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January 15, 2018 | 3 Comments

Professors Say Lack of Ideological Diversity is a Feature, not a Bug

Stream: Professors Say Lack of Ideological Diversity is a Feature, not a Bug

You know who the real champions of open debate on our beleaguered college campuses are? Social justice warriors.

Obvious, right?

It was obvious to tenured professor of classics and ancient history Matthew Sears at the University of New Brunswick.

He wrote “Why ‘social justice warriors’ are the true defenders of free speech and open debate” for the Washington Post. And they printed it. So it must be true.

Sears is one a growing rank of academics who see the enforced progressive monoculture at American universities not as a bug but as a feature.

He wrote “the social justice approach — which emphasizes the dynamics of power and oppression — that many fear has taken over the humanities and social sciences at its best is actually an improvement over the ‘disinterested pursuit of truth’.”

Reality is Judgmental

It sure is an improvement! Why use disinterested truth when we can speak our Oprah-blessed self truths by using the dynamics of power and oppression? Just like those SJWs at Evergreen State College did when they stalked through campus with bats daring people to disagree them.

And remember: Disinterested truth can be awfully harsh. You’re a man who wants to be a woman? That’s your truth. But the disinterested truth insists you’re still a man. Ouch.

Sears says “In fact, rather than constituting an attack on knowledge, the social justice lens reflects new ideas generated by academic disciplines and experts within them, and generally encourages expanding our knowledge and opening up subjects to new perspectives, much like Socrates advocated.”

Know What You Don’t Know

It’s not clear what Socrates Sears meant. Maybe the chef at The Pita Pit located in downtown Saint John. (Or perhaps Karl Popper’s cat?)

He can’t have meant Socrates the philosopher. Socrates the philosopher was all for the disinterested pursuit of truth. While in jail awaiting execution, Socrates congratulated his friend Crito on being well placed to consider a certain argument because Crito was “disinterested and not liable to be deceived by the circumstances in which [he was] placed.”

At that same time Socrates said that he would follow the path of reason “even if the power of the multitude could inflict many more imprisonments, confiscations, deaths, frightening us like children with hobgoblin terrors.”

We are therefore right to doubt that Socrates would have supported the path of Social Justice. Like that followed by SJWs at Middlebury College, who you might remember used the dynamics of power and oppression to shut down a speech by Charles Murray. SJWs hounded Murray of campus and tried to yank the head off of a professor accompanying Murray. Giving your debating opponent a concussion is not what is classically meant by the Socratic method.

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If you are not on a campus that has blocked this (it’s happened before!), click here to read the rest.

January 14, 2018 | 1 Comment

Summary Against Modern Thought: Evil Is Not An Essence

Previous post.

Evil is a lack, not an attribute. We as shorthand like to say it is an attribute, but that is all this is: shorthand, a metaphor. Here we need be precise. Next week some purported counter-examples to this assertion are given, along with their rebuttals.

That Evil Is Not An Essence

1 From these considerations it becomes evident that no essence is evil in itself.

2 In fact, evil is simply a privation of something which a subject is entitled by its origin to possess and which it ought to have, as we have said. Such is the meaning of the word “evil” among all men. Now, privation is not an essence; it is, rather, a negation in a substance. Therefore, evil is not an essence in things.

3 Again, each thing has actual being in accord with its essence. To the extent that it possesses being, it has something good; for, if good is that which all desire, then being itself must be called a good, because all desire to be. As a consequence, then, each thing is good because it possesses actual being. Now, good and evil are contraries. So, nothing is evil by virtue of the fact that it has essence. Therefore, no essence is evil.

Notes It is hard to believe this in the case of mosquitoes, but there you are. (Joke.)

4 Besides, everything is either an agent or a thing that is made. Now, evil cannot be an agent, because whatever acts does so inasmuch as it is actually existent and perfect. Similarly, it cannot be a thing that is made, for the termination of every process of generation is a form, and a good thing. Therefore, nothing is evil by virtue of its essence.

5 Moreover, nothing tends toward its contrary, for each thing inclines to what is like and suitable to itself. Now, every being intends a good, when it is acting, as has been proved. Therefore, no being, as being, is evil.

6 Furthermore, every essence belongs to some definite thing in nature. Indeed, if it falls in the genus of substance, it is the very nature of the thing. However, if it is in the genus of accident, it must be caused by the principles of some substance, and thus it will be natural to this substance, though perhaps it may not be natural to another substance. For example, heat is natural to fire, though it may not be natural to water. Now, what is evil in itself can not be natural to anything. For it is of the very definition of evil that it be a privation of that which is to be in a subject by virtue of its natural origin, and which should be in it. So, evil cannot be natural to any subject, since it is a privation of what is natural. Consequently, whatever is present naturally in something is a good for it, and it is evil if the thing lacks it. Therefore, no essence is evil in itself.

7 Again, whatever possesses an essence is either a form itself, or has a form. In fact, every being is placed in a genus or species through a form. Now, a form, as such, has the essential character of goodness, because a form is a principle of action; so, too, does the end to which every agent looks; and so also does the action whereby each thing having a form is perfected. Hence, everything that has an essence is, by virtue of that fact, a good thing. Therefore, evil has no essence.

8 Besides, being is divided by act and potency. Now, act, as such, is good, for something is perfect to the extent that it is in act. Potency, too, is a good thing, for potency tends toward act, as appears in every instance of change. Moreover, potency is also proportionate to act and not contrary to it. It belongs in the same genus with act; privation does not belong to it, except accidentally. So, everything that exists, whatever the mode of its existence, is a good thing to the extent that it is a being. Therefore, evil does not possess any essence.

9 Moreover, we have proved in Book Two of this work [15] that every act of being, whatever its type may be, comes from God. And we have shown in Book One [28, 41] that God is perfect goodness. Now, since evil could not be the product of a good thing, it is impossible for any being, as a being, to be evil.

10 This is why Genesis (1:31) states: “God saw all the things that He had made, and they were very good”; and Ecclesiastes (3:11): “He hath made all things good in their time”; and also I Timothy (4:4): “Every creature of God is good.”

11 And Dionysius, in chapter four of On the Divine Names says that “evil is not an existing thing,” that is, in itself; “nor is it something among things that have existence,” but it is a sort of accident, something like whiteness or blackness.

12 Through this consideration, the error of the Manicheans is refuted, for they claimed that some things are evil in their very natures.

January 13, 2018 | 2 Comments

Insanity & Doom Update XVIII

Item German government wants ‘backdoor’ access to every digital device: report

Germany’s Interior Minister wants to force tech and car companies to provide the German security services with hidden digital access to cars, computers, phones and more, according to a media report from Friday.

The RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND) reported that Thomas de Maiziére had written up a draft proposal for the interior minister conference, taking place next week in Leipzig, which he has called “the legal duty for third parties to allow for secret surveillance.”

They don’t have an NSA in Germany, nor their own Wang Huning. Hey, if you have nothing to hide, why wouldn’t you want to let a beneficent and loving government staffed with credentialed experts read your emails?

Item Harvard Hosts Anal Sex Workshop Entitled ‘What What in the Butt’

As a part of Harvard University’s sex week, the Ivy League Institution hosted an anal sex workshop entitled, “What What in the Butt: Anal 101.” The workshop taught students “how to put things in their butt,” according to a report from The College Fix.

No word if Bill Nye was invited.

Item Revolt of Cambridge cry-babies: Freshers’ fury over threat to their ‘mental health’ after professor dares to tell them to stop drinking and start studying

Cambridge students accused a professor of ‘damaging their mental wellbeing’ by asking them to work hard and avoid getting drunk.

Eugene Terentjev sent out the advice in an email to first-year physical science undergraduates to prepare them for the ‘very hard’ course ahead.

He told them they would need their ‘full brain capacity’ — and even that might not be enough for some.

The email was seized upon by campaigners at Student Minds Cambridge, who said it was ‘not appropriate or acceptable’. ‘No matter how much work you have, no matter your current levels of attainment, there is nothing more important than your mental health,’ they said.

Any who would make or support the argument made by the students is brain damaged and would therefore be unlikely to benefit from the good professor’s class.

Item College chancellor: Requiring students to take algebra is a ‘civil rights issue’

A community college chancellor in California is proposing to get rid of the requirement that all students take intermediate algebra in an effort to boost the graduation rate at his institution.

Under Equality standards are always lowered, absolutely always. After lowering the standards are said to have never been needed. You bigot.

Item LGBT Student Activists Demand Christian College Change Policy Banning Same-Sex Relationships

LGBT activists at a Christian university in California are demanding that the school remove clauses from its student conduct policy that they believe discriminate against LGBT individuals….Although students do not have to be Christian to attend APU, all students are expected to comply with “lifestyle expectations” outlined in the student handbook, the Undergraduate Catalog and “any additional policies related to living in the APU community,” according to the school’s website.

Sodomy is banned. But it is desired. It can’t be long before demands of the Bible and Quoran (which also writes of the destruction of Sodom) be expurgated to conform with modern desires.

Item Danica Roem, Andrea Jenkins, more: Is this election a moment for the transgender community?

Tuesday night, voters elected at least five transgender candidates to government offices around the nation. It’s not a large number, but it’s a meaningful one.

“Last night was a victory for so many remarkable LGBTQ candidates, but it was also a victory for inclusion and acceptance,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, on Wednesday. “This is a clear repudiation of President Trump’s hate-fueled politics of bullying and browbeating. Yesterday, Americans took to the polls and chose optimism, hope, and new leadership — and this is only the beginning of our resistance.”

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a national organization dedicated to electing openly LGBTQ people said in a statement that “2017 will be remembered as the year of the trans candidate.”

So it will be remembered. Remembrance, though, is value neutral. We remember Genghis Khan, Mao, and Robespierre. Let us hope we do not forget.

It’s always difficult in these “trans” stories to know if the individuals written about are men pretending, or who are deluded into believing, they are women, or vice versa. That makes accurate counts difficult or impossible. My guess is that gender dysphoric men far outstripped women. It might have even been all men. There is one case I can’t any sense of.

Anyway, it matters little. The great and terrible weakness of democracy is there, laid bare for all to see.

January 12, 2018 | 5 Comments

Similarities Between ESP, Cold Fusion & Global Warming

Stream: Similarities Between ESP, Cold Fusion & Global Warming

At the climate website No Tricks Zone, there is a picture of various estimates of CO2 climate sensitivity estimates. These are the guesses of how much the temperature would increase if atmospheric carbon dioxide would double from its pre-industrial levels.

This sensitivity is measured as a “transient climate response” (TCS), noting the near-terms effects, or by “equilibrium climate sensitivity” (ECS), which are the long-term effects, assuming that CO2 stops increasing. The higher either of these numbers is, the more we have to worry about.

Each estimate is taken from a peer-reviewed scientific paper. The first comes in 2001 from the authors Andronova and Schlesinger, with the estimate of 3oC. The highest estimate (in this graph) is 6oC in 2002 from Gregory.

Not All Jokes are Funny

Then something funny happens.

Frame puts the estimate at about 2.8oC by 2005. Skeje guessed 2.8oC in 2014. Not pictured is a paper I co-wrote in 2015, which put the estimate of ECS at 1.0oC. (This paper led to a witch hunt and hysterical accusations of “climate denial”.)

Finally, Reinhart brings it down to about 0.2oC in 2017.

From this picture we can infer at least three things. First, the debate about global warming was not over in 2000, nor in 2001, nor is it over now. The sensitivity estimates would not have changed if the debate were over. Second, the good news is that we clearly have less to worry about than we thought. This is something to celebrate, right? Right?

The third inference is that we have seen this same graph before. Not once, but many times!

You Can’t Read My Mind

It looks exactly like the graph of extrasensory perception ESP effect size through time. (I wrote a book on the subject, available free at the bottom of this page.)

J.B. Rhine in the 1930s showed the backsides of playing cards to some folks and asked them to use their ESP to “read” the frontsides. Rhine claimed great success, as did Charles Honorton and Sharon Harper in the mid-1970s using the so-called ganzfeld. The 1970s were a time of high excitement in ESP research, with extraordinary claims coming from every direction.

But then came the 1980s and 1990s, a time when []

Unless you possess the ability to remotely view objects, click here to read the rest.

Addenda US cold snap was a freak of nature, quick analysis finds. If global warming can’t explain it, it’s a “freak”, yet global warming was supposed to be a theory of how the atmosphere worked.

Also, ignore those lines and shaded gray envelopes on the plot. These are examples of the Deadly Sin of Reificaiton. They substitute what did not happen (a model) for what did (the dots).