Tag Archives: irrationality

The Hard Problem

Evolution Made Us All from Ben Hillman on Vimeo.

Actually, the proposition here over-generalizes, but it is apparently true for biological life.

I don’t track the follies of Intelligent Design anywhere near as closely as I used to, yet I do maintain a tag search and every now and then I am moved to go check out the ‘action,’ always with the hope what I encounter will be amusing, and, rich as a qualitative data set about how people approach talking with each other.

Uncommon Descent, ‘serving the intelligent design community,’ is a dependable source of circularity and a time waster over many years. I got a nice positive at the end of March. I’ve let it, the comment thread, percolate since then. It is: worthy.

The set-up is a article, On the Computation of CSI, by Mathgrrl. Here is the equivalent of its abstract.

In the abstract of Specification: The Pattern That Signifies Intelligence, William Demski asks “Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause?” Many ID proponents answer this question emphatically in the affirmative, claiming that Complex Specified Information is a metric that clearly indicates intelligent agency.

As someone with a strong interest in computational biology, evolutionary algorithms, and genetic programming, this strikes me as the most readily testable claim made by ID proponents. For some time I’ve been trying to learn enough about CSI to be able to measure it objectively and to determine whether or not known evolutionary mechanisms are capable of generating it. Unfortunately, what I’ve found is quite a bit of confusion about the details of CSI, even among its strongest advocates.

Setting aside the effort to configure a worthwhile computational platform for ID, the post and its continuing offshoot oneand offshoot two, interest me because Mathgrrl, (who is seemingly Lauren Taalman of James Madison univesity,) has made her effort without also grinding any axe. My further interest, then, is to see what happens as a matter of the responses to her generous and sincere effort. How soon will bad will arise by design (!) to meet her good will?

The answer, of course, is: instantly. 11:17am. However, overall the discussion proceeds without much aggression. (It’s not besides the point that Dembski’s CSI has been discredited, but, in another sense the dialogs are seeking to discover a corrective or more correct estimate.) Alas, it turns out a moderator is riding the posts too, so some of the action only saw the light of day briefly.

As a Batesonian, I was amused to read this (#367):

I am saying, per my previous post, and interminable posts prior to this on other threads, that is it impossible, IN PRINCIPLE, i.e. it is logically impossible, to explain information in terms of algorithms and/or physical laws. This so obviously true that it is scarcely worth repeating. So I won’t. You will sooner be able to create a square circle as to generate information with time and physics. Information is impossible without reason, language, free will, and intentionality. That is, a mind. Or Mind in the case of life.

Having now created the square circle, what say you? Why would information require logic to be represented in any possible explanation of information, and this given too in any possible ‘terms?’ Oh look, my square circle just rolled up my stairs!

In the main the discussants don’t reconcile Mathgrrl’s urge to define CSI with greater specificity with the ID company line, that Dembski’s conclusions have already completed the endeavor. All in all, not very amusing, except for the usual category mashing, and this–as always–in the context of the unspoken problematic implied by some kind of computationally clever designer found somewhere beyond nature and biology. And, maybe this designer was/is, like, undesigned?

Then: pay dirt. Mathgrrl Lives Down to Expectations on April 14. The post’s subject remains calm. She should get a medal. Between this and the action over at the unintentionally very amusing comment spew at intelligentreasoning blog, I am suddenly delivered to the social psychological nirvana I was hunting for.

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Planet of the Snake-Oil Loving Apes


David Lane takes Ken Wilber to task, Frisky Dirt, Why Ken Wilber’s New Creationism
is Pseudo-Science
, for reprising his odd views on evolution. Those views can be encapsulated in quotes from The Guru and the Pandit. Eros, Buddha, and the Spectrum of Love, from the new issue of Andrew Cohen’s magazine EnlightenmentNext.

It’s evidence of a force that is pushing against randomness in the universe.

The fact that such a thing can happen is a miracle. It’s just unbelievable.

All of this, without exception, is driven by love.

Lane’s takedown of Wilber’s ‘esotericistic’ intelligent design is okay, but let’s face it, all the varieties of intelligent design and creationism present low hanging fruit. The abstract for the article is telling:

Love is a hot topic in the world of progressive spirituality, but you haven’t heard anyone discuss it like the Guru and the Pandit. Distinguishing between love’s personal, cultural, and cosmic dimensions, they explore how this primordial force gives rise to every new emergence in the evolutionary process.

Wilber has spelled out what he means by speaking of love’s primordial force. This can be put differently without error, and on offer then is the context, a context many times more interesting than Wilber’s new age creationism.

Love works from the beginning to organize greater complexity and greater consciousness, ending up for our moment in “Ken Wilber.”

Or, ending up in the Centauric Integral, another term for “Ken Wilber.”

This developmental outcome is very ironic if you’re aware of Wilber’s antipathy toward baby boomer solipsism.

As a thinker and quasi-philosopher, Wilber’s development peaked fifteen years ago. At the time he had sketched out an interesting, even compelling, albeit rudimentary, transdisciplinary methodology. It required proponents to get down to the brass tacks of formulating a sharp critical culture.

In 2001, he told Jordan Gruber,

>E.com: In the meantime, though, the grants that people could write to I-I for, none of that’s happening?

KW: No, what’s happening right now is that one of the main things we wanted to do with the original one hundred million dollars was to get it to as many people as possible doing work in this field, the general field of integral studies and integral endeavors. That’s one of the reasons that I started Integral Institute, to act as a funding source for people doing this kind of work because the marketplace doesn’t reward truly integral studies as all. It rewards New Age approaches to it, it rewards the experiential workshop approach, as it were, it rewards the green meme and the purple meme and everything in between, but it does not reward truly integral studies.

So, the only way we’re going to get real work done in this field is, frankly, if we have funding agencies that will do it. And once the real work is done, and the research is done, and we start producing really solid texts, and presentations, and articles, and research, then we can create a market off of that. That’s going to be probably three years from now.

So, what we’ve done at Integral Institute … the biggest change in our orientation happened not because of the market, but quite independent of that, a change we would have made whether the market went up or down. And that is, we went from being a kind of community of some four hundred founding members to focusing more on producing what we call “integral product,” actual books, texts, academic material in each of the ten branches. So we’re working on books in, for example, What is Integral Politics? What is Integral Business? Integral Medicine? Integral Law? Because what we found was that there were no really strong statements about an integral approach to any of these fields.

E.com: Which is one of the reasons academia can ignore it completely.

KW: It can ignore it completely, and the other things we found is that most people with very very good intentions would simply take what they’re doing and call it integral when it really wasn’t. They were leaving out certain aspects of the human condition that ought not to be left out. We could demonstrate that to them, and they would say, “OK, I guess what I’m doing is not integral.”

So before we can build community, or create a market, or have a web presence, or have conferences, we have to produce specific texts in each of these ten branches, put together by one of our core teams of recognized scholars and researchers, saying “This is our best shot as an opening statement about what integral business is, integral politics, integral education, integral medicine, integral law, integral psychology, integral spirituality, and so on.”

Actually, what happened was this was inverted. Wilber created a community, a web presence, conferences, and, crucially, a market. Wilber’s Integral has been regressing ever since. Only The Integral Leadership Review, (itself mostly off the Wilberian reservation,) regularly publishes something like scholarship. Elsewhere there isn’t a body of Integral scholarship in those other nine branches, where the scholarship works to, as the Wilberian principle goes, keep the good and throw out the bad. So, without having enabled a keen critical culture to negotiate disciplinary fields using a robust and sophisticated Integral criteria, the Integral methodology was sunk.

Wilber’s creationism is interesting because its context is not Integral biology, but rather its context (and purpose) is the yoking of Wilber’s product lines to the biggest, most fantastic, view of that which can be the reward for buying Wilber’s spiritual technologies. This value-added idea is simple:

Love works from the beginning to organize greater complexity and greater consciousness, ending up for our moment in your ability to realize your cosmic integral love-vitalized high consciousness nature.

One has to buy a ticket, or otherwise pony up.

As for biology and science, Wilber has time and time again, in interviews with Larry Dossy, and other new age thought leaders, proposed that what is bad about science, methodological materialism, needs to be reformed and revolutionized, and, he’s implied, transformed into something altogether more ‘integral-mystical.’ (Magical!) Needless to say there aren’t any cogent Integral philosophers of science. Nor is there–as far as I know–any scholarly Integral biology, Integral physics, Integral anthropology, etc.. Also, the varieties of integral-like interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary scholarship found in some fields is not under review by Integral scholars.

No, there is only the facile spiritualizing of the Wilberian spiritual technology put up for sale. ‘Adeptitude’ has taken over; sadly. The strange, anti-intellectual case is that as much as this high-minded technology harps on getting right with The Shadow, science itself is smack dab in the middle of Wilber’s own shadow. I suspect love is stuck there too because the self-agrandizing, primordial move is too easy, compared, say, to the necessarily unsparing, perspective of Rilke.

To reconfigure Carl Jung’s famous insight,

…where power marketing predominates, love is lacking.

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Turned Upside Down

So an august public intellectual publishes what is supposed to be an important, even ground-shaking book, and, then, as it turns out for lack of a certain kind of proof-reader, their shattering project turns out to. rather, represent the lowest point of their career. It takes a really rotten idea to fuel a fall like this, or, as is the case with Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini’s What Darwin Got Wrong it takes a category error so glaring and obvious that their fail is tragic. When I first read a brief review back about a month ago, I simply went ’tisk’ to myself, and waited for the full take-down. At the same time, given the perverse pleasure I take in observing the creationist crowd latch onto anything favorable issued from the non-Discovery Institute subsidized wing of the academy, I relished seeing down-the-line Fodor and Piatelli-Palmarini’s mistake both slip on through all the way to the ID carnival, and, get fully blown up.

The take-down was supplied by Ned Black and Philip Kitcher, Misunderstanding Darwin, in Boston Review.

They write in their review, quoting the book,

Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini’s central thesis is that selection-for is intensional:

There can be coextensive but distinct phenotypic properties, one (but not the other) of which is conducive to fitness, but which natural selection cannot distinguish. In such cases, natural selection cannot, as it were, tell the arches from the spandrels. That being so, adaptationist theories of evolution are unable, as a matter of principle, to do what they purport to do: explain the distribution of phenotypic traits in a population as a function of its history of selection for fitness.

This brought a chuckle when I read the quote because it doesn’t make sense on its face.

Black and Kitcher explain, (and I’ve reversed the order.)

The essential point is that however they choose, causation and selection-for always travel together. If they take the first approach, both will be extensional; if they opt for the second, both will be intensional. Their argument turns on mixing criteria, taking one version in one place and a different one elsewhere.

When you are interested in causation, however, you are not concerned about guises. What is of concern is the identity of the causing property.

Ironically, the action now will move to watching the creationists embrace the error at the center of What Darwin Got Wrong. Doubly ironic, and sad, is Fodor fluttering all the way down to the low perch already occupied by the ID charlatans Behe and Dembski. Triply ironic is that not even an intelligent designer could attach to the mistake even were it logically viable and not a mistake.

The authors:

That said, however, one final detail bears notice: although contexts of causation and selection-for are extensional in the respect mentioned, contexts of explanation are notoriously intensional. Does that mean that there can’t be evolutionary explanations? Not at all. Nature determines which properties are causally efficacious, and hence what is selected for. Then we theorists can find out about this and give explanations based on what is selected for.

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What’s the Matter With Texas

Poll reveals Texans believe dinosaurs, humans coexisted

By Collin Eaton Daily Texan Staff Published: Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nearly a third of registered voters in Texas believe humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time, according to a statewide survey conducted by UT and The Texas Tribune.

Eight hundred registered voters across the state were polled between Feb. 1-7. The survey included questions about religious and political persuasions and beliefs in evolution.

A map of the poll results would be really telling. Austin, other metros, would be shown to be in the 20th century. But, the hinterlands? 

In the aftermath of the release of the poll, trumandogz wrote at freerepublic,

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”…

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. Genesis 1:26,31

Well, should I believe God’s Word or some uniformitarians who find a few fossils and assume they are from some strata millions of years ago?

Uniformitarian?! (trumandogz refers here to a fault line between young earth creationists and proto-geologists of the mid-18th century.) Texas! Be as ignorant as you wish as far as I’m concerned; The University of Texas excepted.

The current chair of the Texas Education Agency is Gail Lowe, a young earth creationist. She was appointed by Gov. Perry. Texas Tribune: Meet the Flintstones

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Affectual Politics

Glenn Beck: “I really like our Constitution, I’d like to see it enacted. Let’s fix it and get back to where our founding fathers are.”

Loony, yet, “crazy ass sh*t, but. But, more than a few people do agree with Beck. This is so even if such people couldn’t tell you anything intelligent about what the founding fathers actually thought; what they contested among themselves; and what were their various radically liberal principles.

Here’s a conjecture (of mine) about ideology and history. There is no extant or past example of a form of governance for which it could be demonstrated that it’s procedures of governance wholly and absolutely are realized solely as a matter of adherence to ideological principles. This is falsifiable if it can be shown that there exists or has existed a form of governance for which, in its application of its principles, every instance was/is entirely consistent with principle.

Let’s imagine there are people who are committed to some set of principles in the following, narrow way:

Our endeavor is to instantiate a set of principles. We believe this for two reasons. First, because this set of principles is the best of all possible set of principles. Second, that the principles are best, is verified by the fact that their truth is the most reasonable truth upon which any possible set of principles could be based.

News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & country. We seek to uphold the rights of citizens under the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, Republican principles / ideals, transparent & limited government, free markets, liberty & individual freedom. The ARRA News Service is an outreach of the Arkansas Republican Assembly. However, all content approval rests with the ARRA Editor. While numerous positions are reported, our beliefs & principles remain fixed. mission

Our political climate in the U.S. is very interesting in this year, unfolding now, after the election of Mr. Obama. Several developments have taken me by surprise. Obama surprised me by not partnering his financial system bailout policies with policies aimed to help right the economy of main street from the bottom up. It was also surprising that he didn’t articulate in concrete, instrumental, terms what kind of reform he would endorse, and insist upon, to end the depredations of the speculation-driven shadow economy.

Then, he moved to reform health care and laid it in the laps of his congressional majorities.

In light of these developments, I’m not in any way surprised that people have been stirred to reactionary and (called by me,) restorative activism. Nor was it surprising that they oriented their dissent positively around their patriotism, and, negatively, around their primal fear that the government is posed to strip from him or her so-called freedoms.

I’ll let Missy, writing on her blog at TCUNation, the Social Network for Conservatives, explain:

But the worst part? It allows the federal gov’t to be in charge of every aspect of your life. Every decision you make on a daily basis can be linked to “healthcare.” You drive an SUV? You’re contributing to pollution & that increases asthma…..you need to pay more! Since we have direct access to all of your accounts we know you own a 4-wheeler. That’s dangerous………you need to pay more! We see that you eat at McD’s twice a week. That’s bad for you……you need to pay more! YOU OWN A GUN??? THAT’S DANGEROUS! YOU NEED TO PAY ALOT MORE!!

These liberal fanatics will most DEFINITELY use the federal gov’ts financial stake in your everyday lifestyle choices to CONTROL THEM. Your decisions will no longer be your own, they will be decisions that will be for the “collective good.” And they will be MANDATED & CONTROLLED by the gov’t. And in order to “nudge” you into compliance with their ideology of how you should live your life, they will simply put a financial burden on you if you choose differently.

The paranoia surprised me. How does one square paranoia with a normative conservative ethos that holds its funding principles to be both first, and, last, and to be foundational, and also holds these principles are the only possible enlightened goal granted by reasoning through the problem of governance? Where does paranoia fit in? Is it possible that such foundational principles are, in fact, extremely fragile?

I don’t think so. President Obama has offered a mild liberalism. The bank bailout was extraordinary, yet a Republican would have had to have done the same thing. (Creative destruction is a notion one can practically hold only when the bombs aren’t falling on your own head.) All such bailouts tend to occupy uncertain spots in any ideology. A bailout is above all expedient and unhooked from conventional, ideological morality. They’re grotesque too.

So far Obama’s maneuvering hasn’t been much like anything we associate, historically, with truly radical presidents; especially those with very novel views of the Constitution—such as Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, Reagan, and Bush II. Nevertheless, the ideological principles survive, and this suggests underlying principles, aren’t at all fragile. This includes freedom given to be a result of, contingent upon, application of, ideological principles.

So why is paranoia evoked?

My tentative view is: affect is consequential in the current ‘social psychological framed’ ecology. Forged in the magical bake shop of projective identification, specific affect-laden estimations are on offer. So: a messianic leader is scapegoated so as to be the cause of knowing (i.e. unconsciously feeling,) that what is possessed, “freedom,” is to be stolen by the conspiratorial Other, (i.e. an alter.) This inflated threat is to be met and defeated by, ironically enough, the collective personal power of freedom-loving individualists. It’s worth noting that in some quarters, this evil goat is assumed to have super powers, or, alternately, is assumed to be the servant of hidden masters.

Putting the participation mystique aside–may Levi-Strauss rest in peace–what are the embedded chain-of-being regimes supposed in a clash between the red-in-blood red-tending-to-blue meme, and, the blue-tending-to-orange meme. These, given by Grave’s Spiral Dynamics, and, given by me in my deployment of a shadow dynamics* supposing the red shadow of blue conservatism’s ‘traditionalistic’ paternal chain of being comes to clash with the neoliberal paternal chain-of-being of Orange. Pre-modern, the red shadow of blue, collides here with the post-modern orientation toward technocratic problem-solving.

(Or, the atavistic self and identity, is felt to be threatened by the spectral, post-modern selves and identities. Perhaps, were one to dig into the narratives, one would find at their core a clash between the production of certainty and productions of uncertainty.)

Among many curious aspects of this clash, is the gravity given to an emotionalized, largely unconscious, sense of freedom. (I’ve written about this before.) What is it about a notional freedom that one can be dispossessed of, versus, other less vulnerable notions about freedom? Isn’t it interesting that the conservative concept of freedom-under-constraint, a necessary consequence of the pessimistic view of human nature, is subsumed in the shuffle through the emotionally-charged libertarian bake shop!

Then there is the conspiratorial tenor of magical narratives. Of course, it’s long-standing that the government is anthropomorphized to be a kind of beast, capable of devouring freedom. In this respect the conspiracy mongering of Ron Paul, or Michelle Bachman, comes to be of a piece with the extreme supernaturalized conspiracy advocates, David Ickes, Alex Jones, and Michael Tsarion. In turn, the current extremes are merely the contemporary waves of olden conspiracy theories. And, heck, why not share some air time with the truly deluded?

“they’ve been positioning…” they, theY, thEY, THEY!

*I have yet to go into this in detail. However, roughly, my proposal is that the vertical scale of Spiral Dynamic is configurable as a dynamic, oppositional scale. This is able to depict how higher and lower memes serve as descriptive categories, and schema, for shadow dynamics. For example, by such a dynamic scale, the shadow dynamics for the Blue Meme are discoverable as aspects of Red (below) and Orange (above). In my novel (or idiosyncratic,) view, the shadow dynamics then tend to fall (or regress,) toward the lower, more archaic order, while this unconscious propensity is galvanized by fear of the upward pull toward the newer, more complex order.

My notion here supposes that a concept of Blue freedom, will come to be defended at the lower, unconscious level of Red. Similarly, this defense is waged against a super-charged (by way of ‘social cognitized’ projection,) ‘controlling’ Orange. Grant this phenomenology, and the result is that fear of bureaucracy regresses to fear of collective control, control formulated to the scale conspiracy; “conspiracy” being the shadow concretization of Orange—in its worst form.

This is consistent—well, at least it is to me—with the mental procedures via which contested, soft conceptions–such as freedom–are reduced, reified and objectified. Then the reified conception’s opposite, in this case anti-freedom, is realized and nailed to the alter. Thus, a collective complex is constellated.

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The Sweat Lodge of World Transformation

Scary, but also worth a read: For Some Seeking Rebirth, Sweat Lodge Was End John Doughtery – New York Times: October 21, 2009

The story summarizes the horrific manslaughter that resulted from a sweat lodge conducted by new age con man James Arthur Ray in Sedona, October 8. Three died, eighteen were hospitalized, and, Ray has yet to be charged. Ray herded paying customers into a dangerous environment and then—literally—allowed three to perish. His state of consciousness can easily be characterized: oblivious. On the website for the deadly new age huckster Ray, he offers bona-fides.

Throughout his life, James Arthur Ray has studied and been exposed to a wide diversity of teachings and teachers – from his collegiate learning and the schools of the corporate world, to the ancient cultures of Peru, Egypt and the Amazon. Armed with this comprehensive and diverse background in behavioral sciences, coupled with his experience as a successful, entrepreneur, and an avid thirst for spiritual knowledge, James boasts the unique and powerful ability to blend the practical and mystical into a usable and easy-to-access formula for achieving true wealth across all aspects of life.

I’ll return to this shortly.

Speaking of hucksters, here’s some excerpts of a pitch received from Ken Wilber, October 15.

This is Ken Wilber, and I wanted to take a moment to write you and tell you of the first and only organization that is the exclusive outlet of my Integral work and all projects connected with it. The organization is called Integral Life, co-founded by myself and my CEO, Robb Smith.

I’m truly excited by this organization and its development, because for the first time in history, although there are hundreds of projects and organizations and websites inspired by my work, this is the first one that has my personal seal of approval. The projects, partner organizations, academic journals and books, blogs and forums all have a quality checked by me to personally guarantee that my Integral model is being used accurately. That’s the problem with these hundreds of other applications of my work. As much as I truly appreciate the inspired use of my model by them, there are often misinterpretations of its leading ideas, resulting in less than truly Integral results.

What is an ‘integral result?’

Here’s what it looks like, symbolically speaking:


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Do Particles Bounce?

Deepak Chopra, the new age maven, regularly contributes to the Huffington Post. Today, he starts out with this:


This year, the world celebrated Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday. But now that all the backslapping is nearing an end, it may be time to reflect on where things really stand. When Darwin finished writing “Origin of Species” in the fall of 1859 — exactly 150 years ago — the theory of evolution became part of the Newtonian world picture. However, since that time, major puzzles of mainstream science have forced a re-evaluation of the nature of the universe that goes far beyond anything Darwin could have imagined.

I’m trying to fathom Chopra writing his opening paragraph and not feeling as if he is about to fling into the Huffington winds something both patronizing to Darwin, and, something idiotic. Alas, to the tune of cash registers ringing, Chopra takes his insights seriously. No, this spiritual advisor to Oprah is onto to something with his colleague, Robert Lanza: the spiritualization of solipsism! Via quantum mechanics!!!

Science obviously investigates what it is able to investigate. There’s no move to re-evaluate the nature of the universe, when nature is posed as a lumpen “nature” in the way that Chopra means, and has meant in the past. Still, Chopra is playing a deceptive word game here too. He actually believes science is quite incapable when it comes to the re-evaluation he’s on about.


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Lunar Times

The shadow is not the whole of the unconscious personality. It represents unknown or little-known attributes and qualities of the ego-aspects that mostly belong to the personal sphere and that could just as well be con- scious. In some aspects, the shadow can also consist of collective factors that stem from a source outside the individual’s personal life. When an individual makes an attempt to see his shadow, he becomes aware of (and often ashamed of) those qualities and impulses he denies in himself but can plainly see in other people-such things as egotism, mental laziness, and sloppiness; unreal fantasies, schemes, and plots; carelessness and cowardice; inordinate love of money and possessions-in short, all the little sins about which he might previously have told himself: “That doesn’t matter; nobody will notice it, and in any case other people do it too.”

If you feel an overwhelming rage coming up in you when a friend reproaches you about a fault, you can be fair1y sure that at this point you will find a part of your shadow, of which you are unconscious. It is, of course, natural to become annoyed when others who are “no better” criticize you because of shadow faults.

Joseph Henderson, Jungian Analyst

There may come a point when the lay observer lurches back from being enthralled by the amazing conspiracy freak-a-thon. He asks himself: ‘What is so compelling–to you–about the garden variety magical participation you’re chewing up (your) valuable time voyeuristically looking upon?”

The main thing for me is that a robust socio-psycho-historical snapshot has to have enough depth of field in it to capture the background where the shadow of regressive dynamics comes into resolution. As phenomenologist, this interests me. So, looking into such a picture, an embarrassment of super loopy psycho-dynamic riches is revealed. Ummm, wordplay intended.

Did you know Orly Taitz is outside-looking in on the main birther action these days?

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Family Intervention

Obama Risks a Domestic Military ‘Intervention’

(update: Newsmax removed the column from which the excerpts below are taken. see mediamatters.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 10:35 AM By: John L. Perry

There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the “Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic.

America isn’t the Third World.  If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn’t mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it. So, view the following through military eyes:

Officers swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Unlike enlisted personnel, they do not swear to “obey the orders of the president of the United States.”

Top military officers can see the Constitution they are sworn to defend being trampled as American institutions and enterprises are nationalized.
They can see that Americans are increasingly alarmed that this nation, under President Barack Obama, may not even be recognizable as America by the 2012 election, in which he will surely seek continuation in office.

They can see that the economy — ravaged by deficits, taxes, unemployment, and impending inflation — is financially reliant on foreign lender governments.

So, if you are one of those observant military professionals, what do you do?

Wait until Israel is forced to launch air strikes on Iran’s nuclear-bomb plants, and the Middle East explodes, destabilizing or subjugating the Free World?

Will the day come when patriotic general and flag officers sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a “family intervention,” with some form of limited, shared responsibility?

Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars. Having bonded with his twin teleprompters, the president would be detailed for ceremonial speech-making.

Military intervention is what Obama’s exponentially accelerating agenda for “fundamental change” toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama’s radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible.

In the 2008 election, that was the wistful, self-indulgent, indifferent reliance on abnegation of personal responsibility that has sunk the nation into this morass.

Let’s run with this a bit even though Perry likely would not fair well in a diagnostic interview.

Emboldened parts in the excerpt jump out the most for me.

That it has never happened doesn’t mean it wont. Okay–fair enough sophistry–how could it happen? To heck with why it should or should not happen. Let’s roll with what a military leadership would have to accomplish to realize military control of the country.

First, in planning out what is in constitutional and military terms, treason, this leadership would have to figure out how to insure the compliance of each and every land, sea, air, command throughout the entire military. Presumably, short of 100% “buy-in,” the treasonous top rankers  could obtain a critical mass of buy-in enough so that severe disincentives could be threatened for any resisting military personnel. The problem with this is how it could all churn into something uncivil.

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The Greatest Conspiracy That Never Was

This video compilation, courtesy of TPM Media and Blip.tv, takes the cake. It’s fascinating, but not for its argument. Several things jump out. One, is the lawyer’s name, Gary Kreep two, is the golden hair of the moderator; three, is the pitch for $30.

More seriously, there is the crazed wish for an inversion of our country’s legal process. The idea is that the lack of evidence of law breaking nevertheless makes it incumbent on the President to prove his innocence of a crime–for which there is zero evidence of its having been committed.

Obviously, our legal system doesn’t work this way.

Still, the birther accusation is fit to the basic structure of a conspiracy theory. Advocates of the theory are sure they possess the truth. They’re also sure that most of those not in possession of it are complicit by way of apathy, ignorance, or willful participation. And, both the lack of evidence and falsification of (their) purported evidence are negated because those aspects are part of the conspiracy. These are the stock-in-trade elements of any conspiracy theory.

It’s interesting to ponder whether or not there has ever come about in history a conspiracy uncovered by a vocal minority in possession of truth, and truths about all those who deny the material facts of the conspiracy. Waging a good fight, this conspiratorial truth is eventually demonstrated by verification of the offered evidence, falsification of the counter evidence, falsification of the falsification. The dim evidence evolves to be dispositive and evolves to certify the original claim beyond any reasonable doubt, based in a preponderance of evidence.

Finally, there came to be the uncovering of the willfully complicit. Concerning the last feature, this means discovery of the organization and mechanics behind the willful complicity. This massive industrial complicity is implied in the birther theory, is paramount to the truthers, comes to a magical and esoteric turn in the long-standing ‘illuminatiarian’ global banking conspiracy theories.

Hmmm. No. There is no such historical example. Perhaps, the greatest conspiracies throughout world history nobody knows about, and they have not aroused any suspicion whatsoever.

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A Programming Problem

In today’s New York Times, in the magazine, Paul Krugman asks, How Did Economists Get It So Wrong? In the article he recounts how it happened that the world’s finest experts in macroeconomics were unable to adapt their models and, in doing so, develop better models able to predict the housing market implosion.

In my earlier post, the Second Order position vis a vis belief was explored. There are many ways to describe a Second Order belief. One way says: such a belief is a knee jerk reaction. Another option says: such a belief automatically follows from a specific predisposition. Enter an internalized model of any kind into the fundamentals of a predisposition, then where there is Second Order belief derived from the model, it follows inevitably from the model.

In other words, the model, in effect, programs the belief. Idealized programs very often generate idealized, absolute beliefs about the model.


But the self-described New Keynesian economists weren’t immune to the charms of rational individuals and perfect markets. They tried to keep their deviations from neoclassical orthodoxy as limited as possible.
But there was something else going on: a general belief that bubbles just don’t happen. What’s striking, when you reread Greenspan’s assurances, is that they weren’t based on evidence — they were based on the a priori assertion that there simply can’t be a bubble in housing.
In short, the belief in efficient financial markets blinded many if not most economists to the emergence of the biggest financial bubble in history.

What would you say about a model purported to model macroeconomic actuality, where total belief in the model itself causes the model user to be blinded to particular actualities? What would you say about the nature of total belief in any blinded model. Apparently, best and brightest economic experts can come to be irrationally exhuberant about their own models.

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By way of the blog of Florida Citizens for Science comes a capture from the notes of a Taylor County Florida school board meeting.

Upon motion by Danny Lundy, seconded by Darrell Whiddon the Board adopted/approved the: 1.) Resolution regarding the new Sunshine State Standards for Science.

The adopted resolution is as follows:
Whereas, the Florida Department of Education has drafted and is now proposing new Sunshine State Standards for Science, the Taylor County School Board opposes the implementation of the new standards as currently presented.
Whereas, the new Sunshine State Standards for Science no longer present evolution as theory but as “the fundamental concept underlying all of biology and is supported in multiple forms of scientific evidence,” we are requesting that the State Board of Education direct the Florida Department of Education to revise/edit the new Sunshine State Standards for Science so that evolution is presented as one of several theories as to how the universe was formed.

Lundy and Whiddon, despite being ignorant, get props in my book for at least considering the begged-question that is primary to the whole project of teaching religion in biology classes. If God created the entire universe, it surely is worthwhile to wonder how. If the entirety of the scientific project stands on the pinhead of a creation tale, might as well begin to sort out how that could be the case. Except…not in science class.

The young earth creation tale is a candidate.

(excerpt from Billions of People in Thousands of Years?)

Let us start in the beginning with one male and one female. Now let us assume that they marry and have children and that their children marry and have children and so on. And let us assume that the population doubles every 150 years. Therefore, after 150 years there will be four people, after another 150 years there will be eight people, after another 150 years there will be sixteen people, and so on. It should be noted that this growth rate is actually very conservative. In reality, even with disease, famines, and natural disasters, the world population currently doubles every 40 years or so.

Evolutionists are always telling us that humans have been around for hundreds of thousands of years. If we did assume that humans have been around for 50,000 years and if we were to use the calculations above, there would have been 332 doublings, and the world’s population would be a staggering figure—a one followed by 100 zeros; that is

This figure is truly unimaginable, for it is billons of times greater than the number of atoms that are in the entire universe! Such a calculation makes nonsense of the claim that humans have been on earth for tens of thousands of years.Simple, conservative arithmetic reveals clear mathematical logic for a young age of the earth. From two people, created around 6,000 years ago, and then the eight people, preserved on the Ark about 4,500 years ago, the world’s population could have grown to the extent we now see it—over 6.5 billion.

With such a population clearly possible (and probable) in just a few thousand years, we could actually ask the question, “If humans were around millions of years ago, why is the population so small?” This is a question that evolution supporters must answer.

Dr. Monty White is now a young-earth creationist; however, as a young Christian, he believed in theistic evolution. Since 2000, he has been the CEO of Answers in Genesis—UK.

Hmmm, the doubling factor starting at two persons could be based upon:

Adam & Eve

two children, boy and a girl, by the time Adam & Eve are 30

Total 4; world population has doubled in 30 years; doubling factor=30 years.

Creation Control we have a problem. Now the two offspring need to procreate. But with whom? With mom, dad, each other?

I believe we’ll need to do some research!

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Bill Maher embarrassed Mike Huckabee and himself during a brief inquiry into the Republican candidate’s position on evolution on a segment on Maher’s show Sunday.

Maher’s sloppy question, “Don’t you believe we’re descended from monkeys?” is obviously the wrong formulation because homo sapiens sapiens is not descended from monkeys as far as anybody knows. (The lines of descent for monkeys and man remain divergent as they descend toward different proto-types.) Better question: “Do you believe evolution accounts for the development of man from his non-human ancestors?”

Still, Huckabee’s casual attempt to dodge the question made for some rollicking self-exposure. He basically stated that ‘we really don’t know!’ But, to some extent, if not a large extent, much is known about the 3-4 million year development of homo sapiens sapiens from primitive homo-typical bi-pedal forms. Not only this, but Huckabee admitted implicitly that an eighth grader should know the sketch of development, yet this junior high knowledge was beyond him!

Should a President embrace or reject well-known scientific knowledge? Alas, in the majoritarian ignorance of the American people it is amazing the litmus test would favor ignorance. Still, there were lots of more pointed questions Huckabee which could have been (and should be) pitched to his, alas, tiny mind.

Such as:

Do you think alternatives to scientific understanding of human origins should be taught in public schools? Why? What is the principal challenge posed to current understanding this alternative proposes?

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Usually a politically oriented posting is posted to Diggeracity, where I rant and rave to blow off steam. However, I offer a clipping of Dana Perrino, Deputy White House Press Secretary, addressing questions and follow-ups about this week’s odd assertion from the office of the Vice President that, in effect, the VP is in a constituionally favored position to opt out of oversight.

I’ve set in bold several parts of Perrino’s unintentionally humorous assaults on logic and language. Her attempt to explain is transcendently convoluted. (She’s not the brightest bulb on the block and this combines with what she is compelled–by her handlers–to force feed to the WH press.) Also, I’ve created several footnotes to clarify several points about the hidden agenda.

June 26; moved to DIGGERACITY <> Bold, Bald, Barking

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