Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science

This article is very interesting, not least of all for the way that the author's own biases and motivated-reasoning shine through. What is most obvious after reading it is that he's a typical leftist, but one who doesn't fall for the nonsense about vaccines causing autism.

He affixes the label of "science" to those ideas that he subscribes to. In some cases this is accurate, but in many others it is wishful thinking on his part. It is, as he himself says in the article, a case of science being "whatever (he) wanted it to be."

There are some truths in this world that can be discovered. Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The speed of light is a constant independent of viewpoint. But then there are other things that aren't so easy to figure out, and not all of our (honest) attempts at doing so can be called science.

The reason is that science is not just a bunch of people with degrees getting together and agreeing on something they think sounds nifty. Science is a process, whereby possible explanations for observed phenomena, known as hypotheses, are mercilessly and repeatedly tested with an eye towards proving them false. Ideas that repeatedly withstand our efforts to falsify them, eventually become scientific theories, especially if they correctly predict future phenomena before those phenomena are observed. But these theories, far from being the final word on something, are merely a best guess, a provisional answer, always subject to amendment and potential falsification.

The reason this is important is that ideas that cannot be tested and potentially falsified have no place in science. These ideas may be interesting, and they may even be true. But without a way to test them in such a way that they can be falsified, they have no value as scientific explanations. Science isn't based on verifying ideas as true, but on finding ideas that resist all our efforts to prove them false.

Much of what the author casually refers to as science isn't science. If it can't be tested and falsified, it isn't science. But then this isn't surprising since much of what many people call science isn't science. Entire fields get called sciences that really don't deserve that distinction precisely because their research findings cannot be falsified. This is especially troubling for fields that tend to be ideologically partisan in one way or another. Peer review breaks down when everyone in the peerage is motivated for the answers to come out in a certain way. This effect is limited in the hard sciences. No matter what you do, you can't make water at sea level boil at 50 celsius. But for fields like sociology, groupthink can consistently produce extremely questionable results.

But even so, there is something of value to be learned from this article. Once you put aside the obvious biases of the author, the fundamental truth remains that we do not truly see the world as it is, we see the world as we are.

Obama, the misunderstood genius?

Is Obama too smart for his own good?

Even the smartest person in the world will be hobbled when the information and ideas they are attempting to work with are false. Obama isn't stupid, but he is a leftist. He believes in things that aren't true. These false beliefs inspire him to make decisions that, like virtually all other leftism derived choices, lead to poor outcomes.

These three academics, almost certainly leftists themselves, display one of the most common traits found among leftists: the desire to force reality to conform to what they want to believe instead of the other way around. They have these ideas you see, and they think these ideas are just SO wonderful that there MUST be SOME way to make them come true. Reality says otherwise, but they're not listening. Most of them will go to their graves wishing and hoping and believing that their wonderful notions could somehow be made real if the "right" people were in charge, or if people weren't so stupid, or any number of other excuses and justifications for why the world isn't how they think it should be. The whole "Obama is just too smart" idea is just another rationalization, and from people who should, if their training in psychology and behavior means anything at all, know better.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Who needs moonies when you've got birthers?

CNN investigation: Obama 'birther' claims have no merit

He was born in Hawaii people, get over it. Birthers are the political equivalent of creationists. Conspiracy theory nutters whose incessant wishcasting is a harmful distraction that gives ammo to those who want to portray conservatives and libertarians as ignorant and superstitious buffoons. Instead of pretending he is from Gondwanaland, how about focusing on his ideological beliefs and the destructive policies they inspire?

I'm getting a bit sick and tired of having to make excuses on this issue for people who are old enough and smart enough to know better.

In fact, I have a new policy that I intend to follow: NO MORE CRAZY.

No more crazy bullshit. No more making nice with people whose nonsense is making me look bad because I get associated with them. No more giving people the benefit of the doubt when they say something ridiculous. No more attempting to reason with people who are seemingly incapable of logical thought and every bit as emotionally attached to ridiculous ideas and conclusions as any incurable leftist.

There are some conservatives whose conservative nature didn't come from careful contemplation, but because someone spoon fed them (mostly right) answers when they were little. And while they are able to regurgitate those mostly right answers on a regular basis, they remain as incapable of finding the truth for themselves today as they were back then, leaving them vulnerable to manipulation by cranks and nutters.

It is a dark sign that this kind of nonsense has gotten this much traction. What use is a conservative/libertarian resurgence when irrational fantasies of Obama being born in some faraway land are the what it gets spent to promote?

Hawaii says he was born there. That means, short of real evidence that there has been some sort of fraud, that HE WAS FUCKING BORN THERE.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The language police are at it again.

Obama Asks High Court to Let Regulators Crack Down on F-Bombs

Obama is pandering to the plurality of people in this country who suffer from the neurotic fear of arbitrary words. He does this because he is a politician. A Republican in his shoes would do the very same thing. If he does not make at least a nominal effort to chase after those who utter "dirty words" on TV, his challengers in the next election will call him to task for it and pretend that he is "anti-family" or some other such nonsense intended to manipulate the nitwits who live in fear of the Anglo Saxon root of the English language.

To illustrate the arbitrary nature of obscenity, in Paris the term "tabernac" is used as an expletive. What does tabernac mean in French? It refers to a tabernacle. Yes, that's right, as in church. And there, just as here, there are nitwits who will get their panties in a twist if they hear the word, especially if kids are in earshot.

I guess it really is true that hell is other people.

A follow up....

This is a follow up to my last post, also posted as a response to this article:

What made you a conservative?

I mentioned in a previous posting that I self-identified as a "liberal" when I was a teenager, in large part because I had no idea that the term itself had been corrupted by Marxists and their fellow travellers. I thought a liberal, no joke, was someone like Thomas Jefferson. In truth someone like him IS what the term originally referred to. It wasn't until I was in my early 20's that I started to realize that the people who called themselves "liberals" had nothing to do with my understanding of the term, and could in fact be more accurately described as ANTI liberal.

Something else that I was confused about as a youngster was the political philosophy behind people like hippies. I was born in 1972, and lived in a socially conservative upper middle class suburb of Nashville and in an equally well to do area in northern Virginia, so actual hippies were not something I ever saw, at least not in their 60's regalia. But I did get to hear near-historical descriptions of the cover stories and propaganda that they created to describe their ideas. Based on this, and without knowing anything, I assumed that their philosophy was libertarian in nature. I know that sounds absurd today, but that is because we are wise not only to their lies, but the way that they twist language to promote those lies.

This goes back to something I mentioned before but didn't fully explain. There are many people who think they are leftists, but really aren't. They are "leftists" by default because that is what they have been spoon fed. The euphemistic language that the left uses to promote its nonsense can, when you don't know what they are REALLY saying, be interpreted in a completely innocuous way. The left uses terms to refer to the antonym of what that term actually means, with "liberal" being the most obvious example. This is a key part of their deception and why their lies are so insidious. Someone, particularly a young person, who is unfamiliar with the twisted meanings the left dishonestly imbues into words, can parrot their nonsense and think that they are saying something VERY different from what cognizant leftists actually mean when they says those things. The left hides its lies by lying about the meanings of the words it uses. This allows them to say one thing and really mean another. Of course people do get wise to their deception, at which point they choose NEW words to lie about, and attempt to re-invent themselves as something else. A perpetually emerging "New Left" will claim to believe in different ideas than their predecessors, when in fact Marxism is what ALL of them have always believed in and always will, they just abuse different parts of the dictionary to hide that fact.

This is why so many young people seem to be leftists. It isn't that they're actually leftists in terms of their character, but that they haven't lived and experienced enough to realize the way that leftists abuse language itself to tell their lies.

It isn't that people tend to become more "conservative" as they grow older, but that they realize that the things they have always known and understood in their heart are more accurately described as conservative or libertarian."

A response to a question on Ace of Spaces

What made you a conservative?

I've never been a leftist, at least not really. Oh, when I was a teenager and didn't know ANYTHING about politics I used to call myself a liberal. Why? Because at that time I thought the word referred to someone like Thomas Jefferson, not Karl Marx. Like I said, I didn't know anything about politics, or at least not contemporary politics, only historical politics.

I was exposed to quite a bit of MTV which had an awful lot of leftist nonsense baked right into it. But rather than swallow the nonsense whole and be corrupted by it, I worked to try and fit it into what I understood to be reality, not realizing that the people on TV weren't just wrong, but were deliberately lying. When we are young we don't see the world as it is, but as WE are, and what I perceived in the leftist nonsense on MTV and from other sources was not the message they were trying to trick me into believing, but a reflection of myself and my own innate values, which are not those of the left.

I think that there are a lot of people who are leftists by default simply because they live in a microcosm where leftist nonsense is so pervasive that it is all they know. Since these people are not leftists by nature, I suspect that the leftist nonsense they have been steeped in is something they're trying to make sense of in much the same way I did. A lot of them go around using the preferred terminology of the left, but meaning something quite different when they do.

The reason is that the left works to corrupt language. They don't just use words to lie, they lie about the words they use to lie. Lies within lies using terms that are themselves dishonestly re-defined in order to sow confusion. They do this in order to cover up their evil intentions and to trick people into agreeing to things without understanding what it is they're signing off on.

The term "liberal" itself is the perfect example of this. Once upon a time that term referred to someone who might now be called a libertarian. But the left began using it to refer to their Marxist nonsense to the point that its true original meaning was all but lost. Only when we use the word in a compound term like Liberal Democracy is its original sense still used.

Another example is the word "equality." The left loves to toss this one around, almost as much as they do "justice." A normal person would interpret this words as a reference to a person's civil and political rights: freedom of speech, the 5th amendment, etc, etc, all of which are fundamental rights that can be guaranteed to all. But that isn't what a leftist means. When a leftist talks about "equality," they're imagining a world where failure is to be somehow magically prevented, and success punished, despite the fact that success and failure are almost always a manifestation of the character and abilities of the person in question. People who make wise choices get what they want from life to make them happy. People who make foolish choices don't. Rinse and repeat over hundreds of thousands of individual choices by millions of individuals and you soon wind up with a normal distribution. This outcome is inevitable because people are different from each other and some people make better choices than others. Nothing can be done about this. To try is foolish and ultimately destructive.

But leftists want to pretend that this is the result of systematic oppression or a conspiracy theory of some kind, which is pure insanity.

This is just one example of course, there are countless more that can be made.

My conclusion about the true-believing leftists, the Noam Chomsky set, is that they are either evil or crazy. They're smart enough to know that what they are promoting is both untrue and inherently harmful, but they do it anyway. Only someone who is malicious or insane would do that.

Does that mean that "conservatives" are angels? Certainly not. But the flaws and faults to be found in conservative ideas are of the sort that are normal when people of limited wisdom attempt to make sense of things. We have imperfect ideas because we are imperfect beings. But unlike the vile totalitarian notions that the left subscribes to, our ideas are an honest attempt to know and live with the truth.

But to answer the original question, if you want to understand the left from the standpoint of someone who got off the crazy train, read Radical Son by David Horowitz, a recovered red diaper baby whose parents were low-level Soviet operatives and committed Marxists. He grew up and became a somewhat well known member of the "New Left" Marxists back in the 60's. But as time went by, his own experiences in life eventually overwhelmed his indoctrination and he the scales fell from his eyes. Today he's a well-known conservative pundit.

He grew up with the crazy in its purest form, tried to make sense of it, tried to make it work and to conform with reality, and eventually gave up because it just doesn't. 2+2 does not equal 5 and never will. A less honest person might not have done so well.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Richard Epstein knocks another one out of the park

There is absolutely nothing I could possibly add to this article that would improve or clarify its content.

Richard Epstein is the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at Hoover. He is also the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at New York University. His areas of expertise include constitutional law, intellectual property, and property rights. His most recent books are The Case Against the Employee Free Choice Act (Hoover Press, 2009) and Supreme Neglect: How to Revive the Constitutional Protection for Private Property (Oxford Press, 2008).

Monday, April 18, 2011

Stuck on stupid

Another post from a Marxist who just doesn't get it.

An enlightened ruling class?

Ruling class....

That term right there is where his entire argument falls to pieces. The ruling class in America is and always has been the middle class, and even then only in the sense that it is we who define the morality of our nation, we who have the most say in the nature of the LAWS that govern our nation.

From there his argument goes even further afield from reality. He talks about prosperity broadly shared. Well I think that is a great idea. To achieve this, how about we set up a free market economy with low barriers to entry in the context of a politically stable nation? What...? We already have that, and it's working?

Yet again we have someone who believes the concept of human rights in terms of freedom from something. Freedom from poverty, from hunger, from cold, etc, etc, etc. Such human rights are a fallacy because they cannot be achieved for those who will not achieve them for themselves without violating the rights of others. The only rights that can be freely given to any person are those rights which do not compromise the rights of others. When a right has a price tag attached to it, a resource requirement, then someone has to pay that bill, and forcing someone else to bear that burden is a violation of their rights. Socialism is involuntary servitude, slavery, and is morally reprehensible in addition to being a direct violation of the 13th amendment.

This guy is just another indoctrinated Marxist whose ideas about sociology and economics have about as much validity as phrenology does for the fields of psychology and criminology.

Marxism is a pass/fail IQ test and this guy is stuck on stupid.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Obama isn't the disease, but the symptom

Let's Get Alinsky on Obama With Respect to Third World

It isn't just Obama.

It isn't just Reid or Pelosi or any of the other poster-leftists.

It is the millions of Americans who have been fooled into believing the deceptions of the left, or who are part and parcel of that deception themselves. In other words, the people who voted for him and others of his ilk and who agree with their policies.

Our nation is afflicted not merely with a bad president or some bad politicians, but with millions of men and women who are consumed by EVIL.

There is a book by M. Scott Peck called People of the Lie that describes this quite well. He doesn't talk about leftists in the book per-se, or politics for that matter, but his description of human evil fits them so well it is spooky:

1. The evil hide their motives with lies.

Bad people with bad ideas hiding behind screens of continuous deception are precisely what the left is.

2. Evil people want to appear to be good.

I don't even have to comment on that one....

3. When confronted by evil, the wisest and most secure adult will usually experience confusion.

This is why leftists are so hard to figure out. Trying to deal with them is an exercise in frustration and futility. Offer them something that is objectively good, that helps to achieve their STATED aims, and they'll reject it. Offer it enough and point out all the reasons it is good and they'll attack you and call you names. Only when you realize that their stated aims are the opposite of their actual agenda do their actions begin to make sense.

4. Evil seeks to discourage others to think for themselves (fosters dependency).

This is the one that I think is most telling. It is possible to believe that other things the left does are good, or at least intended to be good. A non-leftist could look at the left and assume that they are trying to do good, could be fooled by them. But what they work to do that cannot be construed as positive or well intentioned are their efforts to trap people in poverty and make them dependent upon the state. Next comes their creation of imaginary thought-crimes and speech-crimes in the form of Political Correctness. The truth isn't afraid of dissent, only people who peddle lies.

So instead of looking to Obama as the problem, look at him and understand that he's merely the symptom and that the real culprits are other Americans who work each day to destroy our nation and darken our futures.

5. To oppose evil we must have an ongoing dedication to reality at all cost.

Not all leftists are bad on an individual level. Many are merely hoodwinked. They believe they are good people doing good things, not understanding that their entire worldview is essentially a destructive lie. They can be helped. They can be persuaded. They can be rescued. Other people, your Noam Chomsky types, the people who craft the lies of the left themselves, cannot be helped but must be fought and resisted at every turn.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Heinlein quote for today

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. -- Robert A Heinlein

A thought for today

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." - John Stuart Mill

The blame game - round 9,533,783

The only thing worse than a Republican is a Democrat. Neither can be solely blamed for the mess we are in because BOTH parties engaged in breakneck deficit spending over multiple decades. In terms of fiscal issues, the only thing that really distinguishes them is a relatively small difference in the RATE they spent at. That each party sought to spend on different things for different reasons is kind of irrelevant because neither had any workable idea about how their schemes would ultimately be paid for.

The truth is that BOTH political parties, as they currently exist, are the enemies not only of the young, but of the nation as a whole. The current Republican party TALKS a better game than the Dems (whose feverish notions can best be described as Mansonesque), but when push came to shove they failed to reduce spending.

Without a constitutional requirement for a balanced budget this will simply continue. Our political parties are not comprised of aliens from another world, but are representative slices of factions within our own nation. They are us. We are the ones who created this mess by refusing to hold our elected officials accountable for the money they were spending.

When the government spends more money than the public has paid in taxes, everyone loses. Borrowing against the future guarantees a future of POVERTY as the wealth of the nation is confiscated to pay off debts created in the past.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ninth circuit rules against the rule of law itself

Ninth Circuit upholds invalidation of Arizona's SB1070

So in other words the ninth circuit has ruled to overturn RULE OF LAW itself.

Welcome to the 21st century, where laws, as the stated policies of the state, no longer define the actual policies of the state. Rule of law has been replaced by rule of men.

When a government does not even follow its own rules, then why should I? The legitimacy of law comes from its nature as a law, a written standard that applies to everyone equally, including those in positions of power. Sentator so and so doesn't get to ignore the law. Officer so and so doesn't get to ignore it. Neither do their friends, relatives, or political cronies.

In all seriousness, this is what illegitimacy in government looks like. People vote for one thing, or vote to elect legislators who pass a law that requires one thing, and individuals within the government implement policies that contradict it. Now they've dropped all pretence by attempting to coerce the governments at the state level into accepting their illegal and contradictory policies in preference over that written law.

To say that this is unconstitutional doesn't even come close to describing how heinous it is. Unconstitutional laws passed by congress are still laws passed by congress. There is still some weight of law behind them, even if they are ultimately found to be constitutionally invalid. In this new paradigm there is no weight of law, nothing more than the whims of bureaucrats and apparatchiks. Written law ceases to have any meaning except perhaps as a vehicle for grandstanding and pandering by politicians.

When the will of the people is thwarted by the will of government agents, that is tyranny.