Monday, November 30, 2015

Africa will export its population boom

The WSJ praises Third World population growth and white dispossession at every opportunity, and here is the latest:
The biggest human increase in modern history is under way in Africa. ... Some 2.5 billion people will be African by 2050, the U.N. projects. That would be double the current number and 25% of the world’s total. There will be 399 million Nigerians then, more than Americans. When the century closes, if projections hold, four out of 10 people will be African. ...

One of the great questions of the 21st century is unfolding outside his window: How will the world look with vastly more Africans in it?

Better, by some measures. Humanity is aging.
The article goes on to say that Africa cannot cope with these population increases.

The WSJ speaks for the interests of big business, and it wants cheap labor. The obvious plan is to re-populate the First World with African labor.

Even if most people are against that now, what will they say when a billion refugees show up at the borders? Who will have the nerve to send them back?

Another story says that fat cat Republican donors are planning to do anything they can to sabotage Donald Trump:
A story that circulated after the lunch was that the donors engaged in a hypothetical question: "If it was Donald Trump running against Hillary Clinton, who would you vote for?"

One version has it that most of the Republicans at the table put their hands up for Clinton. ...

"The GOP establishment will do anything they can to stop Mr. Trump from being the GOP nominee," Lewandowski said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

"Mr. Trump is the only one who is not controlled by the special interests. ... They want a puppet that they can control, and Donald Trump will never be that person."
It appears that all of the big Democrat and Republican donors have importing cheap labor as a top priority.

Update: Another WSJ article today:
Conventional wisdom says a large elderly population undermines an economy, and that Japan’s unprecedented aging condemns the country to a bleak future. The logic: Old people are an unproductive drain, squandering resources on pensions and health care, while doing little for growth through working, earning, spending or paying taxes.

One in four Japanese is 65 or older, compared with 15% in the U.S. There are now just 1.6 working-age Japanese available to support each senior or child under 15.

That ratio is already considered unsustainably low. By 2050, there will be just one working-age Japanese for every senior or child. During the high-growth 1980s, Japan had more than two, about the same as the current U.S. level.

Pessimists say the only way to keep Japan from inexorably drifting into bankruptcy is radical change, like a sudden, sharp influx of immigrants—an unlikely prospect given Japan’s history as one of the world’s most homogeneous cultures.

But a growing number of Japanese executives, policy makers and academics challenge that proposition.
I think those Japanese will be proved correct, and it is the countries with huge immigration like Sweden that face a bleak future.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Nuclear power is best carbon-free power

Peter Thiel writes in the NY Times:
The single most important action we can take is thawing a nuclear energy policy that keeps our technology frozen in time. If we are serious about replacing fossil fuels, we are going to need nuclear power, so the choice is stark: We can keep on merely talking about a carbon-free world, or we can go ahead and create one.

We already know that today’s energy sources cannot sustain a future we want to live in. ...

The 2011 Fukushima disaster seemed at first to confirm old fears: Nearly 16,000 people were killed by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. But nobody in Japan died from radiation, and in 2013 United Nations researchers predicted that “no discernible increased incidence of radiation-related health effects are expected.”
Some global warming alarmists do say that nuclear power is the only large-scale carbon-free alternative.

But when you hear Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Pope Francis, and other liberals urge drastic action for global warming, but do not mention nuclear power, then it is obvious that they do not take global warming seriously.

Maybe no drastic action is needed. SciAm reports:
he climate change debate has been polarized into a simple dichotomy. Either global warming is “real, man-made and dangerous,” as Pres. Barack Obama thinks, or it’s a “hoax,” as Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe thinks. But there is a third possibility: that it is real, man-made and not dangerous, at least not for a long time.

This “lukewarm” option has been boosted by recent climate research, and if it is right, current policies may do more harm than good. ...

As the upcoming Paris climate conference shows, the world is awash with plans, promises and policies to tackle climate change. But they are having little effect. Ten years ago the world derived 87 percent of its primary energy from fossil fuels; today, according the widely respected BP statistical review of world energy, the figure is still 87 percent. The decline in nuclear power has been matched by the rise in renewables but the proportion coming from wind and solar is still only 1 percent.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Autistic people are fully conscious

Sigmund Freud is famous for stressing the importance of the unconscious mind, while others say that there is no scientific merit to anything he said on this subject. Apparently there is no decisive proof that we even have an unconscious mind of the sort that Freud proposed. (Everyone agrees that there is unconscious mental activity that keeps our hearts beating, but that is not was Freud was talking about.)

Maybe some people have unconscious minds and some do not, as argued here:
As examples, Grandin cites personal experience and others’ observations to show that those with autism share a number of traits with animals that other people do not. Like animals, Grandin argues, she does not have an unconscious mind in the sense that other people do — that is, no subconscious area into which to push unpleasant images and associations so that they do not trouble the conscious mind. This is because the frontal lobe, which malfunctions in autistic people, is responsible for our verbal memory — our sense of our own past as a narrative. The frontal lobe blocks non-autistic people’s abilities to remember things visually — in terms of pictures, instead of words — meaning that without it, autistic people cannot get those unpleasant images out of their minds. Animals have similar problems — whereas most people are able to overcome traumatic experiences, for examples, most animals cannot, as those memories of trauma are so visually powerful that they cannot be “forgotten” the way we forget things by pushing them into our unconscious.

Another example is the way animals deal with pain. Numerous studies have shown that pain, in the sense that we typically experience it, is a function of the frontal lobes. Without complete frontal lobe function, the pain is still present, but it is the frontal lobe that makes non-autistic human beings care about pain so much, and without that function, pain is relegated to the background. Grandin recounts her own hysterectomy, and the fact that she was far less bothered by the pain of the operation than most patients, as evidence. In fact, Grandin argues that much of the concern with mistreatment of animals is misplaced — pain does not bother animals as much as fear, a sentiment shared by autistic people. For Grandin, fear and anxiety were the defining emotions of her childhood and teenage years. In autistic people and in animals, fear occupies the place in the mind that pain does in non-autistic people. She argues that humane treatment of animals must take fear into account, perhaps moreso even than pain.
I do not know how much her personal experience generalizes to others. Autistic people are usually much better grounded in reality, and are much less likely to delude themselves about living in some imaginary fantasy world.

Maybe the unconscious mind should be considered a mental illness, like schizophrenia. Maybe also for being highly bothered by pain.

I have heard people argue vigorously for a Freudian unconscious mind, with the main argument being that it is obvious from personal experience. Maybe those people really do lack a conscious awareness of some of what they are doing, and maybe they dislike people who are fully conscious.

On the subject of autism, some people accused a great physicist of having some sort of high-functioning autism based on anecdotes like this:
He only ever wore a three-piece suit, year round, rain or shine, morning and night. The non-logic of social interactions just didn’t interest him. When he was at Cambridge someone remarked to him, ‘It’s a bit rainy, isn’t it?’ He got up, walked to the window, came back, sat down again, and said: ‘It is not now raining.'”
I guess the point of this story is most neurotypical people have non-logical conversations, such as talking about the weather being rainy, without any concern for whether or not it is really raining. Paul Dirac was sufficiently grounded in reality that he would want to know whether it is raining in order to conduct a conversation on it being rainy. Maybe those controlled by unconscious minds do not care whether it is really raining.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Claiming that China needs more people

The WSJ is in favor of economic growth above all else, and is running articles with pro-population propaganda. From Monday's front page:
The world's new population time bomb: too few people

Ever since the global financial crisis, economists have groped for reasons to explain why growth in the U.S. and abroad has repeatedly disappointed, citing everything from fiscal austerity to the euro meltdown. They are now coming to realize that one of the stiffest headwinds is also one of the hardest to overcome: demographics.

Next year, the world’s advanced economies will reach a critical milestone. For the first time since 1950, their combined working-age population will decline, according to United Nations projections, and by 2050 it will shrink 5%. The ranks of workers will also fall in key emerging markets, such as China and Russia. At the same time the share of these countries’ population over 65 will skyrocket.

Previous generations fretted about the world having too many people. Today’s problem is too few.
And again on Tuesday's front page:
A nation of 1.4 billion faces a labor shortage

Last month, China announced it was abolishing its decades-old policy restricting most couples to one child. But that won’t likely put much of a dent in the country’s looming demographic problem because relatively few Chinese prefer to have more than one child, economists note — and it will be at least 16 years before any additional babies make it to the job market.
No, it is crazy to worry about China not having enuf people. Most of its problems, from water, energy, natural resources, pollution, politics, and everything else stem from too many people.

Are they worried that companies like Apple will have a harder time hiring Chinese workers for a dollar a day? They should not be, as robots will be soon doing those jobs.

These same people are always pushing immigration into Europe and USA, in order to drive down wages and supply cheap labor to businesses. That may be raising the GDP, but it is lowering the average standard of living.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Princeton caves in to black protesters

When I went to Princeton, Wilson was the most revered figured. He was president of both the college and the USA. But now this:
Princeton students ended a 32-hour sit-in in the university president’s office on Thursday night after administrators signed a document that committed them to begin conversations about addressing racial tension on campus, including possibly removing the name of former President Woodrow Wilson from some public spaces, the university and students said.

The sit-in came amid racial tension and escalating student activism on college campuses nationwide and focused in part on what students called Wilson’s legacy of racism. Shortly after the document was signed, an administrator received a bomb or firearm threat by email. It was being investigated late Thursday.
Wow. Glenn Beck has separately persuaded millions of people that Wilson was the worst USA president of the XX century. Wilson shares blame for World War I, the League of Nations, Federal Reserve Bank, income tax, various progressive policies, and letting his wife run the country.

If Wilson were still president of Princeton, I think that he would have expelled all the protesting students. And probably would not have admitted them in the first place.

Of course he was a racist. Most progressives are racists. And so are today's colleges, apparently.

The non-white students say things like "justice is what love looks like in public", and how they are seeking to have their feelings acknowledged. Okay, can we all acknowledge that they are cry-babies?

Update: I just got an alumni email from the Princeton president, saying:
We must commit ourselves to make this University a place where students from all backgrounds feel respected and valued. ...

I care deeply about what our students are saying to us, and I am determined to do whatever I can, in collaboration with others, to improve the climate on this campus so that all students are respected, valued, and supported as members of a vibrant and diverse learning community. ...

One of the most sensitive and controversial issues pertains to Woodrow Wilson’s legacy on the campus.
Conservatives have complained about Wilson for decades, but they did not phrase their complaints in terms of having their feelings respected.

On other campuses, there are a lot of demands for more mental health treatments.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The facts about Islam

I just stumbled across Glenn Beck's book, It IS About Islam: Exposing the Truth About ISIS, Al Qaeda, Iran, and the Caliphate (The Control Series). An Amazon review says:
The heart of this book seems to be Part Two, an extended refutation of the lie that the chaos we see "has nothing to do with Islam." The 13 lies are:
#1-Islam is a religion of peace ...
#2-Islam is not much different than Christianity or Judaism
#3-Jihad is a peaceful, internal struggle ...
#4-Muslims don't actually seek to live under sharia ...
#5-America is safe from sharia law
#6-The caliphate is a fanciful dream
#7-Islam is tolerant toward non-Muslims
#8-Addressing frustration, poverty, and joblessness ...
#9-Critics of Islam are bigots
#10-Islam respects the rights of women
#11-Iran can be trusted with a nuclear weapon
#12-The Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate, mainstream Islamic group
#13-Islam respects freedom of speech

Mr Beck clearly explains what is wrong with each statement, with plenty of examples.
President Barack Obama is the most prominent liar, as he said in a 2009 prepared speech:
So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn't. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.
Only Moslems believe that Islam was "revealed". There is no "partnership between America and Islam". Most stereotypes are true, according to social science research. It is not the responsibility of the President to defend Islam, and certainly not to argue against true stereotypes.

Here is more evidence about Obama's religion.

The review also says:
4: Reestablishing the Caliphate
According to a book published in 2005, September 11th, 2001 was one of the first steps in al-Qaeda's twenty-year plan to bring about the apocalypse:
I: The Muslim Awakening (2000-2003), provoking the West
II: Opening Eyes (2003-2006), recruitment to the cause
III: Arising and Standing Up (2007-2010), expanding the fight to Syria and other places
IV: Collapse (2010-2013), the collapse of western-style regimes in the Arab world
V: Caliphate (2013-2016), the reestablishment and gradual growth of the Caliphate
VI: Total Confrontation (2016-2019), the West's final, dying breath
VII: Definitive Victory (2020), the Caliphate will become the "world's lone superpower"

Beck reminds us that although the final result might seem absurd, "the first five phases have been right on schedule." This is especially worrisome when we observe this summer's [2015] vast, unchecked invasion of "refugees," many of whom are carrying fake Syrian passports.
I do wonder whether the West has the will to stand up to Mohammedan aggression.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Muslim lives matter less

Wash. Post columnist David Ignatius writes:
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates >> Do Western nations think that Muslim lives matter less? Most of us would resist any such characterization of callousness. But Western outrage about the carnage in Paris, coupled with near-indifference to similar killings in the Arab world, suggests to many Muslims that a double standard exists — and they find it deeply upsetting.

In the past week, terrorists apparently aligned with the Islamic State conducted three savage attacks: The assaults in Paris that killed at least 129 people Friday night were the worst. But Sunni terrorists also struck Thursday in Beirut in a double suicide bombing that killed at least 43 in a Shiite neighborhood. Twin bombings in Shiite areas of Baghdad on Friday killed 26, and a string of bombs added at least seven more on Sunday.
Yes, of course Western nations think that Muslim lives matter less. This aspect of human nature was explained by Adam Smith centuries ago.

Only someone suffering from a serious mental illness would believe that all lives are of equal value to him.

Here is a related argument:
President Barack Obama said suggestions that the U.S. impose a religious test on Syrian refugees are “shameful” and un-American, lashing out at Republican presidential candidates, including Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz, who have called for accepting only Christians and excluding Muslims.

“That’s not American. That’s not who we are,” Obama said, responding to a question at a news conference Monday at the Group of 20 summit in Antalya, Turkey. “We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.”
I am not saying that Obama is mentally ill. I suspect that he would rather bring in the Muslims than the Christians.

The Christians are peaceful. The Muslims are trying to kill us, and bring down Western civilization. That ought to be enuf of a difference.

A global warming eugenics proposal

What does it take to get a liberal to favor eugenics? This article favors it to make people shorter and combat global warming:
Over the last century, our species has seen an unprecedented species - wide growth spurt — a 4-inch increase on average. The most extreme examples are in Japan, where mean height has increased 5.5 inches in the last 50 years, and in the Netherlands, where people have grown eight inches in the last 150 years. This recent uptick differs from all other height fluctuations in history: It is due, not to natural selection, but to unnatural nutritional overabundance, writes Michael J. Dougherty, now director of education at the American Society of Human Genetics. ...

Liao does argue that, “in light of the problem of climate change,” humanity should consider shrinking, ...

Liao would accomplish this height reduction through pre-implantation diagnosis, a screening test used to determine whether genetic or chromosomal disorders are present in developing embryos before they are inserted into mothers through in vitro procedures.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Nearest exoplanet disappeared

The Diary of Anne Frank was written by her father. So says the copyright owner, who wants to extend the copyright.

That nearby Alpha Centauri exoplanet has disappeared on re-examination of the data.

Here is ISIS claiming responsibility for the Paris attacks. It will be interesting to see who still favors flooding Europe and the USA with Moslem migrants.

AAAS Science magazine admits:
Many scientists argue that Earth formed as a dry planet, and gained its water millions of years later through the impact of water-bearing asteroids or comets. But now, scientists say that Earth may have had water from the start, inheriti

Sunday, November 15, 2015

How people get labeled autistic or psychopathic

The official autism rate is being raised again:
Autism affects one in 45 children in the United States, almost twice the rate from a few years ago, said a survey Friday that uses a new approach to assess the frequency of the developmental disorder.

The latest figures may reflect a more accurate picture of autism spectrum disorder, said the report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics, and so does not necessarily mean that there is a ballooning autism epidemic.
They are pathologizing normal behavior.
Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability that may cause a person to have difficulty behaving, learning, communicating and interacting with people. It is believed to be influenced by genetic and environmental factors, though scientists do not fully understand all its causes.

There is no known cure, but early intervention in toddlers as young as two can sometimes help.
If you want lots of funding, what would you do? Take healthy behavior that is slightly outside the norm, declare it an incurable disease, and claim that some bogus therapies somehow help anyway.

So what gets someone labeled autistic? Sometimes it is a sign of a lack of empathy, such as this:
People with psychopathic characteristics are less likely to be affected by "contagious yawning" than those who are empathetic, according to a Baylor University psychology study.
That's right, to these conformist creeps, there is something wrong with you if you do not yawn when everyone else does.

Another tip-off is the use of logical language:
The researchers compared stories told by 14 imprisoned psychopathic male murderers with those of 38 convicted murderers who were not diagnosed as psychopathic. Each subject was asked to describe his crime in detail; the stories were taped, transcribed and subjected to computer analysis.

A psychopath, as described by psychologists, is emotionally flat, lacks empathy for the feelings of others, and is free of remorse. Psychopaths behave as if the world is to be used for their benefit, and they employ deception and feigned emotion to manipulate others.

The words of the experimental subjects matched these descriptions. Psychopaths used more conjunctions like "because," "since" or "so that," implying that the crime "had to be done" to obtain a particular goal. They used twice as many words relating to physical needs, such as food, sex or money, while non-psychopaths used more words about social needs, including family, religion and spirituality.
My guess is that the murderers got diagnosed as psychopathic because, in part, they used logical instead of emotional explanations. The psychologists who do these studies prefer the emotional explanations, and try to pathologize anything logical.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Why Chinese are learning English

The Language Log blog is always claiming that anything can be translated from any language to any other. But in reality, there is no practical substitute for English:
I asked the BC professor how his lectures were going, and he told me that he found it extremely frustrating to talk about his specialty in Chinese. In those days, the level of English knowledge was still minimal in most sectors of the population, including in the universities. He told me that he spent most of his time just trying to convey in Mandarin the meaning of essential technical terms in English. It often ended up that, in essence, he was serving both as a fund of information about biochemistry and also as a teacher of technical English vocabulary. ...

That's just one field in which technical and linguistic transfer were going on simultaneously. It was happening in virtually every field of science and technology, and in later decades it happened in the social sciences and the humanities as well.
Occasionally I hear people say that Chinese language is more important, because of their growing population and economy. No, Chinese languages are unsuitable for the modern world, and they are learning English.

Friday, November 13, 2015

No tolerance for intolerance

NPR radio reports:
In the interview with the magazine, Obama talks about a number of topics, such as the first openly gay person he knew (a professor at Occidental), how Malia and Sasha and their generation view LGBT people (no tolerance for intolerance), and about Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and religious freedom (nobody is above the rule of law).
Of course Pres. Obama campaigned as an opponent to same-sex marriage, and tried to act above the law by refusing to defend and enforce the law on the subject.

Worse is the new leftist mantra of no tolerance for intolerance.

If Bill Clinton was our first black president, then Obama is our first gay Moslem president. Maybe our first female president also.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Film falsely blames man for attack

Here is CNN propaganda against college men:
Nineteen Harvard Law professors have written a letter condemning "The Hunting Ground," a film purporting to be a documentary about campus sexual assault. The film has been getting some Oscar buzz, and CNN is preparing to air the program next week.

In a press package for the film, CNN singled out a story in the film about a sexual assault accusation at Harvard. The press packet named the accused student, even though he was not identified in the film. The 19 professors want to be sure viewers are aware that the film is highly misleading.

The accusation involved former Harvard student Kamilah Willingham, who claimed in the film that she and a friend passed out after a night of drinking and were forcibly sexually assaulted by their male friend, who possibly drugged them. Willingham claims Harvard had an "extreme reluctance to believe her" and that even though the school suspended the accused student, it allowed him to return to campus.
In reality, she tried to frame the guy with falsified evidence.

I would think that the social justice warriors would be able to find some bad behavior on some college somewhere. Instead, there examples are almost entirely lies. I hope CNN gets sued for defamation.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Islam caused the Dark Ages

I have always been told that the Decline of the Roman Empire was caused by moral decline, complacency, and conversion to Christianity, thereby plunging Europe into the Dark Ages. Classical civilization might have been lost, if it were not preserved by the Islamic World, which was much more civilized than the Christian world. Europe did not get its act together until the Enlightenment, when all the great scholars rejected Christianity and became atheists.

This subject is way out of my expertise, and I am having trouble verifying any of it. I am not even sure asking why the Roman Empire fell is a good question. A better question might be why it lasted so long. It did not really fall around 400 AD; it moved east and became the Byzantine Empire. It was weakened by Islamic invasions more than anything else.

The Dark Age was mainly dark in the sense of a lack of historical written records. Some Roman technology was lost in some areas, but historians argue that intellectual and technological progress continued.

If Christianity were somehow the cause of a collapse, then I would expect the collapse to be greatest in the more Christian areas. But history says the opposite. The collapse was greatest in areas like Britain, which were not Christian at all in the Dark Age.

So I do not understand why Christianity is blamed. Christians were not burning books, or forbidding scientific experiments, or anything like that. Sometimes it is claimed that Christians disallowed autopsies and dissections, but that seems completely false.

Starting in around 630 AD, the Mohammedans waged war against Christians in the Byzantine/Roman empire, and soon in Romanized western Europe. They also invaded the Persian empire, and became the world's biggest empire.

The Muslim Times argues:
The blame of Dark Ages should be placed squarely on the irrationality and coercion preached by the Church
The source is the Encyclopedia Britannica article on the Middle Ages:
The sack of Rome by Alaric the Visigoth in 410 ce had enormous impact on the political structure and social climate of the Western world, for the Roman Empire had provided the basis of social cohesion for most of Europe. Although the Germanic tribes that forcibly migrated into southern and western Europe in the 5th century were ultimately converted to Christianity, they retained many of their customs and ways of life; the changes in forms of social organization they introduced rendered centralized government and cultural unity impossible. Many of the improvements in the quality of life introduced during the Roman Empire, such as a relatively efficient agriculture, extensive road networks, water-supply systems, and shipping routes, decayed substantially, as did artistic and scholarly endeavours. This decline persisted throughout the period of time sometimes called the Dark Ages (also called Late Antiquity or the Early Middle Ages), from the fall of Rome to about the year 1000, with a brief hiatus during the flowering of the Carolingian court established by Charlemagne. Apart from that interlude, no large kingdom or other political structure arose in Europe to provide stability. The only force capable of providing a basis for social unity was the Roman Catholic Church. The Middle Ages therefore present the confusing and often contradictory picture of a society attempting to structure itself politically on a spiritual basis. This attempt came to a definitive end with the rise of artistic, commercial, and other activities anchored firmly in the secular world in the period just preceding the Renaissance.

After the dissolution of the Roman Empire, the idea arose of Europe as one large church-state, called Christendom. Christendom was thought to consist of two distinct groups of functionaries: the sacerdotium, or ecclesiastical hierarchy, and the imperium, or secular leaders. In theory, these two groups complemented each other, attending to people’s spiritual and temporal needs, respectively. Supreme authority was wielded by the pope in the first of these areas and by the emperor in the second. In practice, the two institutions were constantly sparring, disagreeing, or openly warring with each other. The emperors often tried to regulate church activities by claiming the right to appoint church officials and to intervene in doctrinal matters. The church, in turn, not only owned cities and armies but often attempted to regulate affairs of state.
I guess the Muslim Times does not agree with this separation of church and state powers, but this was essential to modern civilization.

Edward Gibbon supposedly wrote the last word on the fall of the Roman Empire, but he was a big Christianity blamer.
Gibbon's work has been criticised for its scathing view of Christianity as laid down in chapters XV and XVI, ... More specifically, the chapters excoriated the church for "supplanting in an unnecessarily destructive way the great culture that preceded it" and for "the outrage of [practicing] religious intolerance and warfare".
It makes no sense to me to blame Christianity for a fall of a civilization, when even Christian society is more civilized than every non-Christian society. Christian culture turned out to be much greater than the Roman culture preceding it, by any measure. If anything, Christendom was too tolerant of Islam, as Islam was an existential threat.

Some people have their gripes about Christendom, and some claim that it had fallen behind the Islamic empire, China, and India during the Dark Age, but it created modern civilization. Christianity promoted individualism, pluralism, rule of law, free will, pursuit of truth, science, and many other essentials. These things took centuries to develop, and they did not all develop elsewhere without Christian influence.

It seems possible to me that the only religious beliefs holding back Europe during the Dark Age were that of Islam. Because of the Islamic empire, Christendom was frequently defending itself against Mohammedan invaders, and losing territory and trade routes.

Maybe someone could have said that Islam was the superior religion in 900 AD, as it was gaining power and territory and Christendom was losing. That would be about like saying in the 1930s that Communism was superior to Capitalism. Maybe it looked that way to a superficial observer. But nobody could say anything so ridiculous now.

Now Moslems are threatening to overrun Europe again. Europe seems to lack the will to defend itself. I wonder if they even realize how Christianity helped get them where they are today.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The censors are the bigots

With colleges and other leftists trying to shut down views that are supposedly offensive, this essay points out who the bigots really are:
That the hounders of Greer can call her a bigot in one breath and then suggest she has no place in the media or polite society in the next suggests they don’t only need a lesson in what freedom of speech means — they also need a dictionary. For bigotry means one pretty simple thing: intolerance of those who think differently to oneself. A bigot is not simply a nasty person, or a racist, or an ‘Islamophobe’, or a really opinionated, obstinate person — it’s a person who is ‘intolerant towards those who hold different opinions’. As the authors of Values, Violence and Our Future put it, ‘What distinguishes bigots is that they are intolerant of [persons] who hold conflicting beliefs or opinions’. This is why ‘intolerance is fundamental to bigotry’.
That's right. When a leftist group tries to suppress a supposed bigot, then the bigots are actually the ones doing the suppressing.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Asking questions as a fit test

Those who study human nature often try to use evolutionary psychology to understand behavior. Evolution teaches Survival of the fittest, so women must somehow assess the fitness of a potential mate. Men are less selective.

So women devise fitness tests for the purposes. Such a test could be called a "fit test", but the more common term is a shit test:
A test that a girl performs on a male by saying or doing something to judge the reaction or response from him.
Men find these tests puzzling because they can flunk a test by correctly answering a question.

Typical scenario: Girl tries to manipulate a boy with some remark or question. Boy appeases girl. Girl decides boy must be weak or low-status if he is so easily manipulated.

I am wondering if the same concept can be applied to political campaigns, and other social issues.

Example: Politician is accused of racism or sexism. He apologizes. Voters decide he is weak for being so easily manipulated.

In this view, maybe there are voters who don't really care if the politician might have made an offensive remark. But they do care whether he can be manipulated by race-baiters or gay-baiters or other liberal thought police, so they are very interested in how he handled the accusation. The voters want the fittest candidate to survive the struggle.

I used to be annoyed when politicians duck a direct question. Now I have reversed my opinion. Some questions serve no useful purpose except to bait the candidate into saying something that can be used by his enemies. The more fit candidate will either smoothly transition to answering a more appropriate question, or directly object to the question.

This partially explains the popularity of Donald J. Trump. Most of the Republican politicians are disgustingly weak, and will cave in to the demands of their enemies if they face a little criticism. They are easily manipulated. We need a President with a backbone.

White Christian Americans are the least racist people on Earth. They are far less racist than blacks, Jews, Moslems, orientals, Hindus, or just about any other group you can name. But liberals are always calling them racists anyway. Why?

I used to think that liberals believed white Christians to be racists. Now I believe that is an error. Evolution teaches that people (and animals and plants) will do whatever works to propagate their kind, without necessarilary any understanding of what they are doing.

Liberals are like women who are unable to directly assess the fitness of others, and must resort to fit tests. So they try to manipulate white Christians by calling them racists. It does not really matter whether the accusation is true or even whether it makes any sense. The important thing is that it is an exercise in manipulation.

Likewise with accusations of misogyny, homophobia, anti-semitism, or other liberal sins. These accusations do not mean anything, except as a means to show weakness.

The big story on colleges today is about students who want protection from possible frightening Halloween costumes. The NY Times reports:
In response, Erika Christakis, a faculty member and an administrator at a student residence, wrote an email to students living in her residence hall on behalf of those she described as “frustrated” by the official advice on Halloween costumes. Students should be able to wear whatever they want, she wrote, even if they end up offending people. ...

Ms. Christakis’s email touched on a long-running debate over the balance between upholding free speech and protecting students from hurt feelings or personal offense. It also provoked a firestorm of condemnation from Yale students, hundreds of whom signed an open letter criticizing her argument that “free speech and the ability to tolerate offence” should take precedence over other considerations. ...

Ms. Christakis’s email also led to at least one heated encounter on campus between her husband, Nicholas Christakis, a faculty member who works in the same residential college, and a large group of students who demanded that he apologize for the beliefs expressed by him and his wife, which they said failed to create a “safe space” for them.

When he was unwilling to do so, the students angrily cursed and yelled at him, according to a video posted to YouTube by a free speech group critical of the debate. On Sunday it had been viewed over 450,000 times.

“You should step down!” one student shouted at Mr. Christakis, while demanding between expletives to know why Yale had hired him in the first place. “It is not about creating an intellectual space! It is not! Do you understand that? It is about creating a home here!”

“You’re supposed to be our advocate!” another student yelled.

“You are a poor steward of this community!” the first student said before turning and walking away. “You should not sleep at night! You are disgusting.”
It is hard to believe that Yale students are this pathetic. If kindergarten kids behaved this way, they would be called crybabies.

Another explanation is that the students know that they are being completely unreasonable, but testing the extent to which they can bully college officials.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

The danger of Leftism to any movement

The Urban Dictionary defines O’Sullivan’s Law
O’Sullivan’s Law states that any organization or enterprise that is not expressly right wing will become left wing over time. The law is named after British journalist John O’Sullivan.

Television shows are the best examples of this. 24, House. Charitable foundations are worse but harder to see.

One of the reasons for this is leftist intolerance versus right-wing tolerance. Right wingers are willing to hire openly left-wing employees in the interest of fairness. Left-wingers, utterly intolerant, will not allow a non-Liberal near them, and will harass them at every opportunity. The result over time is that conservative enterprises are infiltrated by leftists but leftist enterprises remain the same or get worse.

Also, leftism is in and of itself a form of decay. It’s what happens not just to television shows but to nations, churches and universities as the energy given off by the big bang of their inception slowly ebbs away. Rather than expend vitality in originality and creation they become obsessed with introspection, popularity and lethargy. Leftism is entropy of the spirit and intellect.

Another reason is that the parasitic nature of Liberals/Leftists attracts them to existing money.

An enterprise can stave off O'Sullivan's Law if their creators keep it in mind and remain vigilant and truthful.
I doubt that the Unabomber was reading National Review in 1989, but he was concerned in his 1995 manifesto that an anti-technology movement would be taken over by leftists:

213. Because of their need for rebellion and for membership in a movement, leftists or persons of similar psychological type are often unattracted to a rebellious or activist movement whose goals and membership are not initially leftist. The resulting influx of leftish types can easily turn a non-leftist movement into a leftist one, so that leftist goals replace or distort the original goals of the movement.

214. To avoid this, a movement that exalts nature and opposes technology must take a resolutely anti-leftist stance and must avoid all collaboration with leftists. Leftism is in the long run inconsistent with wild nature, with human freedom and with the elimination of modern technology. Leftism is collectivist; it seeks to bind together the entire world (both nature and the human race) into a unified whole. But this implies management of nature and of human life by organized society, and it requires advanced technology. You can't have a united world without rapid transportation and communication, you can't make all people love one another without sophisticated psychological techniques, you can't have a "planned society" without the necessary technological base. Above all, leftism is driven by the need for power, and the leftist seeks power on a collective basis, through identification with a mass movement or an organization. Leftism is unlikely ever to give up technology, because technology is too valuable a source of collective power. ...

219. Leftism is totalitarian force. Wherever leftism is in a position of power it tends to invade every private corner and force every thought into a leftist mold. In part this is because of the quasi-religious character of leftism; everything contrary to leftists beliefs represents Sin. More importantly, leftism is a totalitarian force because of the leftists' drive for power.
One of his concerns was that machines would take over the world. That has been portrayed in science fiction many times, such as in the Terminator movies. I never found those plausible. However, I now think that the Unabomber's scenario is likely:
173. If the machines are permitted to make all their own decisions, we can't make any conjectures as to the results, because it is impossible to guess how such machines might behave. We only point out that the fate of the human race would be at the mercy of the machines. It might be argued that the human race would never be foolish enough to hand over all the power to the machines. But we are suggesting neither that the human race would voluntarily turn power over to the machines nor that the machines would willfully seize power. What we do suggest is that the human race might easily permit itself to drift into a position of such dependence on the machines that it would have no practical choice but to accept all of the machines decisions. As society and the problems that face it become more and more complex and machines become more and more intelligent, people will let machines make more of their decision for them, simply because machine-made decisions will bring better result than man-made ones. Eventually a stage may be reached at which the decisions necessary to keep the system running will be so complex that human beings will be incapable of making them intelligently. At that stage the machines will be in effective control. People won't be able to just turn the machines off, because they will be so dependent on them that turning them off would amount to suicide.
Just look at how people let Google, Apple, and Facebook make decisions for them. People are reduced to clicking "Like" as a meager way of informing the machine of a minor preference, so the machine can make better choices. A few years ago I would not have believed that the people could be so easily enslaved.

Monday, November 02, 2015

E-signatures are taken less seriously

The function of signatures in business transactions is widely misunderstood, even by social science experts.

If you are using a signature to get into a bank safe deposit box, the bank compares it to the signature on file, and requires a match. But when you sign for a bank credit card purchase, no one compares, and you can write a smiley face or anything else. That is because the signature is only ever used to convince you that you made the purchase, in case you forget. So a distinctive smiley face is as good as a literal signature.

Many web sites ask you to check a box or something similar to indicate a signature, and that can be legally binding, but it does not produce an image that will convince either you or the bank.

An NPR radio story reports:
INSKEEP: And you can think of that moment when you sign something, if it's a mortgage or a car loan, something like that, it feels like a very formal moment. But are you suggesting here that it's different if you're doing an e-signature of some kind?

VEDANTAM: That's exactly what Chou is finding, Steve. She conducted a series of experiments where volunteers used different signatures. So Chou had them, for example, solve puzzles and anagrams and report whether they succeeded or failed. Or she had them flip coins and report what happened so that they could win a reward if the coins came down a certain way. Or she gave them a job and she said, report how much time you spent working on the job so I can compensate you for the amount of time you've spent. In each case, volunteers had to sign saying they had provided accurate information. But some signatures were in handwriting, whereas others were e-signatures. And systematically, Chou finds that volunteers are more likely to cheat - to report they've solved more anagrams, worked longer, gotten luckier with the coins - when they used e-signatures rather than handwritten signatures.

CHOU: While these signatures are objectively the same, they do not carry the same psychological and the symbolic weight.

INSKEEP: Why not?

VEDANTAM: Well, Chou thinks that when we use an e-signature, it allows us to psychologically distance ourselves from the promise that a signature is supposed to imply. So when she allows volunteers to submit a computer-generated code, for example, rather than a signature, cheating goes up even further. When you handwrite a signature in this highly personalized form that you've created, you're putting yourself, literally, on the line.

INSKEEP: Wow, so this causes me to think about e-signatures in a totally different way. You worry about e-signatures, that someone could fraudulently create your signature. But actually, the fraud you need to worry about is in your own head.
No, the e-signature is not objectively the same. It does not perform either of the two functions listed above, and it should be no surprise that people take it less seriously. These researchers and reporters are morons.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Pooh Bear crib comforts for college students

From a conversation in Psychology Today magazine:
JH: Western society has transitioned from an honor culture to a dignity culture and now is shifting into a culture of victimhood. In the culture of honor, each person has to earn honor and, unable to tolerate a slight, takes action himself. The big advance in Western society was to let the law handle serious offenses and ignore the inevitable minor ones — what sociologists call the culture of dignity, which reigned in the 20th century. It allows diversity to flourish because different people can live near each other without killing each other. The past 20-30 years, however, has seen the rise of a victimhood culture, where you're hypersensitive to slights as in the honor culture, but you never take care of it yourself. You always appeal to a third party to punish for you. And here's the big concept — you become morally dependent. Young people are becoming morally dependent; they are also less able to solve problems on their own. An adult has always been there somewhere to protect them or punish for them. This attitude does not begin in college. Students have been raised to be morally dependent.

HEM: The shocking part is that colleges are abetting the infantilization of students. For example, they sponsor “puppy days” so that students can pet dogs to relieve the — oh horrors! — stress of exams. It sounds so innocuous but providing such Pooh Bear crib comforts is flat-out capitulation to weakness.
I am thinking about making a list of the microaggressions that I would complain about, if I believed in that sort of thing. It is hard to go anywhere with insults against whites, Christians, fathers, scientists, wealth, Western civilization, freedom, productivity, etc.
JH: Moral judgment is not about finding the truth; it is more about broadcasting the kind of person you are to people that you want to like you. You might call it moral posturing. Getting angry about microaggressions shows that you are championing victims. In a victimhood subculture, the only way to achieve status is to either be a victim or defend victims. It’s enfeebling. When victimhood becomes your identity you will be weak for the rest of your life. Marty Seligman has been talking about this for decades. This is a good way to make people learn helplessness.
I get the impression that J. Haidt is getting disgusted about his fellow academic leftists. Yes, they are always moral posturing about being a victim.

Here is more detail from Haidt. See also my comments here.