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Author: Briggs

December 15, 2017 | 6 Comments

The Final Fall of the Church of England

This is a collection of articles indicative of what is predicted to be the final fall of the Church of England. Think of it as an Insanity & Doom update for the CofE.

The “final” fall is when the CofE adopts gmarriage. From this doom there is no return. This is not an argument whether sodomitical unions are right or wrong; it is assumed and not argued that embracing it within a Christian sect will cause an irreversible schism, as it has elsewhere. See below for predictions.

Item Ordaining women has not saved the Church of England from impending extinction

…53% of all adult Britons describe themselves as having no religion…In 1983, only 31 percent of Britons had no religious affiliation…Over the period 1983 to 2014, the Anglican population of the United Kingdom almost halved, falling from 16.5 million adherents to 8.6 million, from 40% of the British population to 15%…’…With the current rate of decline, it would be set to disappear from Britain by 2033.’…The Guardian cited a lack of agreement over issues like same-sex marriage and ethnic diversity for alienating “almost an entire generation of young adults.”

Of course, there will because of official funding and support remain a CofE, but it will be minor and its original purpose will be lost.

Item Archbishop of Canterbury warns churches must learn to embrace complex modern families

The Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday warned that churches must learn to live with a world in which families are no longer led only by married couples.

Even Church of England schools are now filled with children from ‘myriad combinations’ of men, women and children, the Most Reverend Justin Welby said.

In a speech that pointed at a fresh direction for the Church’s attitude towards marriage, the Archbishop said that ‘in the last 40 years there has been a great shift in the understanding and the reality of family life’.

The reality of the family has not changed since Eve pushed out Cain. What has changed are notions of the family. We are nearing the point, like with “gender” theory, a “family” will be whatever you want it to be.

Item Archbishop of Canterbury says young boys in nursery and primary schools should be allowed to wear tiaras and tutus

The CofE advised: “Pupils need to be able to play with the many cloaks of identity (sometimes quite literally with the dressing up box).

“A child may choose the tutu, princess’s tiara and heels and/or the fireman’s helmet, tool belt and superhero cloak without expectation or comment.”

“It may be best to avoid labels and assumptions which deem children’s behaviour irregular, abnormal or problematic just because it does not conform to gender stereotypes or today’s play preferences.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby warned that “transphobic bullying causes profound damage.”

He added: “We must avoid, at all costs, diminishing the dignity of any individual to a stereotype or a problem.”

Yet forbidding a boy from wearing a tiara is deemed by progressives as “irregular, abnormal or problematic”. Why? Because boys as boys, and girls as girls, “does not conform to gender stereotypes or today’s play preferences” of leftists. The fallacy is obvious.

Item Archbishop of Canterbury baffled by Christians who back Trump

“No, I don’t understand it. I really genuinely do not understand where that is coming from.”

Welby did say he would be willing to attend a state dinner in Trump’s honor if the president comes to Britain on an official visit.

He noted that he’s met with worse people than the president of the United States.

“I spent years and years involved in conflict stuff around the world where I met people who had killed many, many people,” he told ITV.

He said part of his job is to meet with people he disagrees with “and to testify with the love of Christ to them and to seek to draw them in a different way.”

Trump has accepted an invitation for a state visit to Britain, but no date has been set. Though he said he’d meet Trump, Welby also said, “It’d be unlikely I’d do more than shake hands with him.”

Given the old bish’s increasingly loose grasp of reality, it is not likely he could understand. It also indicates his handshake might not be especially firm.

Item Justin Welby aide Lorna Ashworth quits ‘too liberal’ church

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has been hit by the resignation of a close adviser who said the church’s “core message” was “no longer believed”…

Ashworth, 47, who opposes gay marriage, said: “We have a liberal agenda because the church is not anchored in the Gospel. There is no more conversation about heaven, hell, sin, forgiveness, judgment.”…

A motion has been submitted to the General Synod, which meets in February, to permit the blessing of gay marriage, although it has not yet been adopted for debate.

Ashworth said: “When you try to say the simple Gospel in Synod you get booed down.” She said the church preferred to talk about social action because “if we talk about sin, then we have to talk about bad behaviour and people don’t want to be judgmental”.

Fifty bucks says the Synod adopts gmarriage by allowing those ministers to choose whether they want to perform the “ceremonies”. This will be called a “compromise”. In reality, since C of E Bishops are falling like blind roofers, opting out will be heavily discouraged. Hence, schism.

Item Church of England votes to explore transgender services

The Church of England’s governing body has voted to look into special services for transgender people.
Supporters of the services said the Church should offer a welcome to people to mark their transition…

Chris Newlands, the vicar of Lancaster Priory church, posed the motion as a way of the Church welcoming people who suffer from transphobia in society…”I’m getting so many messages from trans friends around the world. Synod has changed – we have turned a corner.”…

During an earlier debate, the Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend Paul Bayes, said: “As the world listens to us today, the world needs to hear us say that LGBTI orientation and identity is not a crime, not a sickness and not a sin.”

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, said the Church would spend three years on a document outlining a new stance on sexuality.

More flight from reality. “Transitions” are, of course, impossible. So that any “ceremony” which celebrates these impossibilities will be farces.

Item Head of Church of England: ‘I Can’t Give a Straight Answer’ on Whether Gay Sex is Sinful

In a recent interview, the head of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, said he was not sure if “gay sex” — anal and oral sodomy between people of the same sex — is “sinful,” stating he “can’t give a straight answer to” the question, and that he lacks “a good answer to the question.”

“I am struggling with the issue,” said the archbishop, who heads the state church established by King Henry VIII in 1534…

In the October issue of British GQ, interviewer Alastair Campbell asks Archbishop Welby, “Is gay sex sinful?” Archbishop Welby says, “You know very well that is a question I can’t give a straight answer to. Sorry, badly phrased there. I should have thought that one through.”

Campbell then asks why the archbishop cannot give a clear answer.

Archbishop Welby says, “Because I don’t do blanket condemnation and I haven’t a good answer to the question. I’ll be really honest about that. I know I haven’t got a good answer to the question. Inherently, within myself, the things that seem to me to be absolutely central are around faithfulness, stability of relationships and loving relationships.”

As the conversation continues, the archbishop adds, “I am having to struggle to be faithful to the tradition, faithful to the Scripture, to understand what the call and will of God is in the 21st century and to respond appropriately with an answer for all people – not condemning them, whether I agree with them or not – that covers both sides of the argument. And I haven’t got a good answer, and I am not doing that bit of work as well as I would like.”

However, when asked if “homophobic hated” is “sinful,” the archbishop says, “Yes. Because you are hating individuals. I don’t think it is sinful to say that you disagree with gay sex. But to express that by way of hatred for people is absolutely wrong in the same way as misogyny or racism is wrong.”

Campbell then asks, “Is that not morally a cop out?”

Archbishop Welby answers, “Yes. I am copping out because I am struggling with the issue.”

That Welby cannot answer such a straightforward question, and that he has given a Fr James Martin-like answer, is proof (in my mind) that the end if nigh. He longs to say sodomy is to be celebrated, but hasn’t yet the support to do so. It is coming.

As above, the best prediction is that the CofE has it’s final fall after the February synod. The church won’t have made it a full 500 years, but it was close, close.

December 14, 2017 | 5 Comments

The Future of ‘Merry Christmas’ in America

Stream: The Future of ‘Merry Christmas’ in America

We’ll soon be able to say “Merry Federally Recognized Holiday of December 25th That Shall Be Nameless!”

Strike that. I meant “Merry Christmas”.

The former was last year’s version, often found beside “Happy Holidays”. When my dad hears this bland salutation he always asks, “And what holidays are those?”

Anyway, “Happy Holidays” was last year. This year, now that America has been made great again, we can express something approaching the true meaning of the holy day.

But for how long?

It’s true the once United States was always a majority Christian nation, and still is, in the sense that, if asked, about seven out of ten admit membership in the Body of Christ.

What it means to be Christian is not as clear as it once was, though. More than a few Christians have relegated Our Lord to being a nice fella who was nothing more than a charismatic community organizer who taught people the “miracle” of sharing. Many of these folks are only one yoga class short of joining the “Nones“. These so-called spiritual-but-not-religious “Nones” are already about one out of four Americans, and growing.

If trends continue, it won’t be long before the number of people willing to both admit and act on Christian beliefs will fall below a majority. Some say we have passed this point already. This doesn’t imply opposition to Christian principles will be everywhere and immediate, but it does mean Christian influence in politics and culture must decrease.

What does that mean for Merry Christmas?

There have been for many years anti-Christian agitators petitioning local, state, and federal governments to remove Christian symbols of Christmas, like créches. Trees, Santa, and encouragements of shopping are non-controversial. The argument is that Christian symbols like nativity scenes on government property represent official endorsement of Christianity.

They do, too.

You’re not supposed to admit this, because it’s granting a point to the agitators (who never accept their victories with good grace). Oh, there are all kind of fine legal distinctions about what “endorsement” and the like means, but posting these symbols on state property is certainly not a condemnation of Christianity, nor are they meant to show indifference. At the least it is the government acknowledging that, here, where the symbols are, live a majority, or an influential plurality, of Christians.

So skittish of any legal controversy have governments become, that the local Washington DC government refused advertisements on public transportation from its Catholic Archdiocese. The ads “depicted three shepherds, two animals and a star in a landscape scene” accompanied by the words “Find the Perfect Gift.” Cute, but tepid. (The Archdiocese is suing.)

Iconoclasts like to say removing Christian symbols is “inclusive”. But that’s just their inveterate habit of using opposite-speech. Like when abortionists call killing “reproductive health”, or when lawmakers say a favored program was “cut”, when in fact the rate of increase was reduced.


Jingle them bells and read the rest!

December 13, 2017 | 6 Comments

What Is The Probability Of COVFEFE?

From a tweet from Taleb, who informs us the following question is part of the Indian Statistical Institute examination.

(5) Mr.Trump decides to post a random message on Facebook and he starts typing a random sequence of letters {Uk}k≥1 such that they are chosen independently and uniformly from the 26 possible english alphabets. Find out the expected time of the first appearance of the word COVFEFE.

Now it is too good to check whether this is really used by the ISI, but I hope it is. It is too delicious. (Yes, it was Twitter, not Facebook.)

Regular readers will recall we had a Covfefe Sing-along after Trump’s masterly tweet.

The night Donald Trump took to Twitter
Elites had a terrible fit
Trump warned the world of covfefe
And Tweet streams were filled up with sh—

—Shaving cream.
Be nice and clean.
Shave everyday and
you’ll always look keen…

The ISI’s COVFEFE problem has much to recommend it, because it chock full of the language of modern probability that is so confusing. (Even my title misleads! Nothing “has” a probability!)

Now I learned my math from physicists, who do things to equations that make mathematicians shudder, but which are moves that are at least an attempt to hew to reality. There isn’t anything wrong with mathematician math, but the temptation to the Deadly Sin of Reification can be overwhelming. And why all those curly brackets? They intimidate.

I still recall in a math course struggling with some higher-order proofs from Billingsley (a standard work on mathematical probability) when a Russian mathematician made everything snap into clarity when he told me X, the standard notation for a “random variable” which all the books said “had” a distribution, “was a function”, whereas as a physicist I always saw it as an observable or proposition. It can, of course, be both, but if you ever want to apply the math, it is a proposition.

So here is Trump typing. What does it mean—think like a physicist and not a mathematician—to “independently and uniformly” choose letters? To choose requires a method of choosing. Some thing or things are causing the characters to appear on the screen. What? Trump closing his eyes and smacking his hands into the keys? Maybe. But, if so, then we have no hope of identifying the causes of what appears. If we don’t know the causes, we can’t answer how long it will take. We can’t solve the problem.

Enter probability, which can’t answer the question, but can answer similar ones, like “Given certain assumptions, what are the chances it takes X seconds?”

Since all probability is conditional on the assumptions made, the assumptions matter. What are they?

Choosing letters “independently” is causal language. “Uniformly” insists the probability of every letter being typed is equal, a circular definition, since what we want to know is the probability. Say instead “There are 26 letters, one of which must be typed once per time unit t, where knowledge of the letters typed previously tell us nothing about letters to be typed.”

Since COVFEFE (we’re working with all caps via the information given) is 7 letters, we want to characterize the uncertainty in the total time it takes to type this sequence.

Do we have all we need? Not quite. Again, think like a physicist and not a mathematician. How long is Trump going to sit at the computer? (Or play with his Portable Thinking Suppression Device (PTSD)?) It can’t be forever. That means there should be a chance we never see COVFEFE. On the other hand, if we assume Trump types forever, then it is obvious that not only must COVFEFE appear, but it must appear an infinite number of times!

Indeed, if we allow the mathematical possibility of eternal typing, not only will COVFEFE appear in infinite plenitude, Trump will also type the entire works of Shakespeare, not just once, but also an infinite number of times. And the entire corpus of all works that can be types in 26 letters sans spacing. Trump’s a genius!

Well that escalated quickly. That’s because The Limit is a bizarre place. Our intuition breaks down.

We still have to decide how fast Trump can type. Maybe two to five letters per second, but not faster than that. But that’s the physicist in me speaking. Keyboards and fingers can’t be engineered for infinitely fast typing. A mathematician might allow one character per infinitesimal time unit. If so, we have another infinity that has crept in. If one infinity was weird, trying mixing two.

Point is, since probability needs assumptions, we need to make explicit all of them. The problem doesn’t do that. We have to bring our knowledge of English grammar to bear, which we always do, and which part of the conditions. It will be no surprise people can come to different answers.

Homework: Assume finite time in which to type, and discrete positive real time to type each letter; assume also the simple characters proposition I gave and then calculate the probability of COVFEFE at t = 0, 1, 2, … n typing time units (notice this adds the assumption that letters come regularly with no variation, another mathematical, non-physical assumption). And then calculate the first appearance by t = 0, 1, 2, … n. Then calculate the expected value (is it even interesting?). After you have that, what happens in n goes to infinity? (It that even interesting?) And can you also have the time unit decrease to the infinitesimal?

Hint. The probability of seeing COVFEFE and not seeing COVFEFE must sum to 1. If n = 1, the (conditional on all these assumptions) probability of COVFEFE is 0, and not-COVFEFE is 1. Same with n = 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. What about n = 7? And so on?

December 12, 2017 | 17 Comments

Free Data Science Class: Predictive Case Study 1, Part V


This class is neither frequentist nor Bayesian nor machine learning in theory. It is pure probability, and unlike any other class available. And for the right price!

We have all we need if we want to characterize our uncertainty in future CGPAs given only the grading rules, the old observations, and the simple math notions of the multinomial model. I.e., this:

    (5) Pr(CGPA = 4 | grading rules, old observation, fixed math notions).

Given a set of observations of the number in each bucket, we can predict the probability of a new person having each possible CGPA. We are using the data found in Uncertainty, which is in a CSV file here.

CGPA comes with too much precision (I found the file on line many, many years ago, and cannot rediscover its origins), with measurements to the hundredth place. It is therefore useful to have a function that rounds to the nearest specified decisionable fraction. I modified this roundTo function to do the job (we’re using R, obviously).

roundTo <- function(y, num, down = FALSE) {
    resto = y%%num
    # to round down use '<=' 
        i = which(resto <= (num/2))
    } else {
        i = which(resto < (num/2))
    # if you don't think you need binary subtract, try these,
    # which should both give 0; try other numbers in (0,1)
    # a=.88; a + 1 - a%%1 - 1
    # a=.89; a + 1 - a%%1 - 1
    y = y + `-`(num , resto)
    if(length(i)) y[i] = `-`(y[i] , num) 

The reason for the back ticks is given in the comments. Since we're classifying into buckets, floating point math can make buckets which should be 0 into something like 10^-16, which is not 0, and which is also not interesting. Use of the binary subtract function fixes this. If you don't understand the code, don't worry about it, just use it.

Read the data into R (put your path to the csv file into path):

# path = 'C:/mydrive/mypath/' #windows; note direction of slashes
# path = '/home/me/mypath/' # unix, mac
x = read.csv(paste(path,'cgpa.csv',sep=''))

Then apply our function:


 0  1  2  3  4 
 4 17 59 16  4 

I'm mixing code and output here, but you should be able to get the idea. There are n = 100 observations, most of which are CGPA = 2. The model (5) in code (mpp for multinomial posterior predictive):

mpp <- function(x, nd = 3){
  # nd = number of significant digits 
  x = (1 + x)/(sum(x)+dim(x))

This is model (5) in all its glory! Note that this is a bare-bones function. All code in this class is for illustration only, for ease of reading; nothing is optimized. This code does no error checking, doesn't handle missing values; it only spits out the answer given a table as input, like this (the signif rounds to significant digits):


     0      1      2      3      4 
0.0476 0.1710 0.5710 0.1620 0.0476 

Notice there is less than a 59% chance of a new CGPA = 2, but more than a 4/100 chance of a CGPA = 1. The future is less certain than the past! Suppose we wanted finer gradations of CGPA, say to the nearest 0.5:


  0 0.5   1 1.5   2 2.5   3 3.5   4 
  2   3   8  21  33  20   7   4   2  


     0    0.5      1    1.5      2    2.5      3    3.5      4 
0.0275 0.0367 0.0826 0.2020 0.3120 0.1930 0.0734 0.0459 0.0275 

Play with other values of num in roundTo(). We're done, really, with what we can do with (5), except, of course, for checking it on real new measurements. Which I don't have. And which brings up an important point.

The point of the predictive method is to make testable predictions, which we have just done. But we can't test them until we get new measurements. Yes, we can and will check the old data as if it were new, but this is always cheating, because as everybody does or should know, it is always possible to derive a model which fits data arbitrarily well. Schemes which split data into "training" and "testing" sets cheat too if they ever in any way use the results of the testing data to tweak the model. That just is to use all the data in fitting/training. Though there are attempts and supposed techniques to reuse data, the only way to assess the performance of any model is to compare it against data that has never before been seen (by the model).

Model (5) can't be pushed further. But we do have other formal, measured information at hand, about which more in a moment. Of informal, non-quantifiable evidence, we are loaded. We can easily do this:

    (6) Pr(CGPA = 4 | grading rules, old observation, fixed math notions, E),

where E is a joint proposition carrying what you know about CGPA; things like, say, majors, schools, age, etc. Things which not formally measured and even unmeasurable. After all, to what schools, times, places, people does (5) apply? Pay attention: this is the big question! It by itself says all schools, all times, all places, all peoples---as long as they conform to the formal grading rules.

Pause and consider this. (5) is universal. If the old observations came from, say, Sacred Heart Institute of Technology and we knew that, which we don't (recall I found this data maybe twenty years ago from a place only the Lord knows), then we might insist E = "The school is Sacred Heart only". Or E = "The school is like Sacred Heart." Like is not quantifiable, and will differ widely in conception between people. Well, and that means (6) will be different for each different E. Each conception gives a different model!

Again, this is not a bug it is a feature.

Notice that (6) is not (5), a trivial point, perhaps, but one that can be forgotten if it is believed there is a "true" model out there somewhere, where "true" is used in the sense that probability is real or that we can identify cause. We've already discussed this, so if you don't have it clear in your mind, review!

Next time we introduce SAT, HGPA, and time spent studying, and see what we can do with this formal measurements.

Homework: Using (5) and the data at hand, suppose there are n = 20 new students. What can you say about the predictions of the numbers of new students having CGPA = 4, etc.?