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Traditional Christianity All But Kaput In Western Europe, And Even USA

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Couple of new surveys. One from Pew shows that only about one out of five Europeans attend services “monthly or more”.

Now this is very crude, usable only with caution, and varies by country greatly. Forty per-cent of Italians are church-going, the country with highest attendance, but (says the survey) only 9% of Finns (tied for lowest with the Swedes) make the Sunday trek.

Even though the one-in-five figure is loose, we can use it to make a sort of prediction in the following way. It turns out that, across Europe, only a bit under two in three church-goes also believe in God “as described by the Bible”. The rest believe “in other higher power or spiritual force.” Like Hollywood, say? Lucifer as envisioned by Freemasons? Or their own selves? Well, whatever. It isn’t God.

Pew only gives this two in three as an average across Europe, which is how we can use the crude one in five. Multiplying gives an imprecise estimate of 13% of church-going Christians who believe in God. That’s close to a definition of traditional Christianity, though it probably exaggerates prevalence of true believers.

Given all we’ve seen and read about western Europe, this doesn’t seem like such a bad guess, though. It’s doubtful any would double this number: in particular countries, perhaps, but not across Europe.

The number could be lower, too, but likely not too much lower, given faith still has strong pockets in Italy and Portugal, for instance. One in ten is thus likely not far off.

Pew also tracked the percent agreeing to “Science makes religion unnecessary in my life.” The average of church-goers agreeing was 17%. It’s a reasonable guess that most or all of these people believe in that odd “spiritual power” and not God.

The answer to the science question should be 0%, though (Norway is closest at 5%; France is highest at 22%) for church-goers. For if you believe in God as described in the Bible, you know science is not incompatible, except where science is in error. This bolsters the one in ten prediction.

The survey continues, showing church-goers are more likely to oppose immigration, support traditional national life, and the like. Interesting stuff, but not to the point here.

The next two questions imply we might push the one-in-ten lower. They are the percent of church-goers who favor killing the lives inside would-be mothers, and supporting gmarriage (government-defined marriage): 52% and 58%, respectively. Those are, of course, larger than the one-in-three spiritual-power believers (still among church-goers). Support of either of these pushes you out of traditional Christianity and into the camp of the enemy.

We’re down to about, oh, say, 7-8%. Again, as an average across all Western Europe, a figure with mighty uncertainty to it.

It doesn’t seem too off, though, does it?

There is no indication the situation is improving; not in Western Europe, anyway. (The East is, however, rising.) Every country Pew tracked had fewer people identifying as Christian from 2002 to 2014 (the last year numbers were available).

Enter the second survey, from PRRI, which is of the USA and about support for non-procreative sex-like activities.

First is percent who “favor laws that would protect LGBT people from discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing”, which is 70%. Protect “from” “discrimination is, as all know, to punish the religious by discrimination; thus, the traditional Christian should be against these laws.

Sadly, breakdowns by religion show what we all know: Unitarians, New agers and Jews are least opposed; and no religion, not even Jehovah’s Witnesses, comes higher than 29% opposing (only 23% of white Catholics oppose).

Then come in the survey more pointed questions about allowing small businesses to refuse to Bake The Cake based on religious objections. All traditions would favor these kinds of laws.

Alas, only 36% of Catholics do, only 43% of protesting Christians do, only 27% of Jews so, and, perhaps surprisingly, only 25% of Muslims do.

Of course, as above, all of these numbers have sizable plus-or-minuses. But, if it were put to a vote, it is more than a good bet that Bake That Cake would become law. (It would be called, maybe, the Pinch Of Incense Act of 2020.)

Lastly, and PRRI does not break this down by religion, only 14% of all Americans are strongly opposed to gmarriage. A similar number just oppose it.

That 14% figure must be our proxy for the approximate fraction of traditional Christians in the USA. It will be high because some non-Christians do oppose gmarriage, but not, of course, on theological grounds. But we have to add to that subtraction those who just oppose gmarriage, who, when pushed, might recall their theology better.

This varies greatly by region, here and abroad, but a cautious summary, acknowledging the uncertainties, and admitting there are far more tests than these for traditionalism, might conclude that Western Europe has about 7-8% of traditional Christians remaining, while it’s maybe 14-18% Americans. Two to one, Americans over Europeans, sounds about right.

On Islam, Part I — Guest Post by Ianto Watt

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A billion words have been written since Islam awoke from her 300-year slumber in 1983. Almost all of those words have sought to explain away the actions of ‘radical’ Islam. All of them straining, ever so hard, to make real the faux distinction between radicals and the so-called moderates of that religion. All to no avail. For none of those explanations, rationalizations, or dreams can square the circle. None can clearly explain why there should not be a blanket denunciation of this religion. For none of them clearly sees that there is only one Islam.

For just as the Muslims say that there is only one God, I say that there is only one Islam. The only distinction between any of their supposedly different strains is this: some Muslims are sleeping, while others are awake. But all Muslims have exactly the same DNA. All Muslims are intrinsically alike. For according to their book, they all have exactly the same mission. And that mission is jihad. Death to the infidel.

I’ve said before. There is only one Islam because there is only one Koran. And the Koran, unlike the Judeo/Christian Bible, has only one book. There is no New Testament to the Koran. There is no redemptive second book. There is no mercy in Islam. There is only the vengeance of Mohammed.

The only difference between any groupings of Islam is are they still sleeping, or are they already awake? That is, are they still passive, or have they entered into the active state? Are they still propagating while pretending to be docile? Are they still pretending to be nationalists first, last and always? Or have they finally dropped the pretense of assimilation, while triggering their explosive vests, taking out anyone, even their wives and children, as they seek the martyrdom of the damned?

There is only one Christianity, too, though there are many ways of imperfectly expressing this religious belief. Someone once said there are over 30,000 different individualistic Protestant sects. All of them set in uniform opposition to the communitarian one-ness of Catholicism. And often against each other.

Let’s simplify things and say Christianity is the belief in a God-Man named Jesus. And that Islam is the belief in a Prophet-Man named Mohammed.

If you can accept for the moment my simplistic definition of Christianity, then I would like to make my comparison of it to Islam. Remember, regardless of the fine details of defining dogma (which disqualifies Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses), my simplistic model means that there is only one Christianity. The question I wish to pose about Christianity then is not about the dogmatic differences amongst individual Christians. No, indeed, my question for Christians, of any stripe, is the exact same question I have posed about the supposed Islamic strains. And that question, again, is this: are you sleeping, or are you awake?

Are you snoozing in your comfy crib, with your binky and blanky, or are you on the march? Are you an infant, or are you a man? Are you really Christian? Do you really believe? Show me the proof. Are you on Crusade for your God? On the march, in any sense? Are you proselytizing for your God? The Muslims are. Can’t see the difference? Too bad. They do. They see it quite clearly.

Muslims, in a rare moment of rational lucidity, have concluded (as I have) that Christianity, for the most part, is asleep. So, why shouldn’t the Muslims laugh at the post-Christian inhabitants of Europe (and here) and conclude that these infidels have no love of any sky above them? For who can believe that any form of Christianity that slumbers is an actual religion worthy of respect? Or more simply put, is it even a religion at all? Don’t point to empty cathedrals. Show me a full one. Complete with children. Then I’ll listen.

I have to agree then with my Muslim opponents, at least at this core level of respect, that any religion is better than no religion. For any grouping of men that sees no One above them has therefore elevated themselves, by their willful blindness, to the level of the gods. No one atop Mt. Olympus looks up. They only look down. Onto mere men. In other words, we have become truly Godless gods. That means, in reality, that the Muslims are right, in this significant sense. We truly are infidels. We have no faith in anything other than ourselves. Who can blame the Muslims for their logic? And their laughter? Who are the real fools?

As I said, in their one moment of clarity, the Muslims have discerned the core signal that has awakened them. They have perceived that we don’t believe. Just as the locust somehow knows the time of it’s awakening, the Mohammedans have felt their moment. It is now. Time to arise, brethren! The world is ours for the taking. Burn that empty cathedral! After all, where is the danger?

Because, who will these slumbering Christians call upon when their days turn dark? Who will they take heart in, when their hearts have failed them? Who can save them, when they refuse to call upon anyone (other than the U.N.) to save them? Easy pickings, as they say. Saddle up, fellah. Paris is ours.

Let’s try to understand the adversary. But shouldn’t we really say, ‘the enemy’? And if you can’t say that word (enemy), you’re exactly who I’m talking about. Let’s try and see what explains the enemy’s actions. In short, let’s ask two terrible questions. Why does the West seemingly embrace Islam, and why is Islam so heartless?

The first question is rather easy. Why does the post-Christian West seem to be locked into an irresistible embrace of Islam, in spite of Islam’s harshness? Why would people who adore softness apparently be willing to welcome the hardness of Sharia Law? Why do they seem to embrace the certainty of their own destruction? What is it that could drive people to accept the very antithesis of their sweet dreams of secular social sanguinity? What is it about Islam that these Islamically-defined apostates could possibly desire?

Because they are apostates. Christian apostates. They have changed. They have evolved. They have denied Christianity, in any aspect of its real, unchangeable form. These apostates, like the Muslims, have also detected the silent signal of their day, that Islam is the only force that might be able to destroy True Christianity. At least, that is their hope.

At bottom, the only thing that worldly post-western people fear is Christianity. Real and awakened Christianity. First, because it calls them to acknowledge their sins. Their personal sins. Not ‘group sins’ like the carbon footprint and white privilege. They’re happy to claim those social sins, as long as it is ascribed to a group, and not to them personally. After all, even Nancy has a wall around her house. Hers is for aesthetics, of course. Not racism. Or xenophobia.

Sin is not what perturbs them most about Christianity. The part they really can’t take is repentance. Personal ownership of personal sin, followed by personal remorse. Shameless people cannot abide this thought. For true shame will bring true self-denial. This thought is the only thing they will deny themselves.

Islam, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have this same shame-based demand. After all, in Islam, all your sins go away if you simply murder someone who has failed to praise Mohammed. So, in the wimpy, emasculated Western secular world, as far as deciding who your real enemy is, it’s either Christianity or Islam. Guess who wins the ‘most-hated’ award?

This is the crucial distinction. In Christianity, God says ‘vengeance is mine’. The god of Islam says ‘vengeance is yours’. Since Mohammed claims to have Allah’s power-of-attorney, he feels totally free to act on Allah’s behalf. Thus he exhorts his followers, go ahead, push that button! Who will be the messenger of God? Who will exact the toll? Man or God? Mohammed or Jesus? That’s what it all comes down to. Who will defend the honor and justice of The Father? And how will they do it? Who, in this relentless demand for His justice, will be given mercy?

The question for each individual is will The Father wreak vengeance upon everyone, or will He be pleased to grant mercy? And if He will grant mercy, who will be his agent? Jesus or Mohammed (and his clones)? Which one has shown us the way of mercy? Which one has called us to willing repentance without condemning us to Hell? Which one says ‘Go, and sin no more’? The answer, after the last 1400 years of comparison, is perfectly clear.

It seems rather academic to compare the mercy of Christianity to that of Mohammed. That then leads us to the logical question of ‘Why’?

Why is there no mercy in Islam? Short of the ‘point of the sword’ reward, that is. Why is it that Islam sees no humanity in their enemies? Why do they insist upon forced conversion? How can this please their god? What does it say about him? And his prophet?

Let’s look at what has removed the concept of love (and therefore, mercy) for our enemies, from the heart of Mohammed and his god. Let’s look at what really separates the monotheism of Islam from that of Christianity. Let us see why the monotheism of Christianity and Islam are totally different. Totally and diametrically opposed. They do not share the same God. Isaac and Ishmael are not true brothers.

I asked earlier why Mohammedans can see no humanity in their enemies. The answer is simple. They can’t see it in themselves, so how could they possibly recognize it in another? Am I saying that Muslims are not human? The hard but true answer is ‘yes’. Wait! Didn’t God create all of us in His own image and likeness? Well, of course He did! And He left it up to us to preserve that image. Which we have failed (all of us) to do. In that regard, we are all inhuman. The question today is, what is it that can totally remove that image and replace it with another? With an image of The Beast? The heartless beast. But even a beast has the instinct for survival. No beast would willingly kill himself, under any circumstance. They may die protecting their young or their mate. But never to kill them, along with themselves. No dumb animal is that dumb.

No, there is something deeper at work here. Something that moves men to go beneath the beastly. Something that drives them to embrace The Beast himself. The demonic beast. Let’s look at what this change requires to be accomplished. And why Islam is not human. Nor humane.

After much study of Islamic history and their book, I believe that we can see four distinct traits at work in the Islamic heart. Four things that have actually removed their heart. Things that have reduced Allah’s believers to the level of the automaton. After all, who but a machine could accept the programming that calls them to destroy themselves and others, in their pietistic rebuke of the lack of perfection in their neighbor? What kind of god would demand that these flesh-and-blood automatons trigger that explosive vest in the pursuit of anyone’s else’s perfection?

In my book, I examined and compared the three main religions of monotheism, based upon a five-point standard. In the section on Islam, I prefaced this examination with these remarks:

“First of all, I want to make a few comments about the Koran, and its ‘author’. After much study and thought, here is what I have distilled about Islam, as it is related in the Koran;

  1. It’s schizophrenic (but not in the way normally understood by shrinks):
  2. It’s xenophobic (but in a calculated way, to defy definitive interpretation);
  3. It’s robotic (in that man is programmed to react, without rationally thinking);
  4. It’s hypnotic (in that the bulk of it is a constant repetition of about 10 phrases).”

Next, we look at each of these points, and ponder them.

Using P-Values To Diagnose “Trends” Is Invalid

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Look at the picture, which is real data, but disguised to obscure its source. It is a physical measurement taken monthly by a recognized authority. The measurements are thought to have little error, which we can grant (at first); the numbers are used to make decisions of importance.

Question: is there a trend in the data?

Answer: there is no answer, and can be no answer. For we did not define trend.

What is a trend? There is no unique definition. One possible definition is the majority of changes: do more values increase or decrease. Another: Is the mean of the first half higher or lower than the second? Another: Are the values increasing or decreasing more strongly? For instance, there could be just as many ups and downs, but the ups are on average some-percent higher than the downs.

We could go on like this. In the end, we’d be left with a definition that fits the decisions we wish to make. Our definition of trend might therefore be different than somebody else’s.

Whatever we have, if we wish to declare a trend is present, all we have to do is look. Does the data meet the definition or not? If it does, then we have a trend; if it doesn’t, then it does not. Simple as that.

We don’t need p-values, we don’t need Bayes factors, we don’t models of any formality. We just look. Are there more than four coins on the table today (to suppose another question) as opposed to yesterday when there were three? There are or there aren’t. We just look. There are still three coins on the table today. Is three more then four? We do not need a formal model.

We need a model, which is the simple counting model. This is a model, but it cannot be said to be formal in any sense statisticians use models.

Now, keeping with our coin example, we will all agree that something caused the number of coins to be what they were. Perhaps several causes, of cause in its full sense of formal, material, efficient, and final aspects. If we decide there are more than four coins—by simple counting—it is clear that there would be a different cause or causes in effect than if there were four or fewer coins. Obviously!

There is no difference in the coin example than in our physical-measurement example. Yet the two are treated entirely differently by statistical trend hunters.

Statistical trend hunters will do something like compute a regression on the data. If the coefficient for trend is coupled with a wee p-value, the trend is declared to be present, else it is not. This is different in spirit from the definition of trend above. One definition could be an overall mean decrease or increase, as in a regression. But there is no sense to the idea the mean change is or is not there unless a p-value or some other measures takes a certain value.

How is it that coins are “really” greater than four even though we see three? How it the coins “really” aren’t three unless a function of the number of coins through time gives some value? How is it that the mean increase or decrease “really” isn’t there, even though we can see it, unless the p-value is wee?

It’s the same question that’s asked when after a medical trial, which showed a difference in treatments but where the statistician says the difference which was seen isn’t “really” there, because the p was not wee.

If the difference is not “really” there, but visible, the not-really-there difference is said to be “caused by chance.” Same with trends.

There we have the real lesson. It’s all about cause. Or should be.

Chance is not real, thus cannot cause anything. Yet some believe chance does exist, and that probability exists, too. If chance and probability exist, then causes can operate on them. Cause operates on real things. Cause must then act on the parameters of probability models, at least indirectly. How? Nobody has any idea how this might work. It can’t work, because it is absurd.

A complete discussion of cause and probability is in this paper. It is long and not light reading. That cause cannot operate on probability is another reason to reject p-values (and Bayes factors). For either of those measures ask us to believe that probability itself has been changed, i.e. caused to take different values.

(Incidentally, if you’re inclined to say “P-values have some good uses”, you’re wrong. Read this and the paper linked within.)

Cause is crucial. If a trend has been judged present, which happens when the p is wee, correlation suddenly becomes causation. The judgement is that the trend has a cause. It is true that all trends, however defined, have causes, but that is because every observation has a cause, and observations make up a trend.

Trend-setters say something different. They say the trend itself, the straight line, is real. Therefore, since the line is real, and real things have causes, the line must have a cause. That cause must have been a constant force of some kind, operating at precise regular intervals. If such a cause exists, as it can, then it should be easy to discover.

The problem is not that this kind of cause cannot exist, but the identification is too easily made. Consider the problem of varying the start date of the analysis. We have observations from 1 to t, and check for trend using (the incorrect) statistical means. The trend, as above in the picture, is declared. It is negative. Therefore, the cause is said to be present.

Then redo the analysis, this time starting from 2 to t, then 3 to t, and so on. You will discover that the trend changes, and even changes signs, all changes verified by wee p-values. But this cannot be! The first analysis said a linear force was in operation over the entire period. The second, third, and so forth analyses also claim linear forces were in operation over their entire periods, but these are different causes.

This picture shows just that, for the series above. For every point from i to t, a regression was run with linear trend, the trend estimate plotted, blue for wee p-values and decreasing trends, red for wee p-values and increasing trends, black for either increasing or decreasing and non-wee p.

The statistician would be convinced a negative linear cause was in effect for the first few months. A different cause for the entire series from i to n. Then it went away! No causes were present, except “chance”, for a while, then a positive linear cause appeared. And appeared again. And again, each time different, each valid for the entire series from i to n. It becomes silly in roughly 2013, where one month we are certain of a positive linear trend, and the next we are certain there is “nothing”, then certain again of another positive trend, then “nothing” again. And so on.

This is a proof by absurdity that cause has not been identified when a trend is accompanied by a wee p-value or large Bayes factor.

Correlation is not causation. But we can put correlation to use. We can use the correlational (not causation) line in predicting future values of the series. In a probabilistic sense, of course. Since liner causes might be in operation, perhaps approximately, then the linear probability model might make skillful predictions.

But since we almost never have the future data in hand when we want to convince readers we have discovered a cause, it’s best then to do two things.

(1) Make the predictions; say at time t+1 with value will be X +/- x, at t+2 it will be something else, etc. This allows anybody to check the prediction, even if they don’t have access to the original data or model. What could be fairer?

(2) DO NOT SHOW THE TREND. Showing it each and every time causes the Deadly Sin of Reification to be committed not just by you, but by your reader. He sees the line first and foremost. The line becomes realer than Reality. The stuff that happens outside the line is called “noise”, or something worse. No! The data is real: the data is what happened. The world felt the data, not the line.

Please pass this on to anybody you see, especially scientists, who use statistical methods to claim their trends are “significant”.

The Limitations And Usefulness Of IQ

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That Smarts

Everybody knows that some people are smarter than others, and that some are teachable and some not. Well, some people do deny these facts, believing that if everybody started from the same place, was taught in the same way, and had identical resources, all would arrive at the same destination, so that, down deep, everybody is equally smart.

This view—equality—cannot be supported. It has been disproved time and again by all experience, in every possible situation conditioned on every kind of contingency. Believing in equality in spite of the vast, vast mass of historical counter evidence proves only that intelligent people can believe stupid things—which everybody also knows. Indeed, is has often been observed that the more intelligent the man the more outlandish the fallacy.

Thus, though I will come to certain conclusions about IQ and intelligence counter to many prevailing views, I will not claim or advise, nor even hint, that equality is a possibility, or that it is in any way desirable.

My thesis is simple. That some are more intelligent than others, that some aspects of intelligence are driven by biology, and thus some are not. Intelligence to the extent it is biological can be imperfectly inherited; that because intelligence is in part immaterial, it can only partially and incompletely be measured, and with greater uncertainty than is recognized.

IQ is said to measure intelligence. Then, through the Deadly Sin of Reification, IQ becomes intelligence. The problem is not in the idea that some are smarter than others, for this is true (for some definition of “smart”). The problem is over-certainty.

IQ is a score on a test (a function of the number of questions, the number correct, and the like). Take a different test and the chance of a different score than that computed from the first test is not zero; i.e. the scores will differ. Take the same test, or one similar, at a different time, and again one may score differently. Is this a problem? No. Not if reification has not occurred. Different scores at different times are taken to be caused by any number of things: health, distraction, question content, and on and on. We thus need to understand what is causing IQ scores.

Let’s start small and in a subject with small controversy before moving to the Big Game. Even though what’s said is rather obvious in the introduction, stick with it, because it is important.

Decathlon

Let’s look at something similar to IQ, as far as testing goes, a thing which is not as controversial, and see what happens.

Suppose we are testing a long jumper. He jumps, we measure. He jumps again, we measure again. We have two measures, probably not the same, that give us some idea of the jumping ability of this man. The outcome is distance, which is easy to measure and unambiguous. That we value distance is a judgement and culturally peculiar: not all people in all places will take an interest. We might, instead, have decided to define jumping ability as distance plus height at maximum during the jump (combined via some function). Why not? In this case, the man jumping the longest distance might not be the man with the highest score.

On any test something caused this man to jump the distance he did, or the distance plus height. There will be many causes, and of four distinct parts: the form, material, efficient, and final cause. In each case the final cause is the reason for the jump: he wanted to do it, but he may want it more or less at different times. Will is involved. The formal cause is the rule of the jump, and will be the same across measures (we presume; though like in real events, the form does change). The material and efficient causes are subject to variation. The man may have eaten a potato before one jump and a slice of pizza the next, and at different times. The man’s muscles, digestion, nerves, and so forth contribute to the material and efficient causes: you need to be a physiologist to understand them all. The track conditions change, which might vary subtly or a lot, depending.

Anyway, cause is involved, as is obvious. The man didn’t land downfield for no reason, but because of reasons. In the interest of shorthand, we might call the conglomeration of all these causes (all four) strength. That’s because it’s a burden to recall each possible cause, because they are many and complex, but mostly because what really interests us is the outcome. We all understand that cause is involved, which we’ll call strength, but it’s not the main subject. Distance jumped is. There is thus little danger in saying something like, “The man who won is stronger than the others” when what we really meant, and what all understand it to mean in this context, was that “this man jumped the farthest”.

Now under other circumstances we might also mean, “Given this man’s previous performance, i.e. his great strength, there is a good chance he’ll perform well again.” This is straightforward. We mean, removing the reification, that “Given his past jumped distances, there is a good chance he’ll jump those distances again.”

This same conclusion holds if we group men together based on jumping ability. If it turned out upon inspection men of one race had a higher average distances than others (supposing we were interested in averages and not other metrics, which are also important), then it would make eminent sense to judge a man from this race as being likely to jump farther than a man from another race before making actual measurements, and knowing only the men’s races. After we see each individual’s performance, any knowledge about race is wiped away and of no use in making judgments of (only) these men. (We can define race by self-identification, and this will do fine.)

We could say, “Given the (original) man’s demonstrated strength, I’ll bet he has high probability of also tossing a javelin a great way.” We may make many statements like that about other physical abilities. We reason those other abilities also require strength, in some way or another, and so we predict success in these other areas. These judgments, we’ll likely find on measurement, will bear out. Not always, not for every man, and not in every situation, but for enough men and situations that our confidence is justified in making predictions like this.

If we think about it, though, we realize that tossing a stick is not the same as jumping in terms of cause. The man may love jumping but sees stick tossing as a hated duty: his will is engaged differently, and variably, for the different activities. Arms are used in jumping, but not in the same way as in tossing. The rules of the contests are different. The stick itself is different. Strength applied conditionally to javelin throwing means something different with respect to cause than when applied to jumping.

Well, why not average, in some way, the observed measures (i.e. the distances) of jumping and tossing and call this average (however it is computed) strength quotient (SQ), perhaps normalized to an arbitrary scale (itself informed by making these observations over many men). If we’re not satisfied with the range of activities of what we’re calling SQ, we can add in, say, times for running a specified distance, which contains the idea of endurance, which the other sports didn’t have. We can add even more sports using similar reasoning.

There is a bit of circularity here, in the following sense. We add just those those sports we think are indicative of strength. Why not add, say, tiddly winks? Because although this can be defined as a sport (always a subjective cultural definition), we don’t believe it needs strength. To justify this circularity, we might claim (truthfully) that if we computed SQ sans tiddly winks contributions, we’d find little “correlation” between SQ and tiddly wink scores. (I use correlation in the plain-English sense, as things tending to move together, and not in its linear mathematical sense, unless otherwise specified.)

We can’t use correlation to see what performances to enter and which not, though, because of that circularity. Plus, if correlation was the sole criterion, the best correlation will be just jumping with itself. SQ would be jumping and nothing else because no other activity would correlate as highly with jumping. Correlations of jumping and tossing might be “high”, and so we include both, but any correlation cutoff we use to include or exclude activities relies on outside previous judgment. What kinds of judgments are these?

The (open) secret is that we put these things together because of our understanding of cause, it in all its aspects. We include those measures which we think have the most similar causes, in all four forms, that relate to athleticism (including will to perform). We consider blood platelets, muscle mass, twitching versus others muscle movements, nerve conduction, aerobic capacity, which is driven by inter alia lung capillary performance, which again relies via feedback on blood workings, and on and on. How do we know that these causes relate to athleticism? Well, by conjecture at first, informed by noticing correlations, then by testing cause explicitly at fundamental levels, and by repeating this back-and-forth until we reach a level of satisfaction specific to our task—which proves this level of satisfaction will vary based on task. In turn, knowing only a man’s SQ tells us nothing in particular about any of these causes.

There is something else we could do with these numbers besides just averaging (however defined), though, a thing that leads to confusion. But to explain that requires some in-depth statistics, so we’ll defer that explanation until later (see the discussion on principal components).

Now we could say “SQ exists”, but it would only be true for a man in the sense that he evinced a certain score on a jumping and throwing test. Nobody has SQ in a physical sense. People have strength. SQ is not strength, but a measure, in a loose and culturally biased but useful way, of strength—and only when strength has been defined circularly with respect to outcomes we identified. About other outcomes not in the mix, we are far less certain. Plus nobody has strength, either, except in a analogical way. What people do have are muscles, fat, lung capacity, will, and so forth.

To say SQ is strength, and to forget strength is only a proxy for cause, is to commit the Deadly Sin of Reification. The danger, given our cultural mania for measurement, is over-certainty, and over-certainty leads to sub-optimal and bad decisions.

Intelligence

So. What is intelligence? That is a hard subject, which is why many retreat to calling intelligence IQ, which is a test score. Let’s recall what strength was. It wasn’t a single thing. It was the culmination, or accumulation, of lots of different causes, which included will, human will. We defined its measure with respect to culturally interesting tasks, such as those found in Olympic sports. Yet these are not the only tasks where the same kinds of causes are in play (a judgement which also includes knowledge of the causes of strength). Instead of jumping and tossing, we could have used, say, battlefield endurance, or number slain during combat, or speed in shinnying up a tree to jostle loose coconuts, or facility in tracking animals across deserts, or many other activities. Maybe even the ability to sit still for long periods.

That last example belongs to Simon De Deo, who uses the analogy of ability to sit still as predictive of bird watching abilities. If sitting still is thought important enough, measures of sitting still becomes via reification bird watching ability, to the exclusion of all other things.

…it turns out that sitting still is not just predictive of bird watching performance, it’s also predictive of a whole host of other life outcomes. People who can’t sit still for five minutes have more problems with addiction, for example. Conversely, someone who can sit still for twenty minutes is often able to avoid addiction, or to break it if he falls victim. Very, very few people who can sit still for three hours die of alcoholism. Same with divorce, automobile accidents, and being good at chess. Bird watching ability is protective. This fits with how important bird watching is in the culture…

Racial differences in the sitting task appear. Extremely sophisticated linear regressions are done to control for SES, age, educational background of parents, etc., and they refuse to go away. People write books about how the lack of black bird-watchers is due to their genetic inability to do well on the sitting test.

…almost every great bird-watcher alive thinks the [sitting] test is absolutely crazy. Bird watching is not about sitting perfectly still for hours, they say! No great bird-watcher wants to brag about their sitting score. A famously egotistical bird-watcher who writes books about how awesome he is at bird watching, how he totally crushed this other bird-watcher, etc etc., is also really proud of the fact that he was, at best, at the bottom of the upper-quartile of sitting still. Birdbloggers clamor to reveal their crappy sitting scores…

…When we actually look at the sitting still performance of the elite bird-watcher population, they’re actually not so great. Yes, these people are good at sitting still, and some are really quite good. But not crazy good at it, even among the ultra elite. If you go by elite scores, in fact, it looks like literally a quarter of the population might meet the sitting still bar for being a great bird-watcher, even though the test sample was admitted to the birding academies partly on sitting scores…

We have this intuition that there are many different kinds of birders. Fine, the psychologists say. Make a test. The educators invent some tests, but in as much as they are predictive of bird-watching, they correlate with sitting score, and in as much as they aren’t, they don’t. Somehow, the other aspects of birding are resistant to isolated measurement in a test you take sitting down for a few hours. Grit doesn’t replicate.

What do people who teach bird-watching know about a person’s capacity to learn bird-watching? the psychologists say. Our best studies now show that we can isolate the ultimate essence of birding, the principal component of all the tests. It is a test conducted in a white room, with a chair of so-and-so-weight. All stimuli are excluded. It is totally silent. Nobody is present in the room. There are no windows.

Scoring an enormous BQ, i.e. the score on the sitting test, is best indicative of only one thing: how good somebody can score on the sitting test. Same for IQ tests: they are best indicative of how good somebody can score on IQ tests. Their predictive usefulness drops off the further the other activity is from formal IQ tests. Sitting still with a sharp Dixon Ticonderoga #2 in your hand and checking boxes to puzzlers is unlike most tasks found anywhere else in life, though.

This is why Nassim Nicholas Taleb was right to point out the relative unimportance of correlation of IQ scores with practical tasks. There is also the common statistical misunderstanding that correlation measured on samples will be as predictive to the same level on population. Correlations exaggerate predictive ability—a lot. And since much IQ research is “confirmed” using wee p-values, it is suspect or wrong at worst, and at best the certainty in the results is many times more than it should be.

Because people do not have a BQ, or an IQ, neither do nations have IQs, for instance. It is foolish to compare averages across nations when those nations do not have homogeneous populations. The lesson is that only homogeneous groups (of any characteristic) can be compared.

Finally, there is De Deo’s b, the principal component of all bird watching tests, which was the sophisticated statistical framework mentioned above. In IQ tests it is called g and is calculated in the same way: a weighted linear combination of individual test scores.

Since b and g are nothing but weighted linear combination of test scores, and the test scores have already been shown to be correlated, more or less strongly, with this or that, it must be that b and g will also be correlated. We have learned nothing new by calculating these letters or their correlations, however. People who do not have BQs do not have bs; people who do not have IQs do not have gs. To say that people have bs or gs is, as above, to confuse causes of scores with the names of the scores. It is reification.

Statistical analyses cannot create something which does not exist. Probability models are silent on cause.

What Is Intelligence?

Enough of that. What exactly is intelligence? To discover that we need to turn ourselves into mental physiologists. We must not be only physicians, but metaphysicians, too.

We cannot define intelligence circularly and say it is ability to score well on certain tests, and then say this person must have high or low intelligence because he scored well or poorly on these tests. It must be clear (you have to perceive and apprehend this point) that this is not a proof the tests measure what they say they are measuring. In order to properly measure intelligence, if it is even possible to measure, we have to have a non-circular definition in hand, which outlines the power or powers of intelligence.

Here are the functions of intelligence: intellect, will, memory, sensory imagination, all of which contain a notions of capacity, endurance, speed. None of these powers can be substituted for the other. Each is a facet of intelligence in the same way the various physiological causes were said to be strength. No individual function is intelligence alone. All operating in concert produce the range of what we mean by intelligence.

The intellect itself has three different powers: (paraphrasing the link) perception, apprehension, cognition. The will also has three powers: motive, appetitive, conative. And the passions two: sensitive and emotive. The powers of sensation and perception, memory and imagination, which are also possessed by lower animals are completely different in nature than those powers of the intellect and will. Only man has intellect and will; and these powers are vastly more than mere computation, which has been proved in various ways (e.g. Searle’s Chinese Room or Chinese Gym experiments).

The senses take in information from varying sources, in time and place, including memory, and serve it up to the common (think of this as “communal”) sense, where it forms the imagination, which in turn is fed to the intellect, which talks to the will, which talks back to the intellect, all of which talk back to the passions. There is no linearity to this process, which is comprised of various feedbacks, interactions, and even time components, given change occurs to each of these elements due to outside causes. Intelligence, like strength, therefore cannot be fixed and unchangeable. Hence it is a double mistake to say “IQ is constant.”

Dogs do not have intellects and wills; they are not rational animals as we are, where rational by definition means having intellect and will. Dogs do have sensation, memory, and imagination. Everybody knows that some dog breeds are more intelligent than others, but we now see (“seeing” in this metaphorical way is a higher intellectual power) that what we mean by intelligence in dogs is not the same of what we mean as intelligence in men.

Sensation and so on are biological functions, and therefore differences in intelligence in dogs can be put down to genetic differences, or rather genes-plus-environment and their interplay of continuing and continuous interactions (in a way that is surely not understood completely). Therefore, if we test separately for each power of intelligence (memory etc.) in dogs, or in their combination (in a way we might not be able to separate) via activities we deem interesting and important (such as guiding sheep, fetching, or even fighting), we might be able to tease out the genetic and environmental contributions to animal intelligence.

This genetics (to give it a short name) testing, to the extent it works with any certainty in animals, works in man, too. But only for the lower powers. It does not work for the higher powers of intellect and will. It does not work because the intellect and will are not material, and therefore are not subject to direct genetic influence. In spite of what you might have heard, medical science has in no way proved the intellect and will are part of the brain.

Here is an analogy of medical testing that makes such claims. Scientists have noticed that when a certain body of water sparkles in the morning, the air temperature increases. An fMRI (presumably the acronym is from the French) measured the strength of the sparkle, and the correlation between the sparkle and temperature was confirmed (p<0.0000001). Therefore, it is judged, correlation becoming causation when ps are wee, there is something in the body of water that is causes the temperature increase.

Right?

The analogy is better than you might first think. The sun causes the heat; the sparkle on cloudless days and its lack on cloudy days is incidental. The water does mitigate the temperature change, but its causal effect pales next to the driving force.

Same thing with medical measurements of the brain. An fMRI sparkling is not proof that the brain is causing the intellect and will to operate. We know by other arguments the causation goes the other way around. This is proved elsewhere (here, here, here).

What all this means it that it is impossible—not just unlikely or difficult, but impossible—to draw a causal link between genes and the higher powers of intelligence. Genes thus have no direct influence on the higher powers. And thus evolution, whatever that might be or however you want to define its mechanisms, has no influence on the most important part of human intelligence. That is so important that I want you to re-read it: evolution and genes have no influence on the most important part of human intelligence.

Genes and their environmental interactions can and do have indirect influence. A man who is mentally retarded has intellect and will, but his biological powers of intelligence are less than those of a non-retarded man, and these biological differences are caused by genes (always understand this language is a dangerous shorthand meant to include environment). The biological functions of intelligence serve, as it were, the higher functions, which in turn inform the biological functions. Damage the biological functions, via genetic accident, injury, or old age, or examine them in their immature form, as in infants, and we see changes in intelligence which are naturally ascribed to biology. Intelligence therefore is not and cannot be constant in a person’s life, at least regarding its biological components. (This would seem to be almost trivially true, but there are a few people who claim “IQ” is fixed, which is now seen to be false.)

What about the non-biological components of intelligence? They are how we touch the infinite, if you will allow me the poetry, which in this case is literal. When we grasp (another metaphor) a universal, we comprehend something infinite (think of how you know there are an infinite number of numbers). Any operation of intuition and induction, the highest forms of intellect, require a mechanism (a cause) of making contact with the infinite (this was first proved, as many things were, by Aristotle). What is this cause?

I don’t know how it works, precisely. I do know it has to be a mighty cause, because the infinite is not small. One such mighty cause is the will of God. Well, you can dismiss this metaphysics about God and the infinite, but you are left trying to explain how our already proved non-computational, non-material intellects and wills work. You can say, like Roger Penrose does, that it has something to do with quantum mechanics because nobody understands cause in QM, thus its mysteriousness makes for a great rug to sweep cause under. You can evoke “emergence“, but that’s to invoke magic since nobody knows how that works, or if it even does, or even if it makes sense. Neither of these is an explanation; they are only hopes of an explanation. My explanation is hope, too, but based on a solid foundation. Which proves you can’t escape faith in discussions of intelligence. Anybody that pretends otherwise is bluffing.

How separate are the intellect and will, which Christians say are the form of the rational soul and which therefore because of its non-material nature survives after the death of the body, from the biological functions? Can a retarded man, who has provably inefficient (let us say) biology access his higher intellectual functions? Yes. Not as well, given the inefficiency, as a non-retarded man. The retardation affects the intellect, giving it less material to work with, so to speak. But that is far from a proof that the retarded man cannot experience revelation or have an insight via intuition not accessible to the non-retarded man. God could grant any man wisdom regardless of his biological apparatus. Too, the retarded are very often extremely happy people—but you don’t find any of them performing functions which we classify (possibly circularly) as intellectually challenging.

I am thus not claiming to know how intelligence works in its entirety. That is the key point. Because we don’t know how the intellect works, in all its components, because we don’t understand its causes, we cannot specify its limits or say how to measure it with precision. What is its lower and upper limit? How far above the animals are we, precisely? Can the intellect of one man be poorer than a second man’s, but the first possessing superior biological function (such as accessing memory and producing phantasms), such that first man is said to be more intelligent? Maybe. How different can intellects and wills be? Nobody knows. In any task requiring intelligence, how much does each power contribute? Probably depends on the task. The intellect and will not being material clearly cannot be damaged as biological functions can. The higher powers can be damaged in ways more horrible, as when falsities are embraced as true and immoralities as good. The intellect and the will can be stained (if you like), by loading it with sin (to coin a word) and falsehoods. As the old saying goes, sin makes you stupid. Thus as sin increases, the higher powers of intelligence decrease. (Perhaps an adequate description of the West.)

Even given all these (and more) unanswered questions, we can measure effects which we say are related to the intellect, and we can give these measures some pseudo-quantification, but they are at best groping efforts (on a scale of -47.2456 to 18/e in units of sqrt(pi/1.2), how much do you agree with that opinion?). We can’t escape the circularity until we know causes—which we may never know for the higher functions.

This is not a claim that certain measures of performance are not useful, for of course they can be, and are, though the uncertainty in them as measures of intelligence is much larger than many think, as I show next. There is nothing to be gained by fooling yourself into believing you have captured all there is, or even the most of what is, of intelligence if you can’t even define what intelligence is. We do not have this same limitation for strength, where cause is understood (to a great degree). To say, then, as everybody does say, that people “have” IQ, or that IQ is “real”, as if a test score is intelligence, is a terrible mistake caused by laziness, ignorance, and hubris.

Testing Tests

What’s the right answer to this pictorial puzzle? (Source.)

Obviously, 5. Yes?

Well, it’s obvious to the residents of Crete, growing up as they do with architectural alternating patterns similar to this one, used as inlays to wainscoting and various other decorations. Those coming from Cambodia might argue and say 4 is a better fit, as it better resembles common direction markers and light switches, only 4 is fancier.

Americans and others who grew up with puzzles like this will wave all these aside and say 1. They’ve seen these kind of patterns before in various testing situations, and this answer best accords with their experience of the test-maker’s mind.

If you’re like most, you’re so used to seeing these kinds of teasers you can’t see that they must have context, which can only be provided by experience. And experience takes place with cultures.

Ken Richardson, in the paper “What IQ Tests Test” would agree. Every person who thinks they have IQ tests pegged must read this work.

For instance, Richardson would agree that the puzzle above is similar to Raven’s Progressive Matrices test, which Richardson says many consider a “pure”, i.e. unbiased, measure of intelligence. This isn’t so:

…[A]nalysis suggests that the cognitive processing demanded by Raven’s items simply reflects knowledge structures most common in one particular culture. Thus, many middle-class cultural tools are based on the manipulation of symbols (e.g. words, numbers) in two-dimensional array on paper. These include record sheets, tables with rows and columns of totals and subtotals, spreadsheets, timetables, and so on, as well as textual material. These nearly all require the reading of symbols from top left to bottom right, additions, subtractions and substitutions of numbers or other symbols across columns and down rows, and the deduction of new information from them. As the analyses of Carpenter et al. (1990) show, these are precisely the kinds of manipulations (or ‘rules’) built in to Raven’s items.

So what does a Raven’s matrix test? The ability to solve puzzles embedded in a particular cultural context, even though the symbols in the test are somewhat out of daily experience. They are seen, however, often in IQ tests. Given the ubiquity of Descartian graphs and numerical examples which surrounds us might not seem like cultural “bias”; to us they are more like natural facts. They aren’t, though. They must be learned.

Some will learn it better than others, however. It is not that intelligence does not matter in these tests. Of course it does matter, even though it is not clear which power or which powers of intelligence are being tested, precisely. A literate Chinese man living five centuries ago, used to writing in a more symbolic language, and in opposite directions to English, might fail the Raven’s matrix test abysmally, even though he has managed to memorize a substantial body of poetry and can exposit on the beauty and importance of calligraphy in a way impossible to understand unless one was saturated in his culture.

Culture matters. Richardson says, “Another tacit assumption of the computational model underlying IQ is that testees operate in a social and affective vacuum. However, humans also have complex values, beliefs, attitudes, motives, self-concepts and feelings, which make them more or less well prepared for specific testing situations and engagement with them.” Not only that, but preparedness matters, which also involves will. Richardson highlights many other such culturally tainted aspects of IQ tests, many quite surprising (don’t be lazy: read the paper).

Now, the question works both ways. Yes, these puzzles are culturally important. But that does not imply that the puzzles are somehow frivolous or of no use in aspects of the culture which are important for independent reasons. Somebody who cannot do these puzzles at all might make a lousy theologian or geneticist, for example. But then those who cannot do them at all might just be disengaged with the culture, or they might be of low intelligence, or both.

Is culture therefore so important that IQ tests are of no use? No, of course not. They are a good measure of ability to answer questions and perform tasks that are like those used in IQ tests. If these tasks are found in the culture, and they sometimes are in ours, then the tests can be predictive of success on those tasks—even if IQ tests are a not a good quantification of intelligence. Such a quantification, we saw, requires defining intelligence in detail, which we haven’t done or can’t do. (Many do work on these details, of course, but if any have acknowledged the essential difference between intellect and will and biological functions, I have never seen them. It is also true some aspects of biology and intelligence are more or less understood, such as how memory might work, but there is no precise model of how all aspects tie into intelligence, such that it can be well quantified.)

Assuming we can well define at least some aspects of intelligence, can we separate culture from intelligence in tests designed to measure this well-defined aspect of intelligence? No. Not if the test is task-related (like puzzle-solving is); not from inside a culture. There is no way to design a test in a culture to eliminate that culture’s influence. What we might be able to do is to have each culture design their own test, and have everybody take the resulting battery of tests. But since those other tests would be in other languages, and translation is by definition to impart a cultural bias, it’s not clear how to compare results. Still, if we can get something like this to approximately work, it would be of interest to compare those who score well in some cultures and not others. That variance would give an idea of cultural influence. Still, since it is all task-related, we would never be able to remove the suspicion that bias has crept in.

There might be hope in some base biological measurements which would remove all cultural bias, but things like fMRI right now are not far removed from tea-leaf reading (with worse statistics). These would only capture the lower and not higher, non-material functions, and only capture them crudely. Think of Leonardo da Vinci being handed four cheap tomato-sauced covered crayons at a “family-style” restaurant and asked to reproduce the Mona Lisa. We’re nowhere near close to unambiguous exact causal biological definitions of lower intelligence—which is key.

Race To The Finish

Let’s get to the elephant. It is true that blacks in the States score on IQ tests on average lower than (east) Asians. Of course, blacks do not “have” an IQ; neither do Asians. Nobody who hasn’t taken an IQ test has an IQ. IQ is a score on a test: it is not intelligence, or it is only dimly a view of some aspects of intelligence. Everybody has intelligence, which we saw was not simple. So, given these reminders about the danger of the Deadly Sin of Reification, are blacks on average less intelligent than Asians?

We have a hard question here, because we have already admitted we don’t know how to disentangle cultural influence from whatever aspect of intelligence IQ tests are testing—and we’re not sure what aspects of intelligence precisely IQ tests are testing. Whatever conclusion we come to, we’re going to be left with some healthy uncertainty. That is, we ought to be.

Blacks and Asians in the States do share a portion of culture. This sharing is not complete. If the sharing were complete, and I mean 100%, then we could say that, yes, blacks on average are less intelligent than Asians, given the test scores we’ve seen, but only on those aspects IQ tests measure. How much different? Well, who knows. We can’t go by the IQ scores alone, as we now know. Intelligence involves will, and wills greatly differ; it involves biology, and that differs a lot; it involves intellection, and that maybe differs (recall we don’t know how to tease out the biology from the higher powers). Since we don’t know precisely which aspects of intelligence IQ tests are testing, we have to be vague in our judgement. Simply lapsing to the hard quantification of test scores inevitably leads to claiming the unquantifiable was quantified, hence causing massive over-certainty, hence allowing entreé to the Reification Demon.

IQ tests imperfectly measures intelligence because these tests are in part cultural creations and because they only measure a small part of intelligence in that cultural context. Thus differences in IQ scores can also be predictive of cultural differences. Perhaps not to the same extent as intelligence, but surely to some level.

As far as blacks and Asians, or any races, go, even if the observed differences in distributions of test scores are entirely cultural and not one whit biological or spiritual, the differences are still the differences. They don’t disappear because the different cultures caused the differences in scores (material cause, here). The hope, then, is that differences can be eliminated if the cultures can be made the same. As the kids say, good luck with that.

It is also true that some aspects of intelligence are biological, and as such can be inherited partially. Statistical correlations of this gene expression with that test score and the like exaggerate inheritances, because correlation exaggerates. All classical statistics analyses exaggerate and generate over-certainty. Still, if people of like intelligences mate, then it must be the case that their offspring would tend to be of the same intelligence class—to the extent intelligence is biological and heritable. The real correlations are lower than thought, but they aren’t zero, either. Which is to say the causes on intelligence inheritance are not as strong as thought. But they’re not absent, either.

Races (self-identified will still do) tend to inter-marry. If there are biological racial differences in those parts which cause the lowers powers of intelligence, then attempts to erase the differences are doomed—besides forcing intermarriages. All evidence points in the direction of real differences, but, as said, this evidence is not as robust as thought. It is not zero, either. Forbidding speech on the matter can only cause many to assume the differences are larger than they really are.

It is also true, and has been widely noticed, that those who most would say are of high intelligence, however inaccurately defined, tend not to breed, they being prone to chasing other delights beside families. A fellow calling himself Spandrell calls these distractions “IQ shredders“, a reification if there ever was one, though his point is taken. These delights must lower intelligence on average in any future population, even if the lowering is smaller previously presumed.

This will happen unless those of lower intelligence who are breeding have children who have improved functions in those areas responsible for the lower powers of intelligence. It can happen. This kind of rugged mating happens in other animals. Meaning surprises might happen. Smart money is still on the side of worsening, though.

High School Paper Celebrates Young Woman Prostituting Herself

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This story began as an item in our weekly catalog of doom, but I thought it important enough to raise to post-level.

We have a high school newspaper writing a celebratory article about a young woman whoring herself out.

Repeat: high school newspaper.

Headline: Risky business: starting a career in the adult entertainment industry

Throughout their high school years, students are often told to follow their dreams and pursue what they love. Despite encountering obstacles — such as a difficult freshman year and leaving her house — Caitlin Fink, an 18-year-old senior at Bear Creek who recently started a career in adult entertainment, is doing just that.

Fink had a rough start to high school, admitting that she had a low GPA and associated with students who were poor influences on her.

Fink (sad name) is a recent graduate of Bear Creek High School of Stockton, California, the home of Bruin Voice where her story appeared.

The paper boasts

Starting with a staff of only eight students, the publication, then known as “Bear Tracks,” coined its motto “The Voice shall not be silenced” after early attempts by the administration to censor the newspaper. Since that time, the newspaper has gone on to win the National Scholastic Press Association’s National Pacemaker Award two times, and 1st Place Best of Show trophies seven times…

The students most recently led the effort to curtail an illegal social media policy imposed by the Lodi Unified School District with the help from the Student Press Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.

More proof, if any was needed, that the ACLU is an organization dedicated to spreading evil. They will support perversion over Reality every time.

Back to Fink, who began her descent by selling nudies on Tinder and the like. “‘When I first started selling, it was just for money,’ Fink said. ‘But then I liked the attention I got, [such as] being called beautiful. I enjoyed it because it made me feel good about myself.'”

More recently, Fink became a verified member of Pornhub, a pornographic website in which members can post erotic videos for others to view. After becoming a member, she signed a contract with an agency so she is able to partake in professional pornographic scenes.

Fink says the industry has policies in place — such as mandatory two-week sexually-transmitted disease (STD) tests typically paid for by agencies — to prevent workers with STDs from performing in scenes while infected.

“I still have the scars on my arm [from getting blood tested],” Fink said. “[The phlebotomist] poked me four times in one arm, and she couldn’t get any blood out of it, so she poked my wrist for the blood. Four [phlebotomists] tried to get blood from me, and they were like ‘I don’t know what’s wrong; it’s not working. I swear I had it!'”

Fink was scheduled to shoot her first professional pornography scene in March, but the scene was canceled at the last minute when the company that booked her saw her body acne.

At least the money from spreading her legs came rolling in, right? Nope. “Fink says she has not made money from Pornhub yet because members have to hit a certain view count before receiving compensation. However, she provides insight into how members are paid.”

Still, a job’s a job, right? Fink says so. “Adult entertainment is a job just like any other job. There’s always that risk of getting kidnapped or possibly not even knowing what to do after your career is over and trying to find work after that.”

People are kidnapped left and right from business offices all over the world. Prostitutes aren’t immune from this common risk.

Let’s emphasize that this celebratory story ran in a high school newspaper.

The school district’s administrators, some of them anyway, did try to stop the newspaper’s antics, according to one report. But “longtime advisor of the newspaper, English teacher Kathi Duffel,” sicced the lawyers on them. Duffel reportedly said it was the administrators “who have lost their minds” and not her or the lawyers.

Lodi Unified School District ultimately relented and allowed the article to be published in its intended form.

“The district has determined that it will rely on the promises the journalism teacher’s personal attorney has made on her behalf regarding the content of the article and on that basis will not prevent its publication,” a spokesperson said Thursday, while adding that the district “does not endorse” the story.

“Because we are charged with the education and care of our community’s children, we will always be diligent in our efforts to provide a safe learning environment for all students while complying with our obligations under the law,” their statement added.

Not a man among them. Nobody had the guts to pull the plug on the newspaper’s server, for instance. Nobody suggested, for that would be wrong and illegal, to tar and feather Duffel or her lawyers.

We are doomed.

Summary Against Modern Thought: God’s Providence Applies To All

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Previous post.

There is no escaping providence.

THAT GOD’S PROVIDENCE APPLIES IMMEDIATELY TO ALL SINGULARS

1 Now, some have conceded that divine providence extends to singulars, but through certain intermediary causes. Indeed, Plato asserted a threefold providence, according to Gregory of Nyssa [Nemesius, De natura hominis, 44]. The first of these is that of the highest God, Who primarily and above all provides for His own things, that is, for all things spiritual and intellectual, but subsequently for the whole world, as far as genera and species go, and the universal causes which are the celestial bodies.

Then the second type of providence is that by which provision is made for individual animals and plants, and for other generable and corruptible individuals, in respect to their generation and corruption, and other changes.

Now, Plato attributes this kind of providence to the “gods that circulate about the heavens.” Aristotle, on the other hand, attributes their causality to the “oblique circle.” Finally, he assigns a third kind of providence to things that pertain to human life. So, he attributes this function to certain “daemons living in the region of the earth” who are caretakers for human actions, according to him. But still, according to Plato, the second and third types of providence depend on the first, for the highest God has established the ones on the second and third levels as provident agents.

Notes As we discussed in other material, this is perfectly possible and not at all fanciable, subject to the proviso our good saint introduces next.

2 Now, this theory is in agreement with the Catholic faith, in so far as it traces the providence of all things back to God as its first author. But it seems incompatible with the view of the faith, in regard to this: it says that not all particulars are immediately subject to divine providence. Now, we can show from the foregoing that they are.

3 In point of fact, God has immediate knowledge of singulars, not merely in the sense that He knows them in their causes, but even in themselves, as we showed in Book One [65ff] of this work. But it would appear inappropriate for Him to know singulars and yet not to will their order, in which their chief good consists, for His will is the source of goodness in its entirety. Therefore, just as He knows singulars immediately, He must also establish order for them immediately.

4 Again, the order that is established by providence among things that are governed arises from the order which the provident agent decides on within his own mind. For example, the artistic form that is produced in matter proceeds from the form that is in the mind of the artist.

Now, where there are many overseers, arranged one under the next, the order that is conceived by the higher one must be handed down to the lower one; just as a lower type of an receives its principles from a higher one. If, then, the second and third provident agents are claimed to be under the first provident agent, Who is the highest God, they must receive the order that is to be established in things from the highest God.

Now, it is not possible for this order to be more perfect in them than in the highest God; on the contrary, all perfections come to other things from Him by way of descent, as appears from things said earlier. The order of things must, then, be present in the secondary agents of providence, not merely universally, but also in respect to singulars; otherwise, they could not establish, order in singulars by their providence. Therefore, the ordering of singulars is much more under the control of divine providence.

5 Besides, in the case of things regulated by human providence we find that a certain higher overseer thinks out the way in which some of the big and universal matters are to be ordered, but he does not himself think out the ordering of the smallest details; rather, he leaves these to be planned by agents on a lower level. But, as a matter of fact, this is so because of his own deficiency, either because he does not know the circumstances for the individual details, or because he is not able to think out the order for all, by virtue of the effort and length of time that might be needed.

Now, deficiencies of this kind are far removed from God, because He knows all singular things, and He does not make an effort to understand, or require any time for it; since, by understanding Himself He knows all other things, as we showed above. Therefore, He plans even the order for all singular things. So, His providence applies to all singulars immediately.

6 Moreover, in human affairs the lower overseers, through their own efforts, plan the order for those things whose direction has been given them by the chief executive. Of course, they do not get this ability from the man who is in charge, or even its use. Indeed, if they did get it from him, the ordering would already be accomplished by the higher executive, and they would not be the agents responsible for this ordering, but simply the ones who carry it out.

Now, it is obvious from things said above that all wisdom and understanding are caused in intelligent beings by the highest God, and that no intellect can understand anything unless by divine power; just as no agent can perform any operation unless be act by this divine power. Therefore, God Himself is the disposer of all things immediately by His providence, and whatever beings are called agents of providence under Him are executors of His providence.

Notes Repeat “no intellect can understand anything unless by divine power” and memorize it.

7 Furthermore, a higher providence gives regulations to a lower providence, just as a statesman gives regulations and laws to the leader of an army, who gives laws and regulations to the heads of larger or smaller military units. If, then, there be other providences under the first providence of the supreme God, God must give these secondary or tertiary overseers the regulations for their commands.

So, He gives them either universal regulations and laws or particular ones. But, if He gives them universal regulations for their commands, since universal regulations cannot be applied in all cases, to particulars, especially in the case of variable things that do not always remain the same, these secondary or tertiary overseers would have to give orders at times that are contrary to the regulations given them for the things subject to their control.

So, they would be able to pass judgment on the regulations that they have received, as to when action should accord with these regulations and when one should overlook them.

Now, this could not be, for such judgment belongs to a superior. Indeed, it is the prerogative of the one who establishes the laws to interpret them and issue dispensations from them. So, this judgment over universally given regulations must be carried out by the supreme overseer. Of course, He could not do this if He refused to involve Himself immediately in the ordering of these singular things. So, according to this, He must be the immediate overseer of these things. On the other hand, if the secondary and tertiary overseers receive particular regulations and laws from the highest overseer, then it is quite obvious that the ordering of these singulars is done immediately by divine providence.

Notes In other words, demons are just following orders. But orders from the supreme authority.

8 Again, the superior overseer always holds the power of judgment over the orders issued by inferior overseers, as to whether the orders are properly given or not. If, then, the secondary or tertiary overseers are under God as the first overseer, God must hold the power of judgment over the things ordered by them. In fact, He could not do this if He did not consider the order of these singulars. Therefore He Himself takes care by Himself of these singulars.

9 Besides, if God does not immediately by Himself take care of these inferior singular things, this can only be either because He despises them or because His dignity might be lowered by them, as some people say. But this is unreasonable. It is indeed a matter of greater dignity to oversee the planning of the order for certain things than for it to be produced in them. So, if God works in all things, as we showed above, and if His dignity is not diminished thereby, and if this belongs rather to His universal and supreme power, it is in no sense something to be despised by Him, or something that might besmirch His dignity, if He exercises His providence immediately over these singulars.

10 Moreover, every wise being who uses his power providently sets limits on the use of his power, when he acts, by ordering the objective and the extent to which it goes; otherwise, his power would not keep pace with his wisdom in such action. But it is obvious from the foregoing that the divine power, in operating, reaches to the lowest things. So, the divine wisdom is in control of ordering what, bow many, and what kind of effects proceed from His power, even down to the lowest things. Therefore, He is Himself planning the order for all things immediately by His providence.

11 Hence it is said: “The things that are from God are well ordered” (Rom. 13:1). And again: “You have done the things of old, and have devised one thing after another; and what You have willed has been done” (Judith 9:4).

The Week In Doom — Pedophilia Is An Orientation Edition

8 Comments on The Week In Doom — Pedophilia Is An Orientation Edition

Item The purge of Dr Seuss has begun

‘Take home a n***** for your woodpile.’ Children’s author Dr. Seuss once wrote shockingly racist and misogynistic cartoons and REFUSED to apologize decades later, blaming the backlash on feminists wanting to ‘clean up everything’ [asterisks original]

To the progressive, the past must become the future

Item Catholic businessman loses membership, contract for linking to LifeSiteNews

Willis confirmed that the articles he retweeted were by LifeSiteNews: “Muslim takeover of Europe is ‘biggest story of our time’ and nobody knows it” (August 11, 2017) and “Europe’s childless leaders symbolize a dying continent soon to be overrun by Muslims” (August 16, 2017). Both articles are news stories relating the opinions of journalist Mark Steyn. One of the articles contains a quote by entrepreneur Elon Musk.

Have you now or have you ever been a believing Catholic? Christian readers of stories like this, of which we have documented many, do realize that our enemies take delight in them, right? “Good riddance. He was a bigot and we don’t need his kind here.”

Item Archbishop appeals for urgent help to prevent Christian genocide in northwest Nigeria

Hundreds of Christians have been killed in recent months and entire Christian villages wiped out, as the international community stands by in silence, an archbishop at the heart of the persecution in northwest Nigeria has said in an urgent appeal for help.

Speaking with LifeSite by phone from his archdiocese in Kaduna on Friday, April 26, Archbishop Matthew Man-oso Ndagoso said that “Christians are being killed like chickens,” and time is running out.

“Right now, as I am talking to you, the rainy season has come and villagers who provide food for us are afraid to go to their farms because they will be kidnapped, because they will be killed,” he said. “So I do actually fear that if nothing happens between now and the next two months when people are supposed to be planting and they don’t go to their farm, only God knows what will happen to us next year in terms of food security.”

Unfortunately, none of the murderers were white, nor were they Christian; therefore, those that are murdered probably had it coming.

Item Embracing racism, rabbis at pre-army yeshiva laud Hitler, urge enslaving Arabs

Two rabbis at a pre-military religious academy in a West Bank settlement were recorded making derogatory and racist comments about Arabs, defending Adolf Hitler’s worldview, and openly promoting Jewish supremacy.

In a series of undated recordings published by Channel 13 news on Monday, Rabbi Eliezer Kashtiel, the head of the Bnei David academy in Eli, can be heard calling for the enslavement of the “stupid and violent” non-Jews due to their genetic inferiority.

“The gentiles will want to be our slaves. Being a slave to a Jew is the best. They’re glad to be slaves, they want to be slaves,” he told a class in one of the video clips. “Instead of just walking the streets and being stupid and violent and harming each other, once they’re slaves, their lives can begin to take shape.”…

“Let’s just start with whether Hitler was right or not,” he told students. “He was the most correct person there ever was, and was correct in every word he said…he was just on the wrong side.” [ellipsis original]

I’d miss the bacon sandwiches most of all, if I were a slave. The point is that this article, from the Times of Israel, is now illegal in Florida schools.

ItemPaedophilia is natural and normal for males

“Paedophilic interest is natural and normal for human males,” said the presentation. “At least a sizeable minority of normal males would like to have sex with children … Normal males are aroused by children.”…

The statement that paedophilia is “natural and normal” was made not three decades ago but last July. It was made not in private but as one of the central claims of an academic presentation delivered, at the invitation of the organisers, to many of the key experts in the field at a conference held by the University of Cambridge.

Other presentations included “Liberating the paedophile: a discursive analysis,” and “Danger and difference: the stakes of hebephilia.”

Hebephilia is the sexual preference for children in early puberty, typically 11 to 14-year-olds.

I’ve been screaming for a long time that once you admit sodomy as a “sexual orientation”, claiming that those who desire sodomy were “born that way” and have no choice but to engage in the act, you absolutely must also say pedophilia is a “sexual orientation”. As is necrophilia, zoophilia, pyschopathy, and on and on. Any lust that can gather two or more in its name is an “orientation”. Which makes any opposition bigotry.

There was never any logical reason for privileging sodomy.

Item Sexual harassment is pervasive in US physics programmes

In a survey of women pursuing US undergraduate degrees in physics, nearly three-quarters report having experienced at least one type of sexual harassment during their science studies…

Of the 455 people who responded, 338 reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment, including gender harassment — such as being ignored because of their sex or gender, or being told inappropriate jokes — unwanted sexual attention or a combination thereof during the previous two years.

Ignoring women is now sexual harassment.

Item Instagram and Facebook Ban Far-Right Extremists

Infowars is subject to the strictest ban. Facebook and Instagram will remove any content containing Infowars videos, radio segments, or articles (unless the post is explicitly condemning the content), and Facebook will also remove any groups set up to share Infowars content and events promoting any of the banned extremist figures, according to a company spokesperson.

That includes you, dear reader. Being banned from Facebook is probably a blessing, but note the fools in charge there left as easy way to share “far-right extremist” material. Simply post with the words “Who wouldn’t condemn this?” or the like.

Item Six killed in Burkina Faso church attack

“It is the first attack on a church since jihadist violence erupted in the West African country in 2016.”

Item Biden says he once went out into the “hood” and helped women of color learn to code.

10 CLS
20 PRINT “I believe him”
30 GOTO 20

Stop Using P-values & Parameter-Centric Methods

5 Comments on Stop Using P-values & Parameter-Centric Methods

P-values should be banned. Every use of them involves a fallacy or mistake in thinking.

“P-values have some good uses.”

No, they don’t. I used every as in every.

“P-values are fine if used properly.”

I’m not getting across. P-values have no proper use.

“P-values have some good uses.”

I wrote two papers with about a dozen or two arguments proving my contention that every use of a p-value is fallacious or mistaken. Here is one, here is the other.

“P-values are fine if used properly.”

Did you read the papers?

“P-values have some good uses.”

Which of the arguments do think is flawed, and how is it flawed?

“P-values are fine if used properly.”

So you’re saying you didn’t read the papers, or that perhaps you scanned them hurriedly, or that you did read them but can discover no flaws in the arguments. Right?

“P-values have some good uses.”

What you’re trying to say is that, even though it’s been proved p-values are fallacious and mistakes, that they have good uses, as long as those uses are proper?

“Yes. P-values are fine if used properly.”

It’s not only p-values that have to go. Parameter-centric methods cause vast, mighty over-certainty.

“Everybody uses parameter-based methods.”

The idea is that people substitute certainty they have in parameters, which do not exist and which therefore are of no interest to man or beast, with certainty in observables.

“Everybody uses parameter-based methods.”

People start all analyses by asking about what happens to an observable—what happens to the uncertainty in its value, that is. They say, “If we change this X, how does it affect our uncertainty in Y?” Grand question, that. But they end by saying, “The parameter in this model take this value, plus or minus something.” What does that have to do with the price of cookies in Byzantium?

“Everybody uses parameter-based methods.”

If we changed practice and eliminated all parameter-based methods, then we’d have a much better understanding of how much we don’t know. We couldn’t then go around so cocky and claim we knew much more than we really do.

“Everybody uses parameter-based methods.”

It’s worse. For if these non-existent parameters take certain values, cause is said to have been discovered. This is the curse of null hypothesis significance testing.

“P-values are fine if used properly.”

Everybody says “Correlation is not causation.” Every authority swears to this, and for good reason. It is true. It is as solid a piece of philosophy as we have in science. Yet if a p is wee, correlation becomes causation.

“P-values have some good uses.”

It’s not only frequentists, of course. So-called Bayesians with their Bayes factors commit the same fallacy at the same rate as frequentists.

“Bayes factors are well accepted.”

Same rate as frequentists. Nothing? That’s a joke, son.

“Bayes factors are well accepted.”

Say it. Say it with me: correlation isn’t causation.

“Bayes factors are well accepted.”

Correlation isn’t causation when the p is wee.

“P-values are fine if used properly.”

Correlation isn’t causation when the Bayes factor is big, either.

“Bayes factors are well accepted.”

Tell me. If correlation isn’t causation, then just what does it mean when a p is wee? What has been proved? If the Bayes factor is a whopper, what does it mean, exactly? Not in terms of a model, but of reality. Of the observable. Of cause.

“Statistical significance has been reached.”

And what does “statistical significance” mean except that it is a restatement the p-value was wee?

“P-values have some good uses.”

You’ve read this award-eligible book, yes? Now at a very affordable $40, or thereabouts. That magnificent work has a long and detailed discussion of cause, of why probability models can’t identify cause. Of what cause means. What do you say to those arguments?

“P-values are fine if used properly.”

So you’re saying everything is fine, that nothing need change. That the philosophy of probability infecting statistics now is not only benign but beneficial. That we needn’t answer any of these hard questions about cause and probability. Right?

“Who are you anyway? Just some guy on the internet.”