Monday, May 10, 2010

The Last Resort

Putting together an omnibus post on the political spectrum to serve as my rant for a while. Then I am going to dive back into fiction. I have one new concept and the Socrates code project that have long term potential. If I spend my time screaming at the corporatists to get off my lawn and shaking my fist it eats up too much of my energy. I will continue to throw the occasional metaphorical brick but this is my parting shot for a while.
I have given my view on theism. I have distilled my view down as simply as my limited language skills allow. Belief in that for which there is no evidence is destructive in all of the forms it takes. This includes pseudo science as well as religion. There are lots of implications from the mathematics of quantum mechanics. One gets many worlds and string theories with 11 dimensions or is it 13. In the hands of well grounded theorists these ideas lead to things like quantum computers and the discovery of dark energy and all kinds of cool things that may or may not pan out in their exact format but that does not excuse the charlatan that hides in the ambiguities. The existence of “Entanglement” does not mean we are all part of a spiritual realm. We all exist as conscious entities and that consciousness is a function of a physical brain conducting chemical processes. In all of the work we have done studying the brain we have seen no evidence for a soul that exists beyond the life of the functioning brain. When you have something get back to us.
Being a rational human requires one to come to grips with the fact that some questions have no answer. That does not mean that anything you make up is possible. We will not be able to tell folks with absolute certainty how the chemical soup that was available to the primordial environment turned into life. That data is simply unavailable. Plate tectonics has recycled that data beyond retrieval. That does not alter the fact that Humans evolved from earlier species through the process broadly known as natural selection. I prefer the term descent with modification as it does less to imply purpose than the other. There is no reasonable, and by that I mean fitting with basic physics, theory for the existence of the universe that requires any god.
By definition the universe formed from a singularity in big bang theory. There for we will never be able to know what happened before that event. We may some day figure out the most likely precursors to life and recreate it from scratch in an update of the Miller experiment. We may even have the opportunity to observe a planet while it is evolving new life over a few million years on another world. We could turn out to be wrong about the singularity and find out something from before the beginning it is just that those chances are infinitesimally small. At a very minimum the idea that there exists an intercessional god is beyond ludicrous as portrayed in any of the sacred texts that reveal all to the snake oil salesman.
As thinking creatures we have the ability to create meaning even if is an artificial construct. I broke my rule in the middle of thinking about this piece and have begun to ramble. As long as your construct allows for others to pursue their construct fine. By definition the dogmatic faiths cannot do this. The word has been revealed and you must remain ignorant of all future developments to remain true to the faith. To Admit that the ravings in Leviticus are not valid is to admit it is all invalid. Either it is all the word of god or none of it is. If you refuse to show us the gold plates or accept the results when your shroud is proven false beyond all reasonable doubt then I say fuck you and your ignorance. I have no time to waste on your ignorant superstition. I will ridicule it at will but not one second of deference or respect. There isn’t anything else I can do but beat the dead idiot and there are already folks making a living at that task.
The course politically is set for the next cycle so I am not going to expend any more efforts in that direction. The centrist has sold us out to oil and pharma interests. The climate bill will be inadequate, the energy bill will include off shore drilling and nuclear energy both disasters. The drift toward a police state will continue as this group is now trying to eliminate rights for citizens while continuing to show contempt for human life around the globe. I won’t vote republican and see little point in continuing to support the rush to compromise of principles that is this failed system. There will be a slaughter in November and then we will get nothing but screwed until 2012 when the right wing will take power once again. This was the best shot at some actual progressive changes to government for the 8 year cycle with the utter destruction of everything the right had been saying and the gutless piece of god wad that won sold us out. I see no point in continuing to point out the obvious for the next two years. It will just serve to make me appear shrill.
Enjoy the break.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Civilized societies do not

This kind of thing makes my head want to explode. While perusing the twitter PZ Meyers tweeted this little gem .
The American Association of Pediatrics is proposing that we tolerate the genital mutilation of young girls to satisfy the perverse desires of the Islamic cultists. Just a little nip to screw up your sexual identity is a small price to pay to make daddy's imaginary Friend happy. It is bad enough that we allow the baby boys to be ritually molested now we are going to extend the barbaric practice to little girls. Sort of a perverse gender equality from the Imaginary Friend set.
I invite you all to try this thought experiment. Some meth addict invites all his friends over to the trailer for a party. He brings out his baby and lets a stranger feel the child’s genitals while his friends get drunk and watch. At a minimum we would remove the child if we couldn’t lock the father up and throw away the key. Why when we add in an imaginary friend from a bronze age myth does it become acceptable. Both things are done at the expense of the child for the gratification of the adults. I know I shouldn’t equate meth addicts with child molesters as they are poisoning their brains with lithium from batteries and are in need of treatment. But like Matthew McConaughey in, "A Time to Kill" I am using a blunt instrument because for some reason too many educated people just don’t seem to get it.
Here in The US we have so far not allowed the practice of Female circumcision/ genital mutilation to take hold. Any attempt to legitimize this abuse must be denounced and the despicable attempt to stigmatize sexuality repudiated. Civilized societies do not allow the abuse of the defenseless.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

If you build it

If you build it, it will break. Get used to it there is nothing ever built with a 100% success rate. Even NASA with all of their technical expertise has about a 2% death rate per astronaut flight and those failures have been spectacular. When president Obama was speaking on April 2nd as he was signing on to the drill baby drill mantra and opening up the east coast to off shore drilling he claimed that oil wells don’t leak. He claimed that the leaks in the Gulf of Mexico after every hurricane are from refineries not from wells.
Here is a transcript link,I am looking for the video they used but it is not up on the ABC site yet.
I will put my plug in here for the disqualifying defect of being under the God Delusion. If you believe in that for which there is no evidence, if you conduct conversations with your imaginary friend and think that he is going to act in some way you are unfit to make any decisions for anyone other than yourself.
Faith as a virtue is a destructive meme. It results in the best case scenario being adopted by the risk management folks as the worst case scenario. I cannot speak for other nations but the American Exceptionalism that is hammered into children in the US with a religious fervor doesn’t help. Manifest destiny is a myth used to justify genocide. There is at present a horrible example of this being sold to a whole new generation on the history channel as slavery was just an unfortunate externality of the booming cotton trade that American ingenuity created with the cotton gin. It wasn’t desperate people fleeing exhausted farm land that came west but adventure seeking entrepreneurs. They completely ignore the propaganda that was spread to get folks to go just as they ignore the fraud conducted by everyone of their business people talking heads. Why am I surprised that the network that has the “The Nostradumbass Effect,” as a serious program gives a crap about reality. They are selling a narrative that has always been a lie from the time they said George could never tell one.
Back to my point and I do have one, there are no failure proof systems. When some one tells you that their widget can’t break they are lying. When the President goes in front of the cameras as he did on April 2nd 2010 and tells you that oil wells never leak anymore in hurricanes he is lying his ass off. Just another in the long list of acts that put him up there with the worst presidents in my lifetime. (Bush, Nixon, Reagan) the order is determined by the number of innocent people they murdered in unjust wars. Saint Ron the traitor had a much larger negative effect than the others as his “gospel of government bad” is still propelling the ignorance of sister Sarah on us today.
Escalating unjust wars
Spying on citizens without warrants and ordering their murder without due process. Murdering civilians with drone strikes in violation of law without a declaration of war. Then having the poor taste to joke about it.
Failing to prosecute torture and crimes against humanity. Continuing to commit said torture and crimes against humanity at military installations around the world.
This is not the change I voted for.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May Day Labor Day and Disasters.

Watching Bill Moyer’s last dance tonight and I have to say it aggravated me no end. Phony folksy types like Hightower make me want to puke with their false equivalences and their total silence when their true friends the Republicans are in power. These farmers screaming about bank bailouts while any attempt to cut their welfare subsidies is met with shrieks about the family farm. Ethanol is an economic disaster and is awful for the environment. It requires more energy to produce than you get out of it so it makes no sense but because the family farm is some how sacred we piss away tons of money on it. The reason for this waste is the archaic political system that was created to perpetuate slavery and has succeeded for 230 years. You have no right to cry about fair market prices when you demand a huge subsidy. They simply do not understand that the capitalism they are nostalgic for never existed. They are as delusional as their tea bagging counterparts on the farther right. And make no mistake their positions are right wing in nature. They want the other guy regulated but pay a minimum wage like any other business? No they are special and living wages are for land owners not migrant workers. There was something special that led their ancestors to come to America for a better life but now we have all these illegal aliens running around. The solution is not to scream in impotent rage at the bankers greed while resisting fundamental reform. The rich getting everything they can is capitalism. Read their bible, Atlas Shrugged. That is the system Europeans have been fighting since the day they stole the place from the folks that came here from Asia. These are the same populists that elected Raygun because he made them feel good about America by tearing the Solar panels off the White House. The fact that he was looting the treasury with his defense contractor masters was not important. It was just another pesky fact that the folks in flyover country want no part of. It is God and country with those folks and when their Saint Ron broke the unions they cheered. They believe teacher’s unions are the problem with education just as they believe Jesus loves them. They can produce no evidence of either but they know it to be true. Now that they are on the same side unions are now A OK.
It is very hard for me to get behind a group that feels a living wage isn’t their responsibility as an employer. The populist notion that we are all in this together is not compatible with capitalism. They are not wrong when they rail at the bankers, the financialization of America has been a disaster for all but the very few at the very top. The idea was that we would pass free trade agreements that let capital flee to the lowest least regulated areas. This has had a huge redistribution effect and raised about a billion people out of abject poverty. The fallacy was that higher productivity of an educated work force would compete for the more sophisticated jobs and higher productivity would keep the country competitive. This has proved to be a myth much like the rational market. The hot flat and crowded retread of Malthus set was partly correct in that American workers are now competing against children in China.
The reason I despair is that we never seem to learn anything. In the late 1960’s off the California coast they were using all the latest technology to safely drill for oil. They screwed up and devastated the coast around Santa Barbra. We decided that the small amount of energy to be extracted was not worth the economic loss of the spill. Fast forward fifty years and We are again told that it is safe to drill and we again find that they were not telling the truth and the Gulf Coast will now be devastated and the economic losses will be massive. The problem is that there is no one speaking for the other side.