Barrel Strength

Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Barrel Strength - Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

What if plate tectonics added to your electricity bill?

Plate tectonics was the first and only “theory of everything” in earth sciences. By explaining that mountains rise and fall because vast plates crash into each other with exquisite slowness, and that continents are but assemblages of “plates” drifting across the magma below them, the theory gave geologists the first comprehensive theory of what the earth has been doing for the last ten billion years.

Two great books chronicle the evolution of our thinking on geology, and particularly, plate tectonics:

Supercontinent, by Ted Nield.

Annals of the Former World, by John McPhee

The time scales of geology require an expansion of one’s idea of time. We live and die like fruitflies compared even to a ten-thousand year perspective, which is about one-tenth the right length for considering an ice age, and one thousandth for considering geological change. If you want a measuring tape for geology, use something where one million years is represented by an inch, and your tape is 30 feet long. Five and a quarter feet would get you back to about the end of the dinosaurs (63 million years ago).

Both these books should be read by anyone considering the nature of time and the earth.

Yet despite the triumph of plate tectonics as the theory of everything geological, there are disbelievers and skeptics within the body of respectable geology. Not all accept the unified narrative of oceans splitting apart and gradually being zipped up as plates rip apart and collide again somewhere else.

John McPhee writes about a geologist called Anita Harris in  chapter two of “Annals of the Former World”, who does not believe that the Appalachian range, once as high as the Himalayas, was created by a continental landmass pressing against the eastern edge of North America.

 

Anita Harris geologist

Her skepticism about the adequacy of plate tectonics to explain the origin of the Appalachians is well-expressed here. Essentially she says, plate tectonics provides a story to cover up the absence of observation.

… Anita said, “I believe in plate tectonics — just not in the way they’re perpetrating it for places like the East Coast [of the US]. It shouldn’t be used as the immediate answer to every problem. That’s what I object to. Now that their suture zones have disappeared, people are going to microplates.”

If you have been interested so far, you will be smelling where this trail is going. No one has denounced Anita Harris or her equally skeptical geologist husband. There are no labels of “deniers” being tossed about, no declarations that those who dispute the triumph of plate tectonic theory are “unscientific”, “stupid”, and ought to be banned from publication. No cabals of geologists have tried to have them excluded from the American Geophysical Society.

She was not driven from her job at the US Geological Survey, and has received its Meritorious Service Award. So what gives?

The ability of a geologist like Anita Harris to hold her job while disputing the adequacy of plate tectonics shows that geology is still a science, which “climate science” is not.

Nothing in plate tectonics is causing or will cause my Ontario electricity bill to rise by $150 a month. Nothing in plate tectonics is causing coal-fired electricity plants to be shut down, and for large windmills to disfigure the landscape, and for government subsidy-seekers to engage in useless wind and solar ventures at taxpayer expense.

I suppose that if plate tectonics were the theoretical basis of a drive to reduce human CO2 production, Anita Harris would have been hounded out of the profession, for publicly expressing insufficient zeal

No one who contemplates the huge amount of government subsidies that have funded atmospheric sciences can doubt that many careers have profited from global warming alarmism, and many more thwarted and turned away from true science by the obvious political agendas their computer models are expected to be serving.

The theory – and it is  still a theory – of anthropogenic global warming is driving billions of research dollars into atmospheric and cryogenic sciences, but the implicit bargain with the scientists is corrupt. There is huge pressure to come up with correct results, to go with the flow, and it is accompanied among the less scientifically-minded with a tendency to denounce the nay-sayers, the skeptics, the wait-a-minute! people who do not express sufficiently zealous approval of “man-bad, Gaia good”.

Wind-mills are not an atonement; they are just a particularly stupid way to generate electricity.

Right now I am waiting for a climate scientist to say that man-caused global warming would be disproved if any or all of the following things [fill in the blanks] happened or failed to happen.

 

In the spirit of Karl Popper, is man-caused global warming a falsifiable proposition? Because if it cannot be falsified, then it is a religion, and something other than science.

 

A reminder to “root cause” apologists

From the Protein Wisdom blog on the wages of appeasement, as true now as it was in 2005:

Overheard inside a Najaf bunker

First militant:  “You know, Qasim, I’m really beginning to like this Cindy Sheehan infidel.  Unusual to find an uncovered cur so willing to sing the heavenly music of Truth.”*

Second militant: “I agree, brother.  When we conquer the Great Satan and take his land by force of fiery sword, we shall have to remember to slit her throat last.”*

First militant:  “Exactly.  Allah be praised.”

Second militant: “Allah be praised.

We will not start getting this right until we can say what Islam is

I said it before. I will say it again. If a man dressed up as a Nazi and hurled abuse at Jews and spoke of the Jewish plot to control the world, people would connect the dots between the doctrines espoused and the man’s belief in Hitler’s vision. But when a Muslim, recent convert or not,  kills people for Islam, and says he is doing so for Islam, they will NOT connect the dots between the doctrines of Islam and the behaviour they observe. He is not killing people because he was deprived as a kid. He is killing people because his religion authorizes, condones, encourages, and indeed commands him to. What religion is that? The one he espouses: Islam.

Calling him a terrorist, is beside the point. He is an orthodox Muslim. He is taking the Koran seriously. The Koran authorizes and condones this sort of behaviour. Is this not obvious? Then when are we going to start to deal with Islam as if it were a totalitarian and murderous ideology?

 

The Bell Curve, 20 Years later

Twenty years ago Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray published The Bell Curve. It had the effect of a large stone thrown into the still pond of “settled science”.
a) there is such a thing as g, general intelligence
b) it is largely heritable
b) IQ tests measure g quite well
c) IQ test outcomes predict a great many social results, including propensities to success or pathologies with better accuracy than any other measure, including years of education, family income, and social status;
d) social factors interact with genetic endowments, and
e) IQ results differ by race.

The Left has been in paroxysms of rage and denial ever since.

Charles Murray was interviewed about the Bell Curve recently in the policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute. Here is a snippet. Go the article for more.

American political and social life today is pretty much one great big “Q.E.D.” for the two main theses of “The Bell Curve.” Those theses were, first, that changes in the economy over the course of the 20th century had made brains much more valuable in the job market; second, that from the 1950s onward, colleges had become much more efficient in finding cognitive talent wherever it was and shipping that talent off to the best colleges. We then documented all the ways in which cognitive ability is associated with important outcomes in life — everything from employment to crime to family structure to parenting styles. Put those all together, we said, and we’re looking at some serious problems down the road. Let me give you a passage to quote directly from the close of the book:

Predicting the course of society is chancy, but certain tendencies seem strong enough to worry about:

An increasingly isolated cognitive elite.
A merging of the cognitive elite with the affluent.
A deteriorating quality of life for people at the bottom end of the cognitive distribution.

Unchecked, these trends will lead the U.S. toward something resembling a caste society, with the underclass mired ever more firmly at the bottom and the cognitive elite ever more firmly anchored at the top, restructuring the rules of society so that it becomes harder and harder for them to lose. (p. 509)

Remind you of anything you’ve noticed about the US recently?

 

Why an adult conversation about Islam is nearly impossible

Dear Jonathan Kay,

You wrote that an adult conversation about Islam is nearly impossible. You have my sympathy. You do a good job of trying to allow that conversation in your paper, but the reasons for the difficulty derive from the fact that a full discussion of Islam requires a discussion of what the religion prescribes that its followers should do. In the name of God they are compelled, if they wish to be orthodox, to wage war, enslave, distrust, and display contempt for all beings not Muslims, and express disgust for women. So it is difficult to have an adult conversation when you cannot say what Islamic doctrine is, in current liberal society.

An adult conversation about Islam is difficult because most people are finding a wide gap between what they perceive, and what they are allowed to say.

If I ran around in a black uniform with a Nazi armband shouting abuse at Jews, most observers would conclude there was an obvious link between my anti-Jewishness and my being a Nazi. (We fought and won a world war to say so).

But if I do the same as a Muslim, in the current environment, cursing the Jews and calling for their extermination as my holy duty, many people would feel cowed into not saying there was a link. The recent case of Ben Affleck going postal on television shows the depth and strength of the denial.

The same forces of anti-racism that we have been fostering since WW2 prevent accurate conclusions regarding the relationship of Islam and jihadist violence from being drawn, and if drawn, from being freely discussed.

For a Muslim, jihad is a sacrament. If Muslims behave reasonably and peacefully, as they do (thank God), it is not because they are orthodox but because they have fallen away from orthodoxy. Islam is a direct revelation from God, and it is immutable.  So as the discussion of Islam’s doctrines is shoved underground, the public view of Islam gets darker and darker, while the chattering classes re-assure each other of their baseless confidence that Islam is not what they fear it is, a bananarama totalitarian ideology, whose idea of God is of an immeasurably distant, irrational force, where both theology and science is impossible.

Why impossible, you ask?

Because for there to be theology, God must be rationally knowable in some important senses, and for there to be science, there must be a belief that the universe is a rationally discoverable emanation of God’s laws.

Neither of these conditions is met in Islam.

In Islam the whole universe is sustained instant to instant by God’s will alone. Causal relationships between match and flame need not be looked into, because the match is only the occasion for the flame, not the cause. Looking into the operations of God’s will is haram. I recommend The Closing of the Muslim Mind for further information on the baneful effects of Islam’s greatest philosopher, Al-Ghazali.

The only Nobelist in physics who was Islamic came from a heretical sect, Abdus Salam. who was an Ahmadi, which is officially denounced in Pakistan.

All of these facts are available on reading about the issue. However, few do so, and those who do are silenced by the general prohibition on discussing Islam as if its doctrines were real and intended. Religion has been tamed in the post-Christian west. In Islam, it is everything, and its teachings are horrifying to those who contemplate them, and more so to those who suffer persecution and death because of its adherents.

We are not responsible for Islam’s doctrines. We are, however, responsible for the poor state of thought and speech in the West today. We have only ourselves (or the forces of political Leftism) to blame for this gap between what is being observed, and what can be discussed.

Those tolerant pagans

Few are more bigoted in European circles than the fashionably anti-Christian. How safe! How trendy! Gaia approves!. The Post reports the case of a Canadian Christian being  rudely treated by a group of self-styled Norwegian pagans.  Her internship with Norwegian wilderness outfitters who lead expeditions in the British Columbia.

“The Norse background of most of the guys at the management level means that we are not a Christian organization, and most of us see Christianity as having destroyed our culture, tradition, and way of life,” Amaruk’s hiring manager, Olaf Amundsen, wrote last month to Vancouver-area job applicant Bethany Paquette, the first in a series of bizarre, angry emails sent from company officials in Norway.

According to a complaint she has since filed with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal (BCHRT), Ms. Paquette’s Christian education cost her an “assistant guide internship” position at Amaruk.

She received a snarky letter back from the head of the outfitting group, who explained that, since they “embraced diversity”, they could not hire someone who had been to Trinity Western University. The rest of the management of the Norwegian outfitters piled on with further emails of derision and contempt.

A lack of irony is a marked feature of bigotry. And the more unconscious the bigotry, the greater the self-righteousness.

The human resources director of the Norwegian firm, Amaruk, sent this beauty:

 

And an hour later, Ms. Paquette received yet another snide note, this one from Amaruk’s human resources boss. “You are free to your own opinions and to live your life as you see fit, but you have no right to force your opinions onto others and control their innate behaviour,” it read.

Uh, dudes, she merely sent an application for an unpaid position. Who is forcing opinions on others here? The macho fags of Amaruk or the Canadian applicant for an internship?

Ebola: The case for panic

ebola

Mathew Continetti of National Review has a great article on the subject.

 

Over the last few years the divergence between what the government promises and what it delivers, between what it says is happening or will happen and what actually is happening and does happen, between what it determines to be important and what the public wishes to be important — this gap has become abysmal, unavoidable, inescapable. We hear of “lone-wolf” terrorism, of “workplace violence,” that if you like your plan you can keep your plan. We are told that Benghazi was a spontaneous demonstration, that al-Qaeda is on the run, that the border is as secure as it has ever been, that Assad must go, that I didn’t draw a red line, the world drew a red line, that the IRS targeting of tea-party groups involved not a smidgen of corruption, that the Islamic State is not Islamic. We see the government spend billions on websites that do not function, and the VA consign patients to death by waiting list and then cover it up. We are assured that Putin won’t invade; that the Islamic State is the jayvee team of terrorism; that Bowe Bergdahl served with honor and distinction; that there is a ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia.

The gap between what we perceive to happen in the world, and the soothing nonsense issued by the Obama administration, is alarming. I cannot summon a feeling of confidence in the Obama administration because I fear that, behind closed doors, officials are unable to discuss the real world in which it needs to be discussed: as a collection of warring tribes, divided by religions and cultures, with many at vastly different stages of cultural development.

Any real discussion of the world involves talking about it -according to the mind of a leftist-  in racist, sexist, stereotypical, and other politically incorrect ways. Since they cannot do this, they cannot discuss, even among themselves, how it is working. Hence they are bound always to see matters within the perspective of American liberals (leftist-progressives). Hence nothing makes sense to them.

There may be more parsimonious explanations of the Obama regime’s ineptitude. Treason comes as one, but I have not reached that conclusion yet. I would prefer to think they cannot makes sense of it, and still hold their views. So they would rather hold their views.

After all, to hold up visas from West Africa would be frightfully judgmental, would it not?

As Continetti explains, the imperatives of the liberal caste must prevail over reality

Simple: because doing so (holding up visas from West Africa) would violate the sacred principles by which our bourgeois liberal elite operate. To deny an individual entry to the United States over fears of contamination would offend our elite’s sense of humanitarian cosmopolitanism. For them, “singling out” nations or cultures from which threats to the public health or safety of the United States originate is illegitimate. It “stigmatizes” those nations or cultures, it “shames” them, it makes them feel unequal. It’s judgmental. It suggests that America prefers her already existing citizens to others.

Such pieties endanger us. They are the reason we were slow to contain the influx of Central American refugees, the reason we do not follow-up on illegal immigrants who fail to show up for hearings, the reason we remain unable to strip jihadists of U.S. citizenship, the reason that a year after two Chechen refugees bombed the Boston Marathon, America is preparing to expand resettlement of Syrian refugees. The imperatives of the caste, the desire to make actual whatever is rattling around Tom Friedman’s brain at a given moment, take precedence over reality.

The World Health Organization has a fact sheet on ebola.

Those inscrutable Swedes

The usual head scratching is taking place among the bien-pensants as to why the Swedish anti-immigrant party took more seats in the recent election. Look at the figures.

Jimmie Akesson, the leader of the Sweden Democrats, has a simple explanation for the lack of jobs. “If you allow more asylum seekers into the country than the number of jobs you can create, the result is obvious,” he said in a recent speech. Sweden expects more than 90,000 asylum seekers this year, a huge number in a county of only 10 million people. According to the United Nations, Sweden received the most asylum applications per person in the world from 2009 through 2013. The share of Swedes born abroad was 16 percent last year compared with 11 percent in 2000. Akesson calls for cutting back on asylum acceptances, requiring immigrants to pass language tests, and trimming immigrants’ welfare benefits.

“The Sweden Democrats is the only political party that wants to stop immigration,” Anders Sannerstedt, a political scientist at Lund University, told the French news agency AFP. “All the other political parties have a united stance, a generous immigration policy.”

1. Why are the Nordic nations so keen on erasing their national existence?

2. Why do their policy elites believe that unlimited immigration of Muslims, Africans and every sort of refugee claimant should take place?

3. Why, when one out six people in Sweden is not Swedish by culture or assimilation, do they believe their culture will survive,  at current rates of immigration?

The usual suspects, such as the Economist, see the election as shift to the Left after a decade of conservative retrenchment. Bloomberg reports on potential parliamentary deadlock.

The only real winner is the party that is resisting the tide of immigration, the Sweden democrats, with which all other parties have pledged not to cooperate.

Screen-Shot-2014-09-14-at-23.38.31-620x407

The results for the Sweden Democrats are shown in the yellow bar.

Fraser Nelson, in the Spectator, captured the issue.

As for the other parties – they concentrated too much on denouncing the Sweden Democrats and not enough on addressing the concerns of their target voters. As one TV commentator put it, it’s all very well bemoaning racism but if a voter’s school suddenly takes in 100 kids who don’t speak Swedish then they’re going to have concerns. Who’s listening? In a lot of cases, the answer was the Sweden Democrats.

The usual charges of racism attend any attempt by any organized political movement to stop the drowning of local populations in Muslims, whatever the political stripe of the resisting party: moderate liberal (UKIP-Nigel Farage), hard line (Front National -Marine Le Pen), fascist (Hungary-Jobbik ). It matters not what the economic policies are of the resisting parties; their are branded as racist for resisting the policies chosen by their national elites. That is their common denominator. In a sane world UKIP and Marine Le Pen’s political group would be perceived as distinctly as Liberals and Tories are in Canada, but in the prevailing elite view that drowning Europeans in Islamic rabble is good for you, all resistance is “racist” and the same. On the contrary, resistance is channeled through significant  variations in local political culture.

The fact that any resistance to immigration on this scale exists at all is what makes European elites so outraged.

A report from 2013 from the BBC on rioting in Sweden shows that the usual suspects are Muslims burning cars. The issue is described as “inequality”, and strident denials of the Islamic origin of the rioting assure one that the issue is exactly what it is denied to be: mass Islamic immigration

The BBC report has all the hallmarks of denial:

There was a widespread assertion that the violence was not motivated by Islamist ideology.

Despite the assertion, some local people said the police had been heavy-handed and there is clearly much anger at the shooting dead by police of an elderly man wielding a knife 10 days ago.

Many said there was a wider context of a growing gap between rich and poor in Sweden.

On OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) figures, Sweden has seen the biggest increase in inequality of any developed country over the past 25 years.

Immigrants and their descendants tend to congregate in areas such as Husby, the neighbourhood west of Stockholm where the violence started on Sunday.

About 80% of the 11,000 residents are either first- or second-generation immigrants.

Accordingly, this week’s troubles have raised the volume of the debate in Sweden on immigration. About 15% of the population was born outside the country, the highest proportion in any of the Nordic countries.

The influx has come mostly from war-torn countries like Iraq, Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Syria. In 2012, Sweden accepted 44,000 asylum seekers, up by nearly 50% from a year earlier.

Ah! The total mystery of it all! The inexplicable relationship between massive influx of low-skilled Islamic immigrants, poor assimilation, higher incidences of rape, and cars burning in the night.

This is how the Guardian whitewashes the Islamic element

The Guardian’s coverage of the Rotherham sex-slavery gangs strives to avoid mentioning the Islamic factor.

The word “race” is used instead of “religion”, and the word “Asian” is used instead of “Muslim”.

 

What made South Yorkshire perhaps more politically charged is that in many cases the victims were underage white girls and the perpetrators were Asian men.

There were other abuse cases – in Oxford and Telford – with the same mix of ethnicities.

The far right had a field day with slogans which cast Muslim men as dangerous paedophiles. The tabloids leapt on remarks made in 2012 by the judge in a widely reported Rochdale case, Gerald Clifton, who in sentencing nine Asian men for 77 years for abusing and raping up to 47 girls said: “I believe one of the factors which led to that is that they [the victims] were not of your community or religion.”

Andrew Norfolk, the Times’s dogged and brilliant reporter who broke the story in Rochdale, has always said the “overwhelming majority of child abusers in this country are white men acting on their own”.

However, his own analysis was that race was important to discuss because council staff feared “treading into a cultural minefield”.

The report accepts that the concern of being labelled a racist did mean people pulled back from probing too deeply.

However, there must be an acceptance that perpetrators were criminals rather than Muslims. (on what grounds? -Dalwhinnie) Surely the crime of a young girl being raped should have led officials to act, whatever the colour of the skin of her assailant?

Apparently, not if it concerns Muslims acting as Muslims do.

Second point, Islam is not about skin colour! It is a religion (or totalitarian political ideology, as I believe it to be). It is not a race, a skin colour, or an ethnicity. Even in the midst of the revelations, the reluctance of the political Left to confront Islam  constitutes my principal reason why I think the Left is in bad faith.

 

Reducing male population by 90-98% is the key to solving all our problems

In an interview in Vice Magazine, the Femitheist proposes that the male population be reduced to being only 2 to 10% of its current numbers.

The interview is worth reading because it expresses several underlying assumptions of the political Left.

  • The drive to equality. The particular theory is that true equality can only be achieved when the proportions of males to females is changed, presumably because otherwise males are too powerful.
  • the use of abortion: because who can object to abortion?
  • the arrogance of perverted science: because all the breeding issues have been checked and she has been convinced that nature’s sex ratios are artifacts, arbitrary rules, rather than facts of life, evolved over millions or billions of years.
  • the naivety of who shall rule: “Any criteria decided upon as the quintessential grade [who gets to survive] would have to be extensively defined and revised as time goes on, or as science advances and the human species and its needs evolve.” In other words, who decides upon the decision criteria and the decision making classes are assumed away.
  • the controlling impulse: “we must remove men from the community and place them in their own specific sections of society, akin to subsidised or state-funded reservations, so they can be redefined. We can make not only men safer, but women as well. By subsidising said reservations through the state we can provide men with activities, healthcare, entertainment, shelter, protection, and everything that one could ever require in life. This will remove conventional inequality from society.” Sort of like getting rid of “kulaks” or “Jews”, only in this case they are being “redefined”.
  • The utopian impulse: “Some would argue it would be a dystopian world because it wouldn’t be free in the present conventional sense. However that is misguided. It will be utopian because it will be a world almost without conflict where people cooperate and are treated properly within a well-engineered and long-forged system. If everything is great for almost everyone the point is null. Survival and socio-organic wellbeing are the most important elements in life. Diversity of principles and standards is only necessary in a world of multiple nations, cultures, societies, and religions due to fear of oppression.” Sounds like a Bolshevik in the 1920s. We have seen this movie before. The male sex is the new capitalist class; if we physically control the male sex in luxury breeding camps, then we can eliminate conflict. Nothing I have seen of life persuades me that women do not compete; frequently they just use men to get the killing done (cf: Niall’s Saga).
  • the materialist assumption: “The purpose of living is merely to persist and perpetuate our species. If someone is willing to give you all you require to survive and live comfortably, simply because you exist, then you have already achieved all that truly matters.” The communists assumed that too. “Man does not live for bread alone but by spirit and high adventure”.
  • the abolition of the family and its replacement by the state: “Children must be provided a proper education, a sex-separated education that will focus on developing real-world skills and capacities for concept building. They will be taught the reality of true equality, production, labour, and will be provided a better understanding of sexuality, science, culture and ethnicity. If children are made wards of the state with assigned caretakers, not only will it be easier to undo the constraints of bigotry and the other archaic beliefs that are passed down from parents to their children, but children can be used to monitor the older generations in regard to the propagation of bigoted and antediluvian values. It is about creating a unified perception.” In other words, a hive mind. North Korea will seem like a model for the future.
  • Genetic engineering: “Eventually, we will be able to engineer people to a greater preference for their own sex.” It hardly matters toward what end the engineering is done, it is the totalitarian impulse run wild.

At least Plato dealt more frankly with who should constitute the Guardians.

I highly recommend The Open Society and Its Enemies, by Karl Popper, as an antidote to this sort of twaddle. You might also try “The God that Failed”, another set of memoirs of ex-Communists. Listening to to the adolescent tones of the Femitheist, it is as if no one had learned a thing from the gigantic failures of 20th century totalitarianism.