Attorneys General Embrace Lysenkosim With Gusto: Why Now?

Note carefully what these politicians are protecting.
Note carefully what these politicians are protecting.

What took ’em so long? Put it another way. Given the manifest benefits of defining scientific “truth” by State fiat, why did government take so long in making Lysenkoism official policy?

Could it be that politicians aren’t that bright?

They’re bright enough, of course. They understand power, they know people, they can read a mood. But after years of addling their minds with modern law it’s doubtful even one out of five hundred could, say, define protein chirality, vorticity, or magnetic field lines, to stick solely with screwy objects.

Still, the theory of political dimwittedness, though tempting, doesn’t explain all the facts. Scientific illiteracy is an expected characteristic of politicians in late-stage democracies. But with the explosion of scientific knowledge, and its increasing specializations, all of us are in some sense illiterate. Is it therefore reasonable to require public servants to understand the complexities of e.g. the Coriolis force?

We’re missing something: let’s look deeper.

Here’s the headline “[Attorneys General] Announce Effort to Combat Climate Change.” Details:

The participating states are exploring working together on key climate change-related initiatives, such as ongoing and potential investigations into whether fossil fuel companies misled investors and the public on the impact of climate change on their businesses.

Reflect: whether fossil fuel companies misled…the public on the impact of climate change…

One can only mislead if there is an accepted truth. The government is saying it knows and defines what this truth is. Since the government is demonstrably wrong about this claim, and since the definition of Lysenkoism is a government mandating (and punishing departures from the mandate of) a fiction, error, or demonstrably wrong claim, these acts of the Attorneys General are Lysenkoism.

So much is obvious. But there are no surprises or clues in this or other passages in the article about why it took until now for the government to come to Lysenkoism. There is plenty of blunt, idiotic propaganda in the article. For instance, the Attorney General of Maryland said, “Climate changes poses an existential threat to Maryland and to the nation. I am proud to join with my colleagues across the country in this important collaboration…” Yet this is so asinine that it wouldn’t fool a New York Times reporter; the quote is so banal it could have been generated by computer algorithm.

The old standbys of greed, lust for power, and just-following-orders surely play a part in the explanation of why now (they fully explain the just-plain why). But because they are old standbys they are only necessary but far from sufficient conditions. Turpitude is ever with us.

I don’t want to entirely abandon the ignorance theory. Surely some of these politicians are ignorant, but it stretches the imagination to suppose that all are. Rising to this lofty level in the service of the Empire requires, for most, true intelligence. It may also be that some of these public servants believe what they’re saying, but again, after some forty years of observational evidence, it is preposterous to suppose all are True Believers.

This implies most are lying, but like greed etc., while mendacity explains the why, it does not explain the why now.

Full-blown Lysenkoism isn’t so easy to achieve, especially in an age where scientific knowledge can be had cheaply, as it were. The rival to the official government theory of global-warming-of-doom is well known. Yet the government still feels confident enough to ignore it, and those who hold it. Why?

The election plays in the now. Time is running out, and the government has at least a reasonable chance of switching official views on environmental questions. The AGs probably reason that if they put the squeeze on now they can win at least some victories, and if the government changes they won’t have lost much by trying. Then the government might not change, and so now is a good time because now is at the (new) beginning. Being first counts. The squeezees also know these facts, so it’s a good bet they go for the delay until November.

If it were only the election, then this matter is politics as usual. Yet it’s difficult to escape the foreboding that this is something new, that we have entered a different regime. This is certainly the boldest science fiction the government has embraced. It’s therefore rational to predict that this won’t be the last foray, that the government will move into new areas. What these will be depends on who the new president will be, but it’s worth making some guesses. Yours?

Summary Against Modern Thought: God’s Acts Aren’t Necessary

This may be proved in three ways. The first...
This may be proved in three ways. The first…
See the first post in this series for an explanation and guide of our tour of Summa Contra Gentiles. All posts are under the category SAMT.

Previous post.

Series was interrupted by Easter last week. We’re back on track now. Don’t forget to review!

Chapter 23 That God does not act of natural necessity (alternate translation)

[1] FROM this it may be proved that God acts among creatures not by necessity of His nature, but by the judgment of His will.

[2] For the power of every agent that acts of natural necessity is confined to one effect. The consequence is that all natural things always happen in the same way, unless there be an obstacle; whereas voluntary things do not. Now the divine power is not directed to only one effect, as we have proved above. Therefore God acts, not of natural necessity, but by His will.

Notes Think of a machine which goes bing! when you press the red button. The machine does so because it has no “choice.” It is made to go bing! and go bing! it does when the premises (pressing the red button, the innards in some state) are fixed. It goes bing! “unless there be an obstacle” like, say, a short in the wiring. The person pressing the button can choose not to, though.

[3] Again. Whatever implies no contradiction, is subject to the divine power, as we have proved. Now many things are not among those created, which nevertheless, if they were, would not imply a contradiction: as is evident chiefly with regard to number, the quantities and distances of the stars and other bodies, wherein if the order of things were different, no contradiction would be implied. Wherefore many things are subject to the divine power that are not found to exist actually. Now whoever does some of the things that he can do, and does not others, acts by choice of his will and not by necessity of his nature. Therefore God acts not of natural necessity but by His will.

Notes Recall “Whatever implies no contradiction, is subject to the divine power” means even God cannot do what is impossible. The rest of this little proof is lovely and simple.

[4] Again. Every agent acts according as the likeness of its effect is in it: for every agent produces its like. Now whatever is in something else, is in it according to the mode of the thing in which it is. Since, then, God is intelligent by His essence, as we have proved, it follows that the likeness of His effect is in Him in an intelligible way. Therefore He acts by His intellect. Now the intellect does not produce an effect except by means of the will, the object whereof is a good understood, which moves the agent as his end. Therefore God works by His will, and not by a necessity of His nature…

[6] Further. That God works for an end can be evident from the fact that the universe is not the result of chance, but is directed to a good, as stated by the Philosopher (11 Metaph.). Now the first agent for an end must be an agent by intellect and will: because things devoid of intellect, work for an end as directed to the end by another. This is evident in things done by art: for the flight of the arrow is directed towards a definite mark by the aim of the archer. And so likewise must it be in the works of nature. For in order that a thing be rightly directed to a due end, it is necessary that one know the end itself, and the means to that end, as also the due proportion between both; and this belongs only to an intelligent being. Since, therefore, God is the first agent, He works not by a necessity of His nature, but by His intellect and will.

Notes Much is packed into this paragraph. Note the deep teleology and its necessity in all things, a necessity which proves God’s intellect and will must be (as we have seen over a long chain of proof) at the base of everything.

[7] Moreover. That which acts by itself precedes that which acts by another: because whatever is by another must be reduced to that which is by itself, lest we proceed to infinity. Now that which is not master of its own action, does not act by itself; since it acts as directed by another and not as directing itself. Therefore the first agent must act in such a way that it is master of its own action. But one is not master of one’s own action except by the will. Therefore it follows that God, Who is the first agent, acts by His will and not by a necessity of His nature.

[8] Again. The first action belongs to the first agent, as the first movement to the first movable. Now, the action of the will naturally precedes the action of nature: because the more perfect is naturally first, although in some particular thing it may be last in time. Now the action of a voluntary agent is more perfect: a proof of which is that among us agents which act by will are more perfect than those which act by natural necessity. Therefore to God, Who is the first agent, that action is due which is by the will.

[9] Further. The same is evident from the fact that where both actions are united, the power which acts by will is above that which acts by nature, and uses the latter as an instrument: for in man the intellect which acts by the will is higher than the vegetative soul which acts by a necessity of its nature. Now the divine power is above all beings. Therefore it acts on all things by will, not by natural necessity.

[10] Again. The will has for its object a good considered as a good: whereas nature does not compass the idea of good in general, but the particular good which is its perfection. Since, then, every agent acts for as much as it intends a good, because the end moves the agent, it follows that the agent by will is compared to the agent by natural necessity as a universal to a particular agent. Now the particular agent is compared to the universal agent, as posterior thereto, and as its instrument. Therefore the first agent must be voluntary and not an agent by natural necessity.

Notes More teleology! We and God only act because of an end. Ends must therefore exist. Of course, our biology undergoes changes which we do not will, but this doesn’t imply we don’t have will. Birds fly overhead and causes changes in our visage, which are also changes in our body states, but we still have will, we still act towards ends. And so does God. It therefore behooves us to understand these ends, why we (and God) think ends are good and why they are sometimes bad. Stick around.

What Are Good Times For A Live Broadcast?

radio2

So? When’s the best time for a live broadcast? Recall that you can hear them by tuning in to this site or to my YouTube live streaming channel.

Keep in mind that the broadcasts are going to happen no matter what. Condition your answer on the complete sure solid knowledge that the broadcasts are going to air, and not on whether you want them to or not, and not on whether you will listen. Pretend you are going to listen and tell me the best time.

If you don’t want to listen, don’t. If you don’t want to listen live, listen to the archive, which will always be available about 30 minutes after the broadcast, and from then on. But do tell me what is the best time for the live airing.

I mean all the times in the poll to be EASTERN. Many regular readers are on the west coast and in other areas, so the earlier times are very early for them. I have done a lot of travel between coasts and starting a show earlier than 7 AM Eastern is too early out west, which is why I don’t have earlier options.

Yet a lot of regulars are grumpy old men, and grumpy old men rise early to prepare for the day’s grumpiness. The broadcasts will prepare listeners with grumpy material, so they will probably opt for earlier times, or times well before the Early Bird specials begin at, what, 3 PM? On the other hand, there are a good proportion of the young looking for advice on the best way to become old, and they might like later times.

This poll will be up all week. Right now, unless (as is unlikely) there is overwhelming response, I’m doing the next broadcast at 9 AM WEDNESDAY, 6 APRIL. Note that this is one hour earlier than last week. And, depending how this goes, it might even be 8 AM. I’ll announce a day before in the NEWS box on the upper right.

[yop_poll id=”1″]

Update You have to vote to see the results, so vote carefully.

Readers and listeners need not despair. The posts will continue and the material in the broadcasts will appear in print with the link to the live-cast. Of course, the broadcasts will have things that can’t be written. Anyway, the broadcasts will be in addition to the posts.

Right now it’s Wednesday, but I may consider other days. Or additional days. Weekdays only. Nothing on the weekend. I think. Sunday nights at 7 PM worked fine for Jack Benny, and just like he I can’t play the violin. Parallels.

In case you missed it, here is the link to the first broadcast.

I have a juicy bit lined up for next week’s broadcast. Fans of global warming and aficionados of science will be thrilled.

Update Lots of votes for late afternoon and early evening, which I didn’t anticipate. If you’re one of these people, suggest times in the comments. Thanks.

Why live? Two reasons. One, waiting for me to produce a show by electrical transcription doesn’t work; I can find too easily excuses to put it off. Two, the live voice sounds better than one taped, a fact on which I expound another time.

I Self Identify As A Yak

Va va voom?
Va va voom?

Today of all days I thought it appropriate to announce to the world my sexual desires. I am what people used to be called a “deviant”. But they’re not saying it anymore. They’d better not.

Announcing your sexual desires is recognized in our society, as it should be, as an act of supreme bravery, an act which is rewarded in any number of ways, particularly in fame. And I want to be famous for my sexual desires.

This granting of social emolument only works, of course, if the desires broadcast are thought deviant by bigots. And this is as it should be, because bigots are bigoted and bigoted people deserve to see what they hate praised.

Anyway, I self identify as a yak. I can’t help thinking I am yak. I remember wearing fuzzy coats when I was a boy and feeling how right they were for me. I didn’t realize I was a yak, though, until at age six on a fateful trip to the zoo when I lost nurse’s hand.

Oh, sure, I flirted with the idea that I was a colobus, especially as my hair began streaking grey. Once I even formed the notion that I might be a kakapo, a flightless bird native to New Zealand. But since I have never been to New Zealand I realized that my notion was false. I was confused because the kakapo, like myself, has a big nose and can’t fly. I blame society for these mix-ups.

Some of you will object that I am not a yak because I am not “genetically” a yak. This goes to show how much you know. You don’t have to be genetically a thing if you believe you are the thing. If you doubt this, just ask Bruce Jenner who taught us all If You Believe, You Are (this is the title of my next book). No more proof than belief is needed.

This slogan must be so, as is easily demonstrated. Scientists can show (through simple scientific tests) that folks like Bruce Jenner are genetically men, yet his belief that he is a woman turned him into a woman. He is, therefore, a woman—-because he believes he is one.

It helps to have others believe, too. This, I and Bruce have discovered, reinforces our own belief, which—I whisper this confidentially, dear reader—sometimes flags. Nobody can be ardent all the time!, especially while embedded in a hostile society.

Yet when I have these doubts, I seek an ally, somebody who agrees that I am a yak because I say I am a yak. I ask this person, “Am I really a yak?” and they say to me, “Yes, you are a yak.” So I am a yak. We live in a democracy.

Here’s the surprise. Although I am a yak, I am not sexually attracted to yaks (though I have experimented with yak milk). Sexual attraction, as academics teach us, need not be identical to identity. Some academics say it’s even a form of discrimination to be exclusionary and stay within the boundaries set by bigots. Bigots say, “If he thinks he’s a yak, let him breed with yaks.” But this is bigoted because it’s the kind of thing bigots say.

It isn’t unusual, then, that I am not attracted to others like myself; other yaks, I mean. My announcement is that I am attracted to human females, especially blondes of Dutch extraction. I am a yak, and I know it, but still I have these desires. I was born with them. I don’t even want them, yet there they are. And because they are, because they exist, they are therefore true and good desires.

That they are good and true is proved by noticing that I say I was born with these desires, or that I formed them at some point in time earlier than last week. Since I have had these desires since I was a young (mostly hairless) yak, you know they are true and good.

Yaks, you might not know, can only pee in herds. Lone yaks aren’t capable of the act. Scientists say this is a sort of inverse “shy bladder” syndrome. The point is this. In order for me to pee, I must be in a herd. But since I am not sexually attracted to yaks, I therefore need to be granted perpetual access to the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader1 shower room.

I expect my readers, and especially the NFL, to be fully supportive and to threaten to boycott the Cowboys if they do not accede to this request.

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1I’d also accept the Rockettes facilities.