's Resurrection as screening test: "gee- I wonder how likely the Resurrection of one guy in 100 billion is, based on a few 2000 year-old books?"

Lawrence digs a deeper hole:

The practical lesson is this: knowledge of the rate at which a test errs tells you nothing by itself about whether the test results should be trusted. You need also to consider whether the thing for which you are being tested occurs frequently or seldom. If the disease is rare and you test positive, you should look for another explanation for your result than actual illness. Given a test that errs one time in a 1,000 and a disease that is present in only one person in a million, there is a better explanation. Evidently, the test is sensitive to factors other than disease. Something in your blood, perhaps, triggered the positive outcome. This possibility is far more likely than that the disease was responsible for the positive result. Indeed, it’s 1,000 times more likely.
You also must consider the prior probability that the miracle is true. The prior probability of the Resurrection is determined by a host of life experiences and theological insight and insight gained by prayer. For a Christian, belief in the Resurrection is consistent with massive knowledge about God and His grace. Belief in the Resurrection is not a "screening test" performed without any prior knowledge.

Still another point concerns the issue of justification that I raised earlier. Because a positive test result in the conditions I have described is far more likely to be wrong than right, the result fails to justify the belief that you have the disease. Even if you do have the disease, and even if the test correctly diagnoses you as having the disease, you should not believe this on the basis of the test alone. Forget about the test result. It’s as good as worthless as far as justification goes.
No Christian accepts the truth of the Resurrection "alone". The Resurrection is part of a living relationship with the One Who was resurrected.


Be that as it may, if Jesus’s resurrection is the ‘disease’ and the witness report is the ‘test’, we can now do the algebra to decide whether to believe in the resurrection. The base rate for the resurrection is (let’s say) one in 1 billion. The witnesses go wrong only one time in 100,000. One billion divided by 100,000 is 10,000. So, even granting the existence of extraordinary witnesses, the chance that they were right about the resurrection is only one in 10,000; hardly the basis for a justified belief. 
No one is justified in believing in Jesus’s resurrection. The numbers simply don’t justify the conclusion. But the resurrection is just one miracle. If we suppose that all miracles are similarly rare, then, by parity of reasoning, belief in any one of them is similarly unjustified. As noted earlier, my conclusion doesn’t deny that miracles have occurred or might occur, just that the available evidence fails to justify a belief that they have occurred. So, if you wish to continue to believe in miracles, you must do so knowing that the evidence is not on your side.
The prerequisite for an intelligent discussion of the warrant for belief in the Resurrection requires a genuine examination of the basis for the belief, which includes examination of the broad religious experiences of Christians. We are not doctors screening random patients for cancer. We know our patient intimately. Our belief in the Resurrection is part of a relationship with Christ, a relationship that we experience daily and that has profound ramifications in our lives.

Shapiro, like his mentor Hume, is blinded by atheism. They presuppose an atheist framework for belief in miracles, a framework stripped of genuine religious experience that serves as a predicate for belief in miracles. 

Presupposing naturalism, Shapiro and Hume infer naturalism. Big surprise.

There is another analogy that is much more appropriate to belief in the Resurrection than Shapiro's woefully inadequate cancer screening analogy. Imagine a man who loves his wife and longs to see her when she returns from a trip. He is waiting at the airport to greet her. As she walks out of the gate, he runs to hug her.

But did he have warrant to believe it was her? After all, as Shapiro/Hume would point out, there are seven billion people in the world, so the "screening" likelihood that that one person at the gate would be her is only one in seven billion. And it is certainly possible that the husband could be mistaken by a face in the crowd-- even if it's only one chance in a million that he would misidentify his wife.

By Lawrence/Hume's logic, the likelihood that the husband would embrace the right person is only one million/seven billion= 1/7000, or 0.014%.

By Lawrence/Hume's logic, the husband has virtually no chance of hugging the right person, his beloved wife.

But that's nonsense. The truth is that the husband knows his bride intimately, as she knows him, and he knows where and when to expect her, and he has faith that she will be there to embrace him at the airport gate. He is sure that he is embracing his beloved.

We Christians have such faith in our Beloved as well.

The Humean rejection of warrant for belief in Christian miracles, which has had enormous influence on our degenerate culture, is moronic junk philosophy.

Romans 1:22. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Student suspended for calling gun-grabbing governor a "f**king snake"

A Connecticut college has suspended a student for agressively questioning a gun-grabber politician:
A Connecticut community college suspended a student veteran for his aggressive questioning of Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy during a public forum, prompting a First Amendment advocacy group to condemn the college for its flagrant disrespect for free speech and due process. 
The student, Nicholas Saucier, tried to get Malloy to answer questions about his support for gun control legislation, which has put Saucier’s ammunition manufacturing business in jeopardy. Saucier followed Malloy to his car after the governor finished speaking at a public forum at Asnuntuck Community College. The exchange took place in October of last year, and was captured on video
Shortly thereafter, Saucier received notice from the administration that he was suspended on grounds that his “continued presence on campus would present a danger to the persons, property and/or academic process of the College.”
The student was officially charged with engaging in harassment and showing disrespect for Malloy, in violation of ACC’s student code. Administrators claimed that Saucier became increasingly hostile, called Malloy a “fucking snake,”...
The comparison is insulting, to be sure. I suspect that the suspension was imposed after the college got hundreds of emails from outraged snakes.

Friday, April 11, 2014

"We tried toleration..."

Vox Day gets it right, as usual:
While the lavender lobby is celebrating their latest corporate scalp, the worldwide criminalization of their perversion proceeds apace
A U.S.-funded health project in Uganda has suspended operations after police arrested a staff member on suspicion of promoting homosexuality, highlighting the mounting legal risks confronting the gay community in the east African state. Uganda enacted legislation in February that strengthened punishments for anyone caught having gay sex, imposing jail terms of up to life for "aggravated homosexuality" - including sex with a minor or while HIV-positive.We hear a lot about Uganda's and Russia's new laws.
We don't hear quite as much about the fact that Uganda is the 38th African nation to criminalize what the Bible describes as "abomination". While the actions of a single judge are supposed to be indicative of progress, the democratic actions of entire nations are being ignored.
In the end, it is pretty simple. Reversion to the historical mean is the logical bet. And the USA is far from the first empire in decline to give itself up to sexual chaos. 
A San Francisco homosexual comments on the matter: "You'll forgive me if I dont' feel any heartbreak for your kind finally being run out of town." 
Vox makes an excellent point. The slide to Gomorrah is not a world-wide phenomenon: quite the opposite. Around the world, nations are fighting back against the gaystapo, quite effectively.

Vox gets it right, I think. We tried tolerance. It has brought repression with a celerity that surprises even those of us who predicted it.

You have two choices, Americans. Either criminalize their behavior and force them back into the closet or be run out of town yourself. There is no middle ground. Other nations have reached this conclusion; I expect it is only a matter of time before Americans do too. We tried toleration. Despite our honest efforts, it has failed, and failed abysmally.
Time for the push-back, and the return to sanity, which is, alas, less "tolerant" than we would wish it to be. There is no middle ground. We can cut no deals with these bastards. Either we, or they, will win.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The best essay I've read on gay-marriage totalitarianism

The Rise of the Same-Sex Marriage Dissidents

The similarities with communist totalitarianism of the 20th century are real, as are the solutions. The insight of Vaclav Havel is fascinating, and so true.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Population control in India

Robert Zubrin in The New Atlantis on the population control holocaust in India, with my commentary:

Since the time of Malthus, India has always been a prime target in the eyes of would-be population controllers. Both the British colonial administrators and the high-caste Brahmins who succeeded them in power following independence in 1947 looked upon the “teeming masses” of that nation’s lower classes with fear and disdain. Jawaharlal Nehru’s Congress Party (which controlled India’s national government for its first three decades without interruption) had been significantly influenced by pre-independence contacts with the pro-Malthusian British Fabian Society. Notable members of the native elite, such as the influential and formidable Lady Rama Rau, had been attracted to the ideas of eugenicist and Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. Thus during the 1950s and early 1960s, the Indian government allowed organizations like the Population Council, the Ford Foundation, and the International Planned Parenthood Federation to set up shop within the country’s borders, where they could set about curbing the reproduction of the nation’s Dalits, or “untouchables.” The government did not, however, allocate public funds to these organizations, so their programs remained relatively small.
Zubin points out that private population control organizations-- the Population Council (packed with ideological refugees from the post-Nazi eugenics movement), the Ford Foundation, and Planned Parenthood-- blazed the trail for the massive government programs of genocide and deprivation of basic human rights.

Things changed radically in 1965, when war with Pakistan threw the country’s economy into disarray, causing harvest failure and loss of revenue. When Prime Minister Indira Gandhi — Nehru’s daughter — assumed office in January 1966, India was short twenty million tons of grain and lacked money to buy replacement stock on the world market. She was left with no choice but to go to the United States, hat in hand, to beg for food aid.
There was a lot that the United States could have asked for in return from India, such as support for the Western side in the Cold War (India was non-aligned), and particularly for the war effort in nearby Vietnam, which was heating up rapidly. One of President Lyndon Johnson’s aides, Joseph Califano, suggested in a memo to the president that the United States move rapidly to commit food aid in order to secure such a pro-American tilt. In reply he got a call from Johnson that very afternoon. “Are you out of your f***ing mind?” the president exploded. He declared in no uncertain terms that he was not going to “piss away foreign aid in nations where they refuse to deal with their own population problems.”
President Johnson decided to blackmail starving people to force them to fall in line with "population control science", or starve to death.
Indira Gandhi arrived in Washington in late March and met first with Secretary of State Dean Rusk, who handed her a memo requiring “a massive effort to control population growth” as a condition for food aid. Then, on March 28, 1966, she met privately with the president. There is no record of their conversation, but it is evident that she capitulated completely. Two days later, President Johnson sent a message to Congress requesting food aid for India, noting with approval: “The Indian government believes that there can be no effective solution of the Indian food problem that does not include population control.”
The Indian government believed (correctly) that the United States government would withhold food so tens of millions of Indians would soon starve to death if they did not succumb to population control.
In accordance with the agreement, sterilization and IUD-insertion quotas were set for each Indian state, and then within each state for each local administrative district. Every hospital in the country had a large portion of its facilities commandeered for sterilization and IUD-insertion activities. (The IUDs, which were provided to the Indian government by the Population Council, were non-sterile. In Maharashtra province, 58 percent of women surveyed who received them experienced pain, 24 percent severe pain, and 43 percent severe and excessive bleeding.) But hospitals alone did not have the capacity to meet the quotas, so hundreds of sterilization camps were set up in rural areas, manned and operated by paramedical personnel who had as little as two days of training. Minimum quotas were set for the state-salaried camp medics — they had to perform 150 vasectomies or 300 IUD insertions per month each, or their pay would be docked. Private practitioners were also recruited to assist, with pay via piecework: 10 rupees per vasectomy and 5 rupees per IUD insertion.
"Sterilization camps"...
To acquire subjects for these ministrations, the Indian government provided each province with 11 rupees for every IUD insertion, 30 per vasectomy, and 40 per tubectomy. These funds could be divided according to the particular population control plan of each provincial government, with some going to program personnel, some spent as commission money to freelance “motivators,” some paid as incentives to the “acceptors,” and some grafted for other governmental or private use by the administrators. Typical incentives for subjects ranged from 3 to 7 rupees for an IUD insertion and 12 to 25 rupees for a sterilization. These sums may seem trivial — a 1966 rupee is equivalent to 65 cents today — but at that time, 2 to 3 rupees was a day’s pay for an Indian laborer.
Population controllers, to dirt-poor people on the brink of starvation: "You wanna eat? Lay on the table."
When these pittances did not induce enough subjects to meet the quotas, some states adopted additional “incentives”: Madhya Pradesh, for example, denied irrigation water to villages that failed to meet their quotas. Faced with starvation, millions of impoverished people had no alternative but to submit to sterilization. As the forms of coercion employed worked most effectively on the poorest, the system also provided the eugenic bonus of doing away preferentially with untouchables.
Population control has always been about the suppression of specific populations. There were no sterilization camps in Hollywood or Cambridge or Georgetown. Planned Parenthood sites their abortion clinics in poor black neighborhoods. Black children in the United States are aborted at three times the rate of white children.

Purveyors of population control: wealthy white European elites.

Targets of population control: The poor. The Wealthy. Blacks Whites. Chinese Europeans. Indians. elites.

See a pattern?
The results were impressive. In 1961, the total number of sterilizations (vasectomies and tubectomies combined) performed in India was 105,000. In 1966-67, the yearly total shot up to 887,000, growing further to more than 1.8 million in 1967-68. No doubt LBJ was proud.
Blackmailing starving people works!
But while ruining the lives of millions of people, the steep rise in sterilization figures had little impact on the overall trajectory of India’s population growth. In 1968, Paul Ehrlich wrote in The Population Bomb, “I have yet to meet anyone familiar with the situation who thinks India will be self sufficient in food by 1971, if ever,” thus justifying his explicitly antihuman call that “we must allow [India] to slip down the drain.”
I have to catch my breath.

Please understand what Ehrlich said--  “we must allow [India] to slip down the drain.”

“we must allow [India] to slip down the drain.”

He means that despite the fact that we have the means to feed them 'we should let them starve'.

As in so many other things, Ehrlich was wrong; India did achieve self-sufficiency in food in 1971 — not through population control, but through the improved agricultural techniques of the Green Revolution.
The Green Revolution was led by one of the great heroes of the 20th century-- Norman Borlaug.

Borlaug was a plant scientist who developed and taught new methods of increasing crop yield. For decades in the mid-20th century he traveled the Third World, teaching local officials and scientists and farmers how to markedly increase crop yields.

He worked especially hard in India. Instead of organizing sterilization camps, he brought the Green Revolution to Indian farmers. Within a few years, India was self-sufficient in food production.

It has been observed that Borlaug's travelogue through the Third World is a record of the end of famine. Where Borlaug went, famine ended. If the rate of famine prior to Borlaug's work had continued, there would be one billion (with a "b") fewer people in the world.

One billion people are alive today because of Borlaug's work. He probably saved more lives than any man in history.

But enough of moral goodness and superb science. Let's get back to to the topic of population control.
[The Green Revolution] did not matter. The holders of the purse-strings at USAID demanded even higher quotas. They got them. By 1972-73, the number of sterilizations in India reached three million per year.
Then, in the fall of 1973, OPEC launched its oil embargo, quintupling petroleum prices virtually overnight. For rich nations like the United States, the resulting financial blow was severe. For poor countries like India, it was devastating.
But India was sterilizing everything that moved... why didn't it help... ?
In 1975, conditions in India became so bad that Prime Minister Gandhi declared a state of national emergency and assumed dictatorial power. Driven once again to desperation, she found herself at the mercy of the World Bank, led by arch-Malthusian Robert S. McNamara. McNamara made it clear: if India wanted more loans, Gandhi needed to use her powers to deal more definitively with India’s supposed population problem. She agreed. Instead of incentives, force would now be used to obtain compliance. “Some personal rights have to be kept in abeyance,” she said, “for the human rights of the nation, the right to live, the right to progress.”
The West held a gun to Gandhi's head: "sterilize your people, or we'll let them starve".

Well, when you put it like that...
Gandhi put her son Sanjay personally in charge of the new population offensive. He took to his job with gusto. Overt coercion became the rule: sterilization was a condition for land allotments, water, electricity, ration cards, medical care, pay raises, and rickshaw licenses. Policemen were given quotas to nab individuals for sterilization. Demolition squads were sent into slums to bulldoze houses — sometimes whole neighborhoods — so that armed police platoons could drag off their flushed-out occupants to forced-sterilization camps. In Delhi alone, 700,000 people were driven from their homes. Many of those who escaped the immediate roundup were denied new housing until they accepted sterilization.
These attacks provoked resistance, with thousands being killed in battles with the police, who used live ammunition to deal with protesters. When it became clear that Muslim villages were also being selectively targeted, the level of violence increased still further. The village of Pipli was only brought into submission when government officials threatened locals with aerial bombardment. As the director of family planning in Maharashtra explained, “You must consider it something like a war.... Whether you like it or not, there will be a few dead people.”
Population control advocates insist that there is no coercion. It's all voluntary, you see...
The measures served their purpose. During 1976, eight million Indians were sterilized. Far from being dismayed by the massive violation of human rights committed by the campaign, its foreign sponsors expressed full support. Sweden increased its funding for Indian population control by $17 million. Reimert Ravenholt ordered 64 advanced laparoscope machines — altogether sufficient to sterilize 12,800 people per day — rushed to India to help the effort. World Bank president McNamara was absolutely delighted. In November 1976, he traveled to India to congratulate Indira Gandhi’s government for its excellent work. “At long last,” he said, “India is moving effectively to address its population problem.”
Unfortunately, the West has not addressed its "we blackmailed and sterilized starving people" problem.
Prime Minister Gandhi got her loans. She also got the boot in 1977, when, in the largest democratic election in history, the people of India defied three decades of precedent and voted her Congress Party out of power in a landslide.
Maybe if Prime Minister Gandhi had promised free Gandiphones...
Unfortunately, in most Third World countries, people lack such an option to protect themselves against population control. Equally unfortunately, despite the fall of the Gandhi government, the financial pressure on India from the World Bank and USAID to implement population control continued. By the early 1980s, four million sterilizations were being performed every year on India’s underclasses as part of a coercive two-children-per-family policy.
It's all voluntary, of course.
Since in rural India sons are considered essential to continue the family line and provide support for parents in their old age, this limit caused many families to seek means of disposing of infant daughters, frequently through drowning, asphyxiation, abandonment in sewers or garbage dumps, or incineration on funeral pyres. More recently the primary means of eliminating the less-desirable sex has become sex-selective abortion, skewing the ratio of the sexes so that 112 boys are born for every hundred girls in India (far beyond the natural ratio of 103 to 106), with the ratio even more skewed in some locations. A sense of the scale on which these murders were and are practiced, even just in the aspect of gendercide, can be gleaned from the fact that in India today there are 37 million more men than women.
There are 37 million men in India without hope for a wife or a family, and little girls are often disposed of like human waste.

Coincidently, India is experiencing an epidemic of rape.

Malthusian ideology. Junk science. Totalitarian control of the most intimate aspects of family life. Genocidal blackmail targeted at defenceless starving people. Femicide in the tens of millions. Men without hope or families. Endemic rape. Self-evident crimes against humanity.

Population control.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

We need more blacklists

There's a hue and cry from conservatives about the blacklist that got Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich dumped because of his 2008 vote against gay marriage in California. I certainly understand where conservatives are coming from here-- obviously Eich did nothing wrong-- in fact did good-- by voting against enshrining a lie about marriage into law.

But I don't agree with the "blacklists are unfair" trope.

Blacklists are damn good things-- we are in the mess we're in precisely because we haven't had enough blacklists, the right kind of blacklists, that is.

Blacklists are a society's immune system. Blacklists-- widespread private (non-governmental) agreement to exclude people who hold certain views from certain jobs-- are society's way of protecting itself. We blacklist active Nazis, vociferous segregationists, emphatic anti-Semites etc. from all sorts of positions of societal trust. Is there a job opening in a film studio for a screenwriter? David Duke need not apply. Is there a high school principal position open? The head of the American Nazi Party need not apply.

Damn good thing, that blacklist.

I like blacklists. I don't want a whole bunch of disgusting ideologies infesting our public life. The Hollywood blacklist of commie-loving scum in the 1950's was a great thing: it was our society's way of saying that you can choose between loving Stalin or making our movies. Not both.

The problem our society faces now isn't "blacklists". The problem is a rotting leftist secular culture that, unsurprisingly, enforces bad blacklists. What the hell did we think that bastards would do when we let them gain power? Were we really stupid enough to think that the left would protect free speech or a pluralistic society?

We got that rotting leftist culture in significant part because we didn't enforce good blacklists.

But there are still more of us then there are of them. We still have power, if we have the brains and guts to use it. Here are the blacklists we need:

1) No one who has publicly endorsed Marxist or communist or totalitarian socialist political or economic systems should be employed in any position of public trust, like education, entertainment, journalism, etc.

2) No one who has been involved with any act of political violence should be employed in any position of public trust, especially as an educator (are you listening, Bill Ayers?).

3) No one who has endorsed government-mandated racism should be employed in any position of public trust. If you support race-based discrimination in employment or admissions, you are a racist and you are unfit to any position of trust.

4) No scientist who has endorsed the global warming hoax or has failed to demand accountability from global warming scientists who are engaged in massive fraud should be employed in any institution of research or teaching. Scientific integrity matters, and overt or tacit endorsement of global warming science is endorsement of obvious fraud. Scientists who practice or who tolerate fraud should be removed from the profession. Like they say at West Point-- "I will not cheat, nor tolerate those who do". Silence is complicity, and disqualifies a scientist from any work in the profession.

5) No individual who has endorsed population control in any form that involves compulsion or coercion should be employed in any position of public trust. Population control that entails coercion is a crime against humanity, endorsement of which is repellant and renders one unfit for many kinds of employment (e.g. in education, entertainment, journalism, etc).

6) No individual who has taken action to deprive any American of his/her First Amendment free exercise rights-- that is, no one who supports a ban on public prayer etc-- should be allowed to have any role in education or any position of public trust. Anti-Christian bigots, like anti-Semites and racists, need not apply.

7) No proselytizing sodomite should be employed in any position of public trust-- not in education, not in entertainment, not in journalism. Don't ask- don't tell was a fine idea. If you engage in sexual sin, shut up about it and pray for help and forgiveness. If you want to spread your filth in our society through our educational system or our entertainment industry or our news media, we're gonna make sure you can only spread it on the unemployment line.

I could go on. We are rapidly slipping into a leftist totalitarian gulag precisely because we have not enforced our own blacklists. We have been criminally unwilling to defend the good from the bad-- we have allowed leftists and racists and anti-Christian bigots and dishonest scientists and sodomites to gain control of our education and our entertainment and our media and many of our businesses (not to mention our government). They have gained control because we didn't fight them-- because we didn't enforce rational moral blacklists against manifest evil. Now the leftist scum are ascendant, and they are enforcing their own blacklists against us.

A fine example of fighting back that works is the recent response of conservative Christians to Cracker Barrel restaurants and A&E network who tried to censor Duck Dynasty because Phil Robertson told the truth about sodomy. Customers blacklisted the cowards at Cracker Barrel and at A&E, and the bastards folded overnight.

The best way to beat a bad blacklist is a bigger good blacklist.

We good guys have lost all conviction. We need to regain our passionate intensity. How about blacklisting Mozilla? Fight back, hard. Let's show the bastards what a real blacklist is.

Monday, April 7, 2014

“We had the experience but missed the meaning.”

Roger Kimball at PJ Media:

In one sense, as [English philosopher Roger] Scruton notes, philosophy is the helpmeet of science. It aids in the task of putting our conceptual household in order: tidying up arguments, discarding unjustified claims. But in another sense, philosophy peeks over the shoulder of science to a world that science in principle cannot countenance. “The search for meaning and the search for explanation,” Scruton writes, “are two different enterprises.” 
The problem is that we do not, cannot, inhabit the abstract world that science describes. Reason allows us to distinguish between appearance and reality; but our human reality turns out to be rooted firmly in the realm of appearance. “This worry is not just philosophical,” Scruton observes,

it is also spiritual. The meaning of the world is enshrined in conceptions that science does not recognize: conceptions like beauty, goodness and the soul which grow in the thin top-soil of human discourse. This top-soil is quickly eroded when the flora are cleared from it, and nothing ever grows thereafter. You can see the process at work in the matter of sex. Human sexuality has usually been understood through ideas of love and belonging. … The sexologist clears all this tangled undergrowth away, to reveal the scientific truth of things: the animal organs, the unmoralized impulses, and the tingling sensations. … The meaning of the experience plays no part in the scientific description. 
It is “naked truth”: in [T.S.] Eliot’s words: “We had the experience but missed the meaning.”

The scientific attempt to explore the “depth” of human things is accompanied by a singular danger. For it threatens to destroy our response to the surface. Yet it is on the surface that we live and act: it is there that we are created, as complex appearances sustained by the social interaction which we, as appearances, also create. It is in this thin top-soil that the seeds of human happiness are sown, and the reckless desire to scrape it away — a desire which has inspired all those “sciences of man,” from Marx and Freud to sociobiology — deprives us of our consolation. 

Consolation? Indeed, more: it threatens to deprive us of our humanity. In Plato’s phrase, philosophy turns out in the end to be an effort to “save the appearances.”

Bertrand Russell (no theist he) made the point quite emphatically in his theory of the mind, which he called Neutral Monism. Russell pointed out that we make a great error in understanding the mind when we assert that it is the material aspect-- the brain, neurons, neurochemicals-- that are most tangible, and the mind that is ineffable. The opposite it true, Russell insisted. The mind is the only thing of which we have direct experience. It is the most tangible, the most real, experience we have. We know our mind directly-- not through our senses, unlike any other aspect of the natural world, including matter. The material world is always experienced through the senses, and is removed a step from our experience.

Materialist reduction is never the whole truth. It always leaves out that which is most human and most real.

Materialist reductionism is a deeply flawed philosophical enterprise. There is obviously a place for reductionism in natural science, as long as the severe limitations of the reductionist program are understood. Reductionism is of some value in understanding restricted material and efficient causes in nature, but it is not the truth.

Materialist reduction is a limited enterprise, with little relation to the truth. Reduction is a radical abstraction that leaves out the essentials of human experience, and can never be the basis for a genuine understanding of man.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Twenty-four Thomistic theses: Thesis Two

Act, because it is perfection, is not limited except by Potency, which is capacity for perfection. Therefore, in the order in which the Act is pure, it is unlimited and unique; but in that in which it is finite and manifold, it comes into a true composition with Potency.
Perfection, in Thomism, means completeness. A perfect thing lacks potentiality-- it is totally what its nature is to be. Potency is the capacity for completeness, without being actually complete. A thing that is in the natural world that is limited (each thing, that is) is a composition of act and potency. Act makes the thing what it is; potency makes it limited, imperfect, and changeable (i.e. natural).

Pure Act is unlimited perfection-- absolute completeness. There can be no distinctions or multiplicity in Pure Act.

The only Pure Act is God. God is metaphysically simple, without multiplicity (there is One God) and without distinction, which is metaphysical simplicity.

How can one square Divine simplicity with the Trinity? The Persons of God are not 'parts' or essential differences within God, but are manifestations of His Personal existence. His Creative Power, His Knowledge and His Love (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) are understood by finite creatures (us) as Persons, but they are on one Simple Nature. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit together just as He is Truth, Beauty, Goodness and Love at the same time.

The most profound truths about God cannot be known to us by direct knowledge (in this life). This kind of knowledge was called "univocal" by Aquinas, and it cannot be applied to God by us, because God's nature cannot be known or described by finite minds as He truly is. We can only describe God's Nature "analogically" (Aquinas), using finite categories to cast a dim and inadequate light on Divine Truth.

Recognition of the actual metaphysical doctrines of the Church obviates nonsense arguments about God's existence which ask "who made God" or "God must be more complex than creation and thus himself in need of a creator" (Dawkins). Such assertions aren't arguments as such, but mere admissions of ignorance about the actual metaphysical issues. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Major leftist corporations briefly interrupted their full-time trillion-dollar-per-year stumping for the Democratic Party today to condemn the McCutcheon Supreme Court decision allowing other corporations fuller participation in the political process.

There is a lot of money in politics, particularly in-kind contributions, and much of it comes from corporations.

The New York Times Inc, the Washington Post Inc, NBC, ABC, CBS (all Inc.'s), major publishing corporations, Silicon Valley corporations, Hollywood corporations, massive academic institutions like Harvard, Princeton and hundreds of others contribute uncountable hundreds of billions of dollars-- hell maybe trillions-- each year in in-kind political contributions to a broad range of political causes. The causes in receipt of this invaluable free corporate saturation 24-7-365 public relations campaign include the National Democratic Party, The Democrats, Democrats, Democrat Senators, Democrat Congressmen, the individual State Democratic Parties, as well as all county and city Democratic Parties, and, not to forget, the Democrats.

Massive liberal corporate conglomerates are outraged-- outraged-- that other corporations might exercise the Constitutional right to freedom of speech by the Court's easing of restrictions on corporate spending for the causes they support.

The only factor constraining the Mainstream Media and Hollywood and Publishing corporations and Silicon Valley corporations and Academic Institutions from venting their outrage at the Court's narrow upholding of basic First Amendment free speech and free assembly rights is that venting their outrage briefly interrupts their priceless saturation incessant unrepentant pro-bono water-carrying for the Democratic Party.

But of course limiting campaign contributions serves the purposes of the connected elites anyway, and it serves the purposes of their political party (starts with a "D") that already receives priceless ubiquitous in-kind corporate largesse, so I guess that connected elites venting outrage against respect for other people's First Amendment rights is no interruption at all in the liberal political agenda. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Another gun-free zone, another mass shooter.

At Fort Hood, again.

My liberal friends, let me explain this, once more:
Gun free zones attract mass shooters like flames attract moths. 
The finest soldiers in the world were gunned down while they crawled on their hands and knees, with no way to defend themselves. Thanks, liberals.

I listened to a lib-tard radio newscaster today report that "officials are investigating why the shooter brought his handgun on the military base, where privately-owned weapons are prohibited."

Expecting mass shooters to obey gun control laws is like expecting hijackers to refrain from taking over a plane because the captain has the 'fasten seat-belt' sign turned on. 

People who are defrauding you demand that you be prosecuted!

Global warming assholes are getting fed up:
A writer for the website Gawker recently penned a self-described "rant" on the pressing need to arrest, charge and imprison people who "deny" global warming.
Well it's just some jerk named Weinstein at Gawker, I guess. Not that there's any mainstream sentiment among AGW frauds to prosecute deniers... Ummm... well... ooooo....
Weinstein says that this "is an argument that's just being discussed seriously in some circles." He credits Rochester Institute of Technology philosophy professor Lawrence Torcello for getting the ball rolling. Last month, Torcello argued that America should follow Italy's lead. In 2009, six seismologists were convicted of poorly communicating the risks of a major earthquake. When one struck, the scientists were sentenced to six years in jail for downplaying the risks. Torcello and Weinstein want a similar approach for climate change. 
This is a great standard for free speech in America. Let's just agree that the First Amendment reads, "Nothing in this clause shall be considered binding if it contradicts legal practices in the Abruzzo region of Italy." 
The truth is this isn't as new an outlook as Weinstein suggests. For instance, in 2009, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman insisted that "deniers" in Congress who opposed the Waxman-Markey climate change bill were committing "treason" while explaining their opposition on the House floor. (That same year, Krugman's fellow Timesman Thomas Friedman wrote that China's authoritarian system was preferable to ours, in part, because it lets "enlightened" leaders deal with climate change.)
Now my friends here in the blogsphere will no doubt expect that I, Champion of Free Speech, will speak out passionately against criminalization of the AGW debate.

Actually, I won't.

There is massive criminal activity here, and quite a few people belong in jail. The Climategate e-mails were smoking-gun evidence of fraud, conspiracy, evasion of FOIA laws, intent to destroy data, rigging of peer review, (have I forgotten anything else...?). If global warming scientists were government contractors or businessmen, a significant portion of them would be facing felony indictments and years in federal prison for massive corruption. Their business associates (e.g a certain former vice-president) who have stolen billions of dollars by manipulating markets with manifestly fraudulent science would be joining them in the slammer.

Oh... oh... wait... actually, AGW scientists and their cronies are government contractors and businessmen.

So I emphatically endorse criminalization of this debate, just like I endorse the criminalization of the debate about about Enron's finances and criminalization of the debate about Bernie Madoff's investments.

Bring on the prosecutors. Investigate everyone. Climate scientists and their entrepreneurial buddies should be served with search warrants across the board, and the rampant fraud that is the hallmark of their scam (you already have written confessions in the Climategate emails-- imagine if you had all of their e-mails) should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

AGW is a crime syndicate. Please-- let's criminalize the debate.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Libs bemoan taking down a wall that doesn't exist

A post, based on a hilarious Los Angeles Times op-ed, with my pellucid commentary.

The relationship between government and religious liberty is... at issue this [Supreme Court] term. The town of Greece, N.Y., begins its monthly City Council meetings with a prayer. From 1997-2007, every prayer was a Christian one. After a lawsuit was filed in 2008 challenging this practice, the town invited clergy from other faiths, but it still allows the prayers to refer to specific deities instead of limiting them to nondenominational references. The lawsuit brought by two residents of the town will be argued Nov. 6.
Ironically, the purpose of the Establishment Clause was to get the federal government out of the "religion regulation" business. It is a non-incorporation Clause. The explicit intent and effect was to allow states and localities to balance religious expression in the public square, without interference from the federal government. Many States actually had established churches, and all states and municipalities allowed public religious expression, including prayers at civic meetings. The regulation of civic religious expression by the federal government (e.g. the Supreme Court) is precisely what the Establishment clause was ratified to prevent.
Here again, there are a host of amicus briefs filed by conservative organizations seeking to drastically move constitutional law to the right.
Prayer at civic meetings is ubiquitous, and has an uninterrupted history in America dating to the 17th century. The Establishment clause was ratified to keep the feds out of the religion-regulation business. Overwhelming majorities of Americans support civic prayer.

That would seem to place this viewpoint in the center, not the "right".
The last time a prayer case involving a government entity reached the Supreme Court, in 1983 in Marsh vs. Chambers, the justices upheld nondenominational prayers by a Christian chaplain solely on the basis that throughout American history, such prayers have been allowed (never mind that discrimination against women and gays has also been allowed throughout U.S. history and is now generally prohibited). 
If you don't work "discrimination against women and gays" into your op-ed somehow, you don't get liberal coupons.
But many conservatives are not content to simply urge the affirmation of or even extension of Marsh to the prayers at issue in Greece. They want the court to broadly hold that government endorsements of religion never violate the 1st Amendment's establishment clause unless the government is actually coercing religion.
Coercion is a part of what Establishment means.  The Framers and voters who ratified the Constitution weren't voting to preclude a federal Establishment of Religion because they disliked the hymns in the Anglican Church. They disliked that fact that membership in and compliance with the Anglican Church in England was mandated by law.
Such a finding would create a "coercion test," long the wish of Justice Antonin Scalia, which would allow the government to place religious symbols on public property without limitation and permit overtly Christian (or any other religious) prayers at legislative sessions without any judicial check.
We have a Constitutional right to free exercise of religion, and that includes the right to exercise it in our civic affairs.
This test would also largely prohibit only what is already foreclosed by the free exercise of religion clause of the Constitution, thereby rendering the establishment clause obsolete. 
The Establishment  Clause isn't obsolete. We don't have an Establishment of Religion, and never have, and never will, so it is very much in effect.
There are probably four liberal votes against such a radical interpretation and four conservative votes in favor, with Kennedy the likely deciding voice.
Why are the conservative votes "radical"? Aside from the oxymoron-- what the hell is a "conservative radical"?-- wouldn't the fact that logic, history and massive public opinion support the conservative view make the conservative view centrist and make the liberal view "radical"?
Should he turn to the right here, the wall between church and state, a wall that Scalia doesn't think exists, will be dramatically lowered.
You can't lower something that doesn't exist. There is not, and never was, a wall of separation between church and state. There is the Constitution, which plainly permits free exercise of religion and plainly prohibits federal religion-regulation.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state"

In his superb Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg convincingly points out that the encroachment of the state on private life and civic culture-- the essence of progressivism-- has parallels and in fact antecedents in fascism. The subsumption of civic institutions and private commerce under state control is the heart of fascism, which is radical secularism with a "war on..." stridency. This is not to say that progressives are incipient Hitlers or Mussolini's, but merely to point out the fact that the breaking of civic life to the state is of a fabric. Progressives are at one end of the fabric; Il Duce is at the other. But it is the same fabric.

President Obama's recent regulation that Catholic and other religious institutions-- hospitals, universities, schools, etc--  provide contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs to their employees is an astonishing encroachment of government power on religious freedom. Through the imposition of a health care regime on our country-- passed by the thinnest margin amidst highly dubious legislative tactics and despite insistent assurances to the contrary provided to the legislation's skittish supporters-- the Obama administration has tossed aside protections for conscience and is actively forcing the Catholic Church and other orthodox Christians out of a central role in many aspects of our national life. Serious Christians will not acquiesce in manifest sin, and the Obama administration knows that, and obviously intends to drive Christians out of control of hospitals, universities, charities, schools, etc.

This militant secularism is manifest and rising in several areas of America's national life, areas that initially seem disconnected, but that are of a piece:

1) The rapid growth of the federal government, which now spends 42% of our GDP, up from 33% just a decade ago. This now includes substantial control of the health care industry in the US.

2) Denial of conscience exemptions in the provision of contraception, abortifacients, etc for Catholic institutions, as noted above, which, if enforced, would drive the Catholic Church out of these institutions. The Christian church has long been the primary impediment to unchallenged state power. For the state to grow, Christianity must be marginalized.

3) Fanatic censorship of any vestige of religious expression from public schools and public property.

4) Rigid protection of Darwinism-- atheism's creation myth-- from any criticism, even from objective discussion of strengths and weaknesses of the theory, in public schools.

5) Efforts to impose unprecedented control over every scintilla of national and international energy policy based on hysterical claims of an imminent global-warming apocalypse. The state control would extend to virtually every activity-- the regulated "pollutant" is the gas we exhale.

This unprecedented advance of secular state power at the expense of individual rights and civic culture is eminently in the fascist tradition:
"Against individualism, the Fascist conception is for the State... It is opposed to classical Liberalism, which arose from the necessity of reacting against absolutism, and which brought its historical purpose to an end when the State was transformed into the conscience and will of the people. Liberalism denied the State in the interests of the particular individual... for the Fascist, everything is in the State, and nothing human or spiritual exists, much less has value,-outside the State. In this sense Fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State, the synthesis and unity of all values, interprets, develops and gives strength to the whole life of the people. [emphasis mine]... Outside the State there can be neither individuals nor groups..."
... "Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state."

There's nothing new under the sun.