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Author: Briggs

April 25, 2018 | 2 Comments

Alfie Evans Open Thread

Does anybody have a good account of the logic behind England’s adamant decision? I am unable to make out anything except “welfare of the child”, which is nonsensical given the hospital was going to execute Alfie before Italy stepped in with threats of murder charges. I want to understand the pro-killing side, but I can’t find much. The left is saying the State is ultimate arbiter, which even if we grant does not allow willfully killing an innocent. (Recall the hospital’s executioners were going to inject Alfie with chemicals meant to kill him.)

I think the State’s argument is that if they do not execute Alfie, he will die a more painful and protracted death with reduced “dignity”, and so in the name of compassion it is better to kill him and put him out of his misery and thus (it follows) increase his dignity. If so, the slope is no longer so slippery (see ‘Liverpool’ below). This will be a State-mandated execution in the name of “compassion”, not its first, and certainly not its last. The judge (see below) is after all an advocate of executing the less able.

But I admit the possibility of error. I may have misread the State’s argument. If anybody can clarify it, I’d appreciate it.


Tweet: “Baby #AlfieEvans is still alive after a serious night in which his oxygen was removed. New appeal in London today at 2pm.” That’s 9 AM east coast time.

That’s Pope Francis’s account, which reads “Moved by the prayers and immense solidarity shown little Alfie Evans, I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard and that their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted.”

Tweet: “The court has now also said the family is a ‘flight risk’ and thus can’t go home.” Flight risk? Is England East Berlin?

Alfie Evans’ dad reveals he’s giving tot mouth-to-mouth to ‘keep him alive’ The hospital is withholding treatment, and refusing to let the parents seek it elsewhere. So that removes utilitarian cost arguments. Nobody is asking England to pay anything.

Tweet: “My source at Alder Hey. ‘Last night needed resuss and we literally thought it was the end. They took his oxygen away and wouldn’t hand over the resuss masks. They had them being brought to the hospital and taken by the police.’ #AlfiesArmy” I find this fascinating and key. The mental image of police barring people from bringing lifesaving equipment into a hospital explains Dante’s title choice.

Tweet: Right up until #AlfieEvans was born, the Left would insist his mother had the absolute right to choose if he’d live or die. Now, when she’s pleading with the State to let him live, they insist she has no right to choose life.”

There Is No Way To Justify The Murder Of Alfie Evans. It Is Explicitly, Unabashedly Evil. “When the death certificate for Alfie Evans is issued, under ’cause of death’ it ought to say this: pride. The pride of a judge who did not want his judgment questioned. The pride of doctors who did not want to be proven wrong. The pride of a government that claims authority over life and death. ‘Tyranny’ and ‘unconscionable evil’ could also be cited.”

Judge at center of Alfie Evans case is a pro-gay activist “Justice Anthony Hayden, the judge at the center of the Alfie Evans case, is a member of The Bar Lesbian and Gay Group (BLAGG) and co-authored book on homosexual relationships and their pertinence to children’s rights.”

Tweet: “Judge Anthony Paul Hayden, who has condemned to death #AlfieEvans, is a member of the Honorable Society of the Middle Temple, British Templar and Masonic headquarters. He is a defender of euthanasia and author of an adoption treaty for homosexual couples.”

New NHS death guidelines ‘worse than Liverpool Care Pathway’ “Prof Patrick Pullicino, one of the first medics to raise concerns over the pathway, said the national proposals would encourage hospital staff to guess who was dying, in the absence of any clear evidence, and to take steps which could hasten patients’ death.”

Another most important point. The police who by force confiscated Alfie’s ‘recuss’ masks and refuse to let Alfie’s parents take their child are just following orders. Notice how easy it is to get police to just follow orders. Notice too that citizens did not attempt to apply superior force, which would have been easy (if done quickly).

For Alfie (who is baptised Catholic): Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Update See this doctor’s thread about Alfie’s medical condition. He concludes, and we can for the sake of argument agree with him, that Alfie will not recover and will die regardless of treatment. It still does not follow that the State can execute the child, nor does it follow the State can bar the parents from seeking treatment offered elsewhere at no cost to the State. It may be that Alfie’s condition is so futile that any treatment is useless, which we can also grant, but it still does not follow the State can forbid the parents from removing their child from the State. Unless it is argued The State is Mother, the State is Father.

April 24, 2018 | 7 Comments

Correlation of Non-Procreative Sex & Lack of Traditional Religion

Gallup has published two new polls. The first estimates the percent of those desiring non-procreative sex in each state. The second guesses the percent of non-affiliation with traditional religion (Christianity). We can learn some simple statistics by examining both together.

The first poll is “Vermont Leads States in LGBT Identification“, which is slightly misleading. Vermont comes in at 5.3% sexually non-procreative, but Washington DC is a whopping (and unsurprising) 8.6%. South Dakota is the most procreative (relatively speaking) state at only 2%.

This assumes, as all these polls do, that everybody tells the truth. That’s a suspect assumption here—in both directions. People in more traditional places might be reluctant to admit desiring non-procreative sex, while those in hipper locales might be too anxious. So, there is a healthy plus-or-minus attached to official numbers. Gallup puts this at +/- 0.2 to 1.6 percent, depending on the sample from each state. But that’s only the mathematical uncertainty, strictly dependent on model assumptions. It does not include lying, which must bump up the numbers. By how much nobody knows.

Poll number two is “The Religious Regions of the U.S.“, which is “based on how important people say religion is to them and how often they attend religious services.” Make that traditional religious services. The official religion of the State is practiced by many, though they usually don’t admit to that religion being a religion, and those who say they don’t attend services may still dabble in yoga, equality, and so forth. This makes the best interpretation of “not religious” as used in the poll as “not traditionally religious”, which is to say, not Christian (for most the country). The official +/- are 3-6%, depending on the state.

Here is what statisticians call a correlation:

A glance suggests that as traditional irreligion (henceforth just irreligion) increases, so too does non-procreative sex. But there is no notion of direction of cause. It’s plausible, and even confirmed in some cases, that lack of religion drives people to identify as sexually non-procreative. But it’s also possible, and also confirmed by observation, that an increase in numbers of sexually non-procreative causes others to abandon traditional religion.

Now “cause” here is used in a loose sense, as one cause of many, but a notable one. It takes more than just non-procreative sex for a person to abandon Christianity, and it takes more than abandoning Christianity to become sexually non-procreative. And, indeed, the lack of cause is also possible. Some sexually non-procreative remain religious, and most atheists are not sexually non-procreative (but see this).

All this means is that imputing cause from this plot cannot be done directly. It has to be done indirectly, with great caution, and by using evidence beyond the data of the plot. Here, the causes, if confirmed, are weak in the sense that they are only one of many. Obviously some thing or things cause a person to abandon traditional (assuming they held it!), and some thing or things cause a person to become sexually non-procreative. Religion and the presence of non-procreative sex are only one of these causes, and even not causes at all in some cases.

The best that we can therefore do is correlation. We can use the data to predict uncertainty. But in what? All 50 states plus DC have already been sampled. We don’t need to predict a state. We do not need any statistical model or technique—including hypothesis testing or wee p-values—if our interest is in states. Any hypothesis test would be badly, badly misplaced. We already know we cannot identify cause, so what would a hypothesis test tell us? Nothing.

Now states are not homogeneous. New York, for instance, is one tiny but well-populated progressive enclave appended on a massive but scarcely populated traditionalist mass (with some exceptions in the interior). If we assume the data will be relevant and valid for intra-state regions, then we can use it to predict uncertainty.

For instance, counties. If we knew a county’s percent of irreligion, we could predict the uncertainty in the percent of sexually non-procreative. Like this:

That envelope says, given all the assumptions, the old data, and assuming a regression is a reasonable approximation (with “flat priors”), there is an 80% a county’s percent sexual non-procreative would lie between the two lines, given a fixed percent irreligion. This also assumes the data are perfectly measured, which we know they are not. But since we do not know how this would add formally to the uncertainty, we have to do this informally, mentally widening the distance between the two lines by at least a couple of percent. Or by reducing that 80%.

Example: if percent irreligion is 20%, there is less than an 80% chance percent non-procreative sexually is 2.1-4.2%. And percent irreligion is 40%, there is less than an 80% chance percent non-procreative sexually is 3.1-5.2%.

These probabilities are exact given we accept the premises. We can already see, however, the model is weak; it does not explain places like DC. How would it work in San Francisco? Or Grand Rapids, Michigan?

April 23, 2018 | 14 Comments

GQ: Holy Bible Repetitive, Self-contradictory, Sententious, Foolish, & Ill-Intentioned

The premiere magazine of sock color, celebrity tittle tattle, and lightly disguised advertorials has released their eagerly anticipated opinion of the Holy Bible.

GQ took a moment out from letting us know which “18 On-Sale Style Flexes to Buy Right Now” and advising us to “Set Your Pits Free with Spring’s Best Lightweight Sweaters”, to tell us what they really thought of the Holy Bible, a book that shaped 2,000 years of culture and changed forever all of mankind.

The Holy Bible is rated very highly by all the people who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it. Those who have read it know there are some good parts, but overall it is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced. It is repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned. If the thing you heard was good about the Bible was the nasty bits, then I propose Agota Kristof’s The Notebook, a marvelous tale of two brothers who have to get along when things get rough. The subtlety and cruelty of this story is like that famous sword stroke (from below the boat) that plunged upward through the bowels, the lungs, and the throat and into the brain of the rower.

Any person who is even barely literate and who possesses an intellect above sub-moronic knows the influence that the Bible has had is impossible—as in not possible—to underestimate. You don’t need me to tell you that every, without exception, institution of Western culture has been molded, moved, and motivated by it. This includes the English language itself, which because of King James, is saturated in Biblical imagery, poetry, metaphor.

But this is GQ we’re talking about. A Conde Nasty publication. These are people with money and therefore moral sophistication. They, above us all, know of what they speak.

So it must be that Agota Kristof’s The Notebook as replacement for the Holy Bible is beyond monumental. Beyond stupendous. Beyond even the excitement wrought when reading about “The Best Sex Toys for Couples Will Make Sex Even More Awesome”.

I consider myself blessed that I discovered a mind far greater than my own reviewing The Notebook. Slavoj Zizek even provided excerpts. Zizek tells us:

The Notebook tells the story of young twins living with their grandmother in a small Hungarian town during the last years of the second world war and the early years of communism. The twins are thoroughly immoral – they lie, blackmail, kill – yet they stand for authentic ethical naivety at its purest…

One night, they find themselves sleeping in the same bed as a German officer, a tormented gay masochist. Early in the morning, they awaken and want to leave the bed, but the officer holds them back.

Then comes this excerpt of this better-than-Holy-Bible book:

‘Don’t move. Keep sleeping.’

‘We want to urinate. We have to go.’

‘Don’t go. Do it here.’

We ask: ‘Where?’

He says: ‘On me. Yes. Don’t be afraid. Piss! On my face.’

We do it, then we go out into the garden, because the bed is all wet.

You don’t have that kind of realism from Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, boy. Zizek says of this passage that it was “A true work of love, if there ever was one!” God Himself sacrificing Himself for mankind’s sins just doesn’t stand up to Russian-dossier-style fiction.

Zizek next tells us of a priest’s housekeeper who plays “erotic games” with the boys. A procession of starving Jews walks by:

Right in front of us, a thin arm emerges from the crowd, a dirty hand stretches out, a voice asks: ‘Bread.’

The housekeeper smiles and pretends to offer the rest of her bread; she holds it close to the outstretched hand, then, with a great laugh, brings the piece of bread back to her mouth, takes a bite, and says: ‘I’m hungry too.’

Seeing this, the boys “put some ammunition into [the househkeeper’s] kitchen stove so that when she lights it in the morning, it explodes and disfigures her.”

They graduate from that to blackmail and then to “assisting” in suicides. “[W]hen their grandmother asks them to put poison into her cup of milk, they say: ‘Don’t cry, Grandmother. We’ll do it; if you really want us to, we’ll do it.'”

Now isn’t that nice to see young people obeying their elders.

Zizek didn’t mention the “famous sword stroke (from below the boat) that plunged upward through the bowels, the lungs, and the throat and into the brain of the rower.”

Bonus anecdote So you don’t think the news is all bad, I can report that yesterday at mass two dozen kids received First Communion. What made it hopeful was that the kids were accompanied by parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends. The pews overflowed. All were dressed beautifully and appropriately. Here’s the point: many of the people were not themselves communicants, but they still thought it an event worth celebrating and honoring in the proper style—and not being embarrassed about. It’s confirmation (a pun) the GQ’s of the world have not yet completed their work.

April 22, 2018 | 7 Comments

Forest Bathing & Ecosex: To Save The Planet, Have Sex With The Planet

In honor of this most momentous day, our Summa Contra Gentiles series has been postponed until next Sunday.

Earth Day is a good time to note that environmentalism is growing creepier.

Take the queer practice of “forest bathing.” Forest bathing “doesn’t involve actual bathing, the kind with water. It’s figurative bathing. You soak in the wonders of the forest.” How? By walking slowly.

We used to call forest bathing “taking a walk”. But that was long ago in less enlightened times before mankind learned how to turn commonplaces into marketable experiences.

Amos Clifford, the mastermind behind the movement, leads forest bathing sessions for $50 a stroll. Or for $3,400 you can learn how to be a forest-bathing leader. Clifford also wrote Your Guide to Forest Bathing.

Clifford claims forest bathing “can produce mental, emotional, and physical health benefits” and says your gentle footsteps will “connect with nature as a way to help heal both the planet and humanity.”

A reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle went on a forest bath. He describes a transcendent incident:

There was a long discourse about a hummingbird. Several of us had seen it. The hummingbird had been amazing, we agreed. Also amazing was a wild rose bush, a honeybee, the sound of a distant stream and some purple flowers that nobody knew the name of.

Clifford told him the name of the flower was not important. “What’s important is your relationship to the purple flower,” the reporter concluded.

Spread Your Leaves

And then there were the trees.

“I want everybody to find a tree that’s your twin,” said Clifford. “Talk to your tree. Ask your twin about yourself. Find out all you can from your tree. Put your hand on your tree. Take your time to get to know your tree.”

And so it was that a dozen people walked around, slowly, talking to trees. Like the purple flowers, the trees remained anonymous. We didn’t have to know what kind they were, only what was on their minds.

After 20 minutes of human-tree conversation — much of it one-sided — we forest bathers returned to the same spot and sat down in the same circle to share our conversations with our trees.

“My tree asked me why I was so afraid,” said one forest bather.

“My tree said it thought that we could grow together,” said another forest bather.

I tried this in Central Park and my tree wondered why tourists were so fascinated by the squirrels which scampered up its bark. My tree hated having its picture taken.

Dirty Talk

My tree didn’t extend its intimacy beyond a chat. This would have been disappointing to Sarah Ensor. She…wants you to click here to read the rest.