Monday, November 30, 2009

Quote of the Day

"In holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite."

- President Dwight Eisenhower in his Farewell Address, 1961

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Ideology has corrupted too much of science...But in the end, the ideologues and censors can’t make dissenters go away. Popular belief in global warming is plummeting precisely because people see these tactics for the desperate impositions that they are...Stephen Meyer’s book, Signature in the Cell, is in its fifth printing and was named one of the best science books of the year by the Times of London.

The most severe harm these scientism ideologues cause is to science itself. And to think these censors and bullies smugly presume that they’re walking in the footsteps of Galileo, when in fact, they are actually the new Inquisition."

- Wesley J. Smith

Saturday, November 28, 2009

"But Is It Science?:" Global Warming Edition

On Monday, I channeled my inner Darwinist by attacking Global Warming with the King of All Questions: "But is it science?"

Then yesterday, I stumbled upon a
wonderful website that compiles ALL of the horrible things scientists blame on Global Warming. And it's a LONGGG list...

Acne, agricultural land increase, Afghan poppies destroyed, poppies more potent, Africa devastated, Africa in conflict, African aid threatened, African summer frost, aggressive weeds, Air France crash, air pressure changes, airport malaria, Agulhas current, Al Qaeda and Taliban Being Helped, Alaska reshaped, moves, allergy season longer, alligators in the Thames, Alps melting, Amazon a desert, American dream end, amphibians breeding earlier (or not), anaphylactic reactions to bee stings, ancient forests dramatically changed, animals head for the hills, animals shrink, Antarctic grass flourishes, Antarctic ice grows, Antarctic ice shrinks, Antarctic sea life at risk, anxiety treatment, algal blooms, archaeological sites threatened, Arctic bogs melt, Arctic in bloom, Arctic ice free, Arctic ice melt faster, Arctic lakes disappear, Arctic tundra to burn, Arctic warming (not), Atlantic less salty, Atlantic more salty, atmospheric circulation modified, attack of the killer jellyfish, avalanches reduced, avalanches increased, Baghdad snow, Bahrain under water, bananas grow, barbarisation, beer and bread prices to soar, beer better, beer shortage, beer worse, beetle infestation, bet for $10,000, big melt faster, billion dollar research projects, billion homeless, billions face risk, billions of deaths, bird distributions change, bird loss accelerating, bird strikes, bird visitors drop, birds confused, birds decline (Wales), birds driven north, birds face longer migrations, birds return early, birds shrink, bittern boom ends, blackbirds stop singing, blackbirds threatened, Black Hawk down, blood contaminated, blue mussels return, bluetongue, brain eating amoebae, brains shrink, bridge collapse (Minneapolis), Britain one big city, Britain Siberian, British monsoon, brothels struggle, brown Ireland, bubonic plague, budget increases, Buddhist temple threatened, building collapse, building season extension, bushfires, business opportunities, business risks, butterflies move north, carbon crimes, camel deaths, cancer deaths in England, cannibalism, caterpillar biomass shift, cave paintings threatened, childhood insomnia, Cholera, circumcision in decline, cirrus disappearance, civil unrest, cloud increase, coast beauty spots lost, cockroach migration, coffee threatened, coffee berry borer, cold climate creatures survive, cold spells (Australia), cold wave (India), computer models, conferences, conflict, conflict with Russia, consumers foot the bill, coral bleaching, coral fish suffer, coral reefs dying, coral reefs grow, coral reefs shrink , coral reefs twilight, cost of trillions, cougar attacks, crabgrass menace, cradle of civilisation threatened, creatures move uphill, crime increase, crocodile sex, crops devastated, crumbling roads, buildings and sewage systems, curriculum change, cyclones (Australia), danger to kid's health, Darfur, Dartford Warbler plague, deadly virus outbreaks, death rate increase (US), deaths to reach 6 million, Dengue hemorrhagic fever, depression, desert advance, desert retreat, destruction of the environment, dig sites threatened, disappearance of coastal cities, disasters, diseases move north, dog disease, Dolomites collapse, dozen deadly diseases - or not, drought, ducks and geese decline, dust bowl in the corn belt, early marriages, early spring, earlier pollen season, Earth axis tilt, Earth biodiversity crisis, Earth dying, Earth even hotter, Earth light dimming, Earth lopsided, Earth melting, Earth morbid fever, Earth on fast track, Earth past point of no return, Earth slowing down, Earth spins faster, Earth to explode, earth upside down, earthquakes, earthquakes redux, El Niño intensification, end of the world as we know it, erosion, emerging infections, encephalitis, English villages lost, equality threatened, Europe simultaneously baking and freezing, eutrophication, evolution accelerating, expansion of university climate groups, extinctions (human, civilisation, logic, Inuit, smallest butterfly, cod, ladybirds, pikas, polar bears, possums, walrus, toads, plants, salmon, trout, wild flowers, woodlice, a million species, half of all animal and plant species, mountain species, not polar bears, barrier reef, leaches, salamanders, tropical insects) experts muzzled, extreme changes to California, fading fall foliage, fainting, famine, farmers benefit, farmers go under, farm output boost, fashion disaster, fever, figurehead sacked, fir cone bonanza, fires fanned in Nepal, fish bigger, fish catches drop, fish downsize, fish catches rise, fish deaf, fish get lost, fish head north, fish shrinking, fish stocks at risk, fish stocks decline, five million illnesses, flames stoked, flesh eating disease, flies on Everest, flood patterns change, floods, floods of beaches and cities, flood of migrants, flood preparation for crisis, flora dispersed, Florida economic decline, flowers in peril, food poisoning, food prices rise, food prices soar, food security threat (SA), football team migration, footpath erosion, forest decline, forest expansion, frog with extra heads, frostbite, frost damage increased, frosts, fungi fruitful, fungi invasion, games change, Garden of Eden wilts, geese decline in Hampshire, genetic diversity decline, gene pools slashed, giant oysters invade, giant pythons invade, giant squid migrate, gingerbread houses collapse, glacial earthquakes, glacial retreat, glacial growth, glacier grows (California), glacier wrapped, global cooling, global dimming, glowing clouds, golf course to drown, golf Masters wrecked, grandstanding, grasslands wetter, gravity shift, Great Barrier Reef 95% dead, Great Lakes drop, great tits cope, greening of the North, Grey whales lose weight, Gulf Stream failure, habitat loss, haggis threatened, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, harmful algae, harvest increase, harvest shrinkage, hay fever epidemic, health affected, health of children harmed, health risks, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes (Australia), heat waves, hibernation affected, hibernation ends too soon, hibernation ends too late, HIV epidemic, homeless 50 million, hornets, high court debates, human development faces unprecedented reversal, human fertility reduced, human health risk, human race oblivion, hurricanes, hurricane reduction, hurricanes fewer, hurricanes not, hydropower problems, hyperthermia deaths, ice age, ice sheet growth, ice sheet shrinkage, icebergs, illness and death, inclement weather, India drowning, infrastructure failure (Canada), industry threatened, infectious diseases, inflation in China, insect explosion, insect invasion, insurance premium rises, Inuit displacement, Inuit poisoned, Inuit suing, invasion of alien worms, invasion of cats, invasion of crabgrass, invasion of herons, invasion of jellyfish, invasion of king crabs, invasion of midges, island disappears, islands sinking, Italy robbed of pasta, itchier poison ivy, jellyfish explosion, jets fall from sky, jet stream drifts north, Kew Gardens taxed, kidney stones, killer cornflakes, killing us, kitten boom, koalas under threat, krill decline, lake and stream productivity decline, lake empties, lake shrinking and growing, landslides, landslides of ice at 140 mph, large trees decline, lawsuits increase, lawsuit successful, lawyers' income increased (surprise surprise!), lawyers want more, legionnaires' surge, lives saved, Loch Ness monster dead, locust plagues suppressed, lush growth in rain forests, Malaria, mammoth dung melt, mango harvest fails, Maple production advanced, Maple syrup shortage, marine diseases, marine food chain decimated, Meaching (end of the world), Meat eating to stop, Mediterranean rises, megacryometeors, Melanoma, Melanoma decline, methane emissions from plants, methane burps, methane runaway, melting permafrost, Middle Kingdom convulses, migration, migration difficult (birds), migratory birds huge losses, microbes to decompose soil carbon more rapidly, minorities hit, monkeys at risk, monkeys on the move, Mont Blanc grows, monuments imperiled, moose dying, more bad air days, more research needed, mortality increased, mountain (Everest) shrinking, mountaineers fears, mountains break up, mountains green and flowering, mountains taller, mortality lower, Myanmar cyclone, narwhals at risk, National Parks damaged, National security implications, native wildlife overwhelmed, natural disasters quadruple, new islands, next ice age, NFL threatened, Nile delta damaged, noctilucent clouds, no effect in India, Northwest Passage opened, nuclear plants bloom, oaks dying, oaks move north, ocean acidification, ocean acidification faster, ocean dead spots, ocean dead zones unleashed, ocean deserts expand, ocean waves speed up, oceans noisier, Olympic Games to end, opera house to be destroyed, outdoor hockey threatened, ozone repair slowed, ozone rise, Pacific dead zone, penguin chicks frozen, penguin chicks smaller, personal carbon rationing, pest outbreaks, pests increase, phenology shifts, pines decline, plankton blooms, plankton destabilised, plants lose protein, plants march north, plants move uphill, polar bears aggressive, polar bears cannibalistic, polar bears deaf, polar bears drowning, polar tours scrapped, popcorn rise, porpoise astray, profits collapse, psychiatric illness, puffin decline, pushes poor women into prostitution, rabid bats, radars taken out, railroad tracks deformed, rainfall increase, rape wave, refugees, reindeer endangered, release of ancient frozen viruses, resorts disappear, rice threatened, rice yields crash, rift on Capitol Hill, rioting and nuclear war, river flow impacted, rivers raised, roads wear out, robins rampant, rocky peaks crack apart, roof of the world a desert, rooftop bars, Ross river disease, ruins ruined, Russia under pressure, salinity reduction, salinity increase, Salmonella, satellites accelerate, school closures, sea level rise, sea level rise faster, seals mating more, seismic activity, sewer bills rise, severe thunderstorms, sex change, sexual promiscuity, shark attacks, sharks booming, sharks moving north, sheep shrink, shop closures, short-nosed dogs endangered, shrinking ponds, shrinking sheep, shrinking shrine, Sidney Opera House wiped out, ski resorts threatened, skin cancer, slow death, smaller brains, smog, snowfall decrease, snowfall increase, snowfall heavy, snow thicker, soaring food prices, societal collapse, soil change, songbirds change eating habits, sour grapes, space problem, spectacular orchids, spiders getting bigger, spiders invade Scotland, squid aggressive giants, squid larger, squid population explosion, squid tamed, squirrels reproduce earlier, stick insects, stingray invasion, storms wetter, stormwater drains stressed, street crime to increase, subsidence, suicide, swordfish in the Baltic, Tabasco tragedy, taxes, tectonic plate movement, teenage drinking, terrorism, terrorists (India), threat to peace, ticks move northward (Sweden), tides rise, tigers eat people, tomatoes rot, tornado outbreak, tourism increase, toxic seaweed, trade barriers, trade winds weakened, traffic jams, transportation threatened, tree foliage increase (UK), tree growth slowed, trees in trouble, trees less colourful, trees more colourful, trees lush, tropics expansion, tropopause raised, truffle shortage, truffles down, tundra plant life boost, turtles crash, turtle feminised, turtles lay earlier, UFO sightings, UK coastal impact, UK Katrina, uprooted - 6 million, Vampire moths, Venice flooded, violin decline, volcanic eruptions, walrus pups orphaned, walrus stampede, war, war between US and Canada, wars over water, wars sparked, wars threaten billions, wasps, water bills double, water scarcity (20% of increase), water stress, weather out of its mind, weather patterns awry, Western aid cancelled out, West Nile fever, whale beachings, whales lose weight, whales move north, whales wiped out, wheat yields crushed in Australia, wildfires, wind shift, wind reduced, winds stronger, winds weaker, wine - Australian baked, wine - harm to Australian industry, wine industry damage (California), wine industry disaster (US), wine - more English, wine - England too hot, wine -German boon, wine - no more French , wine passé (Napa), wine - Scotland best, wine stronger, winters in Britain colder, winter in Britain dead, witchcraft executions, wolves eat more moose, wolves eat less, workers laid off, World at war, World War 4, World bankruptcy, World in crisis, World in flames, Yellow fever.

At this point, I have to take off my glasses, stroke my chin, and ask: "But is it science?"

Quote of the Day

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his livelihood depends on not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair

If that's true in life, it's also true in science. Thus, we have "Climategate."

And as Denyse O'Leary notes, "You've heard of Climategate? Wait till Darwingate."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Failure of Modern Philosophy

Today, Larry Auster linked to one of his old essays, Philosopher Says We Must Create Meaning and Goodness.

In his 2004 piece, Larry critically examined Bill Moyer’s TV interview of Susan Neiman, the director of the Einstein Forum, a liberal think tank in Germany.

Larry sent Ms. Neiman the following email…

Dear Miss Neiman:

When Bill Moyers asked you (I'm paraphrasing), "Does life morally make sense?,” you paused a long, long time, and then you said:

"Meaning is up to us. We have to create it. If the meaning were given from the beginning, we wouldn't be free."

Moyers said: "How do we create meaning?"

You said: "By doing little things to make the world more just ... by trying to make the world a little more intelligible ... by trying to make the world good."

With all due respect, these statements strike me as incoherent. You say there is no inherent moral meaning in existence, and that we have to create the meaning by trying to create justice and goodness and intelligibility. But how would we know there is such a thing as justice or goodness unless these things already existed? How could we "make the world more just" unless there was objectively such a thing as justice? How could we make the world more intelligible unless existence was inherently intelligible?

I wrote about why modern philosophy degenerated into moral relativism in my essay From Rorty to Obama to Beyond.

Where Have All the Obama Supporters Gone?

According to a Gallup report released yesterday, since President Obama took office, his approval rating among whites has collapsed by 22 points (61% to 39%). Meanwhile, his approval rating has gone UP 1 point among blacks (from 90% to 91%) and fallen only 5 points among Hispanics (from 75% to 70%).

So clearly my thoughts from Nov. 17 are being confirmed: If you peel through some of the polls (which usually still have Obama above 50%), you can see that Obama has actually lost a ton of support among the "Silent Majority" this year.

**UPDATE, NOV. 25, 2009**

This essay has been cross-posted at Larry Auster's site.

Tea Partiers Organizing for 2010

From Sunday's Huffington Post article, Tea Parties Organizing, Training For 2010 Under The Radar...

For some, including important figures in the conservative power structure, Tea Parties are a reaction against a floundering Republican Party. For others, Tea Parties are a Republican Renaissance. For the many libertarians in the Tea Party movement, they are a means to bucking the two-party system. Regardless, Tea Partiers of all stripes want the same thing in 2010: electoral victory...

Many local Tea Party groups are taking the initiative to prepare for 2010 elections on their own. In at least 21 states, local homegrown Tea Party groups are already recruiting precinct leaders and providing them with formal training. Many are also hosting candidate recruitment and training seminars. Some are hosting multi-day "boot camps" for activists and candidates…

On Saturday, Glenn Beck announced an ambitious plan to turn his media megaphone into a community organizing pulpit. He already had a list of "912 candidates" and an "In or Out in 2010" challenge. Now Beck promises to step up efforts to elect like-minded politicians in 2010 by sponsoring voter registration drives and several day-long educational seminars culminating with the release of his upcoming book The Plan, which he will launch on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech in August 2010 on the National Mall. The Plan will detail Beck's 100-year plan for America. Beck's educational "conventions" will include policy-specific education, community organizer training, and Beck's personal take on history and economics…

From day one, well-funded libertarian groups have been commandeering the Tea Party movement for electoral gain. American Majority, along with their sponsoring organization, Sam Adams Alliance, and several other like-minded groups, are sponsoring a National Tea Party Convention. Local Tea Party leaders attending the convention will participate in workshops, seminars, and organizing training. Sarah Palin will be the keynote speaker.

American Majority is also co-sponsoring, along with, to provide online training to Tea Partiers to "take back the Republican Party…"

Eric Odom, who is most often characterized as the Tea Party founder, is organizing week-long 2010 Tax Day Tea Parties across the country through his new organization American Liberty Alliance (and his former employer Sam Adams Alliance). In each city, the week will kick off with a full day of activist training on Saturday, April 10. Tax Day Tea Party protests will be held on Thursday, April 15, and the week will culminate with door-to-door voter canvassing on Saturday, April 17.

Odom announced recently that he is re-joining the GOP, but he qualified his support for the GOP by saying his new Liberty PAC (1) will not support any incumbent Republican, (2) will help libertarian candidates defeat Republican incumbents that are not conservative enough, and (3) will educate the electorate on why it makes sense for Republican candidates to be Scozzafava'd. Odom explained his plan, "Love or hate the Republican Party, it's our only vessel in the short term."

**UPDATE, DEC. 4, 2009**

Alex’s most recent article on the Tea Party movement appeared in the Huffington Post yesterday. It can be found here. Other articles in this series are here and here.

Quote of the Day

"When studied with any degree of thoroughness, the economic problem will be found to run into the political problem, the political problem in turn into the philosophical problem, and the philosophical problem itself to be almost indissolubly bound up at last with the religious problem." - Opening paragraph of Irving Babbitt's Democracy and Leadership
H/T: Lawrence Auster

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Thin Gruel of Karen Armstrong

Yesterday, Nemo posted a link to a Sep. 12 Wall Street Journal piece in which arch-atheist Richard Dawkins and “Kumbaya Gal” extraordinaire Karen Armstrong debated the question, “Where does evolution leave God?”

While Armstrong is a best-selling "
religious scholar," after reading the piece, I am shocked by 1) how ignorant she is about basic aspects of religion, and 2) how she draws terrible conclusions from what little knowledge she has. Dawkins wipes the floor with her. It’s no contest.

Nemo comments:

One of the strange oddities of Armstrong’s devious self-promo is the way her book on theology tossed in the towel on Darwinism.

You would think the great critic of modern scientism, and rationality, would expose the theory of Darwin. But no, that’s too dangerous: best to compromise on that issue.

We could certiainly do with a more compassionate theory of evolution, the more so since Darwin’s theory looks like an ideology designed for anti-compassion.

Later, Nemo also wrote

Armstrong is basically an atheist who is trying to keep her irons in the god fire, so she can be a religious expert.

I responded…
Karen Armstrong sounds like an atheist who grew disillusioned with atheism because it leads to nasty consequences, and thus, tried to salvage God by saying that we should honor “Mystery” itself as a God-like force worthy of worship and sacrifice.

Needless to say, this perspective will not be persuasive to ANY atheist or believer.

Perhaps a few agnostics will find it compelling, and I’m sure the MSM will continue to honor her as a bold, trailblazing thinker (when she’s nothing of the sort). But I guess that’s inevitable when most people are tired of the New Atheists and the New Fundamentalists. They’ll cling to any mushy moderate, even if it’s a total clown like Karen Armstrong.

Nemo replied

Good points. I think that theists will discover to their surprise that Armstrong makes a poor case for god.

*Note: In my writings, I usually refer to Karen Armstrong, Robert Wright, Francis Collins, and their ilk as “Kumbaya Guys.”

The Kumbaya Guys are believers in God who wants to find a “compromise” with atheists by accepting Darwinism without condition – in return for the atheist’s permission that they can believe in a God, as long as that God is separate from the material world. The “Kumbaya Guys” will sell out any religious principle just so they can find “peace” with those who have no interest in “peace.” They’re the Neville Chamberlains of 21st Century religious debate.

Note: Novaseeker has written on this topic too.

Happy Darwin Day!

150 years ago today - on November 24, 1859 - Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species.

Monday, November 23, 2009

"But Is It Science?:" Thanksgiving Edition

For the political elites who know very little science (George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and John Debryshire come to mind), they like to shrug off the I.D./Darwin debate by asking I.D. supporters (who aren’t there to defend themselves): “But is it Science?”

I guess they ask that question because they think I.D. supporters will reluctantly admit that the answer is “No,” and thus, they can end the debate in 5 seconds flat.

Apparently, the question, “But is it science?” has some unknown magical power.

Over Thanksgiving, I’m going to test this theory for myself. When I’m sitting at the kitchen table, and my mom asks me to pass the turkey, I’m going to look at her scornfully and ask, “But is it science?” That oughta shut her up! ;)

But seriously…When I read articles like the one below, I really do have to ask, “But is it science?”

Harvard Says Kidney Stones, Malaria Are Climate Risks

Kidney stones, malaria, Lyme disease, depression and respiratory illness all may increase with global warming, researchers at Harvard Medical School said.

Oh brother! Have we learned nothing from the last few days??

The Sad Past and Sadder Future of Elliot Frost

On Friday, Ferdinand Bardamu posted a new essay at The Spearhead: Letter from an Omega. The letter - from a self-described "omega" named Elliot Frost - queries Ferdinand about the purpose of Game while expressing some concerns about it.

Elliot writes...

One of the things that I hate about game and the world view that comes with it, is the way it paints human beings as animals. Animals prodominantly controlled by base, primal urges that we can hardly even control. But as much as I hate it I really can’t argue with it, it just makes me hold humanity in lower esteem.

Ferdinand replies...

To a certain extent, you’re correct. The alpha/beta/omega hierarchy that is used to classify men is based solely on said man’s sexual attractiveness. You also rightly note that society at large does this as well. There’s a reason why the number one insult feminists and women use on anti-feminist writers like myself is “you can’t get laid,” just above “you have a small penis.”

I won’t lie and say that I don’t regard a man’s sexual attractiveness as an integral part of his character. One of the goals of all life is to reproduce and pass on your genes – if you don’t have the ability to do that, you have failed at existence. The fact that reproducing is much more difficult for men then for women, as judged by the fact that less then half of the former have successfully done so throughout human history, means that the ability to get with women (and by extension spread your seed) is a quality that other people respect…

All life, from protozoa to plants to puppies, is possessed of one primary goal – survival. I separate survival into two subcategories - corporeal survival and genetic survival. The former entails staying physically alive, and the latter consists of passing on your genes to the next generation; reproduction, in other words. The Mystery Method posited a similar premise, with survival and replication being the purpose of every living entity. Every living being wants to reproduce, and will do anything in its power to accomplish that goal. This includes human beings…

While I wouldn’t argue that we humans, being sapient, are identical to chimpanzees rutting in the trees, our sentience is a tower constructed on a foundation of animal drives and instincts. The low, base urges may not be out in the open, but they’re still there and are still holding up everything else. We cannot escape our nature, we can only work with it.

In the Comment Thread, I wrote in response...

This is an honest, articulate description of Game (and no, I’m not being sarcastic). But here’s the problem: By explaining some of the “inherent assumptions” of Game you reveals its flaws.

For example, you write (quite casually and confidently): “Every living being wants to reproduce, and will do anything in its power to accomplish that goal.”

Really? Read that sentence again. EVERY LIVING BEING will do ANYTHING IN ITS power to REPRODUCE.

Does that really describe yourself, Ferdinand? Does that describe anyone in this forum? It certainly doesn’t describe Elliott who describes several goals for his life – but never mentions reproduction as one of them.

Elliot is correct that the “worldview” of Game “paints human beings as animals.” And therein lies its fatal flaw.

Once you understand the truth that human beings are not mindless meat puppets manipulated by our selfish genes to survive and reproduce the appeal of Game dwindles to zero.

Game may – on some level – help a man get sex, but by harming his soul, it will ultimately lower – not bolster – his happiness.

I guess my arguments (and those of other people like "Jon," "Codebuster," and "Porkchop") didn't have much influence on Elliot. Near the end of the comment thread, he wrote...

I have no doubt that the explanations for male/female behavior game provides are true. I do hate it, believe me… My goal in trying to understand/study game is that I may rid myself, permanently, of all these wretched lies about women (which women encourage!) and cease being an emotional slave. If game can help me and other omegas achieve those humble outcomes, than game is worth its hype.

I wrote in response...
In my experience, the best way to stop being an “emotional slave” is to sever the knee-jerk response whereby a woman’s indifference to you causes “emotional slavery.” To do that, you must take ownership of your life, love yourself, and achieve a level of character that a worthy woman would be overjoyed to love.

There are no short-cuts in life. You have to do your homework. Life is a perpetual school, and unfortunately – to use Dave’s analogy – Game is a pill; a drug that may boost your self-esteem in the short-run but will leave you with a hangover tomorrow. And then – when the hangover passes – you’ll be back at Square One.

So why is Elliot going to fall for all this nonsense?

Advocatus Diaboli has the answer. He wrote...

Evolutionary psychology is a BS religion, not unlike randism and scientology. It tells the true believers that they are righteous and deserving.

If you feel that people are treating you poorly and there is no chance they will change, hurt them as you please.

I responded...

That’s a good point, Advocatus. I’ve long believed that the quest to feel superior to the great mass of humanity is a very common and dangerous drug that can come in many forms. “Game” (as practiced by the Roissysphere) is one of those forms.

Good luck to you, Elliot. You deserve more than you'll ever know.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Quote of the Day

In many ways, I agree with Hegel and Marx that indeed, the Truth is Relative. But, from a position of what works for a civilization? Well… that must have elements of an Absolute Truth to it, or cultural hegemony will never arise, and civilization will never occur...

Christianity has been not too bad, because it is firmly based in the concept of Absolute Truth, and can be used to pull us back from the brink of La La Land when we get a little too insane. It is an anchor...

If you want to know why most Communist countries abolish Christianity, it is because it is firmly rooted in the concept of “Absolute Truth” which is directly at odds with dialectical manipulation...

It is for this reason as well, that the lefties are so adamant about Evolution...

Marx and Engels were extremely excited when Darwin came out with his theory, because it was the “science” that supported their political philosophy – namely, that the Truth is Relative...

Whether one believes in Evolution or not, this very important political aspect rarely gets mentioned in the debate, but it is core to the importance of a lot of philosophy about “truth.”

This is why the leftists pee their pants so quickly whenever someone begins to discuss intelligent design. If intelligent design were to be proven, it would indicate a “plan,” which would indicate the existence of Absolute Truth… and the entire political philosophy of the left would fall to bits. They need evolution to be true for more reasons than what they… so does the Creationist side… the Intelligent Design side doesn’t, however, because it is dispassionate. - Fedrz in his essay Men, Religion, and Morality

"Climate-Gate" and Why It Matters

For the purposes of this blog, the only reason I occasionally cover the Global Warming controversy is because it reveals - in a way most people can understand - how the Scientific Establishment - despite all of its protests of being "objective" and "unbiased" - actually is motivated by an anti-life ideology while working to impose that ideology on the rest of us.

The same people who push Global Warming down our throats are the same people who push Darwinism down our throats. In the case of both Darwinism and Global Warming, scientific and political elites advance junk science as "Da Truth" and ostracize anyone who interferences with that "Truth."

With that mind, I hope this new, remarkable scandal about the IPCC - the Nobel Prize-winning organization which is the loudest voice for global warming scaremongering - gets major media attention.

In Friday's Telegraph, James Delingpole dubbed the scandal "Climategate" in his piece, Climategate: The Final Nail in the Coffin of 'Anthropogenic Global Warming'?

The conspiracy behind the Anthropogenic Global Warming myth (aka AGW; aka ManBearPig) has been suddenly, brutally and quite deliciously exposed after a hacker broke into the computers at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (aka Hadley CRU) and released 61 megabites of confidential files onto the internet…

As Andrew Bolt puts it, this scandal could well be “the greatest in modern science”. These alleged emails – supposedly exchanged by some of the most prominent scientists pushing AGW theory – suggest:

Conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more…

Here are a few tasters…If genuine, they suggest dubious practices such as:

Manipulation of evidence:

I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

Private doubts about whether the world really is heating up:

The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

Suppression of evidence:

Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?

Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.

Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.

We will be getting Caspar to do likewise…

And, perhaps most reprehensibly, a long series of communications discussing how best to squeeze dissenting scientists out of the peer review process. How, in other words, to create a scientific climate in which anyone who disagrees with AGW can be written off as a crank, whose views do not have a scrap of authority.

“This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed literature”. Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal…

Hadley CRU, established in 1990 by the Met Office, is a government-funded body which is supposed to be a model of rectitude…

If the Hadley CRU scandal is true, it’s a blow to the AGW lobby’s credibility which is never likely to recover.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Time for a Third Party?

Mort Kondracke in yesterday's Roll Call...

With Republicans and Democrats fighting all the time and improving nothing, there's an opening for a third-party challenge as strong as Ross Perot's in 1992…

The likeliest figure to seize upon this opening is populist demagogue (and self-styled "Mr. Independent") Lou Dobbs, formerly of CNN, so let's hope a better alternative appears - or the direction of the country improves.

But, right now, the prospects are dismal. My favorite economic guru, David Smick, editor of International Economy magazine, summarized them in a speech last week at the Colony Club of New York, soon to be excerpted in Commentary magazine.

"Americans are worried," he said, "about a pending national fiscal nightmare that could doom the U.S. economy to slow growth and second-rate status. "They instinctively sense we may be becoming like Britain after the Second World War, quickly fading in relevance, our currency losing credibility, our industrial and entrepreneurial edge dulled, our people deeply frustrated"...

"Reducing unemployment to where it was before the [current] crisis may be impossible," he said. "So get ready for an American work force full of long-term anxiety - and anger."

Smick, once chief of staff to the late Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) and a 1996 presidential campaign adviser to Democratic Sen. Bill Bradley (N.J.), added that the barely recovering economy is burdened by "a 300-pound backpack of personal and public debt."

"Within a decade," he said, "the U.S. will be borrowing $722 billion a year just to pay interest" on the national debt.

"We're about to enter a fiscal trap, chasing our tail just to pay off our creditors. That's the experience of Third World regimes. Their currencies lose all credibility. They suffer from high and crushing interest rates, ending up as wards of the International Monetary Fund."

Smick is an expert on all this. He's made a fortune as an international trader and he wrote a best-selling book, "The World Is Curved," on the dangers of the unregulated world financial system.

Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama ("George W. Obama") have made matters worse, he said.

"Both proposed huge new entitlements with no way of paying for them. Both are at a loss at understanding the means of creating new private sector employment opportunities...

"Both offered the big Wall Street banks an incredible $700 billion in taxpayer funding with no stipulation that the banks lend the money, which today they are not doing."

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Smick says, is trying to keep the economy afloat by holding down interest rates - but all that means is that big banks borrow at zero, invest (often overseas) at 3 percent or 4 percent, make huge profits and refuse to lend to small U.S. businesses, which create 70 percent of new jobs… Smick agrees that the moment is ripe for a third-party candidate - "a problem-solving, no-nonsense leader who can come to Washington to clean out the swamp created by both political parties."

"We need to reignite America's fires of innovation, daring and confidence. If the current crowd in Washington lacks this vision, the American people, I can assure you, will find someone who has it"...

There is an opening. Help wanted.

Quote of the Day

“No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.”
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, November 20, 2009

Daily Wrap-Up

The Selective Compassion of Karen Armstrong: "Among people who know nothing about religion and don’t care much about factual information (an unfortunately large demographic), Karen Armstrong has become something of a sensation. But for those who think that claims about religion, ethics, or history should have some grounding in reality, Armstrong is considered an embarrassment." H/T: Darwiniana

A Christian Defends Ayn Rand: "There is one aspect of Rand's worldview, known as objectivism, which any Christian should appreciate: her belief in absolute reality. Rand believed in an objective world external to man's senses, and with it, absolute truth and morality…Rand's belief in objective truth and morality, regardless of its form, is an aberration among atheists."

Scientists are Objective Seekers of Truth, Right? A hilarious gaffe from Kevin Trenberth, a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: “‘The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of [global] warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.’” A “travesty?” Why is it a "travesty?" And yes, the gaffe is real.

Ken Wilber Rejects Darwinism: “Folks, give me a break on this one. I have a Master’s degree in biochemistry, and a Ph.D. minus thesis in biochemistry and biophysics, with specialization in the mechanism of the visual process. I did my thesis on the photoisomerization of rhodopsin in bovine rod outer segments. I know evolutionary theory inside out, including the works of Dawkins et al…. Instead of a religious preacher like Dawkins, start with something like Michael Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. And then guess what? Neo-Darwinian theory can’t explain shit. Deal with it.”

Confusing Evidence for Common Ancestry With Evidence for Darwinian Evolution: "Both at the Dover trial and in his lectures and books (such as Only a Theory), one of Dr. Kenneth Miller’s primary responses to Michael Behe’s arguments for irreducible complexity is to cite evidence for common ancestry. This class of evidence does not refute Behe because at most, evidence of sequence similarity in DNA demonstrates common ancestry—not a Darwinian evolutionary pathway. Indeed, on closer inspection, it turns out that much of Miller’s favorite evidence does not even provide a strong case for common descent: Miller assumes that functional genetic similarities must result from common descent, ignoring the possibility that such biochemical similarities might result from common design upon a functional blueprint."

Why I.D. Isn't “God of the Gaps:” A Rumination

When Darwinists criticize Intelligent Design, one of their chief lines of attack is that I.D. is basically a modern-day regurgitation of the “God of the Gaps” argument.

What’s “God of the Gaps?” Per Wikipedia...

The phrase God of the gaps refers to a view of God as existing in the "gaps" or aspects of reality that are currently unexplained by scientific knowledge...

The term "God of the gaps" is sometimes used in describing the perceived incremental retreat of religious explanations of physical phenomena in the face of increasingly comprehensive scientific explanations for those phenomena. An example of the line of reasoning starts with the position that early religious descriptions of objects and events (such as the Sun, Moon, and stars; thunder and lightning) placed these in the realm of things created or controlled by a god or gods. As scientific explanations were found for observations in the realms of astronomy, meteorology, geology, cosmology and biology, the use of supernatural explanations for phenomena was progressively reduced, occupying smaller and smaller 'gaps' in knowledge…

One example of such an argument, which uses God as an explanation of one of the current gaps in biological science, is as follows: "Because current science can't figure out exactly how life started, it must be God who caused life to start." Critics of "intelligent design", for example, have accused proponents of using this basic type of argument.

On the surface, equating I.D. with “God of the Gaps” is a fair criticism. Considering everything we’re learned about the material world in the last few centuries, equating a lack of knowledge about physical phenomenon (weather currents, the shifting of tectonics plates, the power of magnetic fields, etc.) to divine intervention seems a tad odd. We can explain patterns in non-living matter fairly well without resorting to the possibility of a supernatural agent.

However, biology – “Life” itself – is fundamentally different from non-living matter. Life is a true mystery, and any honest scientist will admit as much. What is "Life" – the mysterious essence which turns inert matter into volitional consciousness (and keeps that consciousness churning every second of every day until death)? We don’t know. In his solid book, The Vital Dimension, Carl Gunther examines the awe-inspiring mystery of Life in exquisite detail. We aren't even close to explaining
what "Life" is - never mind its origin. So while it's fair to reject a “God of the Gaps” argument for purely material phenomenon, when it comes to Life we shouldn’t automatically reject it because Life itself strongly suggests at least a partly non-material dimension. We have to keep our minds open to the possibility of a divine origin and plan. Based on what we know about “Life” (which is practically nothing) it would be irresponsible to rule out a divine source automatically.

Consider this: Everything in the Universe – all matter, all life, everything - started with the Big Bang. But when scientists are inevitably asked, “What caused the Big Bang?” their typical answer is, “We don’t know and we may never know.” That's a fine answer. And an honest one. So why can’t we ask the same question about Life itself: “What caused Life?” Given what little we know about Life, why is it unthinkable to answer – in light of the failure of Darwinian theory - “We don’t know and we may never know.” On such a question, the materialist framework fails us. And thus we come to the possibility of an Intelligent Designer – the same Designer who instituted the “fine tuning of the Universe (as demonstrated in the “Anthropic Principle"). The fine-tuning of the Universe began with the Big Bang 14 billion years ago. So why can’t there be a fine-tuning of Life with the creation of the first cell 3 billion years ago? And once we accept
that possibility, it becomes OK to consider the chance that there was some monkeying around with the creation of human beings (this would go against the concept of “Common Descent” – perhaps the only part of Darwinian theory that seems plausible given the evidence at hand).

If we accept this possibility – this distinct possibility, this likelihood, in fact – that doesn’t mean science comes to an end. Centuries ago, when God-believing scientists (Newton, Kepler, Copernicus, and others too numerous to count) worked to understand the laws of matter, they accepted the inherent “mystery” of the true source of matter, but out of a spirit of curiosity, they still groped to understand the mystery, and through that process, they advanced our knowledge and – through technical innovations – they improved our quality of life enormously. Why can’t we recapture that same attitude toward God as we work to say to unlock the mysteries of Life? We can. And we must. Because it’s true.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

If Darwinists Worked in the Private Sector

Today's Debate inside the Scientific Community

Darwinist: I.D. isn’t science. And if it’s not science, it isn’t true.

I.D. Proponent: Isn’t science the quest for truth about life and the universe?

Darwinist: Only if that quest is done within a materialist framework.

I.D. Proponent: But what if that quests needs to go OUTSIDE the materialist framework?

Darwinist: Then it’s not science. And thus, it's not true.

Let’s take this debate into the private sector…

Employee: Boss, I have a great idea. Instead of using typewriters, why don’t we start using computers? Computers are a lot faster and better.

Boss: Do computers use a mechanical process?

Employee: Well, yes – but what makes them better is their use of information technology.

Boss: We can’t use information technology.

Employee: Why not?

Boss: Because it’s outside the realm of mechanics. We decided a long time ago that work – by definition – can only be a mechanical process. Information theory (or any form of “mind”) must be ruled out.

Employee: Um, but computers are a lot better than typewriters! With computers, we can do twice as much work in half the time!

Boss: Sorry, get back to your typewriter.
In the private sector, that boss would never survive. How much longer can Darwinism survive?

**UPDATE, DEC. 3, 2009**

This entry has been cross-posted by Denyse O'Leary with commentary here and here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Daily Wrap-Up

Going, Going...Galt:
"Many people briefly go through an 'Ayn Rand phase' where they devour Anthem, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and dream of being a heroic architect standing athwart mediocrity. But government expansion in 2009 has touched off a remarkable revival of interest in Rand, spurring endless speculation that her philosophy of self-interest and free-market economics will come back in vogue. Writers point to a spate of Rand-themed releases, including two new biographies, uncountable articles, talk-show bits, merchandise, even a videogame. Here's a history…"

John Derbyshire Hearts Roissy: "I'm by no means the first to admit it, but I find the Roissy in DC blog hilarious and totally addictive. He's one of us, for sure (secular, Right); and his stone reductionism appeals to me enough to override the nagging feeling that I'm probably a bit of a herb myself, or was when it mattered."

John Derbyshire on the Death of Intellectual Protestantism: "So far as the great mass of American Protestants are concerned, theology is a dead letter. They are either “tribal Protestants,” going to church because their parents did, or because their neighbors do, or else they are Left Behind fundamentalists of the Huckabee persuasion, fundamentally anti-intellectual and indifferent to theology, or to any kind of intellectual inquiry...Intellectual Protestantism probably survives in a few seminaries somewhere, but nobody cares."

Chuck Ross Analyzes the "Vibe" on Different Blogs: "Todd White's site reminds me of the house of this Mormon kid I used to be best friends with. You go over there and his mom is always baking ginger bread cookies. They want to keep up the auspices of Pleasantville, but deep down, they just want to convert you. Those Mormons (and Todd White) are tenacious."

The U.S. Budget Deficit in International Context: "A few weeks ago, the International Monetary Fund released a report analyzing the fiscal situation of the world’s largest economies. As I discuss at greater length in a piece over at e21, the IMF finds that the United States is not alone in facing daunting fiscal challenges. For example, the IMF predicts that the United States will have the fifth highest structural primary budget deficit in 2010."

Quote of the Day

"Tell me what a man finds sexually attractive and I will tell you his entire philosophy of life. Show me the woman he sleeps with and I will tell you his valuation of himself." – Ayn Rand

For more Ayn Rand quotes on sex, click here.

"Just Follow Your Penis and Balls!"

The pro-Game blogger Ferdinand Bardamu has a lovely new post up today, Women Don’t Get to Define Female Beauty. And it closes with these charming words of wisdom...

Ladies, if you think it’s unfair that we get to determine what we find attractive in you, keep in mind that it’s also unfair that you get to determine what you find attractive in us. We can’t help our dicks any more then you can help your pussies. This is the Age of Flesh, where the desires of the loins rule all. I don’t make the rules, I just point them out.

"We can't help our dicks!" cry the Gamers. So why fight it?!

Cue the soundtrack to
The Wizard of Oz, and instead of singing "Just Follow the Yellow Brick Road," sing the phrase "Just Follow Your Penis and Balls!"

"Just Follow Your Penis and Balls!"

Come on, it's catchy. Besides, you won't have to waste any more time on Game websites, because whenever you need advice, you can just hum to yourself, "Just Follow Your Penis and Balls! Just Follow Your Penis and Balls!..."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Tale of Two Presidencies

Today, 5 major polls of President Obama's approval rating were released.

ABC News has Obama at 56% approval; CNN 55%; CBS News 53%; Gallup 50% and Rasmussen 49%. Combined, that comes to an average of 53% approval, 43% disapproval.

Considering the state of the economy (and numerous other flubs - Henry Louis Gates, Khalid Sheik Muhammed, you name it), I'm surprised Obama's been able to stay above the 50% mark.

Then I thought to myself: I wonder what Jimmy Carter's job approval rating was during his first year in office (1977)?

Well - as luck would have it - Wikipedia has a chart of Carter's approval rating (which I've pasted below. Click to enlarge).

Note: After cresting above 70% shortly after his inauguration, Carter falls into the 60s range and then the 50s range until the end of 1977 when he's hovering just above 50%.

Now look at Obama's approval rating (courtesy of

Note the eerie similarity to Carter's first year in office. Obama starts his Presidency in the 60s and then the 50s, and then by today he's barely able to stay above the 50% mark.

So, given Carter's track record, what does the future hold for Obama? Well, in another surprise, Carter finished his second year in office still around 50%. It wasn't until the middle of his third year that Carter became one of the most unpopular Presidents in history.

What's the bottom line?
It might take people awhile before they realize how awful Obama is.

**UPDATE, NOV. 23, 2009**

USA Today has a fun graphic in which you can compare the poll ratings of different Presidents over time. And yeah, if you punch in Obama and Carter, the similarity is pretty uncanny.

**UPDATE, NOV. 25, 2009**

Also, the RealClearPolitics chart above is updated in real time. So, as you can see, just in the last 7 days, Obama's approval rating has fallen from 53% to 50%.

Quote of the Day

"If you look historically, every great republic has died over fiscal issues. That is the biggest moral issue of our time." - Senator Tom Coburn

Survival of the Most Pious?

In his Nov. 11 NRO column, Survival of the Most Pious?, John Derbyshire reviews Nicholas Wade's new book, The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures.

While most of Derbyshire's column is "chloroform in print," the ending is worth sharing...

Religion will presumably survive as long as we are recognizably human. What will it look like, though?

In a thoughtful closing chapter Wade peers forward into the possible future of religion. He thinks that traditional religion has lost too many of its bouts against modernity and rationality, and needs some radical reworking if it is to fulfill human religious yearnings as it used to. He asks: "Is there not some way of transforming religion into versions better suited for a modern age?" If there is, can we discern the shape of whatever rough beast is slouching towards Bethlehem?…

The various attempts to establish "ethical religions," from Emerson's Transcendentalism to Scientific Buddhism, have in any case fallen flat, offering only cold temples to their followers. A transformed religion, Wade tells us, must "touch all the senses and lift the mind … find a way to be equally true to emotion and to reason, to our need to belong to one another …" The transformation, he says, needs to be similar in scope to the transition from hunter gatherer religion to that of settled societies.

What may actually happen, it seems to me, will be a partial reversion to Paleolithic styles. The dissolution of the power relations that prevailed until just a generation or two ago — hierarchies of class, race, sex, age, and behavioral inclinations — has returned us to the egalitarianism of our remotest ancestors. Perhaps our religion will likewise regress.

Such a regression, if it occurs, will only be approximate. We are not now what we were then.

The Glorious Eighteenth

Last month, the conservative columnist John Derbyshire showed his love for the Eighteen Century in his National Review column, The Glorious Eighteenth.

Mr. Derbyshire is a vocal Darwinbot, which makes the following line kinda amusing…

I used to take the 19th century as my personal favorite — all that wonderful science and math; the social improvements; the comparative peace. The more I learn, the less sure I am of this, and the more I favor the 18th. There was science a-plenty in the 18th, too, after all; and that science had, as Richard Holmes describes in his recent book The Age of Wonder, a romantic quality it lost sometime around 1830.

Hmm, I wonder what happened around 1830.

Of course, my mind immediately jumped to Darwin and
The Beagle. Then - in a fit of serendipity - I stumbled across the Number One review of Mr. Holmes' book on

According to the review...

Holmes goes on to label two huge expeditions as sorts of watermarks. Captain James Cook's first encircling of the world, between 1768 and 1771, and Charles Darwin's celebrated voyage and research conducted on the Beagle, between 1831 and 1836.

Yep, Darwin's voyage seems like a fair ending for "The Age of Wonder."

Darwinism. Materialism. Reductionism. Atheism. They are the world’s great universal acids. Is it no wonder science lost it's "romantic quality?"

Derbyshire continues…

The arts may have lost their footing at the same time: it is odd how many of the graphs in Charles Murray's Human Accomplishment turn to a long downward slide soon after 1800. Murray: "The environment for producing great art in any field became progressively less favorable over the course of [the 19th century] …"

Yep, I think there’s a link between Reductionism and the decline of the arts. But that’s a blog post for another time…