Eat fat, grow old

eat steak

Today’s news from the dietary fat front, in the Telegraph.

Thirty years of official health advice urging people to adopt low-fat diets and to lower their cholesterol is having “disastrous health consequences,” a leading obesity charity warned yesterday.

“Eating fat does not make you fat,” argues a new report by the National Obesity Forum (NOF) and the Public Health Collaboration, as they demanded a major overhaul of official dietary guidelines.

The report says the low-fat and low-cholesterol message, which has been official policy in the UK since 1983, was based on “flawed science” and had resulted in an increased consumption of junk food and carbohydrates.

The document also accuses major public health bodies of colluding with the food industry, said the misplaced focus meant Britain was failing to address an obesity crisis which is costing the NHS £6 billion a year.

Or, putting it in more contemporary language, the report says that low-carbon high renewable energy message, which has been official policy in the UK since 1995, was based on “flawed science” and had resulted in increased poverty and lower social welfare.

We shall have to wait another forty years for that one, though. Maybe twenty five. But it will come as surely as the moon goes through phases, and the geese fly north in spring.

Or you can emulate my cousin Reggie, below.

zombie

 

Islam depicted

This was a briefing given in the Czech parliament by a lawyer called Klara Samkova. When you read it, you will become increasingly impressed that this speech was given at all, and on top of it given as a factual briefing in a national parliament. Think of this as you read. Those places with a closer memory of Stalin and Communism know better than we do in what totalitarian ideology consists. Lifted straight from the Czech physicist Lubos Motl’s always interesting blog, The Reference Frame.

[emphases added by Dalwhinnie]

Dear guests, [May 18th, 2016]

Thank you for the invitation and the opportunity to give a speech. Today’s conference is supposed to help to answer the question whether we should be afraid of Islam. My answer to the question is straightforward: we should definitely not be afraid of Islam. We should deal with it in the same way in which the European civilization has dealt with all totalitarian and inhuman regimes which it had to face during more than 2,000 years of its history. In particular, we should fight with Islam, beat it, and prevent its proliferation once and for all, just like in the case of previous monstrous ideologies, declare the very existence of Islam as a criminal act that contradicts the human naturalness, freedom, and especially the human dignity.

Because that’s exactly what Islam is, namely a system contradicting the human naturalness, freedom, and dignity.

It’s the same as Nazism, fascism, and communism used to be. It has these characteristics despite its hiding behind the mask of a religion. In reality, it is primarily a criminal (both in the sense of committing a crime and controlled by criminals) ideology and an unreformable system of governance.

Islam is hiding behind the mask of religion for two reasons. One of them are the historical circumstances surrounding the birth of Islam when only a religion was an allowed form of an ideological presentation. Even in ancient Greece it was forbidden to build philosophical constructs that were independent of the state religion, a fact that Socrates could tell us a lot about. It was even less possible to create a paradigm composed of irreligious ideas in the seventh century AD, on the very boundary of the civilized world of that time.

The second reason why Islam likes to hide behind the religious mask is its permanent, deliberate, and purposeful abuse of the Euro-American legal system and values that the civilizations built upon the Judeo-Christian foundations have converged to. There’s nothing better or more efficient than to abuse the value system of one’s enemy, especially when I don’t share that system. And that’s exactly how Islam behaves. It wants to be protected according to our tradition which it exploits in this way, while it is not willing to behave reciprocally. It relies on our traditions, it claims that the traditions are important, while behind the scenes, it is laughing at us and our system of values.

Let us first see why it’s totally adequate to place Islam on par with the totalitarian regimes. Even though it calls itself a religion, it is primarily a totalitarian system of governance in which God only plays a substitutive role because the main content of Islam is nothing else than the arrangement of the state matters. As opposed to Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, or Shintoism, the heart of Islam is the law, namely the Islamic Sharia law. The law is an intrinsic and inseparable part of the Islamic ideology. It constitutes the core of the content of Islam while the rules claimed to be religious or ethical are just secondary and marginal components of the ideology. From the viewpoint of Islam, the concept of religion as a private, intimate matter of an individual is absolutely unacceptable. However, that’s exactly the principle on which today’s Christianity and the civilizations derived from it rely. It’s the private relationship of an individual towards God which is more or less mediated by one of the churches. Even those members of our civilization realm who consider themselves atheists, i.e. those who claim not to believe in God, automatically extract their attitudes to life from the Christian traditions while these traditions take the form of either folklore or cultural automatisms which makes them share the generally accepted spirit of Europe and both Americas. Again, it’s necessary to remind ourselves that this view is not only unacceptable for Islam but it is also denounced and explicitly named as a crime. Islam rejects the individual conception of faith in God and in a totalitarian way, it forbids all doubts about itself. If someone thinks that we don’t have the right to judge what is totalitarianism and hegemony and that we don’t have the right to classify Islam in this way, let me say that in a country that has had foreign rulers for 300 years and spent 48 years out of just recent 78 years in totalitarian regimes, our feelers have been trained for pattern recognition rather well and made us capable of recognizing totalitarianism immediately. We have both the right and the ability to identify it and judge it.

Islam doesn’t share the Enlightenment’s idea of the social progress associated with the future. According to Islam, the good times have already taken place – in the era of Prophet Mohammed. The best things that could have been done have already been done, the best thing that could have been written has already been written, namely the Quran. In its essence, Islam is a religion based on the book of Ecclesiastes which said a whole millennium before Prophet Mohammed:

What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.

Judaism, Christianity, and the civilization that arose from them have surpassed this unjustifiable skepticism, this contempt of people for themselves. At the same moment, Islam remained a stillborn infant of gnosis, deformed into a monstrously mutated desire to blend with the Universe again, into a retarded obsessively psychopathic paranoiac vision about the exceptional nature of one’s own path towards the reunification of the essence of one’s devotee with God. This faulty conception also gives rise to the idea penetrating all of Islam about the identification of matter with evil and the contempt for our civilization which is considered materialistic, and therefore intrinsically evil and clashing with God. It’s a genuine tragedy of the Muslims themselves that they have eternally closed their journey to God by pursuing this dead end.

Depression, perishing, the absence of faith in the human and his irreplaceable value, skepticism towards the dignity of every human being regardless of his characteristics such as religion, social status, sex, and nationality, that’s what characterizes Islam. Islam has rejected philosophy as we know it, as a possibility of a critical and rational view into the nature of reality. This attitude is also preventing Muslims from thinking about the questions on human freedom, dignity, the role of a person and the state, and – paradoxically – also the questions about God which became, within the Euro-American civilization context, an inherent component of the schemes of thought pursued by top scientists – astrophysicists, mathematicians, biologists, who are touching the very foundations of the Universe and therefore the essence of God by their research. However, Muslims are forever forbidden to gain any direct contact with God which they lost at the moment of Prophet Mohammed’s death. How immensely desperate their life must be when it’s essentially just the waiting for death.

Thanks to this total spacetime paralysis of Islam, the nations suffering from the Muslim ideology are the most devastated ones. Exactly these nations are belittled by the pitiful quasi-religious conditions and their potential which was given to them as to all human beings can’t be turned into accomplishments although they consciously or subconsciously long for them. Just like the Russians were the most miserable victims of communism because the total communism was born in Russia, just like the first victims of the German Nazism were Germans, the people most devastated by Islam are the Arabs and other nations forced to live under the hegemony of Islam. I use this venue to express my deepest compassion with these peoples and especially with the Muslim women who suffer more than others.

For Muslims, the road to doom is the only one because they are denied even the essence of the human naturalness, namely evolution. Islam doesn’t respect development, progress, and humanity. In its despair, it is attempting to take the rest of the mankind with it because from the Islamic viewpoint, the rest of the world is futile, useless, and unclean.

Islam and its Sharia law is incompatible with the principles of the European law, especially with the rights enumerated in the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights (and Freedoms). How is it possible that our law experts don’t see this conflict? How is possible that they remain silent? How is it possible that they approve all requests of the Muslims who refer to Article 9 of the aforementioned Convention which guarantees the freedom of thinking, conscience, and religious faith? And how is it possible that the Muslims in our world are demanding to be protected according to this legal document while our legal system doesn’t seem to provide the same protection to the opinions, ideas, and religious faiths that disagree with Islam? Are our lawyers only capable of counting up to fourteen when the Article 14 of the Convention says the usage of the rights and freedoms described by the Convention must be guaranteed without discrimination based on any criteria? Let me assure everyone that we can count at least to seventeen because Article 17 of the Charter says:

Nothing in this Convention may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the Convention.

This article was introduced to the Convention by Winston Churchill personally who did it for a special reason, namely as a protection against the totalitarian regimes. He was obviously thinking of the relevant ones of that time, the communist regimes. I have Islam in mind which is equally totalitarian and threatening as the regimes that Winston Churchill was fighting against and which he defeated. The protection by Article 17 correctly applies against any ideology and the fact that the European countries constrained by the Convention decided not to enforce the article so far doesn’t mean that they don’t have the will to do so. These countries are just too kind and benevolent, too aware of the price they have paid while learning about the highest value of the humanity, and too patient. The assumption of the Muslim countries and leaders who have decided to terrorize Europeans by their understanding of the world that the cause of Europe’s inactivity is its weakness, is entirely flawed. Europe has been converging to its opinion and to its world view for the price of tens of millions of human casualties, it has paid by suffering that no Muslim can even imagine.

Nowadays, Europe keeps on asking the Muslims: “Do you want to live with us?” Because not our fear of Islam but this is the paramount, crucial question that should be answered and only the Muslim nations may give the answer.

So far it seems that the Muslims don’t want to peacefully share the planet with the (non-Muslim) rest of the world. Their terrorist acts, loudly declared and committed in the name of Islam, are suggesting that they aren’t interested in the brotherhood between the nations and the people. They’re shouting words about the superiority of Islam and their legal system and they assert that we have the duty to subordinate ourselves to them. We aren’t finding any evidence that the Muslims don’t feel to be superior relatively to us – non-Muslims or women or gays or anyone else who doesn’t strictly adhere to the Quran.

For some time, Europe will keep on asking this question about the peaceful co-existence. At some moment, the question will undergo a metamorphosis and it will sound very differently. It will no longer be DO YOU WANT TO LIVE WITH US but DO YOU WANT TO LIVE? Do you, the Muslims, want to survive? Because if the devotees of Islam won’t want to live in peace, Europe and America will do what it has done twice when they were threatened by ideologies attacking the essence of the humanity: it will wage a war and crush the enemy. Just like in the wars of the past, this conflict will incorporate some grandiose scientific, technical, or technological progress, this time undoubtedly associated with obtaining the total energy independence. I don’t have an idea in what way this will take place: maybe the tokamak (nuclear fusion generator) will be completed. Maybe we will extract energy from the zero-point quantum fluctuations, maybe we will bring a chunk of dark matter here to serve us [LOL]. At any rate, the main consequence of the violent acts committed by the Muslims and the war that will materialize because of them will be a complete doom for the Islamic ideology. The Islam will be believed by several degenerated individuals crawling in the desert from which unnecessary and unwanted oil will uselessly flow to neverending swamps, a group of individuals who will remember, using their squawking voices, the ancient lights in the streets of Damascus and the beauties of Mecca which will have been turned into nothing more than a hole to hell. This group of nameless individuals will be reclassified as junk by the rest of the humankind, junk that has deviated from the journey towards God and that can never find it again because they have been conquered by disdain for the entity that God found so lovable, namely the humans. To be sure: all humans and the whole planet.

These days, we are artificially fed with ideas that it might be Europe that should be scared and afraid of its future, culture, philosophy, and world view. No, it is exactly the other way around. By their malevolent acts, the Muslims made the first steps towards their own absolute doom.

I am using this gathering and call on all Muslims and all countries that claim that Islam is their religion: Stop it. You are on a wrong track. You are on a track that leads away from God. You are on the road of the murderers. Your death won’t get you to Barbelo, to the land of the non-creator God, but to the land of nothingness and nameless uselessness. Nothing will be left out of you and the name of your alleged religion will only be pronounced when people spit out saliva that was mixed with the dust from the road of the successful, happy, and beloved by God people.

Because this is what is written in The Apocalypse of John, Chapter 12, named “The Conquered Enemy”:

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the

sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.

The blue coat of the woman waves in every flag of the European Union. The crown from twelve stars is found on every European Union flag, too.

Muslims, ask the question who is the serpent or the dragon who will be trampled down and defeated by the woman. And most importantly, don’t forget to give the right answer to the aforementioned question: Do you want to live? The right answer is – In that case, you will have to learn how to live with us and (in our countries) according to us.

House of Cards: Hillary and Bill

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal this morning that seriously considered the prospects of Bill  as Vice President for Hillary, or was it the other way around? The article is confusingly misdated 2007 but concerns this year’s (2016) Presidential election.

A commentator poured cold water on the idea with legal facts:

The Vice President must be eligible for the Presidency per the 12th Amendment.  Bill Clinton is no longer eligible to be President so he cannot be VP either.  Also, the President and VP cannot be from the same state.

Those who have been watching Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in House of Cards will be aware that this  season’s plot twist is the joint candidacy of their characters Frank and Claire Underwood  for election as President and Vice-President of the United States.

Trial balloon?

It does not matter. Trump is going to beat Hillary like a baby seal.

Racist Trees and other items of leftist dementia

Let’s face it: it is open season on whites, whiteness, and everything built by whites, which means in essence that the forces against civilization have the upper hand. To be clear, if you magically replaced every white person in North America with Japanese people, the Left would be railing against Japanese-ness. The hatred of order is the point, not the racial or cultural targets of it. Leftism is a revolt against standards first and foremost. Those who uphold standards of whatever nature are the Left’s targets.

Today’s lunacy is this article in Sultan Knish

Mickey Fearn, the National Park Service Deputy Director for Communications and Community Assistance, made headlines when he claimed that black people don’t visit national parks because they associate them with slaves being lynched by their masters.

Yellowstone, the first national park, was created in 1872 in Wyoming. Slavery was over by then and no one had ever been lynching slaves around Old Faithful anyway. But false claims die very hard.

Now Alcee Hastings, an impeached judge, and a coalition of minority groups is demanding increased “inclusiveness” at national parks. High on their list is the claim that, “African-Americans have felt unwelcome and even fearful in federal parklands during our nation’s history because of the horrors of lynching.” What do national parks have to do with lynchings? Many national parks have trees. People were hung from trees. It’s guilt by arboreal association.

Sultan Knish concludes:

The Obama era has seen the “Sharptoning” of America as the same ugly shakedown scams that were being practiced in New York or Chicago were suddenly national policy. This is the Sharptoning of the National Park Service. It’s happening in every agency and arm of government. We just don’t notice it…

Forests and lakes are not about where we want to go collectively. They are where we once were. They represent spaces of imagination and reflection that have nothing in common with Finney’s compulsion. They don’t have to represent Finney’s demands for “demographic and ethnic diversity”. They allow us a freedom from the confining urban spaces of leftist identity politics that deny our humanity. They show us that life is pure and simple in ways that defy the convoluted nonsense of political correctness.

It’s not hard to see why the left, despite its hollow environmental posturing, hates them.

I am waiting for Trump to correct this nonsense, to offer a spirited defence of normal thought, and to remove – as US politics allows Presidents to do so – every leftwing nutjob appointed to advisory boards to the US government.

The election in the United States will be about race. We have seen the face of black racial privilege and we don’t like it. They will call the supporters of Trump racists, and there is a sense -however limited – in which the accusation is true. The supporters of Trump were people who did not use to feel that way, but they have judged the Obama regime by its fruits (Trayvon Martin, Ferguson Missouri- cop killings and celebrations of black mayhem, affirmative action for overprivileged blacks, starting at the President) and have decided to repudiate it.

Trump will beat Hillary like a baby seal.

 

Vegans threaten death to apostate restaurant owners

formervegans

 

Entitlement and hypocrisy come together this week in the story Time reported:

The husband-and-wife owners of famous vegan restaurant group Cafe Gratitude are under fire after a group of animal rights activists discovered last week that the couple was raising, slaughtering, and eating animals at their Northern California farm, named Be Love.

Possibly this is all a part of the fine American art of using adversity to promote one’s products.

Certainly it illustrates something C.S.Lewis adverted to a long time ago: the tendency of some to be cruel to those close to them in order to demonstrate their concern for those in the outer circles of the human range of compassion. C.S.Lewis said, as Christian has ever maintained, that the job of man is to love one’s neighbour. From the habits of loving one’s neighbour we may eventually come to broaden the circle of our compassion to others further away from us. There is a particular kind of human who thinks it is right to do harm to those close by in the name of anything or anyone that shows their higher moral concern: starving Africans, the future, the proletariat, the master race, non-human life, Gaia, the Holy Catholic Church. There is no lack of categories of concern different from the slob who shares your house, the actual neighbour, the people of (for instance) Fort McMurray, who have just been burned out of town.

Threatening to kill the owners of your favourite vegan restaurant because they have gone apostate by eating meat: how many sins and vanities does that expose?

The owners of the restaurant speak for themselves:

“We started to observe nature and what we saw is that nature doesn’t exist without animals,” Matthew Engelhart told the Hollywood Reporter last week after animal rights activists dug up and circulated blog entries from spring 2015 from the farm’s website, including photos of a freezer full of pastured beef, jars of gravy and Matthew enjoying a hamburger, with posts on their “transition” into meat products after nearly 40 years of vegetarianism.

Another study that came out this past week was a survey of people according to dietary habits.

A new University of Graz study concludes that vegetarians are more often ill and have a lower quality of living than meat-eaters. According to the German press release, vegetarians “have cancer and heart attacks more often”. The release also says that they show more psychological disorders than meat eaters. Consequently, the report writes, they are a greater burden on the health care system.

The scientists examined a total of 1320 persons who were divided up into 4 groups of 330 persons each. All groups were comparable with respect to gender, age, and socio-economic status. The study also accounted for smoking and physical activity. Also the BMI was within the normal range for all four groups (22.9 – 24.9). The only thing that really was different among the four groups was the diet. The four groups were: 1) vegetarians, 2) meat-eaters with lots of fruit and veggies, 3) little meat-eaters and 4) big meat-eaters. More than three quarters of the participants were women (76.4%).

Vegetarians plagued by significantly more chronic illnesses

The press release states that the results contradict the common cliché that meat-free diets are healthier. Vegetarians have twice as many allergies as big meat-eaters do (30.6% to 16.7%) and they showed 166% higher cancer rates (4.8% to 1.8%). Moreover the scientists found that vegans had a 150% higher rate of heart attacks (1.5% to 0.6%). In total the scientists looked at 18 different chronic illnesses. Compared to the big meat-eaters, vegetarians were hit harder in 14 of the 18 illnesses (78%) which included asthma, diabetes, migraines and osteoporosis [1, p.4, Table 3].

The Medical University of Graz confirms the findings of the University of Hildesheim: More frequent psychological disorders among vegetarians, the press release states.

The roots of anxiety and depression?

In the analysis, the University of Graz found that vegetarians were also twice as likely to suffer for anxiety or depressions than big meat eaters (9.4% to 4.5%). That result was confirmed by the University of Hildesheim, which found that vegetarians suffered significantly more from depressions, anxiety, psychosomatic complaints and eating disorders [2]. The U of Graz scientists also found that vegetarians are impacted more by ilnessses and visit the doctor more frequently [1, p. 3, Table 2].

Big meat-eaters were also found to have a “significantly better quality of life in all categories”, the study found. The four categories examined were: physical and psychological health, social relationships and environment-related life quality [1, p. 5, Table 4].

 

The study did not delve into the question whether vegetarians were more inclined to depression, neurosis and political leftism than meat eaters. It has been my observation that they tend to be. Vegetarians are part of that crowd of western Eloi whose over-developed super egos punish them for the pleasures of existence.

As to the apostate former vegan restaurant owners, their own moral posturing may have brought down the wrath of the disappointed vegans upon them. Try to read this without gagging:

The Engelharts spawned an entire industry with a carefully marketed message of peace, love and sharing, which includes a sister vegan Mexican restaurant, Gracias Madre, in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The couple have written several books, including Sacred Commerce: Business as a Path of Awakening and Kindred Spirit: Fulfilling Love’s Promise. Their personal website is named Eternal Presence and references the board game they created in 2004, called The Abounding River Board Game, which was on every table in their San Francisco flagship; and which they said would train players to embrace “an unfamiliar view of Being Abundant” and develop a “spiritual foundation” for looking at money.

It is hard to tell who in this story is more to blame.

Abu Sayyaf and the “experts”: crime not jihad

Mark SInger

Mark Singer from his Linked In page

Mark Singer, director of business intelligence for the Manila office of Pacific Strategies and Assessments Inc., which closely tracks Abu Sayyaf, thinks that jihad has nothing to do with their kidnappings, extortions and beheadings. I wonder why.

This is the narrative we are all supposed to accept:

“It is a manifestation of their willingness to do this (kidnap, threaten and behead prisoners)  to leverage their criminal activities. They are first and foremost a kidnap group,” the security and risk analyst said

“The black flags and the rhetoric reinforce their claims, but they are not ideologically driven. They are driven totally by criminal intent and kidnap for ransom.”

Militant Video via The Associated Press

 

“Driven totally by criminal intent and kidnap for ransom”.  Rubbish. Bandits with religious or ideological justification are different from mere bandits. What makes Muslim terrorism different from mere banditry is that Islam authorizes by them religion to smite the infidel, to waylay them, to behead them. These are not bandits who rob banks “because that’s where the money is.”

Yes, they are criminals. But the particular form of criminality is a cultural expression of Islam. Where there are Muslims, so there will be jihad. This is a statistical correlation, not a one for one correspondence. I would go further and assert that it is an ineluctable consequence of being inspired by the prophet Mohammed to do as he commanded his disciples to do.

The contact webpage of Mark Singer’s employers is http://www.psagroup.com/contact/ You can use that contact point to communicate with Pacific Strategies and Assesments, who, judged by their backgrounds,look like serious and responsible people.

Mr. Singer is entitled to his opinions but you may wish to express your concerns, as politely as possible, that the quality of their advice is measured by the quality of their spokesmen.

What science fiction got wrong

We were drinking at Irene’s the other night, guys of a certain age. We were contemplating what science fiction got wrong, what assumptions science fiction writers made in the 1960s that did prove true.

If you were young in the sixties, you were exposed to Robert Heinlein, J.G. Ballard, A.E.Van Vogt, and many others. One man who appears more and more significant as time passes is Philip K. Dick, 1928-1982, whose stories have been the basis of numerous science fiction movies, most notably Blade Runner, but also including Johnny Mnemomic, Total Recall, Minority Report and others. I have just finished reading a handsome hardback compendium of four of Dick’s most significant short stories.

 

PhilipDick

Philip Kindred Dick, 1928-1982

It is curious and interesting that Dick was no better at predicting the technical attributes of what was, in 1965,  the near future of 2015, than any of the more conventional science fiction writers. Despite imagining psychoactive drugs engendering collective participatory social hallucinations, and the commercial battles for world control that would come from such hallucinogenic drugs, he was as unable as Heinlein to imagine how different the world would be socially from 1965 to 2016. Moreover, the common theme of the science fiction writers was that transportation would be the area of human endeavour   subject to the greatest changes, not communications and computers.

Thus, for all of them, it seems, it was possible to conceive of colonizing Mars by 2015, but that women would still work as secretaries answering telephones. There would still be switchboards, and paper messages left by one’s secretary.

It is quite bizarre, how completely unforeseen was the effect of the computer in the science fiction of the era 1950-1975.

Today, contrary to the order foreseen by the imaginations of 1965, the communications revolution is invading transportation. The combination of massive computer power, and ubiquitous wireless networks, will keep driverless cars on the road and not colliding. What will Google do with all the terabytes of information that the automated car will collect every block, every mile of driving? It will process the information to improve the algorithms governing the car. Cars increasingly are computers with engines and wheels attached.

You have probably heard the story of the poor computer who (should I say “which”?) was tricked by humans into talking and responding like a devoted Nazi? It is going to take as much learning as a human has to go through to prevent  other humans from conning the interface bot into a completely false appreciation of reality. How do humans treat the rube from the country? the sucker born every minute? We con them. We cannot help it.  We engender lack of trust and a resulting degree of skepticism in younger minds as a cruel duty.

If every science fiction writer I know assumed that transportation was going to be revolutionized first, and computers and their social impacts were almost completely unforeseen, then how good are we at envisioning the future, thirty to forty years out?

Which is a way of saying that Nicholas Taleb was on to something vitally important in The Black Swan. There is the known, the (known) unknown, and the unknowable, and of all of them, the unknowable is an immensity beyond …knowing.

We will rely massively on driverless cars long before we have colonies on Mars. That is predictable now. Thus it is safe to say that, projecting forty years out, society will be different in ways we cannot now imagine. Whatever that change is, it will have nothing to do with Islam, the role of women, energy policy, gay rights, human fertility and reproduction, or anthropogenic global warming. It will be unimaginable.

 

 

Indomitable: Cherokee Guns

Admiral Yamamoto, he who designed the Pearl harbor attack, had been a Japanese naval attaché in Washington before World War 2. He travelled extensively in the United States and learned English. He warned his army colleagues that America was unconquerable. He said that, from coast to coast every American home was filled with weapons and that  the people were adept at using them. The Japanese Army paid him no attention. See where it got them. See below.

 

cherokee guns

All Trump, all the time,,,part(10)

Last Christmas I bet Captain Walrus $100 that Trump was going to be President, and that he would beat Hillary “like a baby seal”, to steal a phrase from a southern Democrat political operative. Captain Walrus gleefully reminds me of the bet and looks forward to taking a crisp $100 from me, as I look forward to eating steak and wine on his money. People tend to become convinced of their views.

I have been watching the National Post in this regard with some wry amusement. Kelly McParland has been raving about Trump as a buffoon bigot anti-Christ. I used to concern myself with his views until I realized that he had abandoned being a journalist – a recorder of facts and analyzer of reality – and was acting under the influence of Trump Derangement Syndrome, as I am sure many other liberals and high minded people are.

 

Trump

Thus Michael Den Tandt’s column this morning was of considerable interest, for its evidence that the ideological ship of the National Post was beginning to make a slow course correction.

The day Donald J. Trump is sworn in as president of the United States, the received wisdom holds, pigs will fly and snowballs freeze in hell. But consider this: The received wisdom about The Donald has been wrong, dead wrong, at every previous turn. It may be wrong now.

If I were appraising  these two men as military intelligence officers, I would have had McParland sent to the infantry for complete failure, and Den Tandt dressed down for failing to appreciate the correlation of forces soon enough.

  • Trump is sweeping US primaries, pulling in two million more votes than Romney did in the previous series.
  • Positions that he took six months ago, such as paying to keep Syrian refugees in Turkey, were ridiculed at the time and constitute Angela Merkel’s policy today.
  • Democrats are worried about Hillary both as a candidate and for her vulnerability to indictment on the keeping of official emails on a private server. (Only in the US, you say).

It is, to my mind, absolutely obvious that Trump will be the next US President. As Mudcat Saunders, the aforementioned southern Democrat operative, says:

“Working class whites in the South have already departed the Democratic Party for cultural reasons. Well the working class whites in the North are now deserting the Democrats because of economic reasons,” Mudcat told TheDC. He added, “this is the new age of economic populism, man. This is about survival for a lot of people.”

He added, “Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have very similar messages; they’re just dressed in different clothes. I think you’re going to see a lot of Sanders people jump to Trump.”

To be a conservative is to admit the possibility of being wrong. I could be very wrong. But I am unapologetic for my thinking that America goes through great mood swings, and they are going through one now. This somewhat effete detached academic they have had for a President for the past seven years has been given his run, and now they want a new coach for their team, and they will have him. And it will not be her. As Trump said of Hillary, “If Hillary were a man, she’d only win 5% of the vote”.
I would refer you to the blog of Scott Adams, author of Dilbert, for consistently the best and most insightful appreciation of why Trump is winning. He will beat Hillary “like a baby seal”.
I am reminded of Brian Mulroney’s observation of Justin Trudeau before Trudeau became Prime Minister: “what’s not to like?”. Mulroney was acting as an analyst, not a partisan, when he said that. In a like manner, mildly anti-Trump people, those not yet persuaded, need to open their minds to ponder the possibility of his inevitability. Trump is not just getting the votes of the yokels, but of the college educated as well.
Do not be fooled by liberal condescension. Trump will be taking the oath of office of President of the United States of America and most people in liberal circles will still be stunned and disbelieving.

Lifting the gross national product with a set of tongs

The expression I use for a category error is “like trying to lift the gross national product with a set of tongs”. I could just as well say “he is trying to surf on a crime wave.” You cannot apprehend a statistical abstraction, such as the GDP, or a crime wave, with a physical object, a tool you hold in the hand, or a front-end loader.

Thus I was entertained by a recent interview with cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman in Quanta Magazine.

The virtue of Donald Hoffman is that he takes the conclusions of quantum physics seriously, and he addresses some issues underlying the attacks on neuroscience launched by Raymond Tallis and others. Says the article on Hoffman:

“while neuroscientists struggle to understand how there can be such a thing as a first-person reality, quantum physicists have to grapple with the mystery of how there can be anything but a first-person reality”

As you read the interview, it is apparent that Hoffman is using the worldview of quantum physics – the interaction of consciousness with matter – to put questions to an evolutionary account of human consciousness.

The argument of Hoffman tends to say that because we humans only evolve to greater fitness, we do not necessarily evolve to apprehend truth. We evolve mental apprehensions of danger, for example, called “snakes” or “traps” or “poison mushrooms”. We learn to avoid them.

Hoffman goes much further, however, by asserting that “physics tells us there are no public physical objects.” I do not believe quantum physics necessarily implies this conclusion. The many commentators on this article in Quanta magazine also appear to agree that Hoffman goes too far in that regard.

However, Hoffman takes proper aim at the neuroscientific community for failing to advance their ideas of physics from Newton to Heisenberg, from Einstein to John Wheeler.

“Not only are they ignoring the progress in fundamental physics, they are often explicit about it. They’ll say openly that quantum physics is not relevant to the aspects of brain function that are causally involved in consciousness. They are certain that it’s got to be classical properties of neural activity, which exist independent of any observer…. And then [neuroscientists] are mystified as to why they don’t make progress. They don’t avail themselves of the incredible insights and breakthroughs that physics has made. Those insights are out there for us to use, and yet my field says, “We’ll stick with Newton, thank you. We’ll stay 300 years behind in our physics.”

The many commentators on this interview provide some important perspectives, corrections and suggested readings on issues such as materialism and the role of consciousness in nature. Those who seem well grounded in philosophy accuse Hoffman of self-refuting solipsism, and more, and worse. It is an education to read them.

 

At first glance, it seems that Hoffman may have modernized his physics but has fallen too far into his own metaphors of consciousness as a user-illusion.By this I mean that he sees the picture that consciousness brings us is like the screen on a computer: it provides the representation of where “files” may be found in the computer, but it is not a circuit diagram and provides no insights as to how the computer works behind the screen.

I would offer the writing of Raymond Tallis as a much deeper and philosophically literate examiner of these issues of consciousness, evolution, and the adequacy of Darwin to get us to where we are.

Raymond Tallis is a British physician and intellectual who holds that neuroscience is in the grips of what he calls Darwinitis and neuromania. By this he means that, by adopting a strictly materialist position on the evolution and operation of of consciousness, we have failed to begin to understand issues such as intentionality, culture, meaning, and what it is like to be human.

All true. I recommend Tallis highly. His take on Darwin is insightful. He considers that evolutionary explanations fail to explain any form of consciousness. Here is a sampling, taken from Aping Mankind (2014) at page 183:

Much of the strength of the case for a Darwinian account of the human person and human society lies, as we saw, in the way language is used to anthropomorphize animal behaviour and animalize human behaviour. The case for the neuralization of consciousness and, in particular, human consciousness has also depended on the misuse of language, but with Neuromania the lexical trickery goes much deeper. While Darwinitis requires  its believers only to impute human characteristics to animals (and vice versa), Neuromania demands of  its adepts that they should ascribe human characteristics to physical processes taking place in the brain.

I cite Dawkins’ “selfish genes” meme, as a prime example of the ascription of human characteristics to physical processes. For a telling attack on Dawkins I recommend David Stove’s “Darwinian Fairytales“, (2006) essay 7, Genetic Calvinism, or Demons and Dawkins, which is scathing as well as funny.

And for something completely different,that is, an interpretation which sees the neuromania and Darwinitis as manifestation of a deep seated attack by the hyper-rationalist and over-developed part of the brain on our intuitive and connecting aspects of our minds, you might like Iain McGilchrist’s “The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.”