William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

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Summary Against Modern Thought: God Knows Evil

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.

Two simple chapters today, which is well, because I am on vacation. Don’t miss the definition of evil, which is below.

Chapter 70 That God Knows Trivial Things (alternate translation)

[3] …Further. Whatever is, for as much as it exists, or is such, is actual, and a likeness of the first act, and for this reason has nobility. Again whatever is in potentiality, has a share of nobility through its being ordained to actuality: for so is it said to be. It follows, therefore, that everything, considered in itself, is noble; but is said to be mean in comparison with that which is more noble. Now the noblest of things other than God are no less distant from Him than the lowest creatures are from the highest. If, therefore, this latter distance hindered God’s knowledge, much more would the former: and thus it would follow that God knows nothing other than Himself; which has been disproved above.[2] If, therefore, He knows something other than Himself, however most noble it may be, for the same reason He knows everything, no matter how mean we call it…

Notes This question is not burning for us, as it must have been for St Thomas’s contemporaries. The counterargument must have been that for God to know trivia, as for instance many university professors now “research” the ignoble (say, television or comic books), debases God, who therefore turns a Nelson eye whenever somebody flicks “ON”. None of us, I think, given the material that came before, at least arguendo, have any difficulty accepting that God knows the small and trivial.

[5] Further. The meanness of things known does not of itself reflect on the knower: for it belongs to the nature of knowledge that the knower contains the species of the things he knows, according to his mode. And yet the meanness of things known may reflect accidentally on the knower: either because while considering mean things he is withdrawn from the thought of noble things, or because through considering mean things he is inclined to certain undue affections. But this cannot take place in God, as appears from what has been said.[4] Therefore the knowledge of trivial things is not derogatory to the nobility of God; rather does it belong to His perfection, for as much as He prepossesses all things in Himself, as we have shown above…[5]

Notes Wait. Did you miss this? “And yet the meanness of things known may reflect accidentally on the knower: either because while considering mean things he is withdrawn from the thought of noble things, or because through considering mean things he is inclined to certain undue affections.” This is the argument, admittedly not fully fleshed out here, for the university as it was conceived and created by Christianity in those horrible middle ages. What universities have now become—utopian politics and scientism—is the exact opposite of their original nature. Later in this chapter, St Thomas quotes the book of Wisdom (ellipsis his): “She reacheth everywhere by reason of Her purity…and no defiled thing cometh into Her.” Elitist!

[1] Ch. xlv.
[2] Ch. xlix.
[3] x. i.
[4] Chs. xxxix., lv.
[5] Ch. xxix.

Chapter 71 That God Knows Evil Things (alternate translation)

[2] …For if a good be known the opposite evil is known. Now God knows all the particular goods to which evils are opposed. Therefore God knows evil things.

[3] Further. The notions of contraries in the mind are not opposed to one another, else they would not be together in the mind, nor would they be known at the same time. Therefore the aspect under which we know evil is not repugnant to good, rather is it connected with the idea of good. Accordingly if, as we have proved above,[1] all the aspects of goodness are to be found in God, by reason of His absolute perfection, it follows that in Him is the notion by which evil is known. Therefore He knows evils also.

Notes Apropos: “…Who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.”

[4] Again. The true is the good of the intellect:[2] for an intellect is said to be good for as much as it knows the true. Now it is not only true that good is good, but also that evil is evil: for just as it is true that what is, is, so is it true that what is not, is not. Hence the good of the intellect consists even in the knowledge of evil. But, since the divine intellect is perfect in goodness,[3] it cannot possibly lack any intellectual perfection. Therefore it has the knowledge of evils.

Notes This is much the same as the previous chapter. Knowing evil does not debase God. And it doesn’t debase us, either, unless one willfully embraces it, i.e. sins.

[5] Moreover. God knows the distinction between things, as shown above.[4] Now the notion of distinction includes negation, for when things are distinct, the one is not the other. Hence primaries which are distinguished by themselves, include mutual negation of one another, and for this reason negative propositions about them are self-evident, for instance, No quantity is a substance. Therefore God knows negation. Now privation is negation in a definite subject, as is proved in 4 Metaph.[5] Therefore He knows privation, and consequently evil, which is nothing else than the privation of due perfection…

[7] Again. God knows not only form but also matter, as was proved above.[9] Now matter, since it is being in potentiality, cannot be known perfectly, unless it be known to what its potentiality extends, and this applies to all kinds of power. But the potentiality of matter extends to both form and privation: for that which can be, can also not be. Therefore God knows privation: and consequently He knows evil…

Notes Right there is the definition of evil: “the privation of due perfection“. Evil is a lack of the good. It is not the opposite of the good, but its absence. And that distinction makes all the difference.

[9] Further. We are never blamed for knowing evils, as regards that which belongs essentially to knowledge, that is, as regards judgment about evil, but only accidentally, for as much as sometimes one is inclined to evil through thinking about it. But it is not so in God, for He is unchangeable, as was proved above.[11] Nothing therefore hinders God from knowing evils.

Notes We’re back at the university. Note that we often suffer when evil is said to be good, as in Planned Parenthood, for example. This is proof enough of free will.

[1] Ch. xl.
[2] 6 Ethic. ii. 3.
[3] Ch. xli.
[4] Ch. l.
[5] D. 3. ii. 8.
[6] Ch. l.
[7] D. 9. viii.
[8] D. 9. iv. 6.
[9] Ch. lxv.
[10] 11 Metaph. x.
[11] Ch. xiii.

This Week In Doom: Whole Babies For Sale, But Not At Chick-fil-A. Why Not?

StemExpress picking up an order at Planned Parenthood.

StemExpress picking up an order at Planned Parenthood.

If You Can’t See The Videos, They Can’t See You

8th Shocking Video: StemExpress CEO Admits Planned Parenthood Sells Fully Intact Aborted Babies

In the video, Cate Dyer, the CEO of StemExpress, is shown in a lunch meeting with undercover operatives posing as representatives of a biotech firm. Dyer is laughing about how StemExpress purchases fully intact aborted babies from Planned Parenthood. She laughs about how shippers of the aborted babies would give a warning to lab workers to expect such a baby.

“Oh yeah, if you have intact cases — which we’ve done a lot — we sometimes ship those back to our lab in its entirety,” she says.

“Tell the lab its coming,” she laughs about the intact unborn babies. “You know, open the box and go ‘Oh my God,'” Dyer adds.

Was it video #7 in which was shown a baby boy, all in one piece and moving, much like a fish out of water, as a butcher carved into its face with a scissors and pulled out it’s brain? “Oh my God.”

If you love and support the idea of killing the lives inside and those outside their mothers, then watch this small clip of the writhing life. And then tell us of your fantasies, of how you yourself shiver with delight at the idea of cutting it up while still alive to make a buck. Sylvain? Jersey McJones? Your thoughts?

The evil and insane at Stop Patriarchy would say that the wiggling creature in the video isn’t a human. What is it, to them? A “lump of tissue.” And what differentiates a “lump of tissue” from a human being? Ask them and answer comes there none.

Scientists Mystified

Science has still no answer to the question as to what activity produces the “lump of tissue” inside women. It surely can’t be the responsibility of those women. Thus scientists have been looking in other places. If you have any ideas, write to your nearest neighborhood scientist.

Tastes Like Chicken

Say, since a “lump of tissue” is a just a “lump of tissue”, one wonders whether those who enjoy snuffing the life out of the lump wouldn’t mind tossing it on the grill. Some good protein there. Many children in America (we are told) are starving, and there Planned Parenthood could provide plenty of free meals. If not, why not?

Seriously: why not? If you’re too chicken-guano to answer, I guess we’ll know of that which you are made.

No! Not Chicken!

Denver council blocking Chick-fil-A because they support natural marriage

Denver City Council, in a rare move, is stalling approval of a Chick-fil-A franchise at Denver International Airport (DIA), because of “concerns” over the owners’ support for natural marriage…

The council’s openly homosexual member, Robin Kniech, was first to raise the issue at the council’s Tuesday meeting. She said Chick-fil-A’s support of traditional marriage was “discrimination,” and she didn’t want “corporate profits used to fund and fuel discrimination.”

Kniech commented that Chick-fil-A was on the wrong side of “a national debate about depriving people and their families of rights.”

And depriving them of their chicken sandwiches, too. So Denver says, “No Christians Allowed.”

When are Christians going to get their act together and start some of their own boycotts. Do you have any idea of the size of the convention business in Denver? What we need to do is to pick single targets and expose them to the only fear in which they know: a lack of moola. I’ll expand this later.

Actually, Chik-fil-A ought to take up my suggestion and start selling Lump-O-Tissue patties. Then Denver will love them.

Et Tu, Breitbart?

The Science Is Settled: Sexual Orientation Is Not Purely Biological

This week, YouGov released a poll questioning British people about their sexuality. The poll made headlines because nearly half of all 18-24 year olds said they were not fully heterosexual…

This poll goes to the heart of the question of whether sexual orientation is purely biological, or whether it is societally impacted. Sexual orientation, according to the American Psychological Association, “refers to the sex of those to whom one is sexually and romantically attracted.” The massive change over a short period of time in sexual orientation in Britain can only be explained in one of two ways: biology or biology combined with environment.

Holy moly, is Ben Shaprio (a top dog at Breitbart) wrong. The biology of human sexual “orientation” can only be towards a member of the opposite sex. That’s the science. And if there is no “consensus” on this, then so much for scientists. As I wrote elsewhere:

The nature or essence of a human being is to be sexually reproductive, meaning there are two and only two sexes, male and female. There is not, and there cannot be, a “continuum” of human sexes. Biology does not work this way. The scientific fact of that there are precisely two sexes has many consequences. It follows, for instance, that there can be no such thing as a “sex-change operation.” The sex a person is born with is the sex that person is his or her entire life. This means it is not only a rank abuse of the English language, but also an affront to logic, to speak, as many do, of a person being “assigned” a sex at birth as if the decision were arbitrary.

Since I cover all of poor Shaprio’s claims there, I won’t repeat them here. The command is: go and read.

Keep Yer Mouth Shut

‘Welcome to college — now be quiet!’ Many campuses maintain militant speech codes

According to [FIRE’s] report, “Spotlight on Speech Codes 2015: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses,” nearly 55 percent of the 437 universities analyzed have “policies that clearly and substantially prohibit protected speech,” earning the group’s “Red Light” designation.

And that article points to another in The Atlantic: The Coddling of the American Mind. Proving (yet again) we’re raising a nation of bratty narcissistic effeminates.

Then there is The Sad Case of Mogens Camre.

Camre, a “former member of the Danish parliament and European Parliament for the Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkpartei, DF) was convicted of racism offences handed a [750 pound] fine on Tuesday. The conviction came after he made a tweet in 2014 lamenting the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe caused by the immigration of religiously intolerant Muslims.”

The Palestinian who was responsible for the charges against Mogens Camre is a 30-year-old violent criminal and drug dealer named Samir Badran. In 2009, Samir Badran was sentenced to six years in prison. His brother Saied Badran was at the same time sentenced to eight years in prison. The prosecutor demanded that they be deported from Denmark and barred from returning, but that did not happen. Nor was this Samir Badran’s first brush with the law: when he was seventeen years old, he was given a one-year “conditional” jail sentence for unlawful imprisonment, violence and threats.

For no other reason than the one I’ll suggest in the moment, the Left is intent of punishing any who tell the truth about militant Islamism. “Islamaphobia”, they call it.

The reason is (of course) insanity, coupled with Christophobia (which is much the same thing).

Rare Win For Forces Of Sanity: Or, PM2.5 Isn’t As Scary As We’ve Been Told


Quick note to a news story in which I have an interest.

WORLD LOGISTICS CENTER: Moreno Valley OKs megawarehouse on 3-2 vote

After three years of controversy that has divided residents, Moreno Valley officials voted Wednesday, Aug. 19 to dramatically transform the city’s east side with what would be one of the largest warehouse complexes in the country.

The council’s 3-2 vote came at the end of three marathon meetings, at which supporters and opponents debated the need for jobs versus traffic and air pollution impacts from thousands of trucks the 2,300-acre project south of the 60 between Redlands Boulevard and Gilman Springs Road will bring…

[Critics] also say that the traffic generated by the project — estimated at 68,721 vehicles a day, including 14,006 trucks — would overwhelm area roads and freeways and increase air pollution and health risks.

A final environmental impact report released in May found that the project would have significant unavoidable regional impacts on traffic, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, noise and other quality-of-life issues…

[Councilman] Price also asked planning staff to address criticism from state and regional air quality officials that the project environmental study was underestimating the health effects and misusing a single study to claim that diesel particulates don’t cause cancer.

The study to which Price refers, and which he incorrectly says is misused, was the only study I could discover that did not rely on the epidemiologist fallacy to say particular matter (PM) caused disease. The epidemiologist fallacy is when a researcher says “X causes Y” but where he never measures X and where he incorrectly ascribes a causal relation when only a statistical (wee p-value, almost always) one has been found.

The “single” study Price talked about was the (independent) Health Effects Institute’s report “Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES): Lifetime Cancer and Non-Cancer Assessment in Rats Exposed to New-Technology Diesel Exhaust”. It measured actual exposure of PM to rats using the type of diesel engines that will be used at the World Logistics Center. No wee p-values were discovered.

On the other hand, many wee p-values were found in other observational database “studies” which were the basis of the opposition to the WLC.

I met Benzeevi at the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness meeting in early August where I spoke on the massive over-certainty present in PM-causes-this-and-that studies. Jim Enstrom suggested I should submit a letter to the City Council which was debating the WLC. So I did. Jim put up the entire letter here (at his site).

About one of the studies relied upon by the government agencies, I wrote (SCAQMD = South Coast Air Quality Management District):

The epidemiologist fallacy is present in the SCAQMD-cited 2006 observational study, “Traffic, Susceptibility, and Childhood Asthma” by McConnell and others. In its abstract, this study states, “we examined the relationship of local traffic-related exposure and asthma and wheeze in southern California school children (5–7 years of age).” Yet exposure to traffic was never measured. Instead, the “exposure” children had to traffic was based on a guess (the guess itself was the result of a statistical model, and the uncertainty inherent in the model was ignored). To emphasize, where the children were during the course of this study was never measured, but only approximated. The authors conclude their “results indicate that residence near a major road is associated with asthma.” As noted, it is a statistical mistake to infer, as these authors do, that “associated with” means “caused.”

It might be that living near a roadway causes, in some children, asthma. But are poorer or more well-off children likely to live near a major roadway? Is it the roadway itself that causes the asthma (only in some cases) or it is, say, the poor health or lifestyle of the parents or some other environmental agent? Or is it that more children are being screened for asthma (because of school programs and the like) and that heretofore marginal cases, especially among the poor, went undiagnosed? All these, and many more, unanswered and unanswerable questions are why observational studies cannot be trusted as the sole basis in estimating risk. It is also why observational studies tend to exaggerate risk.

And there are other poor studies, which you can read in the full letter. Jim Enstrom also submitted a letter (here), and so did a Professor Robert F. Phalen (here; I never met him).

This is fantastic news. It shows it is possible to explain how weak is the evidence the old way of doing statistics provided. What’s really needed is a Third Way that avoids all the old mistakes. How about this?

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