We had these things called Jarts. Lawn darts. Maybe a foot long, pointed metal tip; might have been lead. Plastic … Continue Reading Stolen Play
We had these things called Jarts. Lawn darts. Maybe a foot long, pointed metal tip; might have been lead. Plastic … Continue Reading Stolen Play
Bo and Ben Winegard start their Quillette essay (thanks to K.A. Rodgers for the tip) “In Defense of Scientism” by … Continue Reading In Opposition To Scientism
Had a named person in statistics (Andrew Althouse) ask me about randomization, which he likes, and which I do not. … Continue Reading Randomization Isn’t Needed — And Can Be Harmful
Here it is! The one, the only, the peer-reviewed (and therefore true) “Reality-Based Probability & Statistics: Solving the Evidential Crisis” … Continue Reading Reality-Based Probability & Statistics: Ending The Tyranny Of Parameters!
Yours Truly is a statistician; indeed, the Statistician to the Stars! I call myself that because I perform probability analyses … Continue Reading There Are No Such Thing As Gays (Or Trannies)
Class & code links are at the bottom. This is the permanent page for Uncertainty: The Soul of Modeling, Probability … Continue Reading Books & Free Class
We had these things called Jarts. Lawn darts. Maybe a foot long, pointed metal tip; might have been lead. Plastic fins. They came with two plastic hoops which you set so many feet apart, divided the red and blue Jarts into teams, and using a smooth underhand motion, shot the Jart toward its target.
If your opponent was deserving, you could launch it toward him, too. Since Jarts were usually played a barbecues, and barbecues involved beer, there was often a holocaust of Jarts victims. It never made the papers.
Another one. Cap guns. Faux pearl handles, shiny barrels, etched with manly lines and bas-relief bulls. The barrel opened and revealed a post onto which a roll of blasting caps on red tape was placed. The tape was threaded up through a slot onto a plate, which the hammer would hit on every trigger pull. Bang! Bang! Bang!
The caps wouldn’t always explode in the gun because the hammers could be weak. Smacking them between rocks worked. We used to take five-pound sledgehammers and whack an entire roll at once. BANG! If you did it right, you split ear drums. The largest caps manufacturer was a prominent sponsor of the American Sign Language Institute.
This did not exhaust the caps’ inexhaustible uses. There were these solid lead grenades in the shape of badminton shuttlecocks. The tip was heavy and separated from the body which opened up enough space for one cap. You stuck the cap in, slid the body back down, and whipped the grenade into the air. When it came down the shaft would whack against the tip and explode the cap. POP!
You had to throw them real hard to get them to pop against a fleshy body. But practice makes perfect. This was when trauma surgery became a distinct field, the other branches being overwhelmed with casualties of neighborhood wars.
This still wasn’t the end of the caps’ great glories! The bravest would put a roll between thumb and forefinger and scrape their thumbnail across a cap. With just the right English—SNAP! BURN! This is the origin, incidentally, of the word forefinger, which was originally spelled fourfinger.
Then there were the monkey bars. A tangle of metal pipe soaring into the sky, with impossible twists and turns. The idea was to climb this structure and discover new and interesting ways of hanging on with minimum contact. We played tag on them. Just one slip was doom, the body falling down through the maze, the bars wreaking their horrors. Historians tell us Thomas Mayne Reid got his idea for The Headless Horseman by watching recess at his local kindergarten.
We’d line little plastic green army men up and wage war. Bombs were simulated with rocks. Machine gun fire with BB or pellet guns, though the odd slingshot was not unheard of. These wars were in the vein of other conflicts of the Twentieth Century: they were brutal, devastating, and total. No soldier was ever left standing. Psychologists are still dealing with the after effects, most of the kids who played this having become serial killers or terrorists.
Don’t get me started on the fireworks. Ah! Fireworks! The smell of seared flesh, the rending of limbs, the choking fumes. But the glorious colors and explosions! The trick in throwing a bottle rocket was to wait until the flame had just about hit the rocket fuel so that you had enough time to arch back and sling it forward. This gave it extra impetus so that it really stung when it hit your victim. Throw it too early and the shot into the ground; too late, and you had a handful of flame.
If you thought life back then was scary, you haven’t heard the worst. I warn the squeamish to skip ahead to the next paragraph. Parents would send kids outside, far from earshot, and without cell phones. There was no way to track the kids down and gather them up, save the sun setting. Since parents could not supervise the children at every moment, every one of these children died.
All gone. Safety first. What about the children. It’s all probably an app now so that kids can exercise their swiping muscles. And share their scores on line for others to envy. We’ll all die fat and alone, but we’ll have the strongest swiping muscles and the highest meaningless scores of any people in history.
Here are remarks on “Enlightenment & Sacrifice — Remarks on Joseph de Maistre” by Thomas Bertonneau, which I urge you to read in full. Bertonneau is reading de Maistre’s Elucidation on Sacrifices, in which is a dialogue, of which the most interesting part for us is this:
Take the Noachic Deluge, one of the topics in the Second Dialogue. Whereas, Maistre gives it to the Count to say, “We know very little about the time before the Flood,” yet “only one consideration is of interest to us.” The Count has in mind that “punishments are always proportional [to crimes] and crimes are always proportional to the knowledge of the guilty — so that the Flood presupposes unheard of crimes and these crimes assume knowledge infinitely1 higher than we possess today.”
This must be so. Consider that Satan does not doubt the existence of God, as we uncivilized people do. Satan’s knowledge of God, of right and wrong, is, as Maistre might have said, infinitely higher than ours. Satan must know that he requires the existence of God for himself to exist, especially since he (Satan) is an entirely immaterial creature. Yet Satan still rebelled. His punishment must be concomitantly proportional.
Eve did not doubt, nor did Adam. Nor did the people in Noah’s time. We doubt, we disbelieve. They knew. Yet still they rebelled. What an astonishing crime! It would be like if you said, “What the Hell”, and went on an elimination spree, cutting the throats of intruders disturbing your peace. You would know, in advance, what punishment you’d get, but it wouldn’t stop you. You’d show authority your back side. You know best.
Yet now we don’t believe, we doubt, we don’t know. It seems to follow our crimes are less, since our knowledge is less. And so too our punishment? Maybe it’s as Nicolas Gomez Davila said: “The modern world will not be punished. It is the punishment.”
This is only a minor observation on how far we have fallen. Read the rest of the essay for more. And then put your mind to the question of how far we have yet to go. What would define a bottom? How about when man declares all of mankind god, and when a first among equals is seen to be the embodiment of this spirit.
(1This use of infinitely was once common. It was not used in a numerical sense, but as of an order incomprehensibly higher. It is always well to speak of infinity as incomprehensible.)
This theory of lost knowledge links itself to the concept of supernatural enlightenment. Noah and his family, Maistre through the Count argues, must have honored a knowledge that they possessed while everyone else must have flouted the same knowledge so as to bring on themselves a cosmic enormity. In respect of the theory of knowledge, Maistre believes that modern epistemology suffers from a defect. The ancients, Maistre asserts, could see effects in causes. The modern epistemologist, by virtue so to speak of his egoistic limitation, can only “rise painfully from effects to causes”; or, what is even worse, he concerns himself “only with effects.” He therefore misjudges the ancients to the degree that he cannot imagine the spontaneity and fullness of original knowledge. The Count says that, “Plato, speaking of what is most important for man to know, suddenly adds with the penetrating simplicity natural to him: These things are learned easily and perfectly IF SOMEONE TEACHES THEM TO US.” How did the generations after Noah and his family rebuild their world? Was it by a painful beginning from the degree zero? Noah, possessing knowledge, taught it to them; and on that basis they rebuilt their world. Whence gleaned Noah that knowledge? Noah was privy to a primordial revelation. Maistre cites the Greco-Roman myth of the Golden Age, during which men governed themselves morally, and the legend of Manu, the lawgiver of the Hindus, as parallelisms. “Wise antiquity,” Maistre writes, “will tell you that the first men…were marvellous men, and that beings of a superior order deigned to favour them with the most precious communications.”
The lost knowledge was that communicated to man directly from God (or the gods), a reliable and necessary form of induction.
Maistre’s critique of modern epistemologists is sound. We have gone so far, in many case, as to deny knowledge of cause, a disease introduced by Hume and communicated orally ever since. To grasp an effect in a cause is to understand the power and nature of the cause, and these powers and natures are doubted or denied.
We do sometimes rise from effects to causes, but in the wrong way, as with much of statistical analysis, which ascribes occult causes to probability, powers which somehow—nobody knows how—act on parameters of probability models. Readers who got through this paper will understand this critique. (And if you haven’t read it, why not?) Cause is not direct in this way, but wiggles or is fuzzy. It is a bizarre view.
Effects also are perfectly compatible with probability models, which can always be agnostic on cause. But while predictions from these models might be useful, they are not revealing of nature. They are too often just a way to make a buck. It is the weakest form of science.
Noah, presumes Maistre, and conditional on accepting The Flood we have to agree, must have taught his descendants what he knew, what he learned directly from God and his messengers. Noah’s ancestors (the ones not guilty of sodomy, like Ham), in turn would have passed on what they learned, and so on down to us.
This process must have been, from simple observation, like the game of telephone carried on far too long. We have all but forgotten about the transcendent. Even those who remember it find it nearly impossible to live according to that knowledge, surrounded as we all are by scoffers.
This leaves open the possibility of God re-teaching ancient wisdom. But why would He? And if He doesn’t how far removed from Truth do we have to get before God declares and End to all?
Remember the line ‘Sing, ye gods, of the wrath of Achilles’? First line of the Old Testament. I guess it depends on which Bible you are reading. In this case, I am referring to the Old Testament of the Pagan world, known as The Iliad. The Homeric tale of man and the gods. Followed by The Odyssey, the Pagan New Testament, also as told by Homer.
The reason I mention Paganism is because of a recent post on Briggs that included mention of a piece entitled ‘Old and New Paganism‘ by the Bronze Age Pagan (BAP). It occurred to me that people can’t really understand the New Paganism unless they understand the original version. And that means you have to understand The Iliad and The Odyssey.
Only then will you understand the point that BAP is trying to make. BAP is right, at least in the narrow sense, that there are three versions of Paganism alive today. But two of them don’t matter, because like most things in this fluffy PC world today, they are wimpy ersatz knock-offs of the real thing. Forget howling at the moon out in the sylvan wood. Forget meditating on Olympian glory like Julian the Apostate. Let’s look at the real thing, and see what it was really like. And how it has changed. But most importantly, why it still matters.
Much like the ancient Pagan scriptures noted above, the Jewish/Christian tomes were divided into an old and renewed testimony. Each half of this Bible was driven by an underlying theme. In the first half, the Mosaic thread related a message of God’s justice. A justice which mankind could not (read: ‘would not’) uphold. By their own human choice, of course. Free choice, driven by free will.
Then came The Christ (the Anointed One) who offered those who recognized their own personal failure a new choice. It was the choice of substituting His will for theirs. Freely, of course. None of this Mohammedan ‘free will at the point of a sword’ stuff.
The key to understanding the Son’s offer was that His will was in total conformance with His Father’s. Thy will be done. For those who would gratefully accept The Son’s perfect will (by denying their own fallen will), The Father’s mercy would be shown. That gift, mercy, is the driving theme of the second half of Jewish/Christian scripture. All of this is known and obvious to those who have half a brain (or even less) and who admit the existence of man’s free yet fallen will. That is to say, the vast minority of mankind.
What was the theme of The Iliad? The opening line says it all. Wrath. Open hostility, resulting in open warfare amongst all men. All of which mirrored the actions of the residents of the Olympian Heavens. In the Christian heavens, Lucifer left, and peace reigned. On Mt. Olympus, God left and wrath remained.
At a certain point, if you want to max out, you gotta shift gears. Only overdrive gives you escape velocity. After a decade of open warfare, Troy still stood. The idiot western Greeks had failed in their wrath. (You understand that the Trojans were also Greeks. They had to be, in order to understand each other’s insults. That’s what the entire dialog is about. Insults.)
Now we come to the second volume of the Pagan Bible, The Odyssey. The second half of the Pagan testimony has as it’s underlying theme Deception. You knew The Father of Lies would re-appear. Worked once, why not try it again? After all, ten years of open warfare amongst the Greeks, both West and East, had failed to destroy Troy. Time for a new play, Odysseus. Time for The Horse play.
Nearly everything since then in the anthropocentric world has been driven by this new theme of Deception. I’ve explained it all in my book, The Barbarian Bible. I’ll give you a condensed version here.
It is not for nothing that Odysseus was the grandson of Autolycus, the world’s greatest thief. And his grandson, Odysseus, would become the world’s greatest liar. As anyone in advertising will tell you, if they’re truthful, promise anything, just make the sale! The Odyssey was simply the tale of all the lies he spun on his way home after his greatest exploit. After he sold the greatest lie of the ancient world (after the first one, of course). Care for a free apple, friend? No? Well, how about a Horse? No, seriously, it’s free. Honest, go ahead, take it. It’s yours. All yours. Just open those gates, and roll it in! Go ahead, sucker.
(Yes, I know, the actual fall of Troy was not recounted in either of Homer’s epics, but rather, in Quintus of Smyrna’s book The War at Troy. But the underlying assumption of this Greek lie—that is, the supposed retreat of the western Greeks and how Troy actually fell—is the unspoken foundation of both The Iliad and The Odyssey).
Now the greatest lie you can sell someone outside of the Garden is one that totally disarms him. Leaves him naked. One that says that his mortal enemy has been defeated. They’re gone. And the natural conclusion to this crazy line of thought, of course, is that you are therefore victorious. Carry that a little farther, and you must be one of the gods! Welcome to The New American Century, citizen. Welcome to Mt. Olympus. Here, let me check your coat, sir. This way to the bar.
What’s that mean in our day and age, Priam? It’s Party time! Time to kick back and relax! Enjoy the victory. Even if there’s no dead enemy at your feet. He’s gone, so he must be defeated, right? Because if you can’t see him, he must not exist. Sound familiar, all you materialists?
That lie, that the enemy is forever gone, is what led the Trojans to drop their guard. That was the whole point of the exercise, Komrade. It worked once, beautifully. Why not run that play again? We’re going to see that play again. Soon.
Now that ‘our team’ has retired to the locker room for a premature celebration, the other team has returned. And they are stone-cold sober. But just like at Troy, our team is no longer sober enough to fight. They still think past glory equals future fate. We have bought the lie. We never imagined that our opponent’s old playbook of wrath, of open aggression, would be replaced by the new playbook theme of deception. Our boys have forgotten that coaches always make those crafty half-time adjustments. That’s the whole point of half-time. And coaches.
Here is where our frenemy, the Bronze Age Pagan has also fallen for the lie. BAP is still stuck in the Old Testament of ancient Paganism. He is still enthralled by the wrath that drove the ancient gods and their earthly acolytes. He has failed to see that the gods have shifted gears and that the new theme of deception is the true face of Paganism today. He rightly criticizes the ‘New Age’ Pagans for their wimpy (that is, academic) embrace of the old concept of Paganism. Why? Because BAP rightly understands the old theme of the ferocity that drove the ancient Pagan world. But he still thinks that ferocity is the way to truly connect with the spirits of the past. Yet time never stands still. And neither do the gods. As always, they are well ahead of us.
Know then, my brother, that thing we vaguely remember. Know that, before the coming of The Christ, there was no mercy in the Olympian skies, or upon the fallen earth. Watch the ancient Pagan vaunt his strength over the wounded opponent. Watch as he drives the spear-point home and then strips his victim’s body of its own ungodly armor. Watch and see that no mercy was ever shown to the vanquished. For mercy was an alien concept to them.
Mercy was an alien concept to another group of people as well. It was this same change of testamentary themes in the Judaic world that puzzled the Pharisees. And the Pharisees, who were equally enthralled by the righteous wrath of the elect, were blinded by this offer of mercy to those they despised. Blinded by the offer that came from the One they despised the most.
This embryonic Talmudic world, which had rejected Moses, was the same one that would kill The Christ. They would do so in the most merciless fashion possible. How was this different from the Pagan world of that same day? It wasn’t. Not different at all. It was simply another cruel display of strength. But is was kosher, right? Not a bone was broken. And the sacrificial offering was bled totally dry. That’s all that counted to them.
Yes, cruel strength, and the unmerciful display of that same strength, was the heart of the ancient world, whether Homeric or Pharisaic. It’s not for nothing that this preternatural strength is one of the three marks of demonic possession. A possession seen in the hubristic delight of the ancients, as they dispatched their mortally wounded opponents. No torment was too cruel for their taste. Dragging the dead body of Hector around Troy was the least they could do to show their version of honor. Honor, unto themselves.
BAP and the Pharisees of today are both puzzled and confused by this change in testamentary themes. Pagans of any stripe or spelling, whether enthralled by wrath, rubric or rumination, cannot understand the subtle logic of deceit. As a result, they have been left behind by their god-coaches who have recruited fresher and more nimble players who understand the new playbook. Think of the ‘Enlightenment’. Think of Voltaire. And Hegel. And Nietzsche. And all who have embraced them. Robespierre, Hitler, Lenin, Mao, Lincoln and Roosevelt. All of them.
Together, these new gods of deception have sold us a ‘new and improved’ Paganism. A Paganism that dares not speak its old name. A Paganism re-named, wrapped in the ‘truth of science’. A Paganism with a bland, calm face that bids us to ‘engage in dialogue’ that leads us calmly yet inexorably towards the same position their ancestors proclaimed with ferocity. A new and improved process that leads to more slaughter than the ancients could ever imagine, let alone deliver, to honor their gods, and themselves.
In the ancient world of Paganism, you had to pit your ferocity against perhaps an equally ferocious opponent. After all, there were plenty of team sponsors (the gods) in these original Olympics. An opponent equally armed, perhaps even better. Only by giving yourself completely over to the will of your particular god-coach (that is, by allowing yourself to be possessed, literally) could you hope to overpower your enemy and to dispatch him in the cruelest of ways. All of this was pleasing to the gods. On the seventh day they did not rest.
Today the gods have gone modern. Sure, they still delight in empowering individual acolytes to commit some horrific act that claims some individual’s mortal (and, they hope, immortal) life. Violent street crime is always smiled upon in Mt. Olympus. But why deal in ones and twos when you can industrialize the whole thing? Why engage in activity that requires micro-management when they can empower us with ‘modern science’ to scale up our evil? Why struggle to kill mankind one at a time, when these same gods can convince all of us to commit suicide? There is the key, my brothers. We are being exhorted to commit suicide. Forget about killing your opponent in pursuit of ancient Pagan glory, BAP. Get with the Times, my friend! The London Times, the NY Times, the End Times! The best way to honor the gods is to honor the earth. Honor Gaia by killing yourself for her.
Out with the old, in with the new. The new Pagan world where the god named Science has concluded, infallibly, that abortion is good. That willing chemical sterility is good. That the endless ‘war against terror’ is good too. That in this same brave new world, material satiety pursued to gluttony is also a good to be pursued. C’mon, citizen, let’s visit the concession stand and get some beers. Maybe an Oxycontin too. Why not? A drugged existence is also highly desirable in this new day. Ask the school nurse as she passes out the Ritalin to all those nasty young boys who refuse to behave like girls. In a pinch, if all else fails to eradicate us, for the enjoyment of those in the scientific clouds of Mt. Olympus, there is always the option of a nuclear war.
We are living in a virtual reality that has replaced true life. It is a reality where all of these conclusions and results are mass produced and automated. Now the entire world may enjoy what used to be the province of individual insanity. In our incredible pride, we have bought the lie. We now believe that we can re-make ourselves, in a better way than we began. And that better way is that we should never have been. This is our own new version of man. This is the true new Paganism. The deception of the gods here is this: the new and true modern Pagan doesn’t believe in the gods. The gods of Scientism have taught him that he cannot believe what he cannot see. In imitation of the One God, the gods have hidden themselves from man. Now man believes in neither.
To be a modern Pagan, all you have to do is to imagine that we are all there is. And that we can re-create a better Man. We have. We have molded the clay of the earth and brought him forth. We are breathing our own life into our own creations. They are the fruit of our hand. By their fruits we shall know them. Our Frankensteins are efficiently doing our will. The proof of it is right here before us. They are killing us all, in droves. If only we would see this reality. Yet we have looked upon it, and said it is good.
The deception is complete. So totally complete, because it is now self-deception. We have completely internalized the message of the gods. We think we are creating ‘the new man’. Scoot over, Lenin. It’s our turn now. With our implants and AI and 3-D printers, it’s just a matter of time. A very short time. I promise! If that is true, then we have become the new Creators, no? In which case, we must be gods ourselves. What a satisfying thought. Self-satisfying. Of course.
However, the bad news, which again we vaguely sense, is this; if we have become the new Olympians, then why does this place look just like Hell? There is still one bit of Good News left to us today. At least to us humans. That offer of mercy still stands. And as the TV pitchman always says, this offer is still good. But for a limited time only.
The battle rages on but—spoiler alert—Jesus wins in the end. Christianity, the only going religion based on historical events. Go to Mass. See what you’re missing.