Monday, May 22, 2017

This is How Low the Trump Apologists Will Stoop



If you haven't watched any of the other Keith Olbermann videos I've posted, please, watch this one.  The Trump lie campaign through FOX and crap like Gingrich is absolutely the lowest of the low.

Short Answer To A Whine

I used to always use CE (common era) and BCE (before the common era) to annoy fundamentalists. 

Now I use those when I want to annoy fundamentalists and BC and AD when I want to annoy atheists and their allies. 

That's how you can tell who I want to annoy when I use those. 

For more information, I try to remember to use First and Second Testament because there's no place I can see that the first one was withdrawn.  But it's my experience that the clueless are even more clueless when that's done. 

Dinah Washington - This Can't Be Love


This song has been going through my head ever since I listened to that Bob and Ray show posted here last night.

Clark Terry (trumpet)
Cecil Payne (baritone saxophone)
Jimmy Cleveland (trombone)
Wynton Kelly (piano)
Barry Galbraith (guitar)
Keter Betts (bass)
Jimmy Cobb (drums)

I met Clark Terry, a great musician and a really nice guy.

And He Arose Dame Donald

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Dame Donald 

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Dame Penelope Keith

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Dame Fergie

Update:  I was looking for a picture of Simp's favorite, Dame Barbara Cartland but couldn't find one back when she could still do the Dame Donald thing.

Update 2:  Oh, Simps is upset that I committed a lapse of quasi-royal protocol.  I'm sorry, Simps, I'm not as daddled for the Royals as you obviously are.   He's so sensitive about that kind of thing. 

Oh, The Sorrow And Pity - Donald Does Yad Vashem

The news is that Donald Trump insisted that his Israeli itinerary include no more than a quarter of an hour at Yad Vashem.   Which is, of course, offensive.  And it should be considered outrageous that a 70-year-old man obviously doesn't want to go there because, no doubt, he thinks:

"That's booooorrrrriiinnng!"

How insulting is it?

How will the president use these precious 15 minutes? Ynet reports that he will hear an explanation and sign the museum’s guest book.

The Jerusalem Post took an uncharacteristic snarky approach and produced a video demonstrating what Trump will be able to cover in 15 minutes at the 45-acre complex. The paper quoted Israeli officials saying that an hour and a half is the “bare minimum” needed for a visit to the museum.

guess there are some places you can't strategically plant Trump's name so you can keep his attention focused on it.

You have to wonder if it wasn't a choice by his staff because they were terrified about what Donald Trump might say during or about a visit to the Holocaust memorial.  He is entirely capable of saying something outrageously offensive and have not a glimmer of an inkling of why what he said is offensive.  I wonder if he ever heard of  Yad Vashem before, I wonder if he knows what the Holocaust was.

Donald Trump is such an embarrassment and shame for the United States.  He's the man who put Steve Bannon in the White House, who named Sean Spicer as his spokesman.   The man who appointed a neo-Nazi to his regime.

Hate Mail - All Or Nothing Works A Lot Better For The Bill of Rights Than It Does The Bible

I am asked why, if the 6-day creation fable isn't literally true why anyone should believe the 10 Commandments.  Well, do you want someone who really hates you to not believe that thou shalt not kill?  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors goods?   Someone who sleeps around and has a very high probability of carrying an incurable STD and want to covet your spouse or partner or whatever figure there's no prohibition against it?   Well, I'll grant that some of these ideas are sufficiently involved so as to tax the attention span of, apparently, many.

The Bible is a very large number of texts by a very large number of people over a very large number of years, times, cultural milieus and, I'd say, of varying levels of inspiration.   It is an anthology and the cultural expectations under which those texts were written and the audiences and expectations of how the authors thought the texts would be taken varies, as well.  Some of it is to be taken quite literally, thou shalt not kill, for example.  Though, in the way of people, exceptions to that were sought and the texts contain those, even claiming that God ordered them to kill people.  I certainly don't believe that God ever told anyone to commit genocide as is contained in Exodus and other books of the collection.

People seem to be able to ignore it with no problem when quite specific commandments aren't in any way contradicted in the collection.  Especially the commandments to treat the poor, the dispossessed, THE ALIEN LIVING AMONG YOU, as you would want to be treated yourself.   Even people who believe themselves to be Biblical literalists don't seem to have any problem ignoring those far more frequently given justice commandments.

I wish, with all my heart, that I'd not become an agnostic by the time that Walter Brueggemann was writing his early works because if I'd read his way of reading the Bible, informed by his own intense scholarship and that of his predecessors, in which all of those contexts are considered and taken into account, I could have been learning from texts I'd pretty much put aside to read things like the literature that includes the materialism of Carvarka.  Though, who knows, maybe I was led that way so I could make the point I did yesterday.

Do you want to give up the items in the Bill of Rights because the same document, written by and adopted by the same people who wrote and adopted it embedded slavery, discrimination against women, the enhancement of the rights of the rich and the propertied, the idiotic anti-democratic Electoral College that produced both George W. Bush and Donald Trump as presidents?   They all did that in the same room, at the same time, not removed by centuries, cultures and literary forms.  That question makes a lot more sense than insisting that you have to accept every word of the Bible as literally true or you have to reject all of it. But sense doesn't seem to enter into your question.  Or much in the way of having read the thing.

Update:  No, I wouldn't kill you if it didn't say that in the 10 Commandments, I wouldn't even pull the plug on you just to get you off line.  Though if this were vaudeville, I might get the hook to get you off stage for the good of the show.  You're a schmuck but you're not on the list of those I'd contemplate killing.  You're not dangerous.

Update 2:  So the answer is yes, you think I should kill you and, yes, you should give up the Bill of Rights because of the ban on abolishing slavery, the slave holder enabling 3/5th rule, the unrepresentative Senate that gives the residents of some of our most benighted states 20 times the political strength of the residents of California, that disenfranchised women, the stinking Electoral College that gave us Bush II and Trump?

Somehow, I don't think you're being consistent.   If I were you I'd accuse you of having endorsed Al Haig for president right about now because you're a celebrity addled Mort Sahl fan boy.  Because that's how your twisted thinking works.   Me, I figure that, as Brueggemann and virtually all responsible Biblical scholarship holds now and an impressive amount of it has held for millennia that you can't understand the scriptures literally the way you would believe what ....... TigerBeat or its groovy NYC equivalent prints.

Wait!  Village Voice.  That's the rag I was trying to remember the name of.   Allergy meds.  They make me think like an Eschatot an hour after I have to take them.

Update 3:  A. The Bible was written by people of varying inspiration, which I'll go into later because I'm drug addled enough to mock you but some things take more clarity.  B. The Constitution and the founders are worshiped as divine writ, the ACLU as well as the Federalist Society,  some members of the Supreme Court and a myriad of those in the scribbling class treat it as such.   You got your knickers in a twist when I made fun of the current pop-kulcha idol among them, Hamilton.  Or, rather, Lin Manuel Miranda's phony rapping, boogying, what is it like seven-hundred a ticket fictionalized version of the jerk and his slave-holding wife and sister-in-law.  Geesh, put satin and a spot light on anything with a crappy book and score and it turns into a god for you guys.

Update 4:  Hey, you don't have to take my word for that.   Read this passage from Ishmael Reed's take on Hamilton.  Note, especially that last line.

Establishment historians write best sellers in which some of the cruel actions of the Founding Fathers are smudged over if not ignored altogether. They’re guilty of a cover-up.

This is the case with Alexander Hamilton whose life has been scrubbed with a kind of historical Ajax until it sparkles. His reputation has been shored up as an abolitionist and someone who was opposed to slavery. Not true.

Alexander Hamilton married into the Schuylers, a slaveholding family, and participated in the bartering of slaves. One of “Hamilton’s” actors, Renee Elise Goldsberry (“The Color Purple”), who visited the Schuyler home, said the Schuyler sisters, “were the Kardashians” of 1780 — superstars, but with dignity and grace.” Maybe they were able to maintain “dignity and grace” because they had 27 slaves serve them. Black women whose labor assignments left them little time to preen. Is this actor disregarding, callously, that the sisters thrived on the labor of enslaved women? No, she probably attended the same schools that I attended. A curriculum that endowed slave traders and Indian exterminators with the status of deities.

Life Imitates, um.... Art

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The Woim and Butch c. 1937-39

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You Know Who Now

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Just Bob And Ray



It's impressive  how much they did with such simple material and 15 minutes.  

I'm Not Making This Up You Know

Oh, for Pete's sake.  Do you think I would lie about something while telling you where to find it so you could check it?  In my paraphrase I used a different multiplication fact but other than that it's exactly as I said it was.

Suppose we concede the most extravagant claims that might be made for natural law, so that we allow that the processes of the mind are governed by it; the effect of this concession is merely to emphasise the fact that the mind has an outlook which transcends the natural law by which it functions.  If, for example, we admit that every thought in the mind is represented in the brain by a characteristic configuration of atoms, then if natural law determines the way in which the configurations of atoms succeed one another it will simultaneously determine the way in which thoughts succeed one another in the mind.  Now the thought of “7 times 9" in a boy’s mind is not seldom succeeded by the thought of “65.”  What has gone wrong?  In the intervening moments of cogitation everything has proceeded by natural laws which are unbreakable.  Nevertheless we insist that something has gone wrong.  However closely we may associate thought with the physical machinery of the brain, the connection is dropped as irrelevant as soon as we consider the fundamental property of thought – that it may be correct or incorrect.  The machinery cannot be anything but correct. We say that the brain which produces “7 times 9 are 63" is better than a brain that produces “7 times 9 are 65"; but it is not as a servant of natural law that it is better. 
Our approval of the first brain has no connection with natural law; it is determined by the type of thought which it produces, and that involves recognising a domain of the other type of law – laws which ought to be kept, but may be broken.  Dismiss the idea that natural laws may swallow up religion; it cannot even tackle the multiplication table single-handed.

Arthur Stanley Eddington Science And The Unseen World:  p. 56

Update:  Poor Simps, he doesn't get that you can make more than one deduction from a general statement that our minds are a product of physical determinism.  That the religious faith of materialist-atheists can be used to claim the impossibility of free choice, free thought, of the significance of religion as a hold over of material causation working through natural selection (a claim that was made in Darwin's inner circle almost immediately after it was published) that morality was a mere holdover of natural selection (Darwin, himself said so in The Descent of Man)* and that the same leads to the claim that, in fact, all of human thought has no more significance than  mere appearance and delusion.  As I pointed out this morning, that consequence of the materialist-atheist doctrine that our minds - as well as everything else - is a product of physical causation even impeaches the idea that causation is more than a product of random physical events in our minds and cannot have more truth value than religion or morality or anything else that can, baselessly and without any evidence, be attributed to material causation.

When your ideological system is monistic, that holds that it covers, literally, every single thing in the universe, including our minds and thoughts and the products of those thoughts, you'd better be careful about what that ideology is because, as in this case IT MIGHT JUST EAT UP ITS OWN INTELLECTUAL FOUNDATION.

I didn't say that the idea that the mind is a product of material causation, that there is no transcendent quality in anything destroys the idea that morality is real, binding and durable, it's materialists going back centuries and millennia who said that.  That atheists in the 21st century are ignorant of the literature of materialist-atheism doesn't shock me, they're a pretty ignorant lot.   Simps is hardly a very smart example of the ideology, but the smart ones don't tend to be much more informed.

Frankly, I wonder if you could do the calculation if most atheists aren't people in the soft sciences and humanities who figure being an atheist is some kind of cheap and easy replacement for the math and science knowledge they were too lazy or uninterested in to get.  It's sort of scientistic religion on the cheap for a lot of them.

* In fact before that because the Victorian intellectual Frances Cobb wrote a long essay about the dangerous consequences of that claim by Darwin, which he dismissed with breezy and sexist arrogance in The Descent of Man.  
I'm not surprised that Simels is stupid enough to call attention to me making fun of him this morning. Of course, since it's calling the challenged attention of the Duncan Black brain trussed to it, he's probably safe from them seeing I kicked his ass.   They never fact check.  

Hey, You Guys Make Ultimate Claims About Reality You're Going To Have To Put Up With People Noticing Their Logical Results And Your Violating Those

To declare that free will is an illusion because our minds are entirely the determined product of physical causation in the brain has some rather profound consequences.  Among those are the ones I noted yesterday.   There is no "right or wrong" material state, there just is a state that matter is in.  Under materialism there is an inevitable interaction between physical objects, between atoms, molecules, crystals, tissues arising out of physical causation and in the materialist model of the mind, made up out of their ideological holdings and not out of evidence, our ideas and thoughts.   In the most extreme extensions of materialism, everything in the universe up to and including our ideologies are material, the product of inescapable material causation as governed by immutable physical laws.

As Eddington pointed out almost 90 years ago, under materialism there is no meaning to the idea that a boy who gives you the answer to 6 times 7 of 46 and the boy who gives you the answer of 42 have given you a "wrong" or "right" answer because both of their answers would be the inevitable result of the physical causation in their own brains as they were giving that answer.  It would be no more right or wrong than the differences in crystal formation that you get depending on what chemicals were present as the crystal was forming and what was incorporated in the results.  As he said, you shouldn't worry too much that materialism will dissolve religion because it can't even assert the rightness of the times table.

That is if materialists really believe in their monist faith that everything is a result of material causation.   The results of that have been written about from before the Birth of Christ.  As is typical of Indian thought, the Indian materialist school of Carvaka documented that inevitable logical conclusion of materialism, probably even before the Greeks, Romans, "enlightenment" materialists and the post-Darwinian German and other materialist philosophers who, over and over again, admitted that total amorality was an inevitable result of holding that the material universe, operating under physical law was all there is, ever was or will be.

The consequence of their own ideology, when taken to its logical conclusion is that nagging, scolding busy-body materialists should shut their traps and stop interfering with the operations of physical causation in the minds of other people whose brains don't lead them to believe in materialism or atheism or scientism.   As I've pointed out before, under a really rigorous system of materialist thought, there is exactly the same truth value in Six-day Creationism as there is in Coyne's favorite interpretation of neo-Darwinism or Sean Carroll's favorite imaginary God-avoiding cosmos under cosmology or someone who spends their life frittering it away on computer games or comic books.  All of them are the moral equivalent of iron oxidizing or an acid combining with a base.   All of them are just the result of physical causation in different brains.

I, of course, don't buy that crap because I can see that materialism is about the most intellectually vacuous, vapid and logically incoherent ideological system ever devised.   To the extent that materialists nag and scold people who don't believe or who they claim demonstrate non-adherence to their faith is the extent to which they display that they don't really believe in it, themselves.  A logically consistent true believer in materialism would do what those Carvarkists advocated, pursue their own pleasure and not assert that their materialism had a transcendent attribute of truth or good which it can't have, under its own holdings.

Update:  Reading this over for editing, as I recall the Carvakists also denied the reality of causation.  Which is an interesting thing to think about.  Everything we think about causation, really everything we think, would fall under the same umbrella of non-transcendence that envelops free will.  How could the human concept of causation have any truth value, itself, how could it be anything other than a product of random actions of atoms, molecules, etc?   How could we establish that there was anything other than a delusion of truth to it?

Update 2:   Well, I only remember that from the course in Indian Philosophy I took as to fulfill a prerequisite in college but googling to look for the pertinent texts I found this:

Indian philosophers extensively discussed a number of issues relating to causation, including the nature of the causal relation, the definitions of cause and effect, and classifications of kinds of causes. Typically they stressed the importance of the material cause, rather than (as in Western philosophy) the efficient cause. In India only the Cārvāka materialists denied causation or took it to be subjective. This is unsurprising given that a concern with demonstrating the possibility of liberation motivated the theories of causation, for only the Cārvākas denied this possibility. The orthodox Hindu philosophers and the heterodox Buddhists and Jainas all accepted both the possibility of liberation and the reality of causation, though they differed sharply (and polemically) about the details.

It's interesting because it relates the denial of causation to the materialist agenda of denying that there was any transcendent soul or a need for us to follow a course of moral conduct to achieve salvation.  The notion that the perception of causation is merely subjective goes exactly along with what I wondered in my first update.  How, if our thoughts are merely the product of random combinations and interactions between atoms and molecules, could we possibly have any confidence that even the perception of causation is anything but a delusion, an epiphenomenon of that physical causation, a hold over of natural selection having possible survival and reproductive value but having no quality of truth that transcends that.  If natural selection had produced the many illusions, such as religious belief, according to the current pudding-headed dogma of materialists, why shouldn't we believe that causation, itself, is not just another delusion?   And with that, all of science is exposed as merely another delusion, as well.  The infinitesimally small probability that any such delusion has some kind of relevance to any reality outside of living minds would be fun to quantify, though the result would probably be subjective.  I doubt it would be nearly as probable as the effectively infinite improbabilities expressed in those stupendous exponents in the "fine-tuning" arguments.

Simps As Fashion Critic

That's really funny, for Simps to accuse someone else of not knowing how to dress.  Have you ever seen him wearing his Groucho beret?   I thought he'd finally become really demented and was wearing a cheap rug.   He couldn't look more ridiculous wearing Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff's mortarboard on the street.

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The rest of that exchange among Duncan's dolts is only mildly funny.  But only in the sense that it's funny when silly, superficial and stupid people are pretentious.   I like Chicago Dyke but she has gone down the road to Sillyville.   She's drunk too much of Hemant's Koolaid. 

Preemptive Update:   I'm not making this up, you know.

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Update For Real:

Hey, here's the perfect Simels look for the summer season.

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Update:  Oh, Jughead! No Simps, I'm pointing out how ridiculous you look trying to look like Groucho.  He looked silly too, but he was Groucho.  You ain't an never will be Groucho.   I think the Jughead look is a natural one for you. 

Imagine How He Behaves With Putin Who Is Even Richer Than This King

The Republican-fascist version of The Völkischer Beobachter,  FOX,reportedly  has been crowing that "unlike Obama" Trump didn't bow to the Saudi King.  Well, as John Avarosis and others have pointed out, he curtsied to him.   And, of course, they dug up a tweet of Trump criticizing Obama for allegedly bowing to him.




You've got to hand it to the Saudis, if there's one thing they know it's how to butter up despots so as to get what they want from them.  

I should have noticed this yesterday but I can't not post it now that I've seen it. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

More Than A Second Feature - Decoder Ring Theater - Black Jack Justice

Decoder Ring Theater, I haven't listened to many of these episodes of the cases of Black Jack and Trixy Dixon, Girl Detective, they're fun.


Or you can try their other series, Keeping 1930s Toronto safe from gangsters, racketeers and power-mad supervillains - Thrill once again to the tales of that Masked Man of Mystery; The Red Panda! 

or their anthology show, Show Case. 

I love this kind of thing.  It's so much better when you don't have to look at a screen.  

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Plays from Theater Five










I hope you enjoy the vintage public service announcements, from back when they were still required to do public service in the American media.    I'll add the author and other credits if I have the time to write them down from the recordings.   Something came up and I'm pressed for time, tonight. 

Ana Marie Cox And Josh Barro Give Us The Horrific News

I seldom listen to Lawrence O'Donnell's MSNBC show The Last Word but I caught one of those bootleg live streams that didn't get shut down during the 8:00-11:00 liberal ghetto hours at that network so I heard it last night.

One segment that concerned the reported "intervention" weeks ago to try to get control of Trump's titter addiction was especially revealing.  They had  Ana Marie Cox on, she said some things about the Trump regime that seem to me to be some of the most likely and realistic views of it I've heard.  Her point that he is a 70-year-old who has NEVER faced the consequences of his wrong doing and how dangerous that is seems to me to be very realistic.  Josh Barro was also good along the same line.  Despite what the media have relentlessly said, Ivanka and Jared aren't "the adults" who were going to control the spoiled baby-man who occupies the White House, their adulthood has been way oversold because they are obviously entitled, out of control,  children, themselves.  Her in what will probably be a temporary bootleg of it.



And what you can say about them you can say about the rest who were supposed to be the adults in the Trump regime, even those like Rod Rosenstein and H. R. McMaster and his entire list of those appointed by Trump and his dystopian Our Gang where everyone is either "Butch" or "The Woim", well some of them are Scut and Grover, terrorizing and shaking down their victims.

What you can say about the White House, you can also say about the Congress, it is in Republican hands and the adults on them number in the single digits.  I would note Ben Sasse and Richard Burr as the closest  that count as such.  The guys who play adults on TV, McCain and Graham are falling far short.

There are no adults in the Trump ship of fools.  We are a nation adrift because the Republican Party and their voters, aided by the infantalizing American media have handed the country to a bunch of out of control brats who will plunder and vandalize the country.   Or, if Cox stays as insightful as she obviously is, push the red button.

Blah, blah blah, humorless... blah, blah blah....


Update:


It's Even Worse Than That For The Materialist-Atheist-Scientistic Evangelist

Rereading this last paragraph, it occurs to me that not only do materialists who demand everyone believe in their faith who doesn't, insist that they violate the physical conditions that causes them to not believe in materialist-atheist-scientism, THEY DEMAND THAT THEY CHOOSE TO DISBELIEVE WHAT IS ORDAINED BY THE PHYSICAL CONDITION OF THEIR BRAIN THAT DEMANDS THEY DISBELIEVE MATERIALIST-ATHEIST-SCIENTISM.  They demand that they do what their faith holds is impossible, for them to make a free choice, free of the physical conditions that produce their thoughts,  to violate the physical causation they assert is the only reality of their minds.  

I could go on to point out that they also assert that those who refuse to be converted to their materialist faith, are morally depraved.  Though I'm sure they'll insist it's something else.  

I think the more parsimonious view of this is that the materialists don't think very hard about what they claim and that they demand an exemption from the consequences of their faith but only in so far as it goes along with their desires. Which, according to them, you can't do because their faith is a monistic one.   Maybe that's why they hate philosophy so much, it tends to lead to rigorous investigation of claims like theirs. 

The Fundamentalist Religion Of Jerry Coyne and Why Materialism Is Not True

The objection is made that I took part of a phrase out of its context in applying it to Jerry Coyne, semi-pro atheist.   The phrase, taken directly from the "Big Think" text is what is in the author's quotation marks, which I assume meant that it was a taken directly from the researchers he was writing about.

the appeal of such a rigid way of thinking is in promoting “coherence and predictability” within a religious group

First, whatever objection you might have to me saying it, Jerry Coyne's brand of materialist-atheist-scientism is a distinct, discernable religious group. Their religion is radically monistic, disallowing not only the possibility of the truth of anything that doesn't fit into their rigid way of thinking but asserting anything which deviates from it is an evil which should or must be wiped out.  It is a religious group which has a religious position which they assert should rule not only their thinking and conduct but that of everyone else. Any atheists who deviate or swerve from their one true way will be attacked for heresy, Coyne often plays the role of Grand Inquisitor condemning his fellow scientists and atheists for exactly that.   It is a religious group which is notable in exhibiting just about every negative thing which Coyne and his fellow true believers accuse religion of doing, including denying obvious truths.

Any number of times in his writing and assertion Jerry Coyne has advocated that his rigid materialist monism is the only acceptable way of thinking, in one place he asserts that when the Christian scientist Francis Collins was unsuitable to be appointed the head of the National Institute of Health by Barack Obama.  Taking up the campaign of Stephen Pinker to discredit Collins - probably a more eminent scientist than Coyne ever will be and, unlike Pinker, a real scientist -  Coyne said:

Collins is still an advocate of profoundly anti-scientific beliefs, including the notion that the laws of physics indicate fine-tuning by a deity (the same one who freezes waterfalls in three parts), and that human morality—which he calls “The Moral Law”—can’t be explained by evolution, ergo Jesus. (I’m publishing a response to the latter idea within the next few days.)

You could learn a lot more about that by searching Coyne's blog for Francis Collins, and other scientists, many of them with more distinguished careers than his, whose religious belief leads Coyne to condemn them for being "anti-science" or damaging to science, deviating from the one, true way of atheist-materialism, citing the authority of his fellow clergy of the church of neo-atheist scientism such as Pinker, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, ... to support his accusations of heresy.  In fact he's written a book, Faith vs. Fact, which is endorsed at his website with blurbs from that trio - has Pinker replaced the late Christopher Hitchens in the fading fab-four of faithlessness?

Instead of going on, other than to advocate you search Coyne's blog, either using search terms or just by looking at a typical week of his often hysterical screeds, going on like really bad script put in the mouth of a Brit movie Inquisitor. condemning his fellow scientists, philosophers, etc. even many of them atheists on deviating from his one true faith, thus endangering his scientistic orthodoxy and the universe,  I'll leave you with the Scientific American science journalist - and atheist - John Horgan's excerpted review.  The elisions are his.

Coyne’s defenses of science and denunciations of religion are so relentlessly one-sided that they aroused my antipathy toward the former and sympathy toward the latter… He overlooks any positive consequences of religion, such as its role in anti-slavery, civil-rights and anti-war movements. He inflates religion’s contribution to public resistance toward vaccines, genetically modified food and human-induced global warming.

Conversely, he absolves science of responsibility for any adverse consequences, such as weapons and ideologies of mass destruction. “The compelling force that produced nuclear weapons, gunpowder, and eugenics was not science but people.” Right. Science doesn’t kill people; people kill people.

Naïve readers of Mr. Coyne might conclude that science is rapidly filling in the remaining gaps in our understanding of reality and solving ancient philosophical conundrums. He claims that free will, the notion that “we can choose to behave in different ways,” is being contradicted by research in genetics and neuroscience and “looks increasingly dubious.” *

As evidence, he cites scientific revelations that our choices are often influenced by factors of which we are unaware. Yes, Freud told us as much, and Sophocles for that matter. But it is absurd to conclude that all our conscious deliberations are therefore inconsequential…

Mr. Coyne’s critique of free will, far from being based on scientific “fact,” betrays how his hostility toward religion distorts his judgment. Evidence against free will, he says, “kicks the props out from under much theology, including the doctrine of salvation.” Mr. Coyne thinks that if religious people believe in free will, it must be an illusion.

Mr. Coyne’s loathing of creationism, similarly, leads him to exaggerate what science can tell us about our cosmic origins. Mr. Coyne asserts that “we are starting to see how the universe could arise from ‘nothing,’ and that our own universe might be only one of many universes that differ in their physical laws.” Actually, cosmologists are more baffled than ever at why there is something rather than nothing… And multiverse theories are about as testable as religious beliefs.

Mr. Coyne repeatedly reminds us that science, unlike religion, promotes self-criticism, but he is remarkably lacking in this virtue himself. He rejects complaints that some modern scientists are guilty of “scientism,” which I would define as excessive trust—faith!—in science. Calling scientism “a grab bag of disparate accusations that are mostly inaccurate or overblown,” Mr. Coyne insists that the term “be dropped.”

Actually, Faith vs. Fact serves as a splendid specimen of scientism. Mr. Coyne disparages not only religion but also other human ways of engaging with reality. The arts, he argues, “cannot ascertain truth or knowledge,” and the humanities do so only to the extent that they emulate the sciences. This sort of arrogance and certitude is the essence of scientism.

I think that anyone who does what any responsible person would in judging the nature of someones faith, read what they say, look at what they do, would have to conclude that Jerry Coyne fulfills all of the criteria used to define a fundamentalist used in that study I wrote about last night.  He more rigidly adheres to those methods of thinking than many who get called "fundamentalists" by his fellow atheist true believers in the atheist-monist version of scientism.  I will note that in saying that I am not doing what the idiot who sent me that link and the idiot who gave it to him, no doubt intended, implying that "science has proven that faith-heads are brain damaged".  I'm just noting that Coyne is a religious fanatic, a fundamentalist for the purposes of that study, fulfilling all of the criteria of their definition.

He is also a religious fanatic whose actions betray that he doesn't really believe it, when it applies to him and his religious faith.

* Note;  Anyone who has read much of my blog will know that I certainly reject Coyne's belief that free is an illusion and that we are governed by physical determinism, you can search my blog to read why.

I have pointed out that materialists who assert that point of view and insist that other people convert to their way of thinking exhibit that they don't really believe that because if they did, they would believe that those who disagreed with them had no choice but to believe what they did and to disbelieve what they didn't believe.   Their asking people who don't believe that to violate the material causation in their brains that led them to believe what they did.  They, furthermore, demonstrate that they do not really believe it because their assertion that one physical state has a transcendent quality, that of rightness or correctness or of being good that is not a material quality of physical states and objects.   Jerry Coyne's entire public career as an atheist evangelist is at variance with his materialist-atheist-scientistic faith.  So is Pinkers' and every other materialit-atheist evangelist of their world view which cannot have those transcendent qualities if their faith is true. They demonstrate they don't really believe what they claim to, just about every time they open their mouths or put pixels online in their religious quest.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Geesh, Simps Forces Me To Come To The Defense Of Fundamentalists

I had planned on ignoring the link to a piece at "Big Think"* to a "study" alleging that brain damage has something to do with fundamentalism that Simps sent because he thinks I'd have some skin in the game.   Being essentially a neo-know-nothing (it's the house religion among pop-atheists) he doesn't know that Catholics aren't fundamentalists.

Apparently the authors of the "study" don't understand that fundamentalism has a specific meaning and it is a Protestant movement of the early 20th century which was, among other things, vehemently anti-Catholic.  I've actually looked at The Fundamentals and there is an article specifically devoted to banishing "Romanists" from Christianity.   It's been too hot to work in the garden so I've been wading, first, through the "Big Think" screed by a film maker and the things he links to.  I will probably get a post out of that later because, unlike Simps, I try to know what I'm talking about before I write something.  I have read the claims of one of the researchers and see some pretty glaring problems with the study and with the idea that the findings are applicable to the general public or even fundamentalists.   I'll start by the definition of "fundamentalist" in the tripe Simps sent me.

The researchers define fundamentalism as a cognitive approach that “embodies adherence to a set of firm religious beliefs advocating unassailable truths about human existence.“ They write in their paper that the appeal of such a rigid way of thinking is in promoting “coherence and predictability” within a religious group. People in fundamentalist groups tend to value strong commitment to their community, rejection of other beliefs, often combined with science denial and violence. Deliberation becomes victim to conviction.

For those who just tuned in to this blog, I spent my morning writing about Jerry Coyne, an atheist fanatic of "firm religious beliefs," whose materialist atheist world view leads to him "advocating unassailable truths about human existence."  His materialist-monist writing and, in fact, his scientific orthodoxy refuses to admit to anything that doesn't accord with his religious views so as to produce "coherence and predictability"

 I would conclude with Jerry by saying most of this definitely applies to him, including "strong commitment to his community, rejection of other beliefs, often combined with science denial and violence."  If you think that he couldn't be considered to deny science, I would advise you to do what I suggested this morning, word search his blog for James Shapiro, Denis Noble, and others who have produced peer-reviewed, published science which he will never, in a thousand lifetimes, admit could be true.  And as to violence, again, read some of his blog.  Though there are better examples whose violence isn't confined to their computer keyboards.

You could go through the same exercise substituting any number of names for Jerry Coyne's.  It is certainly characteristic of atheist ideological groups including groups whose murder victims measure in the tens of millions such as Marxists, and some fascists.  You could include some very violent anarchists. especially the franatics who adopted the murderous doctrine of "propaganda of the deed" such as the absurdly romanticized  Emma Goldman.  I would especially point you to such domestic American atheists as the scientist neo-Nazi author of The Turner Diaries and advocate of world wide genocide, William L. Pierce and some of his acolytes, such as Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City Bomber who held the record for an American mass murder before 9-11.

Clearly, the authors of the study and superficial scribblers who represent their work, need to do a bit of clarification of their definition.

Apparently both Simps and, I'm told one "Tacitus Volare" at Eschaton didn't notice this part of the quite short and easily read post at "Big Think".

The scientists specify that they are not stating religious people overall are mentally inflexible or that belief is caused by brain damage. There are many cognitive processes involved in forming beliefs. But in some people, the system of “belief revision” may become suppressed due to brain damage.

The study model as described in both the "Big Think" piece and the things he links to send up some major problems.   The "study" was based on 119 Vietnam era veterans who suffered what are classified as specific types of brain damage and a control group of 30 who didn't have brain damage.

The article claims:

They compared levels of religious fundamentalism between 119 vets who had lesions and 30 veterans who didn’t.

If that definition given above is how they determined the "levels of religious fundamentalism" it is seriously flawed in just that, alone.   As noted above, those traits are hardly limited to people who are, by proper definition, "fundamentalists".   I'd like to know more about how they measured "levels of religious fundamentalism" because the idea that you can do that and for it to have scientific validity doesn't seem credible to me.

I have yet to find in the literature - some of which is behind a pay-wall which I can't afford to get past - how they controlled for things like.

- Which of the veterans were draftees and which were volunteers.

- Religious orientation before their head injury and, if that changed, when and under what circumstances it changed.

- Political orientation before and after their injuries.  Other aspects of identity. 

- How any change would be explained by the individual veterans.  For example, did some of them convert after they married someone of that orientation or if they moved to a part of the country where fundamentalism is more commonly found.

- Did they define themselves as "fundamentalists" and what did they believe such a label included.

And given more time with it, I'm sure there are other problems which might lead to them sub-dividing their sample to the extent where they could come up with no significant statistically reliable statements about them.

Compared to the many millions of people who might be considered fundamentalists who have perfectly functioning brains, this is a tiny sample, certainly nothing like a random sample of American fundamentalists.  They are all men, for example, at a time when few women were in the military and few of those were victims of head injury.  It would be interesting if they could study women of the same age with the same experience but one suspects they're not available.

But they should start by tightening up what they mean by "fundamentalists" because their definition is meaningless, if identifying a specific part of the human population is their beginning point.  I doubt their definition would pass muster in a Freshman comparative religion class conducted by a competent teacher who was interested in accuracy.  To peddle something as having the reliability of science, it should be a requirement that they at least come up with a definite. accurate, unambiguous definition of what they're allegedly studying.

I don't have any particular affection for fundamentalism or its religious holdings, I think it's a thoroughly bad way to read the Bible and I think it is corrupted with ulterior motives of ideology, race, gender, and other forms of discrimination.   I also, as an LGBT man, reject its conclusions dealing with my people.  Not to mention I'm an Irish catholic.  But I think this study is dishonest and its authors obviously wanted to make a splash with a big, attention getting religion bashing "study". And if they didn't, the "Big Think" guy definitely did.   Simps and Tacitus were just being asses.

*  They do low budget, in-studio videos that are a sort of Ted Talk for the even more attention deficient.

Update:  As I knew it would, it all went over Simel's head.  That's not what you'd call a "tall order" as pretty much everything goes over his head.

As to the fact that Catholics can't be properly called "fundamentalists"  here, from Chapter XXI of The Fundamentals - the definition of "Fundamentalism"

Is Romanism Christianity?
by T.W. Medhurst

I am aware that, if I undertake to prove that Romanism is not Christianity, I must expect to be
called "bigoted, harsh, uncharitable." Nevertheless I am not daunted; for I believe that on a right
understanding of this subject depends the salvation of millions.

One reason why Popery has of late gained so much power in Great Britain and Ireland, and is
gaining. power still, is that many Protestants look on it now as a form of true Christianity; and
think that, on that account, notwithstanding great errors, it ought to be treated very tenderly.
Many suppose that at the time of the Reformation, it was reformed, and that it is now much
nearer the truth than it was before that time. It is still, however, the same; and, if examined, will
be found to be so different from, and so hostile to, real Christianity, that it is not, in fact,
Christianity at all...

If you want to traffic in something you're calling "fundamentalism" in the human population and pretending what you're doing is science, you're going to have to come up with a definition that matches something that actually exists out there in the population.  I doubt you can do that so this would be one of those phenomena in life that can't be treated scientifically.