Friday, October 02, 2009

They Think, Therefore We Are Screwed

Here's a mediocrity from a couple years back that I think might have some unzapped potential that I will now attempt to draw out. You might say that it was a premature birth. Let's see if we can get it out of the stinkubator.... Or at least have fun trying.

When you think about it, the only thing in the cosmos that can go really wrong -- really, really wrong -- on a massive scale is human thinking. So stop it already!

What I mean is that everything else in the universe works perfectly harmoniously, without a hitch, from the solar system to the ecosystem to the human body. I suppose you could argue that birth defects and genetic illnesses represent "going wrong" as well, but these are obviously exceptions that prove the rule.

No, there is no question that human thought introduced something potentially satanic into the cosmos. When we say that people need to be "saved," it is almost always from their own thoughts, is it not? They need to be saved from other people's thoughts too, but that's in the political or economic sense.

In fact, if you want to know why the vast majority of political revolutions fail, it is because they only liberate one from the tyranny of other people's thoughts, only to re-enslave them in their own. The left is now "free" of George Bush. But are they now free? Ho! Now that Americans are seeing the true craziness that engulfs the left, they are abandoning Obama in droves. I don't think too many people want to be forced to live inside Nancy Pelosi's or Harry Reid's thoughts.

Now, Genesis, in its wisdom, obviously recognized this problem at the outset, in that the very origin of man contains the seeds of his fall. No sooner were "our eyes opened" than there was trouble in paradise. Before that, human beings were living in harmony with creation, just like everything else.

A psychoanalytic-developmental reading of Genesis would suggest that there was something in the evolution of man analogous to the innocent child "waking" to consciousness. In fact, you can tell when your child has become "conscious" when he tells you his first lie. Before that, there is no reason to lie, and no means to do so. But soon enough the child becomes implicitly aware of the cynical adage that man was given speech in order to conceal his thoughts.

In The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis, Kass makes many salient points along these lines. For example in the first version of creation, "things are said to be 'good'; in the second, there is a tree of knowledge of good and bad, nothing is said to be 'good,' and one thing -- man's aloneness -- is said (by the Lord God) to be 'not good'.... In the first story, human freedom appears to be our badge of distinction; in the second story, human freedom is the source of our troubles."

Interestingly, the first version of creation is a macro view, from which all appears good. Imagine if you could actually stand outside the entire cosmos, as Petey has, and regard the whole existentialada as a beautiful and benign star-making machine. What's the problem? No problem. Look at all the stars and galaxies!

But wait! What's that?! Down there -- walking around on its hind legs on that little blue speck. It reminds me of the opening scene of Blue Velvet, which shows the man watering his lush suburban lawn. But then the camera moves in for an extreme close-up, showing all of the disgusting terrestrial creatures crawling and slinking below.

Thus, just as in a movie, the second version of creation zooms in for a micro view of the goings-on of a particular planet at a far corner of creation. Imagine if you could actually stand outside history, as Petey has done, and regard the whole crazy collidorescape, from primitive premoderns to postmodern primitives, as one continuous thread with an underlying pattern that keeps repeating again and again and again.

As Kass writes, the first version of creation "offers a cosmic vision, majestically presenting man's place in a cosmic whole.... [T]he scene viewed is remote and all-encompassing, and what is seen is eternal." The story provides "metaphysical scope and knowledge, and it inspires in us wonder and cosmic awe." It is the ontological beginning.

But the second version is more epistemological and moral. It "maintains a strictly terrestrial focus and addresses the reader as a suffering moral agent, presenting him a poignant account of why misery shadows human life."

This second version of creation does not contradict the first. It's just from a different perspective, that's all. A different "vertex," as Bion would put it. But this difference goes to the heart of man's problems, because the one view presents us with eternal, intelligible, nonlocal metaphysical principles, while the other presents us with man's deviation from these principles, i.e., his own thought, and the mischief that ensues, right down to the present day:

"A life of sinless innocence and wholeheartedness is virtually impossible for human beings, thanks to freedom, imagination, reason-and-speech, self-consciousness, and pride, and in the face of neediness, sexuality, ignorance, self-division, dependence, and lack of self-command."

In baseball, there are a couple of sayings that apply: Don't think, you'll hurt the ballclub, and No brain, no problem. And so we see that misery shadows human life, especially the Chicago Cubs.

Speaking of sports, I'm sure many of you remember a book that came out in the 1970s, The Inner Game of Tennis, which taught that... Rather than trying to think back on what the book taught, I'll just cite the amazon review:

"A phenomenon when first published in 1972, the Inner Game was a real revelation. Instead of serving up technique, it concentrated on the fact that... 'Every game is composed of two parts, an outer game and an inner game.' The former is played against opponents, and is filled with lots of contradictory advice; the latter is played not against, but within the mind of the player, and its principal obstacles are self-doubt and anxiety. Gallwey's revolutionary thinking... was really a primer on how to get out of your own way to let your best game emerge.... 'No matter what a person's complaint when he has a lesson with me, I have found the most beneficial first step... is to encourage him to see and feel what he is doing -- that is, to increase his awareness of what actually is.'"

In short, the purpose of Gallwey's book was to help tormented players overcome their own divided selves and return to tennis eden -- just like the Bible. For it too posits "two natures" within man, who is ultimately divided against himself:

"Human troubles are foreshadowed by man's dual origins: he is constituted by two principles, the first one low ('dust from the ground'), the second one high ('breath of life')." On the one hand, we are stardust, we are golden, but on the other, we are earthdust, we are fertilizer. Either way, we've got to find our way back to the garden. No wonder man is crazy! For once he has eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, "the human being cannot without trouble enjoy his own existence. In its presence, he cannot remain undivided within himself."

Now this problem of "thought," as we were saying yesterday, is undoubtedly worse for the intelligent than it is for the stupid. But it is a catastrophe for the tenured. As Thomas Sowell writes, "To create a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs": "There is usually only a limited amount of damage that can be done by dull or stupid people. For creating a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs."

And just as Genesis emphatically teaches, the problem is not so much thought as it is the pride associated with it: "Such people have been told all their lives how brilliant they are, until finally they feel forced to admit it, with all due modesty. But they not only tend to overestimate their own intelligence, more fundamentally they tend to overestimate how important individual brilliance is when dealing with real-world problems. Many crucial things in life are learned from experience, rather than from clever thoughts or clever words. Indeed, a gift for the clever phrasing so admired today by the media can be a fatal talent, especially for someone chosen to lead a government."

God save us from the do-gooders. And God save us from the experts. But when confronted by a mob of do-gooding experts intent on ramming their goodness down your throat, it is on. Time to drop the gloves at center ice. Revolution time, baby.

Because they ignore the lesson of Genesis, the ideas of the secular left are particularly catastrophic. They seem to be clueless about the double-edgedness of human thought, and therefore, the irony-rich Law of Unintended Consequences -- to say nothing of the fact that in order for government to do something for you, it must first do something to you.

There are so many areas in which the "rational" thought of the left only makes matters worse. In his Vision of the Anointed, Sowell devotes a chapter to this, but it's really one of his central points: it takes a kind of breathtaking hubris to imagine that one can deploy dry reason to arrive at "solutions" that are superior to the collective wisdom of man, honed over centuries of contact with real experience. Thus, for example, the leftist no doubt feels that vetoing man's collective wisdom and redefining marriage is the rational thing to do. But doing the merely rational thing is hardly rational.

There is a higher form of thought that transcends reason while fully embracing it. And there is a lower form of thought that clings to reason while completely obliterating its own roots in transcendence. To live in the paradise of the latter is hell for one who knows the former. It is the difference between "I think, therefore I am," vs. "I AM, therefore we think." And you know what they say about putting Descartes before d' hearse.... Oh, and those road apples aren't really apples, so don't try to eat one.

51 Comments:

Blogger Van said...

"When you think about it, the only thing in the cosmos that can go really wrong -- really, really wrong -- on a massive scale is human thinking. So stop it already!"

Yep. What I've always told the A.I. people is that they are looking in the wrong place, if they can ever figure out how to create something that can make mistakes... not just deliver results that aren't what you expected, but make an actual mistake... then they will have created an A.I. (Actual Intelligence).

10/02/2009 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger jp said...

Van, I think a bigger problem with the A.I. people is that they haven't figured out that they need an artificial personality to go with their artificial intelligence.

And they still can't figure out how to get a computer to play a good game of Go.

10/02/2009 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"It is the difference between "I think, therefore I am," vs. "I AM, therefore we think." And you know what they say about putting Descartes before d' hearse.... Oh, and those road apples aren't really apples, so don't try to eat one."

Lol.

10/02/2009 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

JP said "...they haven't figured out that they need an artificial personality to go with their artificial intelligence."

I think they're secretly hoping that they'll be able to program the computer to tell them how to get one themselves.

Round and round and round the Go...

10/02/2009 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh, so true.

One of the interesting things about those first lies (at least, as seen from the grownup's perspective), is that often the child is trying just as hard to convince himself of his innocence as he is tying to convince the authority who wants to know why he did x. Not always, but you can see that mechanism at work in their faces sometimes (and of course, I remember doing the same thing as a kid).

Of course, some people get so skilled at it they manage to always be telling what they believe is the truth, even when the facts blatantly contradict what they say. It's a handy way to deflect shame and personal responsibility, especially when they should be feeling it most.

10/02/2009 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Van - what I want to know is, why do they think developing artificial intelligence (assuming it happens) means machines will have a drive to reproduce themselves (I've seen somebody make that prediction, somewhere). Or for that matter, that they'll want to exist. Unless they come equipped with a concept of God and a sense of purpose beyond mere slavery to human needs, along with a heaping helping of creativity and a sense of wonder and fun, I predict mechanical depression and high rates of suicidal machines. And do you really want to trust your life to something that wants to end it all (especially if it decides humans are to blame, and wants to take out as many as possible along with itself)?

10/02/2009 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Interesting (and relevant) observation at House of Eratosthenes:

"There exists, today — and it was manifested in Letterman’s audience as he spoke about his ordeal — a rather striking and unexplored antipathy toward decency. It’s as if it’s become a common phobia that has swelled up to engulf suburbia, that we’re all in imminent danger of being blackmailed with our various shenanigans. And we should fret over this so much that we should find some slime to discharge the duties in our highest public offices, since that’s the only way we can be protected from extortion by anyone cleaner than we are."

"We seem to be in search of unclean people to make our weighty decisions…so that we can own them before they can own us."

10/02/2009 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "why do they think developing artificial intelligence (assuming it happens) means machines will have a drive to reproduce themselves (I've seen somebody make that prediction, somewhere). "

The problem of course, is that the “want” assumes a consciousness, which no machine will ever be able to create – but that is Consciousness, not the advanced calculative ‘intelligence’ which they seek. Whether or not some machine is ever built that can provide a ‘seat’ for consciousness, I personally doubt, but that’s a different story.

What I don’t doubt, is that we’ll have sufficiently comprehensive programs in the not so distant future – surely within our lifetimes – that will be able to calculate actions and responses fast enough, and against a large enough database of historical references, to be able to fool most people into thinking they are Human (some might say it has that has already happened between the MSM and nObama, but I digress).

I saw a link last week, can’t remember where, sorry, that had a video of a mobile PC ‘robot’ actually ‘sniffing’ out an electrical outlet so that it could charge it’s batteries. Self reproduction and other such seeming ‘urges’ are theoretical trifles, and are only an obstacle by virtue of current hardware shortcomings, and more ‘evolved’ programming models.

Seriously, the ‘helpful ‘ robotic matre de and other such creatures are only a matter of time.

Most telling of all though, the A.I. people think their calculations within calculation engines, will perform the Dennett/Dawkins trick, and viola! Intelligence will result, just like they think that the human consciousness is merely the result of intricately related calculating Genes – which only proves their own want of Actual Intelligence themselves.

But useful as such programs will be, they won’t be intelligent – not in any way different than a pocket calculator is intelligent, and GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) will still apply… hopefully we’ll keep that very much in mind as we will be tempted into ‘trusting’ them with more and more tasks.

Always remember, in one form or another, a computer is only executing the decisions a person programmed into to them… and whatever garbage that programmer had in their own heads, will follow out of their ‘creation.

10/02/2009 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

*sigh* The news right now just makes this too easy.

Demonstrating my earlier point,

"That’s not a confession with remorse or repentance. That’s an explanation that implies that you and I would have done the same thing if we had walked in Jennings shoes.

Then he takes it to the next level of audacity. Jennings turns his own despicable behavior into a “strength” on his job application and a raison d’être for his new position"

Seriously, when I have kids it's private or home school.

10/02/2009 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

whatever garbage that programmer had in their own heads, will follow out of their ‘creation.

We think mind parasites are bad now, just wait until they get programmed in to some vital computer system. Actually, I think we've already seen that with the guy who built the girlfriend robot (who says things like "Ouch! You're hurting me!")

*shudder*

10/02/2009 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie ref’d "There exists, today — and it was manifested in Letterman’s audience as he spoke about his ordeal — a rather striking and unexplored antipathy toward decency.”

I guess I've missed out on what Lettermen's latest foolishness is (darn the luck), but it probably doesn't matter.

Yes, there is an antipathy towards decency in the nation, and in the world… and hit has to do with the Left hand not wanting the Right hand to know what it’s doing.

As with our aninnymi, they have no problem saying what they do say - witness their having said it - they only wish to hide who it is that is saying it. And they only do that, because there is still a shredded, though still standing, 'societal norm' out there, Decency, which they feel oppressed by, and hide from whenever possible... but they hates it.

It is who they are that they wish to hide, in order to get away with what would not be considered decent - and it is having to hide their indecency, which they far prefer over what is decent - that is distasteful to them.

They are not interested in truth, or goodness or beauty, only with making a public pretence of it, because they still feel they must, while doing its opposite - and they hates that.

10/02/2009 09:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

No soup... er, Olympics for you!

Now get back to work!

10/02/2009 09:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

Rio is a lovely city and I hope they get it. I was about to go to Sao Paulo on business a few weeks back but decided to have a little party instead. Rio... checking flights...

About a month with no access to media of any kind sounds about right.

10/02/2009 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

NObama discovers that even Chicago's level of decency is too much for the world,

"Chicago had been a heavy favorite to at least survive the first round. Tokyo is also cut, leaving Rio de Janeiro and Madrid left in contention..."

My company (for a couple hours more) has a strict travel ban against Rio... they have offices there, and throughout South America, but even if you have business near Rio, going there on your time off, is stricly forbidden.

For those who do go, hand prints are taken before travel... in the not unlikely event that they may have to compare your digits to those which they may find in the mail.

The digital age indeed.

wv:demysing
hmmm

10/02/2009 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

NB "Rio is a lovely city..."

(blink)

10/02/2009 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Veering to the side a bit,

What I mean is that everything else in the universe works perfectly harmoniously, without a hitch, from the solar system to the ecosystem to the human body.

I came across this a bit ago. What I find interesting about these (aside from the sheer beauty and craftsmanship, all the more astounding given the lack of precision tools we take for granted these days) is that they represent such a different view of the cosmos, and in a way they're like the first, macro view of creation: beautiful, accurate works of man to celebrate the works of God.

Anyway, they're gorgeous, so worth a look. I can't even comprehend what kind of mind would be required to figure out the precise ratios of all those gears. A wristwatch looks like a child's toy by comparison.

10/02/2009 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

As to Rio, I don't think there's enough money in the world to make me want to go there. The cops may not be blatantly murdering children in the streets anymore, but obviously things aren't all that much better.

Glam it up all they want, it's a sick place.

10/02/2009 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

That said, I can't help feeling some schadenfreude that all the O's efforts were for naught. Apparently, Michelle's sacrifice wasn't great enough.

10/02/2009 10:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really? You hate Obama so much that you cheer his failure on the completely non-ideological task of trying to bring the Olympics to the US? You'd rather see the US lose than Obama win?

You people need to take a good hard look at yourselves.

10/02/2009 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger jp said...

Winning the chance to be an Olympic city is the equivalent of receiving an entire herd of white elephants.

10/02/2009 12:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

No, it's like a daytime Emmy.

Besides, the people of Chicago didn't want them. Once again, just Democrat elites trying to overrule the people.

10/02/2009 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Yep - or as I just saw on Instapundit:

"It speaks volumes about the state of things when it takes a decision by the Olympic Selection Committee to keep Chicago's taxpayers from getting completely screwed once again."

Also, given all the problems with bribery and fraud at the Utah winter Olympics a few years back, I don't even want to think about what kind of culture would have been propagated in Chicago.

Having the Olympics come to town seems, in recent years, to be a vastly overrated benefit.

Besides, Obama has more important things to worry about, like the unemployment numbers that just came out.

10/02/2009 12:24:00 PM  
Anonymous reagan said...

"Besides, Obama has more important things to worry about, like the unemployment numbers that just came out."

nope, not his job. even if he thinks it is.

10/02/2009 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I beg to differ.
His stimulus, his problem.

10/02/2009 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

It is interesting that those who seem to loathe common decency - or as Chesterton had said, ordinary morality - seem to also be the most moralizing. Every work of art has to be saving the world from injustice, but all expectations of self control are immediately taken as acts of judgment.

Nobody said the expectations were easy, and that everyone would succeed at them. Even 'ordinary morality' is difficult. That's why there is mercy. But mercy is not guaranteed, it is given arbitrarily. Otherwise, it is not mercy. It's just weakness.

I suppose there is a projection of the function that inspects and does surgery on the heart and mind onto the world. There's a lot to dissect out there.

10/02/2009 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger jp said...

River says:

"It is interesting that those who seem to loathe common decency - or as Chesterton had said, ordinary morality - seem to also be the most moralizing. Every work of art has to be saving the world from injustice, but all expectations of self control are immediately taken as acts of judgment."

That's because they are morally insane. Completley barmy.

Lots of problems can be adequately explained by recognizing moral insanity.

10/02/2009 01:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

You guys are much too hard on Rio. It all depends upon where you go. I stay with Brazilians. Just as nobody in their right mind would wander around parts of Detroit or Miami (both of which are easily as dangerous as Rio), you have to know what you're doing.

World's most dangerous cities for travelers:

1. Mogadishu, Somalia
2. Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
3. Linfen, China
4. Caracas, Venezuela
5. Detroit, U.S.A.
6. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
7. Johannesburg, South Africa
8. Norilsk, Russia (in Siberia)
9. Saskatoon, Canada
10. London, U.K.


Hell, I've been to 8 of 'em and I'm still kicking.

10/02/2009 01:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Northern Bandit said...

As for "murdering children", 50,000,000 in the US since 1972 and counting.

10/02/2009 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Ouch. Though, the song is 'It's only a dream in Rio'. My impression is that the city is beautiful, in the heart breaking kind of way. Kind of like how looking at 14th century London would have beauty to it.

10/02/2009 02:06:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

"...the completely non-ideological task of trying to bring the Olympics to

Chicago = Daley Machine = non-ideological?

Bwwwaaaaaaahahaha


Further proof that trolls actually do live in caves. Or with their heads up Obie's youknowwhat where da sun don't shine neither.

10/02/2009 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger jp said...

Dupree says:

"Besides, the people of Chicago didn't want them. Once again, just Democrat elites trying to overrule the people."

They didn't want them because they didn't want to clean up after the herd of white elephants.

They aren't stupid.

10/02/2009 03:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It is interesting that those who seem to loathe common decency - or as Chesterton had said, ordinary morality - seem to also be the most moralizing."

Said the kettle. The last thing anybody participating on this blog ought to be preaching to others about is morality except possibly sanity.

10/02/2009 03:20:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Hate Obama? Absolutely. And loathe, despise, abhor etc etc. Goes for his despicable posse too.

What's with the word 'hate' these days? Why is to so be shunned, everybody knocking themselves out to say 'no, no I don't, it's just his policies', or whatever.

Ooooooh, you've been hit with the 'hate tag' better scramble avert disaster. It's like ten-year-olds calling each other Commie, back in prehistory when I was a kid.

Has a Sesame Street kiddies-get-along meme taken over, or what?

Can somecoon 'splain to me?

10/02/2009 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

NB, I'll readily admit that there's a lot about Rio I don't know. My objection is that, as far as I know, it's the only city on that list where the police were roaming around shooting children at night, ostensibly to reduce the numbers of street kids because they were bad for tourism. The worst of it happened during the 80s and 90s, but I have no reason to assume they're all that much more kindly to homeless children these days, preferring truncheons to bullets. If the Olympics are coming to town, how much more important will it be to put on a good face for the world?

Honestly, I hope that some better solutions are found to deal with the problem, and I'm sure there are lots of nice places in Rio and in Brazil worthy of visiting. But just as a personal issue, I have a very difficult time visiting a place and spending my tourist dollars when I know that there's a massive underlying governmental problem.

A few years back I went on a tour of the Caribbean, and the only place I was really comfortable visiting was the US Virgin Islands. The reason being that all the other islands had cruise ships coming in a constant stream, and the only places that didn't suffer bitter, grinding poverty were right by the docks and special tourist areas. All that money flooding in like a frickin' tidal wave, and where were the local economies? Still about 100 years behind. Desperate people in rags and shacks, everywhere you looked. Except in the USVI, which looked like you'd expect a small island nation with a constant influx of cash to look. It wasn't about fear, it was about knowing that those places looked that way due to some major problems with corruption, and my money was just feeding that sick machine.

I feel the same way about Detroit.

10/02/2009 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Ximeze, it was only okay to hate Bushitler & co. It's not okay to hate the big O. That makes you a raaaaaaacist.

10/02/2009 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Apparently there is one good thing about bad allergy attacks. I have zero interest in engaging the troll.
All raccoons please snort 2 handfulls of cayene pepper and call me in the morning.

10/02/2009 03:41:00 PM  
Anonymous David Warren said...

This is perhaps the most essential, if seldom acknowledged, insight of the post-modern "liberal" mind: that if you take the pillars away, the roof will continue to hover in the air.

There is a corollary of this largely unspoken assumption: that no matter what you do to one part of a machine, the rest of the machine will continue to function normally.

A variant of this is the frequently expressed denial of the law of unintended consequences: the belief that, if the effect you intend is good, the actual effect must be similarly happy.

10/02/2009 03:53:00 PM  
Anonymous bob f. said...

One of the problems with talking about anything with someone who knows he/she is the smartest person in the room is that they already know everything so they listen to nothing, except to check & see if it conforms with what they already know.

10/02/2009 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Anonymous_1 said...

I've noted some interest on this blog concerning AGW. There's some recent news concerning the Hockey Stick that you may be interested in. The bottom-line is that the tree ring data used may have been cherry-picked. See these links:

(1) Yamal

(2) Zooming in on the Hockey Stick

10/02/2009 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Anonymous_1 said "The bottom-line is that the tree ring data used may have been cherry-picked."

Heh-heh... 'may have'?

Cherry picking has described the chief 'evidence' gathering technique of the inviralmentaldips from at least Rachel Carson on. The best description I've heard of all their branches is "Green: it's the new Red".


Speaking of pits in the scientistic cherries:

"The fossil puts to rest the notion, popular since Darwin's time, that a chimpanzee-like missing link—resembling something between humans and today's apes—would eventually be found at the root of the human family tree. Indeed, the new evidence suggests that the study of chimpanzee anatomy and behavior—long used to infer the nature of the earliest human ancestors—is largely irrelevant to understanding our beginnings. "

Of course it does nothing to invalidate evolution (and I've no interest in attempting to), but it nicely skewers those who attempt to cherry pick science to support their fundamentalist scientistic religion.

10/02/2009 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger Anonymous_1 said...

Van said, "Heh-heh... 'may have'?"

Well, I use the term "may have" since the tree-ring data, in its entirety, which has not been available till now, is only beginning to be examined.

The links that I provided show one group's analysis of the recently released data. Scientific knowledge is a process, where repeatability and verification, to the best of one's ability, takes time, effort, and cogitation. With respect to the recent tree-ring data, it's too soon to say, and thus the "may have".

I mentioned, in a previous post, that humans apply the Algorithm known as the Scientific Method, and thus the possibility of fraud and incompetence must be examined. Historically, the feed-back loop of scientific investigation eventually, but not always, unearths fraud and incompetence. And thus knowledge accumulates.

The Scientific Method is limited in its application, it will always be an approximation to reality. I, personally, enjoy the process of approximation, and I'm indebted to those "approximators" who have made indoor plumbing a reality. :)

10/02/2009 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

"I mentioned, in a previous post, that humans apply the Algorithm known as the Scientific Method, and..."

Whataya mean "humans"?
Why don't you just say, "you humans".

10/02/2009 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Julie said: Of course, some people get so skilled at it they manage to always be telling what they believe is the truth, even when the facts blatantly contradict what they say.

I see you've met my brother-in-law.

10/02/2009 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Hah - I didn't know we had family in common, Mushroom ;)

10/02/2009 09:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I hated Bush and Cheney, but I don't recall cheering when they failed to land the 2012 Olympics for New York. Their many failures (of which this was a very minor example) filled me with rage, not glee, because they were doing damage to the country and the world at large. Conservatives, on the other hand, seem to be moral retards who care more about seeing their enemies fail than seeing their country succeed. They have long claimed an exclusive lock on patriotism but I think we are seeing that it's all a sham.

At least one conservative has the integrity to call out his own side's reprehensible attitudes.

Obviously this is an extremely minor issue compared to war and the economy, but such things are often indicative of general attitudes.

10/02/2009 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Yes, because you see so many conservatives cheering about the fact that the war in Afghanistan is going so poorly. I've heard so little of Iraq of late, I don't even have a clue what's happening there. I wish I did.

To conflate the loss of the Olympics with the loss of this war does a grievous disservice to the men and women who are fighting and dying at this very moment on a front president "I don't care about victory" is uninterested in winning.

Newsflash - we still do care. I rejoice in O's petty failures; I would rejoice by orders of magnitude more if he finally showed some balls and started taking effective measures at home and abroad to ensure the security and prosperity of this nation. Instead, all he gives a crap about is his empty image.

So yes, I take deep pleasure in the petty failure. There is none to be had, thus far, in his big "successes."

10/02/2009 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger debass said...

I don't hate Obama. That would be a waste of time and energy. Most conservatives want his policies to fail because they are bad for the US and for freedom and liberty.
What I hate is Liberalism. It has caused misery wherever it's been tried. Can you name a liberal idea that has succeeded?
You have the Death and Treason party projecting their beliefs onto conservatives, with the help of the corrupt media and I have to endure the loss of my liberty. I am especially worried for my daughter who may end up living in some totalitarian liberal hell here in the US because of some narcissist fool president.
Obama reminds me of a guy who was talked into running for office but didn't really want the job and we are all stuck here in his reality, living out his mind parasites.

10/02/2009 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

aninnymouse said "Well, I hated Bush and Cheney, but I don't recall cheering when they failed to land the 2012 Olympics for New York. "

One reason might be because no one was aware that they had made a bid to the IOC. Ya know why? Probably because they did put their own fools selves, in full presidential regalia, Air Force One and all, into a mega publicized bid to pull a strong-arm charm offensive on the IOC. I think Bush sending a videotaped message was too much - the President of the United States of America is not, and should not, be a shill begging notice from the degraded & corrupt "Olympic" committee.

Not that it even matters or that you have any actual ideas on the subject (anonymous = vacuous) but getting past today's headline, here's a Google News search for 2003-2005. The IOC, like the U.N. is nothing but filth in jumped up apparel, and with my apologies to the actual athelete's themselves, bears no relation to the Olympics.

For the rest, what Julie said.

10/03/2009 06:41:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ximeze said "Hate Obama? Absolutely. And loathe, despise, abhor etc etc. Goes for his despicable posse too."

I'm mostly with Debass on this one. While nObama has already consumed whatever allowances I was originally ready to make towards the office of the POTUS, already proving himself even more of a liar and enemy of the Constitution than the standard leftie... he hasn't personally made it past the level of loath, despise and dismiss, with me yet.

But I'm patient... giving enough time, he may very well make it there with me.

10/03/2009 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

I typo'd "Probably because they did put their own fools selves..."

Should of course be "Probably because they didn't put their own fools selves..."

10/03/2009 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger Anonymous_1 said...

Van said, “Speaking of pits in the scientistic cherries...”

I didn’t get a chance to read this article till this morning.

I’m not qualified to interpret whether this recent find invalidates the “missing-link postulate”, but I’m never surprised when scientific postulates are refuted or modified. Science, when applied correctly, should always be associated with the adage “to the best of our current knowledge”.

I believe the public is currently disengaged with the actual process of scientific inquiry. This is understandable, since the level of specialized knowledge required, to adequately weigh the validity of scientific claims, is most often times insurmountable. Most don’t realize that postulates form the basis of all scientific theories. These educated guesses are axiomatic; they rise and fall dependent upon empirical support. For thirty years, I introduced Newton’s Laws, to my students, as Newton’s Postulates. Most were taken aback that there were no derivations, no "proofs" associated with these guesses.

The Scientific Method is still a young algorithm. Personally, I’m still interested in where it will take us -- hopefully to the stars.

10/04/2009 08:35:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home