OPEN DISCUSSION – OCTOBER 2018

Oct 1, 2018

This thread has been created for open discussion on themes relevant to Reason and Science for which there are not currently any dedicated threads.

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324 comments on “OPEN DISCUSSION – OCTOBER 2018

  • The October open discussion thread is now open.

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  • https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-45709205

    Cern scientist Alessandro Strumia suspended after comments

    A senior scientist who said physics “was invented and built by men” has been suspended with immediate effect from working with the European nuclear research centre Cern.

    Prof Alessandro Strumia, of Pisa University, made the comments during a presentation organised by the group.

    He said, in comments first reported by the BBC’s Pallab Ghosh, that physics was “becoming sexist against men”.

    So in a militant feminist “politically correct” sexist attack on him, he was suspended from a senior scientific position for pointing out those “offensive facts” about embryonic mental development, which gender-quota militants find so inconvenient!

    Cern said on Monday it was suspending Prof Strumia pending an investigation.

    If the “investigation” is conducted by biologically competent scientists, it will confirm the different aptitudes resulting from male/female brain development from embryonic stages onward! .. . .

    https://www.kcl.ac.uk/ioppn/news/records/2015/february/gender-differences-in-prenatal-brain-development.aspx

    Female and male brains develop differently in the womb because of changes to how their DNA is read, according to researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) and the University of Exeter, published in Genome Research.

    The study identified a number of gender differences in the process called DNA methylation that determines how genes are activated in the fetus and so directs the way brain cells develop.
    Methylation of DNA is used as a “switch” that regulates the expression of genes in a process known as epigenetics and this gene expression could potentially contribute to brain differences that affect behaviour, brain function and disease associated with gender.

    One would have to ask, WHY in a scientific establishment, the administration would need to conduct an “investigation” (after an ideology based personal attack on a scientist), to determine information which is readily available in published scientific papers and historical records? . . . albeit in another subject area (biology) to the establishment’s own (physics)? Are they appointing ideologist, scientifically illiterate, administrators these days?

    It stated that his presentation was “unacceptable”.

    We would need to ask, “unacceptable to whom?” and should people who find evidence-based, ideologically inconvenient facts “unacceptable”, be working in scientific establishments?

    If the “investigation” is conducted by politically correct muppets, or biologically illiterate, militant feminist ideologists, it may confirm the place of politically correct pseudo-science gender quotas, in top scientific administrations!

    “Cern alwaysstrives to carry out its scientific mission in a peaceful and inclusive environment,” the statement reads,

    While launching the attack and imposing a suspension!

    calling the presentation “contrary to the Cern Code of Conduct”.

    Tut tut! Inconvenient facts intruding into politically written codes of conduct on scientific research in scientific ventures!

    What next?
    Sports organisations running separate male and female athletic events, and suspending commentators reporting on them? 🙂

    .. . . and not only that but reporting ethnicity as well! 🙂

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100_metres#Season's_bests

    Only male sprinters have beaten the 100 m 10-second barrier, nearly all of them being of West African descent.

    See link for top men and women sprinters’ best times! – . . .. .
    and NO! They are not equal!!!

  • @#2 – Sports organisations running separate male and female athletic events, and suspending commentators reporting on them? 🙂

    .. . . and not only that but reporting ethnicity as well! 🙂

    Only male sprinters have beaten the 100 m 10-second barrier, nearly all of them being of West African descent.

    Clearly politically correct selectors, would need to ensure athletics teams contained the appropriate quotas of men and women (and trans), with also proper quotas of White Caucasians and Asian athletes!

    Obviously, any world record-breaking relay teams of African men, would need to be disqualified for an having a politically improper gender and racial balance! 🙂

  • https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/oct/01/physics-was-built-by-men-cern-scientist-alessandro-strumia-remark-sparks-fury

    Prof Alessandro Strumia of Pisa University claimed during a seminar on gender issues in physics that male scientists were being discriminated against because of ideology.

    Cern issued a statement on Monday suspending Strumia with immediate effect pending an investigation for his “unacceptable” presentation, which was “contrary to the Cern code of conduct”.

    Strumia told the audience, mostly comprising female physicists, that female researchers in Italy tended to benefit from either “free or cheaper university” education, while Oxford University in England “extends exam times for women’s benefit”.

    Which seems to have been addressing the issue of second-class education for women science students in Italy, and comparing it with the more considerate approach taken by Oxford.

    Strumia defended his comments, telling the Guardian that his detractors were “trying to paint me as a monster who discriminates against women” and that his presentation of “facts” was in response to statements made about men discriminating against women.

    He said data showed male and female scientists were equally cited in presentations, and that women were favoured when it came to hiring. “This is not the message they wanted [to hear] at this conference,” he said.

    Strumia, who regularly works at Cern, said claims by a participant at the event that the sphere of physics was second only to the military for sexual abuse were “totally absurd”.

    He said: “These people are so worried about problems that don’t exist. What I actually said has good purpose. We are not discriminating, women have been helped for years.”

    Cern, whose director general is the Italian physicist Fabiola Gianotti, described Strumia’s presentation as highly offensive and removed the slides used in his talk from its website.

    However, the slideshow was circulated online, with one sentence saying that prominent female physicists, such as Marie Curie, were “welcomed only after showing what they can do, got Nobels … ”

    . . . Which was very probably true, at that time in history!

    Strumia claimed he had been overlooked for a role in favour of a woman and that anyone who spoke out was attacked, censored or risked losing their job.

    I think he has just proved his point experimentally!

    “I like physics and science because everyone can do what they want.
    I don’t like it when there’s social engineering to decide how many men, women and categories there should be,” he said.

    Apparently there some social engineering quota advocates at CERN, who may have physics qualifications, but who are biologically illiterate – lacking the capability to check research papers in specialist areas outside their own – or even the historical records cited by Prof Alessandro Strumia in his presentation!

    Dr Jessica Wade, a physicist from Imperial College London who attended the event. . . . . . added that he drew upon discredited research and that it was unjust to refer to somebody’s number of citations as a metric for ability given [ASSUMING] that the whole process of peer reviewing is biased against women and non-westerners in the first instance.

    Really????? This sounds like denial of biology by a militant feminist!

    I note that in response to a critic, in a public statement on the BBC, the professor said he is “a scientist who quotes data, and does not do politics”!

    Profe Anne-Christine Davis of Cambridge University, who was in Geneva for the event but left a day before his presentation, said: “His comments were absolutely outrageous.

    Davis said “there’s an unconscious bias going on all the time”, and that women often lose out on roles.

    So having not stayed to listen to the statistics and evidence, she is now mouthing off about “outrageous comments” in a lecture she didn’t bother to listen to!

    Candidates who lose out at job interviews, feel disgruntled! – as do appointment committee members, when successfully hyped candidates turn out to be inadequate at the job! What’s new? –
    Been there! done that! both ways around! 🙂

    Gianotti became the first woman to hold the five-year mandate as director general of Cern in 2016.
    She said in an interview earlier this year that “fundamental sciences are still male-dominated”, but that she never personally felt discrimination.

    So the testimony from the female CERN director, reflects a biologically expected gender imbalance, but a lack of discriminatory bias against able women in her experience!

  • Reporting is suggesting that the White House tried so hard to limit the possibility of any dirt being found about Kavanaugh that as well as limiting the investigation to 1 week they also specified that the “FB” could only “I” four named people and not include anyone new whose allegations had not already been made. After much pushback on this it has apparently been withdrawn, albeit the 1 week time limit is still a ridiculous constraint.

    However one wonders if even a full and proper investigation would actually make any difference. The majority of Republican voters say they’ll support Kavanaugh anyway and 48% say they’ll support him even it is proven he tried to rape Christine Ford. At most there may be 3 or 4 republican congresspeople who will vote against Kavanaugh regardless of what the FBI find out.

    If it was a Democrat pick with even a fraction of Kavanaugh’s baggage the Repugs would be screaming bloody murder. They wouldn’t even hold a vote on Garland who had no baggage at all. One can but look at all this with horror and disgust. I made the case some time ago that Trump was actually evil and that he is merely a symptom of the fact that a large number of both republican voters and republican members of congress are too. These people had no compunction about having a sexual predator in the Oval Office and are now showing they have even less about one on the Supreme Court. Even if these people have no morals you would think they might heed the effect this is going to have on voters in the midterms and in 2020 but apparently not.

  • Trump once said of the Mueller investigation that his line in the sand was if his own financials got investigated. It may no longer matter if Mueller does that or not as the New York Times has just released details of its own massive year long investigation into Trump’s crooked finances. He has long tried to claim with his massive ego and narcissism that he’s a self made man who only ever got a petty cash $1 million starter loan from his father Fred which he had to pay back with interest and turned that into billions. The NYT reveals that Trump really got $413 million of his father’s wealth at today’s rates and had to be bailed out of catastrophic business deals like Trump Casinos on numerous occasions. Most of this money was allegedly transferred fraudulently by understating the value of assets to save 55% gift tax. In total Fred transferred over $1 billion to his children on which $550 million gift tax should have been paid but only $50 million was paid due to a combination of tax avoidance schemes and misstating the value of properties.

    In other reporting it seems that Trump’s decision to run for president has also cost him dear. Maybe as much as $1 billion so far. He once bragged he might become the only president who actually made a profit out of the office but 2 years in the spotlight have made his name so toxic that no one wants to do business with him anymore other than political entities trying to curry favour. Rental values at Trump Tower have dropped by 30% and property tenants and customers at his golf courses are getting fed up of metal detector searches and bomb drills for presidential security. One imagines that Russian oligarchs are also finding other ways of laundering their money now that everything Trump does is subject to intense scrutiny.

    Trump’s two inept sons have tried to start a lower end hotel business to cater to less well off deplorables than Trump’s usual millionaire customers but that is already deep in loss too. We can see now why Trump hates the Mueller investigation so much. It’s not only because of what it can find out about him but its scrutiny is putting off his crooked associates from being involved with him.

    When the Dems take back the House they’ll get Trump’s tax returns going right back to the 1980s within a week. They’ll have the power to demand the IRS just pony those up without any need for a court case or warrant or subpoena. Those returns will be a goldmine not just for every investigative journalist in the country but also State AGs looking to charge Trump with fraud or tax evasion. It’s inconceivable that Trump hasn’t lied in his returns given he lies about everything else.

    What is happening with Kavanaugh seems to be a microcosm of what happens with Trump. They have the same corrupt personality, mendacity, mysogyny, predatory sexual behaviour and the same sense of entitlement and that the law doesn’t apply to them as it does to ordinary mortals. This sense of white privilege that rich preppies are indoctrinated with from birth has corrupted them both. The word “privilege” is interesting. It literally means “private law” and dates back to the French aristocracy who were not subject to the same laws as the general populace. They had their own legal code and despite them owning all the wealth they did not have to pay tax and Trump has also studiously evaded doing so all his life.

    We have seen the same behaviour in both Manafort and Cohen whose greed and mendacity led to their downfall. Trump is still protected by his presidency but that won’t last forever. One thing that astonishes me is that all of these people could have stayed under the radar and escaped detection but their greed and desire for power is so immense they fell willingly into Trump’s orbit and got subject to the scrutiny that goes along with that. You can see in every moment of Kavanaugh’s crying shouted testimony that he feels entitled to a seat on the Supreme Court, that it’s his destiny as a rich white Yale graduate and that no one should be able to snatch it away from him. It would be ironic if he’s actually destined for an orange romper suit for perjury and sexual assault. Cohen and Manafort should have been a lesson. Trump poisons everything and everyone he touches and if you have even a single skeleton in the closet it’s safest to stay far away.

    Trump is now openly mocking Christine Ford at his rallies to the cheers of his deplorables and Grassley has released a letter claiming that Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick used to like multiple sex partners in an attempt to slut shame her. There is not the slightest allegation of wrongdoing against her but playing Devil’s Triangle is only ok for the rich white guys involved it seems. Any women involved just can’t and mustn’t be believed.

    Let’s hope the FBI is making even a token attempt at a proper investigation because the case against Kavanaugh seems irrefutable already. I suspect though that they’ll only interview a fraction of the people who have relevant testimony in the alloted week.

  • As I surmised above it’s looking like the FBI report is going to be a whitewash. Several potential witnesses have approached newspapers to say their testimony or calls to the FBI have been ignored. The WH is being reported as saying they see nothing in the report to confirm the allegations made against Kavanaugh. The Repugs have already scheduled a vote on him before the report has been discussed. The Dems need to be very clear that once they get into power they are going to reopen this, force a proper investigation, sack any FBI staff or leadership who didn’t do their jobs properly and impeach Kavanaugh if he’s already on the SC. It might not cut any ice with the Repugs but the dems must not cave on this as they do on most things. Nothing has been learned since Anita Hill. White Ivy League privilege is still alive and well and as toxic as ever.

  • Does anyone know when Dawkins first publicly said he was an atheist, and particularly when he first debated or confronted a religious authority or believer?

    I’m curious about when some of the prominent atheists first “came out”, and when/if they openly took on anyone, whether in school or any other place where an audience of some kind would have heard them.

    Who were the bold ones, and who waited until it was relatively safe to speak up, as it seems to be for the most part today?

  • As was surmised, and like everything else Donald Trump promises, the FBI investigation into Kavanaugh was a sham. Trump stood outside the WH at the weekend and said the FBI would be allowed to interview anyone they wanted. He undoubtedly then went inside and told his people to make sure the FBI was hamstrung, tied up and left at the side of the road for dead. How do we know all this? Well the FBI were only given a paltry week to investigate and still managed to finish 2 days early when 2 of the other 5 days were a weekend. In other words they investigated for 3 days tops not including writing the 46 page report which must have taken one of those days. Reports are that at least 40 credible witnesses were never contacted and Kavanaugh’s drinking habits at school and Yale were never looked into.

    So like Trump steaks, Trump University, Trump casinos, Trump the “self made man” and the Trump presidency it’s a sham from start to finish. Of course the Repugs will tout it as a thorough investigation and use it to change the narrative which they excel at. Instead of arguing about Kavanaugh’s actual qualities the debate will move to whether he was investigated properly or not which is less damaging. Jeff Flake will now do what he always does. He’ll flake. He does exactly what it says on the tin. Flake by name, flake by nature. After his brief moment in the sun growing a very tiny proto-spine he’ll fold like a cheap suit again and vote the way daddy wants him to. Don’t even bank on Murkowski or Collins either because they’re both more afraid of losing Trump’s base of deplorables than of electing a sexual predator to the SC.

    Trump couldn’t resist a huge poke at the Dems by crowing about Al Fraken resigning so quickly and sadly he’s right. Repugs don’t care about anything except winning. Dems care about democracy which is a huge handicap. It really boils down to this. Do you want to stick to principles and keep losing or embrace Machiavelli and win for a change? I suggest a compromise. The Dems can govern by principles once they’ve got into power but they need to win by any means necessary just like Repugs do. Nothing can be worse than another 4 years of Trump.

    Once Kavanaugh is in, Trump’s power over his base and congress will be magnified tenfold. He’s going to crow about this for years. Even the NYT report on his inherited wealth is probably not going to dampen his spirits much with Kavanaugh to boast about. I confess to being more despondent right now than at any time in the last 2 years. Instead of riling up Dems to vote, Kavanaugh might just depress them to the point of not bothering and rile Repugs up to vote instead. It is being reported that Republican women voters are more incensed over what they perceive as the unfair treatment of Kavanaugh than Dem women voters are about the treatment of Ford. If that’s true then this situation is incredibly dangerous for the midterms and the blue wave that is essential if any of us are going to be able to sleep again.

  • Chikkipop #9
    Oct 4, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Does anyone know when Dawkins first publicly said he was an atheist, and particularly when he first debated or confronted a religious authority or believer?

    I don’t know about public pronouncements, but his maturing into an atheist scientist in his teens, is on record.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins#Early_life

    Both his parents were interested in natural sciences, and they answered Dawkins’s questions in scientific terms.[34] Dawkins describes his childhood as “a normal Anglican upbringing”.[35]
    He embraced Christianity until halfway through his teenage years, at which point he concluded that the theory of evolution was a better explanation for life’s complexity, and ceased believing in a god.[33] Dawkins states: “The main residual reason why I was religious was from being so impressed with the complexity of life and feeling that it had to have a designer, and I think it was when I realised that Darwinism was a far superior explanation that pulled the rug out from under the argument of design.

    Dawkins became a prominent critic of religion and has stated his opposition to religion as twofold:
    religion is both a source of conflict and a justification for belief without evidence.[95]
    He considers faith—belief that is not based on evidence—as “one of the world’s great evils”.

  • Chikkipop #9
    Oct 4, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Who were the bold ones, and who waited until it was relatively safe to speak up, as it seems to be for the most part today?

    I think this is a feature in aggressive religious cultures where atheists are subject to personal attacks from religious fanatics.

    There have been prominent atheists in public life throughout the world, for a very long time!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_atheists_in_politics_and_law

    There have been many atheists who have participated in politics or law.
    This is a list of atheists in politics and law.
    Living persons in this list are people whose atheism is relevant to their notable activities or public life, and who have publicly identified themselves as atheists.

    In some of the more civilised countries, they have been VERY prominent!

    Denmark
    Edvard Brandes (1847–1931): Politician, critic and author, Minister of Finance 1909–1910 and 1913–1920.[56]
    Thorvald Stauning (1873–1943): Prime minister 1924–1926 and 1929–1942.
    Vilhelm Buhl: Prime minister May–November 1942 and May–November 1945.
    Hans Hedtoft: Prime minister 1947–1950 and 1953–55.
    H. C. Hansen: Prime minister 1955–1960.
    Jens Otto Krag: Prime minister 1962–1968 and 1971–1972.

  • I recently watched a lecture delivered by Justin Gable, O.P., a professor of philosophy, entitled: St. Thomas Meets Richard Dawkins – Aquinas on God, Faith and Religion. The lecture can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7H62Mwo8sU Below are my thoughts on Professor Gable’s thesis.

    Thomas Aquinas lived from 1225 to 1274. Although he was among, perhaps THE, most intelligent scholars of his day, it must be remembered he lived before the advent of the scientific revolution. In Aquinas’ day, no one understood that the earth is not the center of the universe. Even when Christopher Columbus made his voyages beginning in 1492, while educated people understood the earth was round, no one understood that the earth rotated on its axis, and rotated around the sun. Indeed it was not until 1543 (more than 200 years after Aquinas died) that Nicolaus Copernicus published his De revolutionibus orbium coelestium. Although Copernicus, and perhaps others, suspected that the sun was the center of the universe while he was at university, it took him a life time of observation and mathematical study before he was able to publish his work demonstrating that the sun, not the earth stood at the center of the cosmos. Johannes Kepler, using the detailed observations made by Tyco Brahe, published his laws of planetary motion in the early 1600s. Tyco Brahe, by the way, made his observations because he wanted to prove that Copernicus had made an error, and Brahe wanted to advance an alternative hypothesis.

    Galileo Galilei began his scientific studies in the late 1500s and early 1600s. He was one of the first to use a telescope to observe the moon and planets – not the least of which was the planet Jupiter and its moons. In 1674, Antony van Leeuwenhoek, using a primitive microscope, discovered a world of life inside a drop of water.
    Sir Isaac Newton’s did his scientific studies and published his laws of motion and mathematics in the late 1600s, not to mention his study of light.

    In the 1800s, Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell discovered the laws of electromagnetism. Charles Darwin published his On the Origin of Species on November 24, 1859, explaining how life developed by means of random natural selection.

    In the 20th century, less than a hundred years ago, Edwin Hubble discovered that the earth, the solar system, and the milky way galaxy were not only not the center of the cosmos, but that the cosmos consisted of uncountable galaxies that were moving away from each other at astronomical speeds. Before Hubble, no one understood that there was more than one galaxy. Based on those studies, it became clear that the universe came into existence approximately 14 billion years ago. It was a catholic priest, Georges Lemaître, who coined the term Big Bang. I understand that Lemaître counseled the pope of Rome, that the Big Bang was not evidence of the existence of a god.

    Throughout the 20th and now into the 21st century, scientists such as Albert Einstein and others too numerous to mention here, helped us to understand the nature of the world from the subatomic level to the astronomic. Using the scientific method, the entire cosmos can be explained in natural terms from this very moment to within a few nano-seconds of the Big Bang – all without the necessity of any supernatural intervention. Here, I’m reminded of the remark attributed to Pierre-Simon, marquis de Laplace who answered Napoleon’s inquiry about the place of god in the cosmos: “I had no need of that hypothesis.” Aquinas’ most compelling argument – the first cause – is now explainable and understandable in terms of physics, Darwinian biology, and other scientific disciplines. The question of why there is something rather than nothing (the subtitle of a wonderful book by Professor Lawrence Krause), can be adequately explained in physical, observable and testable terms.

    While Aquinas was the premier thinker of his day, he was constrained by the knowledge available to him. Had he lived in the 21st century, rather than the 13th century, I am sure that someone of his intellectual capabilities, would agree with scientists such as Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein, etc, etc. that the Cosmos is understandable without the god hypothesis. Just because people in bygone eras had no way to explain the world and their place in it, there is no excuse for those of us who live today to cling to outdated ideas of medieval theology and cosmology. Many questions remain to be answered, but we can be confident that answers will be found using the scientific method rather than supernatural hoc est, poc est pronounced by an invisible being (someone once said that the invisible and the nonexistent look very much alike). Aquinas understood the world only through means of logic – again the logic of his time. Aquinas did not have access to the scientific method which did not exist in his day. Scientific work is testable and is subject to change if new discoveries are made, or if error is discovered. In Aquinas’s day, the god hypothesis was the only explanation available – today that hypothesis is nothing more than delusion (to reference Professor Dawkins’ book title).

    I would like to think that if Thomas Aquinas were somehow transported from his time to ours, and if he had the opportunity to sit down with Richard Dawkins – and as long as we’re fantasizing, let’s bring back another Dominican, Giordano Bruno — if all three engaged in a scholarly discussion, I’m sure Professor Aquinas would say something like: “If science has shown that a god is not necessary to explain the cosmos, and since there is no evidence to support such a hypothesis, then more likely then not god does not exist.” Friar Bruno would probably exclaim: “I told you so!!” While the study of Aquinas’ work is valuable for an understanding of the history of philosophy, I find it sad that he is put forward as an alternative to a modern scientific view of the world. Basing one’s world view on 12th century philosophy is not only delusional, in my view it causes people to make bad decisions and it prevents people from coming to terms with the truth about the world – its realities, and limitations. We live now – between our birth and our death – nothing more, and nothing less. And that’s enough.

  • A4D #4

    Hi Alan

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but your post seems a bit defensive and frankly, out of character for you. Defending Strumia’s comments using facts is perfectly justifiable, but it didn’t look like that was the case here.

    The article itself isn’t all that helpful since he claimed he was passed over due to social/gender ‘engineering’ but didn’t specify the occasion, or if the woman who got ‘his’ job was less qualified. This could easily be a case of sour grapes.

    Then the data he cited was said to have been discredited, but it didn’t give the specific study(ies), so where does that leave us if we can’t find it?

    The scientist who commented on his remarks didn’t have to be there to know what he said–she found out about them the same way we did.

    The director who said she hadn’t experienced discrimination isn’t speaking for all women scientists, and in fact, in the article she points out that she knows it happens.

    I made a cursory search for special treatment for women, and couldn’t find any. In fact, most of what came up was exactly what the women are saying: they are being marginalized based on their sex. If I point that out, does that mean I’m a militant feminist?

    I’m not saying Strumia doesn’t have a valid argument, maybe he does. But it sure looked more like a gripe-fest than a professionally presented argument, IMO.

  • Vicki #14
    Oct 5, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but your post seems a bit defensive and frankly, out of character for you. Defending Strumia’s comments using facts is perfectly justifiable, but it didn’t look like that was the case here.

    @#2 if the “investigation” is conducted by biologically competent scientists, it will confirm the different aptitudes resulting from male/female brain development from embryonic stages onward! .. . .

    This “shortage” of women doing physics, is one of the perennial rants of the politically correct gender quota brigade’s demonstrations of their pseudo-science misinterpretation of statistics, to confirm their ideological notions of “uni-people” where all aptitudes and abilities are equal,- with shrieks of bigotry against critics who actually study the science.

    As with the athletics examples I give, there are racial and gender differences from embryonic development onwards.

    There is a higher percentage of men with aptitudes in the hard sciences, and there is a greater percentage of women with aptitudes in subjects such as languages. This is a distribution situation which does not mean that we can make assumptions when comparing any two individuals.
    It is difference in the variation of the range and distribution of abilities within populations, but has many other input factors.

    It is however ridiculous to discriminate against men or criticise appointment committees, in science appointments on the basis numbers failing to reach some arbitrary 50:50 quota! ( The same would apply to women linguist appointments.) It was very noticeable when I was working in university, that male students greatly outnumbered female students on science and engineering courses, while female students predominated on language courses! (Selected by competitive entry qualifications)
    These days, many exams have anonymous marking systems where only ref numbers are shown, so examiners do not see names which could give clues to gender or ethnicity, to avoid any allegations of bias.

    Particularly when we are looking at the top end of a distribution curve in selecting the world’s best for projects like CERN it is important to make appointments on the basis of merit and ability, without the intrusion of political ideologies.

    Then the data he cited was said to have been discredited, but it didn’t give the specific study(ies), so where does that leave us if we can’t find it?

    @#4 – Dr Jessica Wade, a physicist from Imperial College London who attended the event. . . . . . added that he drew upon discredited research and that it was unjust to refer to somebody’s number of citations as a metric for ability given [ASSUMING?] that the whole process of peer reviewing is biased against women and non-westerners in the first instance.

    Given that peer-review across a whole selection of journals, is the respected objective measure of the validity of scientific papers, allegations like these, would need some very substantial evidence, if they are not to be simply dismissed as a personal biased viewpoint which is almost on a par with the conspiracy theories of creationists!

    In the UK, the opposition Labour Party has some “politically correct” rules to force the selection of more women as candidates or delegates. – which result in crazy features like a requirement for all- women shortlists for election candidates!

    These often mean, that selectors are required to pass over talented men and send any women they can find, or on some occasions, send no representatives at all to meetings or conferences, when no women can be found who are willing to go, and the quota rules forbid sending men in their place!

    It is political correctness gone mad, but given the low quality of some of the male political ideologists, it may not make too much difference, about which gender the clueless politicians are, or on occasions, where an empty chair is performing better than the selected representatives.!

    However, in an establishment like CERN selecting the best talent is crucial, and if that means that women scientists are in a minority, that probably reflects the differences in embryonic brain development of the different sexes. ( see the link @#2)

    I could not comment on the professor’s complaint about his own appointment, but there are regular media false assertions, (usually from some feminist social scientist), that an absence of 50:50 quotas, indicate a problem in the appointment of women scientists.

  • I suspect if Strumia had presented his argument more along your format, he might not have been suspended.

    That said, I don’t think conflating 50:50 quotas in the political arena, where the population more closely matches that ratio, is the same as thinking the same ratio could be met in the scientific arena, where women make up less than 1/3 of the total scientists. In fact, I have to wonder why quotas would be an issue at all in a market that isn’t glutted. Granted, a position at CERN would be coveted, and the hiring parameters would be more stringent, and should be focused on the best. I don’t know that it isn’t.

    I liken women’s education in the STEM fields to a relay race, where one side has a clear, fast track, and the other side has to run the same race on an obstacle course. To me, it is much like generational poverty. I get that not 50% will be drawn to a field in which they are not biologically hard-wired. But let’s not marginalize the 28% who did choose that career for themselves.

  • Vicki #16
    Oct 5, 2018 at 5:45 pm
    That said, I don’t think conflating 50:50 quotas in the political arena,
    where the population more closely matches that ratio,
    is the same as thinking the same ratio could be met in the scientific arena, where women make up less than 1/3 of the total scientists.

    I think the issue is of biased ideologists who are determined to “fix” an imaginary science problem which isn’t broken!

    What we must not do is push people with lesser aptitudes into jobs where they are not the best candidates, or where they will struggle – to the detriment of themselves and to the job.

    I get that not 50% will be drawn to a field in which they are not biologically hard-wired. But let’s not marginalize the 28% who did choose that career for themselves.

    As I was commenting on this other thread – all credit to the minority of women who do have talent and education in sciences, but it is nevertheless unfortunate that CERN and the media, are providing a spurious distraction from recognition of those talents in attacking a professor who is criticising the quota mentality..

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2018/10/nobel-prize-in-physics-is-shared-by-a-woman-the-first-in-55-years/#li-comment-233918

    I suspect if Strumia had presented his argument more along your format, he might not have been suspended.

    Both he and his critics appear to be physicists, so they may not be familiar with the medical biology courses. That is however, no excuse in a scientific establishment for making stuff up rather than looking stuff up!

    I am reminded of a situation in an earlier discussion where bigots refused to listen to a scientist.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2014/08/a-hundred-walked-out-of-my-lecture/

  • Chikkipop #9
    Does anyone know when Dawkins first publicly said he was an atheist, and particularly when he first debated or confronted a religious authority or believer?

    I remember as a teenager reading the Blind Watchmaker and he was arguing against the creationists then. I can’t remember if was arguing against god as such but he was certainly quite clearly arguing against nonsense in terms of Biological Evolution. I believe he also disagreed with Stephen Jay Gould passionately I believe about religion and science being non-overlapping magisteria. The God Delusion didn’t come out till later but he’d received much flack from Christians before then.

  • Exactly right, Reckless. The impact of religion on his discipline especially in the US bugged him.

    I suspect the impetus to do something directly about it possibly came from being interviewed by Dr Jonathan Miller for his truly excellent short series A Rough History of Disbelief in 2004. (US 2007 as A Brief History of Disbelief.)

    Dan Dennett was also interviewed.

    It is what galvanised me (writing to DD to complain about his lack of force and ending up discussing the nature of the “self-model”).

    I’ll link in the next post.

  • I’m not saying Strumia doesn’t have a valid argument, maybe he does. But it sure looked more like a gripe-fest than a professionally presented argument, IMO.

    Hi Vicki,

    It’s an interesting area and has become so toxic I’d dearly like to see some open discussion about it. I fear it is a very difficult area to discuss but I’m willing to risk it because I think fair treatment of all needs to be our goal and it doesn’t look like this is where we are heading.

    What distresses me about this subject is just how toxic it is and how hard it is look at the facts in relation to this area of discussion. I remember hearing about the gender pay gap (in Australia currently about 15%) at Uni, I was shocked as I knew there were laws about it. It came up in sociology lectures and I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t being pursued legally if it was against the law to discriminate on the basis of gender. So I started to read up about it a little more and discovered that the gap relating to actual discrimination what some proportion of that figure (which would have been higher then I’m sure) but that choice of profession came into it along with interruption of career having families taking on more flexible and lower paid work etc. I’d bring this up in sociology lecturers and get shouted down as as a misogamist pig. And yes as a young bloke I did get defensive at that time. My problem was not my misogamy but probably the Aspy personality which bridles at people getting the facts wrong, it hurts me. It’s still probably the thing that bugs me the most about this and I wish we could get to the facts because until we do women (and men) I know will not get fair treatment.

    So for me a couple of gripes about the movement and if I have your patience and you are not convinced I’m trying to smuggle in misogyny hopefully you can give me some feedback on what I’m suggesting.

    1) It is not helpful to women to misrepresent facts like the gender pay gap without unpacking all the various reasons why they exist. (I Know you haven’t done this but I’m speaking in general).

    2) Why do we think that there would ever be a 50/50 split in division of labour between sexes? Or should be. I think there should be complete freedom to choose what you want to do but I don’t believe we are the same on average, I think testosterone does likely have an impact on aggression and other factors that may well influence men into choosing different jobs to women and visa versa. How much this is a factor is probably open to debate but it tends not to be (debated). Women athletes taking large amounts of male hormones for example report dramatically increased levels of aggression, men commit the largest amounts of violent crimes etc. Thus I suspect there is at least some impact but you never here this in mainstream media. So were there are barriers put in the way of anyone choosing to pursue whatever career they choose I’m with feminists but they seem to want something else which I feel is unrealistic.

    Part of the problem is probably a tendency for both sides to misunderstand how a bell curve works. Misogamists would point to testosterone in men as a reason for example to exclude women from certain fields when in fact while a majority of men may be more aggressive some proportion of women will be more aggressive than some proportion of men, so if the job required more aggression we should see a mix that more closely matches the statistical fall of proportion of these traits in the population and deviation outside of this might be evidence for actual sexism. But if we get ‘women shouldn’t be in the military’ because aggression is needed ignores the number of women who are more aggressive than the average man. On the other side we get women should be 50% of the military. Either extreme seems silly, surely we need a detailed analysis of what we might expect to see and then consider where we don’t match the populations characteristics why?

    3) Would we accept this social engineering in other areas. If it could be 100% successful. For example let’s say an injection could be given at birth or in-utero that guaranteed the same brain wiring so that interests were levelled out, who would consider that a good thing? Bring up genetic engineering of say food crops and many on the left will equate you with Hitler and the Eugenics movement and yet it seems to me that many on the fringes are attempting something very similar only through social engineering.

    What I see is almost all the media attention going to attempts to equal the number of women in parliament and as CEO’s of large corporations. So in terms of parliament that’s easily fixed women make up more than 50% of the population we just need most of them and some males and we’ll have more equal political representation. But that seems to be the trick. If we mandated more women in the parliament then aren’t we taking away a free choice from those large chunk of women who choose to vote for reasons other than gender? Some large chunk of women do not vote for women when given a chance. But what really bugs me about this is we are talking about a tiny fraction of the population of women who will benefit and I’m skeptical it will help many women.

    I’ll give you an example of whom I’d rather see get just some airtime. At my work in teaching we have a long break over the holidays. To save money the Education Department has been using contracts and then cancelling those contracts 2 weeks before the end of the year this is to avoid having to give holiday pay to the teachers (if they had taught the full year). Now this policy effects any contract staff both men and women. However it disproportionately effects women. This is because women are more likely to end up on contracts, this is because they will often start a teaching career and then if they want a family make the choice to stay at home and breastfeed until their child is a little older and if they have 2 or 3 kids they may be off work because it’s easier for them breastfeed on demand than have the kid in child care (expensive) express milk etc. So some are choosing to stay at home, they then end up trying to regain permanency and because they now have a young family at school and a husband working don’t want to go bush for 4-6 years to guarantee employment (most have done bush service straight out of Uni anyway) so in choosing to stay in the local area = contracts, years of contracts and 6 weeks holidays + 2 weeks either side so 10 weeks of no pay yearly potentially. As I said this effects men who make the same choices so a stay at home dad would be effected equally but this predominately effects women and this is just one example from one profession. Women do face real issues look at the levels of super annuation on retirement particularly if they have had a broken marriage. These are not all the fault of men but we need to look at fairness.

    Likewise the types of work women choose is often undervalued. I happen to think education is extremely important to our society and the earliest education in childcare is crucial and yet this is the least well paid. Ironically the push for women to have a family and a career has lead to a massive expansion of the child care system which is hugely expensive which is why many women choose to stay at home as the money in their pocket is hardly worth working for after paying child care for a week for a couple of kids.

    So it’s complicated.

    I’d like to see a nuanced debate without the shooting everyone who brings up problem with the narrative to be considered by default to be a sexist pig. We cannot get to a fairer system until we acknowledge the full facts. Troubling times.

    Anyway hopefully I’ve come across as constructive and not a misogamist would love some feedback.

  • I think gender is just another axis of modest cognitive difference, maybe with some overlap with the systemising/empathising axis, like the axes of creative/concrete, concern for detail and precision/generalist, assertive/passive. The autist, schizophrenic, OCD and psychopath axes are ones we all sit on.

    I think much pressure would be relieved if say the Kindergarten teacher were better recognised for their value and rewarded and the CEO far less so. Germany gets it righter and gender unfairness along with a lot else is reduced in like manner.

    Any single person may be capable of any job.

    Quotas are unfair often but are entirely valid in some situations. Some jobs (like politician, civil servants facing the public) really do need a fair representation of the population. Indeed anywhere when the concerns of the public need to be reflected into an organisation. (I really liked the Kurdish idea that a town needs a male and a female mayor.) I think business will increasingly adopt this mode for the same reasons. And second, quotas as a temporary measure to pressure test the route to certain occupations for roadblocks to have them fixed.

    I am happy with the idea that all bear the cost of parenthood, even the childless.

    I am increasingly coming to see that we are far more self made than genetically determined. The bias of genetics needs to be fully understood and accepted for the fact it is. But that doesn’t mean we can’t push our own envelope by for instance how we educate our children.

    There may always be less girl nerds than boy nerds. There may be always be more girls concerned about harms to others, than boys. There may always be more male mathematicians and female biologists. But to make sure we eke out the talents of all our children we must scrupulously promote and facilitate all choices to all children.

  • Reckless Monkey #21
    Oct 6, 2018 at 4:13 am

    I think it is very telling, that Professor Strumia was suspended for saying there was quota discrimination against Male scientists, but as far as I know Dr Jessica Wade has not been suspended for publicly outrageously claiming that “research was discredited” because “it was unjust to refer to somebody’s number of [peer-reviewed] citations as a metric for ability” while alleging that “the whole process of peer reviewing is biased against women and non-westerners in the first instance”.

    I think we can agree that in science, those who have produced a number of peer-reviewed studies, out-rank those who have not!

  • Reckless and Phil

    Both posts were thoughtful–and very much appreciated.

    IMO, the single greatest roadblock to professional equity between the sexes is motherhood. The first 5 years of a child’s life is critical, and to the best of my knowledge, there is nothing that can replace a full time parent (mother or father). And by professional equity, I refer to the opportunity to pursue a career in a chosen field, regardless of quotas or pay rates–those subjects are a whole ‘nuther animal that I believe would become moot points if the opportunity itself was on a more level playing field.

    There are two seminal books that address the women’s issue of biological vs professional. We’ve all heard of Betty Friedan’s consciousness-shattering book, The Feminine Mystique. That book seemed to come out at just the right time in our culture, and many have read it. What is less known is her follow-up book, The Second Stage. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Second_Stage

    Here is where she addresses the dilemma of biology vs career, and I highly recommend it. Amazingly, it was written at a time when technology was just starting to peek into our economy, and has only become more valid at a time when a 5-year absence from work can be the same as leaving during the Triassic era and trying to re-enter in the Jurassic era.

    The second book is, oddly enough, Clinton’s It Takes A Village. She is a woman who has experienced both full time jobs of raising a child and being a professional politician, and it ties into Friedan’s work almost seamlessly. It has its drawbacks, to be sure. For example, her religion, Methodism, plays strongly in the social fabric. Frankly, I could have done without her devotion to it. But overall, she understands the role of childbearing vs the opportunities for careers, both in virtually the same time window. Her argument is a woman can have it all, but not as much of it all if she chooses to pursue both.

    I do not think the issues of quotas, or pay gaps, or perceived special treatment will go away until the main issue of raising a child is addressed.

  • I fully concur, especially with the parenthood issue.

    This is why I talked of it as a burden on all of us.

    I see this as part of the re-alignment of attitudes towards having children. I have stated rather drastically that parent-hood is potentially a very selfish act. You might be creating a life full of misery for your own satisfactions. (I mean this in all sincerity. Quite beyond arguments for a woman’s bodily autonomy, it is always moral to terminate because of the risk of future misery.)

    The parental quid pro quo is the understanding of the need for endless support for their children (not pampering but cultivating). Our culture should also engage in the process and feel freer to expect this from parents. There is no greater investment to be made in our collective futures. But the quid pro quo there is that our society must make full provision for children also, and that means making the fullest provision for parents (the ideal nurturers) to be both parents and examples of working engaged citizens.

    Everyone benefits if parenthood is projected more seriously and is more supported. The selfish singleton can be dismissed. He benefited from those before him, lifting their future citizen children up.

  • Bah. Kavanaugh gets elected to the SC. Jeff Flake flaked just as I predicted as he always does and one Dem traitor, Joe Manchin, also voted yes. However even if he hadn’t then VP Pence would have broken the tie. Trump will now be at his sickening worst for days if not weeks.

  • Arkrid

    Sickening indeed. His crowing over this will be puke worthy. The far right now controls all three branches of the US government and this must be a new ominous low for this country.

  • Hi Vicki,

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply,

    I agree with you and Phil that parenthood falls into this equation very squarely. I have friends and family who have lived all sides of this. My sister in law for example (mother of two) is in the situation where she earns much more than her husband and hence her husband was prime carer for her children for about a year at a time. She initially was breast feeding and so was madly expressing milk for the children’s daytime use. She was a project manager and this often meant ridiculous hours when projects were in full swing and eventually she shifted the children to formula because she found it too taxing to supply milk not only when she was at home but to express sufficient to cover when she was at work as well. She then suffered tremendous guilt over the choice to go to formula. Of course breast milk is well established as best, but women face tremendous pressure to breast feed.

    Women also have their prime fertile years when they would otherwise be developing their careers so we are often interrupting their career development to have children (if this is what they choose). It seems to me society is very clumsy in developing a system of working around education, career etc. We’ve had reliable contraception for women (contraception that women can personally control) since what the early 1960’s and it seems surprising to me that we really haven’t adapted to this yet. It seems there is a factor of ageism at play here two, perhaps businesses might learn to recognise that experience and maturity may actually be of some benefit, perhaps we would not have had some of the economic collapses if some older people who had spend some time outside of the workforce or perhaps if some had had different priorities rather than the hyper-masculine risk taking and corporate greed driving our financial systems? I’d like to see if businesses do better in the long run if not run by hyper competitive alpha male types, but have a mix of abilities and some feminine traits thrown in as well. But it needs to be genuine data not cherry picked if it turns out that hyper-male aggressive characteristics are better for the economy then so be it.

    The other factor is things like house prices. While not directly a sexist system of oppression at least in my country house prices have risen so much in the past 15 years that having two incomes is the only way in which a family can get a house unless they buy in the remotest suburbs. This disproportionately effects women. Any women for example who has had a few kids and taken time off work to do so then ends up in a marriage break down is forced into a position where they are unlikely to be able to buy a house or build a career that will make it easy to buy a house. Rent is not cheap either. All the while of course the mainstream media gives this little attention and focuses on a tiny proportion of women CEO’s and politicians. We really need to get into the weeds in this stuff and I really think the modern feminism is failing to address these issues satisfactorily.

    I read Germain Greer’s book the Female Eunuch at uni and it was a terrifically funny and powerfully written book, I remember not agreeing with everything in it (I found some assertions were not backed up – but much more I agreed with) but it really focused on women’s lives and it was a strong opinion that needed to be heard. So Greer to this day will often appear on our ABC’s Q&A show and strongly put forward views which you will either agree with or disagree with but she is regularly being de-platformed now because her version of feminism is not PC enough now. I could spend some time talking about what I dis-agree with Greer about but she is a highly intelligent woman who holds very strong views and there are often attempts to have her views silenced. Now Greer is famous enough that any attempt to de-platform her will result in a greater airing of her views so I’m not worried about not hearing her views, and it’s a massive own goal for anyone who attempts to keep her from speaking. However it’s this instinct of the far left now to silence anyone who disagrees that I really find most troubling. I understand why many despise her views on both sides of politics I was for example very surprised when she as feminist brought up our first female PM having a big bum (butt for those in the US) as she was going through tremendous and I think sexist nonsense from extreme right shock jocks and opposition conservative parties at the time. However it seems to me that we can hear opposing points of view without society falling down around us. How do we get the left back on track?

  • Hi Alan

    Dr Jessica Wade has not been suspended for publicly outrageously claiming that “research was discredited” because “it was unjust to refer to somebody’s number of [peer-reviewed] citations as a metric for ability” while alleging that “the whole process of peer reviewing is biased against women and non-westerners in the first instance”.

    Yes it’s a problem, it strikes me that if we take the extreme feminist narrative that there is a patriarchy systematically oppressing women and holding them back then you have a couple of obvious difficulties.

    1) If women have no power (which I disagree with) then logically the only people who can grant them that power must therefore be the patriarchy (which I suspect is a massive oversimplification of what is going on and seems pretty close to conspiracy thinking or at least the version the far left pushes is conspiracy thinking). It seems a strange tacit to try to attempt to force an all powerful system deliberately attempting to hold back women taking down anyone for fear of public backlash. If you can change the status quo by being nasty on social media then the patriarchy isn’t as all powerful as they claim (note this is only the extreme feminist front that are claiming this).

    2) If my first thought is accepted then feminists will need men to come along for the ride, men must be part of what changes these systems to allow more women to be encouraged into STEM and the sciences and have fairer treatment when circumstances disproportionately effect them be it because of biology or work choices or roles they choose to pursue in society. This is not helped I think by firing someone who disagrees with you on some points of fact or has difficulty with your approach. These tactics seem likely to push people away from feminism entirely. The likes of Trump that are appearing all over the world are a backlash to the extremes of the far left. If the moderate left cannot disassociate themselves from the far left we are screwed.

    So probably the left and more sensible feminists need to make a big noise and disassociate themselves from their extremes. Islam is another case of this often when there is a terrorist attack moderate Islamist’s jump right away and start getting defensive about being labelled along with the terrorists but won’t condemn any of the stances that the more radicals follow. Maajid Nawaz is a notable exception to this. There are some genuine feminist issues but it would seem these are drowned out by the extremes which the left in general seems unwilling to call out. We see the same on the right of course. Looking at the support for evangelicals supporting Trump a guy who at best is happy to boast about sexually assaulting women and has just gotten a guy through to the supreme court who is quite possibly at least in his youth a sexual predator.

    Of course the left being happy to support trail by media has left the more sensible position of having a thorough investigation into these allegations and delaying or choosing another supreme court nominee has opened up them up to an argument that this is just more of the same. Trouble is there is an argument the left has left themselves open to.

    Look at the allegations into Harvey Weinstein. Now I believe they are likely true, there are certainly enough allegations that he certainly deserves to be put on trial. However it has not helped the left when one of his accusers was so happy to at an awards ceremony call out Harvey Weinstein (Asia Argento) and pointing to other men at the ceremony saying “you know who you are” while she was paying off an actor she had sex with who was a considered a minor (in that state) to be silent. She has then lied about this until pictures and tweets came out. So this is an example of one narcissistic actress (who may well have been raped by Weintein) setting herself up as victim calling out male sexual predators when while she was doing so was paying to silence a victim of her own inappropriate behaviour. Of course this undermines the many women Weinstein likely rapes/assaulted but the left can not let go of this tactic of naming and shaming. The damage to the left is enormous. What does it do to us on the left when so many of our number are willing to forgo principles of presumption of innocence in favour of destroying anyone’s reputation. Where universities are now positively discriminating against Asian students who have generally worked their arses off to get where they are and now are being positively discriminated against. We need some form of return to some sort of sensible approach. I think there is a place in calling out the Harvey Winstine’s if the law refuses to deal with these creeps but the left is shooting itself in the foot if it keeps going this way. I do not want to live in a world where the likes of Trump are dominant for the next decade or so until they utterly screw the place up so much that even their own side of politics will show some integrity and get rid of their excesses. We need to left more than ever and all we seem to be able to do is self destruct! Sigh!

    The only solution I can see is to slowly re-introduce real debate, real discussion in which the fundamental principals of fair and open discourse are respected. People should be ashamed not to be wrong or change their mind but to present willingly dishonest attacks, people should be ashamed to jump on bandwagons. We need to grow up. Those who need the help of all of society need to take the long road of convincing the population. Look at gay marriage, it took so long but ultimately I think what worked is that there wasn’t a valid argument that could be used to oppose it. Now I know a lot of religious people who find things like Madi Gra offensive but still voted for gay marriage. So while Madi Gra and other Gay marches were good awareness campaigns to attract attention I suspect what worked to convince most of those even opposed to homosexuality on some level to vote along with Gay marriage (at least in this country) was the very sound and reasonable arguments made. Feminism needs to learn from this. Keep the good arguments, stop making bad arguments and there will continue to be progress. Poison the well and you might end up slipping backwards. Look at the supreme court, what’s the bet now the conservatives are a majority that abortion in the US will be wound back? Sigh again.

    I’ll stop ranting now.

    Cheers

  • Reckless Monkey #21
    Oct 6, 2018 at 4:13 am

    3) Would we accept this social engineering in other areas. If it could be 100% successful.
    For example let’s say an injection could be given at birth or in-utero that guaranteed the same brain wiring so that interests were levelled out, who would consider that a good thing?
    Bring up genetic engineering of say food crops and many on the left will equate you with Hitler and the Eugenics movement and yet it seems to me that many on the fringes are attempting something very similar only through social engineering.

    Interestingly, there are notable effects from hormone exchanges in the womb, between opposite sex fraternal twins and in mammals which have litters of young.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4681519/

    Many important psychological characteristics show sex differences, and are influenced by sex hormones at different developmental periods. We focus on the role of sex hormones in early development, particularly the differential effects of prenatal androgens on aspects of gender development. Increasing evidence confirms that prenatal androgens have facilitative effects on male-typed activity interests and engagement (including child toy preferences and adult careers), and spatial abilities, but relatively minimal effects on gender identity. Recent emphasis has been directed to the psychological mechanisms underlying these effects (including sex differences in propulsive movement, and androgen effects on interest in people versus things), and neural substrates of androgen effects (including regional brain volumes, and neural responses to mental rotation, sexually arousing stimuli, emotion, and reward).

    Understanding hormonal influences on gender development enhances knowledge of psychological development generally, and has important implications for basic and applied questions, including sex differences in psychopathology, women’s underrepresentation in science and math, and clinical care of individuals with variations in gender expression.

    Why are the sexes different? How does the prenatal environment set the stage for postnatal development? How does behavior result from transactions between the brain and the social world? All three questions are the focus of contemporary work in the behavioral sciences, and they converge in questions regarding prenatal sex hormone effects on gender development, which includes characteristics that show sex differences and that relate to being female or male.

    Human work linking hormones and behavior borrows heavily from work in nonhuman species showing that exposure to sex hormones early in development has permanent effects on sex-related behavior, and reproductive anatomy and function [reviewed in 1,2,3]. Thus, early development represents a sensitive period for hormones to organize the brain.

    Anecdotally;- I am the father of opposite sex fraternal twins, and have a very competitive daughter who is now a lawyer!

  • Vicki #16
    Oct 5, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    I get that not 50% will be drawn to a field in which they are not biologically hard-wired. But let’s not marginalize the 28% who did choose that career for themselves.

    As you will see from the above link @#30, choosing a career by any individuals who lack aptitude, is a poor move. Pushing people into careers where they lack aptitude is even worse! . . . and moaning about those who lack aptitude being passed over for promotion on the basis of ideological quotas, is just plain perverse ignorance!
    Having said that, the minority of women who do have aptitude and scientific capabilities which they have developed, should compete on a level playing-field and be given credit where credit is due.

  • Hi Alan

    I agree that biologically, women are less likely to pursue careers in science and/or technology fields. From your link, “Second, controversy surrounds the causes of women’s underrepresentation in science, math, engineering, and technology (STEM) careers [e.g., 66,67]. There is little doubt that social structure (e.g., discrimination, child care policies) contributes to the problem…”

    I don’t dispute your claim that pushing someone into a career that was not her choice is a bad move. You’ve not shown me anything where hiring women in scientific fields is quota-based, or that better qualified men were passed over.

  • Hi Reckless

    I would love to continue this subject, as it is one that is very near to my heart and has affected, and continues to affect, my life.

    But let’s first set up some subject parameters: are we going to talk about the far left feminists, or are we going to talk about systemic sexism?

    *

    …(which I suspect is a massive oversimplification of what is going
    on and seems pretty close to conspiracy thinking or at least the
    version the far left pushes is conspiracy thinking)…

    I am a little raw right now due to Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and the humiliation and mockery Dr. Christine Ford had to endure at the hands of this administration, as well as the threats to her family from Kavanaugh’s supporters. She had nothing to gain and everything to lose by coming forward, so it is hard not to think this was an orchestrated campaign with patriarchy at its core.

    Is it possible to overlook that perfect example of sexist marginalization, set for all to witness on the world stage, and continue the conversation without rage or passion?

    *

  • Hi Alan, I’ve read a little about all of this when I was at Uni I think the research was early days back then and was still fairly speculative but it’s interesting none the less. But I will have a look-see at the link ta I haven’t seen what the current state is in that area for a very long time now.

    My experience as a teacher tells me there are average difference between the genders (with exceptions) these experiences don’t tell me why there are differences but I have taught an awful lot of boys and girls from 6 years old up to 18 years old (with a few mature age students thrown in) over my now couple of decades and change in the job. I suspect like all things there are social and genetic factors. I’m very interested in seeing where it all comes out. However I suppose at heart my feelings are that men and women should have a free choice to pursue their chosen careers. I personally left manual arts at school and took up home economics and enjoyed learning to cook and sew. I latter took up workshopy things in my 20’s I have as long as I can remember been an arty farty type drawing and painting. Although I do little of that now and am much more into digital media 3D modelling computer coding (still very basic). Anyway I’ve never felt men and women should be excluded from anything, My Mum worked teaching teachers from when I was in pre-school. As a Home Economics tutor then lecturer she was constantly teaching me to process wool from scratch to spinning dyeing weaving with looms etc. So my teachers were treated with truly hideous creations every Christmas for a few years where I had processed from smelly greasy dag filled clumps of wool to pee coloured natural dyes found down my backyard (plants) roughly woven into truly hideous scarves. Anyway I never felt the pull of traditional gender roles and was surprised to think women should not choose to do whatever the hell they felt like. What I’d like to see is more girls consider different areas, some may discover aptitudes they didn’t know they had or find they really really like say STEM. I object to incorrect use of statistics or the very political aspect I see in the new wave or extremist feminist fringe. The standard feminists I meet in day to day life I generally agree with 100% This just needs some common sense.

  • Reckless Monkey #34
    Oct 7, 2018 at 6:30 am

    My experience as a teacher tells me there are average difference between the genders (with exceptions) these experiences don’t tell me why there are differences but I have taught an awful lot of boys and girls from 6 years old up to 18 years old (with a few mature age students thrown in) over my now couple of decades and change in the job.

    Like yourself, I have worked in teaching and education, with ages of children ranging from Nursery school to 18 year-olds – and then some work in university, before I finally retired last year.

    I think anyone who has worked with early-years / infant school children, knows that girls mature earlier and develop reading skills at a younger age than boys. This is another “problem” which some ideologists think needs “fixing”!

  • I loathe the idea of creating safe spaces for the aggrieved as it undoes the primary counter needed for culture to be honed to the balanced needs of its citizens. This is why I beg of people, personal bravery and pushback and where appropriate that most powerful of sticks to beat naughty, attention seeking children with,… indifference.

    Morality is an encultured wish to live mutually, not of being manipulated into it. Dependence upon rules based quasi-morality is a failure that should always urge us forward to do better.

    Having said that we cannot move forward from this critical moment in our culture until this single clarified point is learned by the majority of us all. Physically invasive behaviours or implications of same need consent. This is utterly distinct from offense giving outside of this specific.

    Building this newly all pervasive moral insight into our lives has only just begun, but already in narratives for popular consumption this need is popping up increasingly and explicitly. The #metoo legacy is real.

    PS. I think all right minded people have a debt of gratitude for Dr Ford’s bravery. It will not be wasted as the great store of contempt for this administration is piled even higher.

  • Vicki #32
    Oct 7, 2018 at 6:14 am

    I don’t dispute your claim that pushing someone into a career that was not her choice is a bad move.

    I was thinking along the lines of pressuring people or misleading them into making bad choices, rather than forcing them against their will.

    You’ve not shown me anything where hiring women in scientific fields is quota-based, or that better qualified men were passed over.

    It is quite difficult because of confidentiality issues around appointments, and other issues which lead to poor choices.

    There is certainly evidence in publicly funded services, that less qualified people are appointed as cheaper employees, because of political underfunding of services, not to mention nepotism, social connections, religious biases, and simple poor choices made by inept committees.

    Anecdotally, I recall once losing out to a single lady in a deputy head application, where local gossip suggested that her selection was based on a sexual relationship with the married head! It turned out she was pregnant and left the job to have the baby a few months later!

    What is clear, is that there are active campaigns pressing for gender quota based appointments.
    To what extent they are effective or are being resisted, is unclear.

  • I’m a fairly staunch and long time defender of the research of Simon Baron Cohen in this field of neural cognitive offsets between the gender populations. Most of the criticism I see as a misreading of what his data actually says. (There seems to be a persistent misreading of the implications of only modestly offset (a few percent at the peaks) bell curves and how it makes for little distinction in the bulk of the groups, but at the extremes differences are notable…. four times as many boys as girls are clinically autistic, maybe twice as many boys as girls are aspie, maybe there are equal numbers of girls would be described as hyper pro-social.) Additionally insufficiently understood and analysed is the role of culture as an amplifier of small differences through simple minded identity heuristics.

    Anyway, I’ve just downloaded this to look at the case against him..

    Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong – and the New Research That’s Rewriting The Story

    (Others are implicated and may better or even better justify this title.)

    I’ll report back. I’d really appreciate Vicky or Laurie’s view if they think it worthwhile enough, and, not to be sexist Reckless or Alan’s too…..

  • Hi Phil

    *

    Additionally insufficiently understood and analysed is the role of
    culture as an amplifier of small differences through simple minded
    identity heuristics.

    Reading a review of the book, it looks like that is what Angela Saini is attempting to do. I am juggling about 8 books right now, and if I had a shorter list, I’d add it. I look forward to your take on it.

    *

  • Arkid
    Perhaps some of your personal animus could be assuaged by a better grasp of the process re Kavanaugh.
    He was not elected, President Trump’s nomination of him to serve on the Court was confirmed by the Senate.

  • Vicki #33
    Oct 7, 2018 at 6:25 am

    I am a little raw right now due to Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and the humiliation and mockery Dr. Christine Ford had to endure at the hands of this administration, as well as the threats to her family from Kavanaugh’s supporters.

    I agree that this deplorable – but unsurprising when studying the Trump camp!

    She had nothing to gain and everything to lose by coming forward, so it is hard not to think this was an orchestrated campaign with patriarchy at its core.

    True: – but I don’t think any educated informed people would consider the Trump camp as in anyway related to science or the scientific establishment. Trumpies are doing all they can to undermine the integrity of scientific work and scientific workers.

    Is it possible to overlook that perfect example of sexist marginalization, set for all to witness on the world stage, and continue the conversation without rage or passion?

    In the company of Trump supporters or representatives of the divisive propagandist trash media, probably not – but among those who engage in constructive rational debate, such issues can be dealt with on an objective basis.

  • *

    …such issues can be dealt with on an objective basis.

    Yes, and I plan to willingly contribute, but not until the pain subsides a little.

    I keep reminding myself of the picture of the Milky Way with an arrow pointing to a speck, saying “You Are Here.”
    *

  • Vicki,

    Quite understood. This is in a queue too, but shorter. A few books to be examined more closely after speed reading and Peter Temin’s The Vanishing Middle Class, where I’m just looking for extra data points, totally buying his story already.

    I’ll report back.

  • thad #40
    Oct 7, 2018 at 8:28 am

    Arkid
    Perhaps some of your personal animus could be assuaged by a better grasp of the process re Kavanaugh.
    He was not elected, President Trump’s nomination of him to serve on the Court was confirmed by the Senate.

    Is petty semantics your only concern here?

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  • No semantics are not my only concern. The difference allowed by a semantic change obliterates the essence and nuances of the process.

    This debacle , the Kavanaugh nomination and confirmation process , highlights the difficulties in maintaining a civilized body politic when essence and nuance are obliterated , and when specific and general are juxtaposed in a political outcome.

  • Was there “essence” and “nuance” involved in the Kavanaugh appointment? If so, it was lost on me. I feel like I’ve had a pipe shoved up my …

  • And you don’t think Feinstein intended you to feel just that way?

    Do you honestly believe Ford’s handlers orchestrated this fiasco for any reason other than to cause emotional pain, to manipulate common decency and use it to further their own ends? ( it doesn’t matter if you agree or not with the ends, it is glaringly obvious their actions were designed to bring about the frenzy that ensued)

    By the numbers, the Reid rule, there was no way short of an 11th hour character assignation to prevent his nomination. Feinstein gambled and lost hard, now we all get to pay.

  • LaurieB #47
    Oct 7, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Was there “essence” and “nuance” involved in the Kavanaugh appointment?

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/10/a-plan-to-defend-against-the-war-on-science/#li-comment-213014

    Donald Trump’s legal challenge to a planned offshore wind farm has been rejected by the UK’s Supreme Court.

    As you may know, Trump has had various of his flawed delusional legal claims thrown out by courts, appeal courts, and Supreme courts!

    I think his plan is to stuff the US Supreme Court with TRRRrroo Christian-Right judges, who can use ideological “nuanced interpretations” of the US constitution and laws, to prevent further instances of this happening!

  • Thad

    *

    And you don’t think Feinstein intended you to feel just that way?

    Her political manipulative genius is astounding! Tell me, how did she manage to get the Republicans to withhold more than 40,000 pages of documents on Kavanaugh’s history until the night before the hearings started?

    *

  • thad

    Do you honestly believe Ford’s handlers orchestrated this fiasco for any reason other than to cause emotional pain, to manipulate common decency and use it to further their own ends?

    I have no problem believing Ford’s story and I believe the women who have accused Trump as well. These stories are very common and Ford’s is not unusual whatsoever. In my circle of about ten friends, all of us in our fifties, me and one other has never been raped but all of us have been in situations like Ford’s. Close calls and situations where we were under the influence and under the present guidelines, there couldn’t have been consent. Very gray areas are what we’re talking about. I’ve had several bosses who made aggressive moves that were unwelcome. I avoided them the best I could. One fired me for being uncooperative. So you see Thad, I just don’t have the luxury of wallowing in cynical political suspicions. Neither do most women.

    I suppose Ford has handlers now. I don’t think there are operatives out there dredging up women to rat out men in power. There are so many women with bitter resentment floating around the handlers don’t need to work hard to find them. If Kavanaugh was a mean callous drunk who took advantage of women then I feel no pity for him. The job he’s aiming at needs the highest bar of all and Kavanaugh can never reach that bar based just on his right to life position. I already objected to that individual long before Ford came along.

    Once Ford came along, the political machine swept her up in their hurricane force but this pales before the Republican dirty dealings in their effort to ram through two reactionary Supreme Court Justices during the Trump evangelical toad administration. An illegitimate President, an illegitimate S.C. Justice and a morally compromised second S.C. Justice.

    You’re right Thad in that we will ALL pay for this disaster for decades to come. Americans follow the decisions of the S.Court as a matter of faith. There have been incidents in our history of the public ignoring that court when it decides in matters where the public strongly disagrees. If we have a majority of Justices who are ultra-conservative, reactionary and totally determined to bring America “back” to a Christian nation, then we are all going to suffer over this. And you know which court decision I am thinking of right now.

    Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34

  • There is no surprise that Kavanaugh got the job. Of course he got the job.

    What the process very usefully revealed is that Kavanaugh is puerile… still.

    And the moral bankruptcy of the active right.

    Even if Dr Ford was a carefully trained actress, this was an opportunity to take the moral high ground. Display compassion and understanding, concede you were a callow youth, now reformed yet still innocent of the charge to the very best of your recollection. Hell, he could have won some more dems over. The rethugs were in the bag.

    As a test of magisterial character this was perfect… perfectly revealing.

  • LaurieB #51
    Oct 7, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    If we have a majority of Justices who are ultra-conservative, reactionary and totally determined to bring America “back” to a Christian nation, then we are all going to suffer over this. And you know which court decision I am thinking of right now.

    As The history of fascist dictators shows – wave a bit of theocratic bait in front of right-wing Christians – or two-faced Christians, evangelists or popes, and they will neither know nor care what they do while applauding loudly and offering full support!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2014/07/children-exposed-to-religion-have-difficulty-distinguishing-fact-from-fiction-study-finds/#li-comment-148814
    The close relationship of the RCC with WW2 fascist dictators is well documented.
    It was an arrangement of mutual promotion of ideologies.

  • thad #48
    Oct 7, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    And you don’t think Feinstein intended you to feel just that way?

    She no doubt intended to try and defeat a very right wing judge who will likely cripple women’s rights with the very pertinent information that had come into her possession. The fact that Repugs simply ignored it as they did with Clarence Thomas and Trump himself speaks only to their desire to rule at any cost. The viscous attacks on Ford by both Trump and his sycophants were quite disgusting and will hopefully help ensure a massive blue tsunami in a month’s time and again in 2020.

    an 11th hour character assignation

    The person who did that to himself with no outside help was Kavanaugh in his hyperbolic partisan shouty mendacious cryfest. He displayed quite well that he’s unfit to run a bath let alone a seat on the Supreme Court. He lied shamelessly about what sex terms meant when he pretended they were drinking terms and it was obvious to anyone impartial that Ford was the honest person there. He ducked questions, snarked at his questioners in fits of tantrum that I’m sure he would hold against anyone testifying in his own court and displayed an immaturity and lack of self control that speaks very well to how he might indeed have been much worse still in his younger days as Ford and others maintained. If this had been any other normal job interview it would have “don’t call us, we’ll call you” but it was merely a sham for the benefit of the cameras as the Repugs forged ahead with their plans to dominate politics with radically partisan fascists.

  • Trump and his sycophants afforded Ford a platform as soon as her allegations were made public. Impartial observation shows any attacks were directed at her story and its lack of corroboration.

    Radically partisan fascists as opposed to the National Socialist caucus?

  • thad #55
    Oct 7, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    Radically partisan fascists as opposed to the National Socialist caucus?

    The left wing of American politics isn’t even remotely close to socialism but that is indeed what the country badly needs. 50 years of rampant capitalism and tax cuts for the mega rich has destroyed the wealth of the middle class and only a massive reversal of that for a sustained period can reinstate it. The USA needs trade unions, higher taxes on the rich and wealth taxes on their estates, a decent universal health care system and better schools with free higher education. The bottom 90% of the American people now only own 20% of the country’s wealth. In the UK that’s 50%. The rich and their Republican cronies have drained the USA for far too long. Sadly half of the electorate is too stupid to vote in its own best interest because religion has corrupted right wing politics into a partisan nightmare.

  • The USA is a downright kleptocracy. The median family wealth is the same as that of Greece. The idea of investing in its infrastructure appals its kleptocrats who take fully 20% of available wealth out of the country’s economy altogether.

    Interesting fact. When the banking crisis happened 2008, when banks tried to trick too much money out of the aspiring poor with sub-primes China injected 4 trillion yuan ($600bn) into infrastructure, real basic stuff, not a handout to the banks. They bought healthcare for everyone, 30% up to 90%. Money to local canton’s to multiply up their investments in local improvements. Money invested low down trickles up benefiting all of the economy. US reinvestment in its thieves benefited its thieves and the status quo predominantly. China was back on its feet within the year, growing wildly and swapping out US influence in world for its own.

  • If only the US let capitalism run rampant!

    Instead we do and have suffered with kleptocratic ( cronie-capitalism, a bastardization of a word if ever there were one)machinations. So called tax breaks on profit , true wealth created in a free and open market would only slow the amount or rate of government consumption of wealth.

    Kleptocrats can only be and operate in a system firmly controlled by the state. “Too Big to fail” is/was probably the worst lie yet believed. But ‘free education’ and governement’ investment’ aren’t that pale in comparison .

  • phil rimmer #57
    Oct 8, 2018 at 3:39 am

    The USA is a downright kleptocracy. The median family wealth is the same as that of Greece.

    Indeed. Here is the Wikipedia page showing the Credit Suisse global rankings of wealth per adult by country.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_wealth_per_adult

    The median figure is where half the adults are richer than that and half are poorer. The mean is the average of all adults including the mega rich of course.

    Country……..Median $…….Mean $
    Iceland………444,999……..587,649
    France……….119,720……..263,399
    U.K……………102,641……..278,038
    Canada……….91,058………259,271
    USA…………..55,876……….388,585
    Greece……….54,665……….111,684

    Greece is a very poor country but the median adult is no worse off than the median American. But look at the mean figure. In the USA it’s 6 times the median, in Greece it’s only double. In most of Europe it’s 2 to 3 times the median. The mega rich inflate the mean figure vastly in the USA because they own all the wealth. Iceland is almost egalitarian. The average guy there “IS” a rich guy.

    Now stop for a second and think about what this all means. In the USA 50% of the adult population own even less than $55,000. That means by definition they can’t own a home outright unless it’s a shack in a field. If they do have a nice home then that means it’s almost all on mortgage so it’s not actually theirs.

    In Canada the mean figure is lower than in the USA but the average Joe in the middle of the pack is twice as wealthy as the average American. In the 1960s the total wealth in the USA was reasonably split between the average guy and the rich on much the same basis as in other western countries. Since then the average Joe has been steadily and deliberately eviscerated as the wealth got channeled to the rich and the poor saps kept voting for the very guys who were doing this to them.

    America does not have the problem of being a poor country. It’s 4th in the world by wealth per capita being beaten only by Iceland, Australia and Switzerland but it has a massive problem with wealth distribution where the rich own almost everything and the rest live in poverty. This is why families struggle along saying nothing ever seems to get better for them, trying to do two jobs to keep afloat or relying on welfare. This is why they don’t trust anyone in politics because no matter who gets in it seems to be them who gets screwed. But they don’t really understand what it is that has been deliberately done to them and by whom or they wouldn’t keep voting for Republicans.

    Wealth does NOT trickle down. Once the rich have got it they damn well keep it. It’s the biggest lie of the last 40 years which Repugs have touted endlessly as they give huge tax handouts to the rich donors who paid for their campaigns. Then the poor stupid fleeced still vote for a rich crook and conman who’s made his living by fleecing people for decades and he’s just given another $1 trillion in tax cuts to himself and his rich buddies.

    That $500 billion in tax which the Trumps evaded on father Fred’s estate would give each adult in the USA about $2000 if it got clawed back. Do that another 20 times with some of the other rich fucks and pay it into infrastructure and welfare and maybe the country could get back off its knees for the average family. Stop pissing money away on the world’s biggest military and the world’s most profligate healthcare system which costs twice as much per capita as anywhere else and it would not be an insuperable task.

    But even dare to suggest the common sense measures that other countries take for granted and people start screaming “socialism” at the top of their lungs because they’d rather get screwed by rich fucks than spend 10 minutes learning why the USA is such an outlier in fiscal and social policy. They’ve been so brainwashed that socialism is communism and only one step away from atheism and all other sorts of ungodliness they can’t see what’s being done to them.

    They’re too damn stupid to realise that the police force is socialism, roads and rail networks are socialism, Medicare which they love and healthcare for veterans is socialism, the fire service is socialism. Everytime they drive their stupid pickup trucks with MAGA stickers on the back they’re driving on the tarmac of fucking socialism. They think socialism is when someone comes for their guns and forces them to all have abortions and be gay and speak Russian.
    It’s said that people get the governments they deserve. That’s why the USA has such a stupid inept government.

  • Most of the criticism I see as a misreading of what his data actually says. (There seems to be a persistent misreading of the implications of only modestly offset (a few percent at the peaks) bell curves and how it makes for little distinction in the bulk of the groups, but at the extremes differences are notable…. four times as many boys as girls are clinically autistic, maybe twice as many boys as girls are aspie, maybe there are equal numbers of girls would be described as hyper pro-social.)

    Yes, I remember seeing Jacob Brownoski interviewed in which he explained this in relationship to the possibility that their could be average differences in IQ between races. He very carefully pointed out that even if such a difference was found the vast majority would fall in the overlaps and hence you couldn’t single out the individual. I can’t imagine the furore that would have come down on him now if he even suggested this was a possibility, he was clear he didn’t know but took the opinion that the facts should speak for themselves. The very edges of a bell curve might represent a tiny fraction of the population that that could make a huge difference between representation in certain fields of study or choices.

  • Ah! Libertarian. A politico-economic religion for the slightly clever/aspie, with its myth of the omni-competent individual, its pathetic modelling of the spread of human capacities and needs, its kludged lame-brained handling of the “The Commons”, its entirely superstitious take on governments despite governments. The beating selfish heart of the USA, blissfully unaware of a world full of cleverer ideas. All dogma, no pragma. Perfect for the pushy adolescent but otherwise unneeded by a thriving economy and grown ups.

    As Hitchens observed; selfishness needs no further endorsement.

  • @ #60

    Exactly so, Reckless.

    I quite like 7 billion people now because it gives us access to 7 million with an IQ of 150.

    But what if those bell curves are offset in their middle range by cultural factors? Almost the entirety of our brain wiring happens after birth in a formative cultural flux of experience. Structures form shaped by the nature of the data experienced. Neuro-constructivism is showing us how much of our brains are contingent upon data.

    Not fixing a childhood strabismus in time means the tiger stripe of left/right fields doesn’t form reliably and the next up inferencing layer that delivers the stereoscopic meta-data experience can never happen. (My right eye, it turns out, with a modest diagonal astigmatism meant my right visual cortex developed less well. Though the eye is perfect my brain is not, and I’ve wasted £320 on specs that make me look clever whilst proving that I’m not.)

    Nigerian kids used to be the duffers in UK schools over a generation ago feeding into the IQ expectation. But now with settled and very determined families, they are up there with the Chinese and Indians, beating those hopeless white kids, handsomely.

    The modest offset fully explains where we are, but where we could be, with effort and going slowly, is up for grabs. My own view is that in a fairer society when we realise the essential contributions of most ordinary folk we might not feel obliged to try so hard and the curves will slowly settle in different heaps from more humane pressures. Problems, fixed or re-defined, go away.

  • phil rimmer #57
    Oct 8, 2018 at 3:39 am

    The USA is a downright kleptocracy. The median family wealth is the same as that of Greece. The idea of investing in its infrastructure appals its kleptocrats who take fully 20% of available wealth out of the country’s economy altogether.

    When those conditioned to be the gullible stupid, started to twig that they were turkeys voting for Christmas dinner with the posh rich politicians who had been conning them for years! – in the traditional faith-thinking mode of looking for an authority to tell them what to do, they decided to ask THE FOX to recommend a better political choice – and chose Trump!! 🙂

  • Hi Phil,

    But what if those bell curves are offset in their middle range by cultural factors? Almost the entirety of our brain wiring happens after birth in a formative cultural flux of experience. Structures form shaped by the nature of the data experienced. Neuro-constructivism is showing us how much of our brains are contingent upon data.

    Yes agreed, the problem we have it seems to me in the debate is one of putting a political spin on the data rather than understanding that these things can change.

    So for example if there was a difference in IQ between races then that doesn’t mean there will always be an IQ difference it would just be measuring the current IQ difference so Asian’s might be higher now and Africans might be higher in 20 years or it might be differently distributed in different countries. Likewise IQ has risen in the last few decades so anyone who looked at this data and decided that it was fixed in all cases just doesn’t understand how maths works.

    Last night there was an excellent Q&A show on our ABC, a little limited in terms of the fact that it’s about the Australian education system but it was fantastic and worth looking at for anyone worried about he current state of education. Anyway a Maths teacher was talking about how data is read. He talked about reporting on data and the fact that if spend the time to talk to the kids about their results, how much they have improved where they need to focus their attention etc. The kids will take that on board, if you give them a data driven test result as well and then ask them how they have gone the groups that get the hard number will just see the hard number and will not take on board the more detailed analysis.

    My problem is we need to the hard data to work out where we are. So is the patriarchy holding women back? This is the political ideology of the extreme left and I’m sure there is some truth in that but if you look at the data its not as simple as that and thus our efforts end up mostly misplaced. Let’s say if 90% of attention goes to say getting more women as CEO’s in the top one hundred companies so legislation is written public debate etc. and we get 50 women into the top 100 companies at some considerable time and expense, what are the benefits, 50 women earn a significant amount more money, yes, more women may see role models at the top that’s good, perhaps these companies will become less of a boys club that’s good, but if the many more women I work with still can’t get a permanent position after 5 years and millions of women don’t have sufficient super to retire on I think that effort wouldn’t have been well spend. I want to live in a system based on fairness, and my feeling is identity politics is misrepresenting the situation on the ground. Thus the core of the issues are not even talked about, instead they make IMO the same mistake that the trickle down economists make if only we can get more women in the top hundred companies (for one example) all women will benefit, perhaps to some degree but I suspect not as much as if we strives for a system bases on fairness.

    To me the feminism of my youth seemed to be talking about a fair go and everyone (reasonable) could get on board with that and work towards making it better but now the whole debate is toxic.

    I’ll give you another example. I teach in a low socio-economic school and we have a higher proportion of Aboriginal kids as a result a smaller subset of these kids have very serious issues and cause enormous impacts in terms of behaviour in class as a result. And there are white poor as well in the same boat (with exactly the same problems) aboriginal kids at least at the low socio economic schools I’ve always taught at are over represented. These kids are far from stupid or dumb in most cases but many have had a very difficult start to their lives, many are functionally illiterate and innumerate (parents are usually illiterate and innumerate as well). They feel excluded from education and as a result they act out. They also have parents who are often resentful and despise the white society that took their land from them a couple of hundred years ago. I get it, I’d feel the same if I was in their boat. But the problem for me in the classroom is trying to help them and manage their behaviour to try to get their education up to a standard that will give them individually the opportunities to break out of the poverty trap they find themselves in. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been accused of racism by kids whom I’m trying to help. I have high expectations for behaviour and effort (not achievement – effort) and it would be very easy to start seeing a pattern of backlash against me personally and my efforts to try to help this kids who in-spite of the damage caused by my ancestors are still going to have to individually pull themselves out of the muck they are stuck in (by my ancestors), now I’m offering them a hand and I’m being spat on and having my hand slapped away. There is a real risk of teachers empathy wearing down until some shrug off to the right, loose empathy and writing these kids off.

    Now that’s me on the day to day on a one on one level. When I turn on the news and see Aboriginal incarceration rates are many times more likely to be imprisoned than the white population and this is presented as evidence of racism, I struggle. I understand the statistics because I work day to day with these families and see some of the situations many grow up in (which by the way is infinitely worse once you get into some of the aboriginal settlements which are a national disgrace). I want to scream at the TV. Am I defensive (possibly to some extent) but mainly because I know the problem cannot be painted as all police hate aboriginals or the whole judicial system is biased against aboriginals. I know this because a couple of decades in and knowing the family backgrounds I know what goes on with these kids I’m in there day to day, I’m briefed on the happening in their lives. So the obvious question is are they committing more crimes? Yes they are. Why are they committing more crimes? Because they grow up in extreme and harmful situation. And then the next step should be how to stop this? But this isn’t the narrative we get, the narrative on the right is Aboriginals are to be feared, they are disgusting criminal welfare bludgeons. On the left the narrative is white people are all racists, our whole society is trying to oppress aboriginals and it suits us to hold them back. When the narrative is oversimplified or the facts we cannot hope to fix these problems. I’m more critical of the left in this not because their narrative is worse than the rights but it seems equally simplistic.

    I have often taught every kid in a family having been at the same school for about 20 years now so you learn what is going on. Often they are being raised by grandmother because the mother is a drug addict and each of the kids has a different father, they live in abject poverty, many of the kids suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome, the kids often are exposed to and use drugs on a regular basis, often dad is not present, when Dad is present he is often physically abusive to the kids, the kids are often not given any boundaries for their behaviour and largely fend for themselves so many kids as young as 8 can be found wandering the streets at 1 o’ clock in the morning in gangs of with older brothers and mates, many have been arrested by the police multiple times before they hit year 10, many of them have suffer from sexual assault. So there are problems 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, etc. etc. of which racist police and a biased judicial system are couple of factors. Note this is far from all aboriginal families and even far from all of poor aboriginal families but extreme poverty brings many of these behaviours in people of all races and historically many more aboriginal families have found themselves in these situations than non-aboriginal families. Where does all the media attention go? Racist police and biased judicial system. How much public attention does the rest almost zero.

    As a result most of the other factors are underfunded and under resourced. So as one of the guys on the ground overwhelmed by problems most of which I cannot expect to be able to be solved and that I might be able to help a smidgen I want my left to start emphasising the whole picture and not just what they think will attract outrage. This will offend the sensibilities of many on the left and many aboriginals. Aboriginals understandably don’t want a narrative that paints them as a race of alcoholic, child beating crime committing deadbeats and that is a risk of honest reporting on this. When these are reported the shock jocks have a field day, you get a ‘they just have to pull themselves up by their bootstraps like the rest of us’ narrative. But ignoring 90% the real issues here leaves 90% of the problem unaddressed. I see this all the time. We need to have a complex nuanced look at the data and the extreme left and right wings seem to be unable to do this. We need I thing to call out all oversimplification of this stuff. We operate like an airline that only does maintenance on the outside of the aircraft, the things we can see and then is surprised when other bits that can’t be as easily seen fall apart.

    regards.

  • I’ve just finished listening to last Sunday’s episode of The Atheist Experience on Youtube. That’s an atheist organisation in Austin Texas and they do a weekly phone-in show. The last caller was a young guy, a pastor’s son who’s been struggling with his faith and he wanted their opinion on something that had happened to him. He’d prayed to god to give him a sign. He was out in his car a week later and the battery went flat so he was sat there with the hood up and a car pulled alongside and the driver asked if he needed help. The guy had jumper cables and got him going and then said it was blessing to him from god. He wanted to know if this was a genuine sign that god exists. They were much kinder to him than I would have been. Most of America is religious, lots of people will stop and ask if you need help if the hood is up. Nothing at all unusual to see here.

    But he had one more question. He stopped to fill up with petrol one day and noticed his odometer had the last digits 111.1 which he thinks is a lucky number. In the garage was someone he hadn’t seen for 15 years. Was this a sign from god too?

    And I spend my time wondering how people can vote Republican. I should probably worry more how they manage to get through a day without qualifying for a Darwin award when so many of them are as dumb and gullible as this caller.

  • Arkrid#65

    I should probably worry more how they manage to get through a day
    without qualifying for a Darwin award when so many of them are as dumb
    and gullible as this caller.

    LOL! And here’s another flagrant example of uncritical thought:

    https://theflatearthsociety.org/home/

  • Awwwww, poor Melanoma. She whines that she’s the most bullied person in the world. Of course you are dear. No one has ever been bullied to spend so many millions on stupid thoughtless clothes like “Who cares?” and a pith helmet in colonial Africa like you have. You complain that people don’t appreciate you for what you do rather than what you wear. But what you wear IS just about all that you do. You still can’t speak English for shit after 15 years in the USA and you wouldn’t know how to “Be Best” if the be best fairy sprinkled you with be best fairy dust. You’re a brainless gold digger who richly deserves the narcissist abusive psychopath you sold your soul for so shut up and enjoy the money.

  • It was Black Thursday yesterday. No I’m not talking about the stock market, although that had another stinker, I mean in the Oval Office as Trump tried to prove black people like him by hosting Kanye West, oh and Jim Brown whoever he is. Kanye launched into a 10 minute rant which included him saying wearing a MAGA hat makes him feel like a superhero, time doesn’t really exist and calling himself a crazy motherfucker which was actually one of the few true bits. He’s revealed he’s got bi-polar disorder but I suspect that gets masked by the fact he’s as mad as a box of frogs, batshit crazy, cheese long since slipped off his cracker. But he’s one of the few people who can rant hard enough that even Trump can’t get a word in edgeways so that’s a plus.

    Even when Presidents are unpopular their first ladies usually find something worthwhile to promote and occupy their time with and in doing so command more affection. Melanoma is trying her hardest to buck that trend. She’s proving my point that anyone who desires to get close to Trump is essentially rotten too and even if they aren’t to start with they soon become so as his taint infects them. Her succession of clothing related gaffes are beginning to look like the least of her bad points. In a massive snub to Dr Blasey Ford she’s now decided that women shouldn’t come forward with accusations against men without hard evidence and that Kavanaugh was “highly qualified” to be on the Supreme Court. At least you can’t accuse her of plagiarising one of Michelle Obama’s speeches when she said that which makes a nice change. For a while she was given the benefit of the doubt about her “I don’t care” jacket that maybe there was some hidden agenda but I’m pretty much decided now she’s just a spoiled, self involved, stupid, low IQ little drama queen who’s gotten used to having shit loads of money and attention and doesn’t really spare a second thought to the implications of either her sartorial decisions or what she says. In other words she’s as one dimensional and vacuous as Trump himself. The perfect braindead barbie doll foil to the tangerine wankmaggot himself.

    Talking of whom, things are getting tougher and tougher for the trumpkin. The Saudis have murdered an American citizen journalist inside the Saudi embassy in Turkey and Trump is unlikely to do a damn thing about it. He’s beholden to the Saudis for arms deal money and Kushner is in bed with them too. He’ll look very weak if he ignores it but he’s been bragging about the arms deal for ages even though it was Obama who set it up.

    The stock market isn’t helping him either. It’s way overdue a massive correction after 10 years of gains and losing 1800 points in the last few days might be the tip of the iceberg. Trump is desperately trying to spin it that it’s all the Fed’s fault for raising interest rates but that’s because Trump’s huge tax cut has over stimulated the economy. Trump doesn’t do foresight though, or advice, or common sense, so it’s only been a matter of time before something he did came back to bite him really hard. Kavanaugh has lost him huge amounts of support amongst women and the House looks like a lost cause for the Repugs now. They’ll keep the Senate but still be rendered impotent in getting legislation passed. His tax returns will also soon be public knowledge. The house of cards will look even shakier after that.

  • Arkrid

    In the video clip of Trump making all sorts of stupid excuses about why we can’t get involved in the murder of the Washington Post reporter, did you happen to notice that Trump was much more orange than usual? No, seriously, it’s noticeably worse. The white circles around his eyes in sharp contrast to the ambient orange.

    Even my 79 year old mother was alarmed. She squinted her eyes, leaned in toward the TV and then with a quizzical expressions said, “What the hell is wrong with him?” I said, “MA! The guy either spends five hours a day in his private tanning bed or he eats ten pounds of carrots per day!

    She is predictably disgusted since the old New England WASPs despise vanity and showing off. Trump takes the cake on both measures.

  • Laurie,

    I’m fortunate on two fronts. Firstly I can’t watch video clips of Trump because they nauseate me although I’m forced to suffer through the occasional one on the late night shows. Secondly I’m colour blind so I’m spared the worst excesses of anything colour related. Howver even to my defective eyes in the still photos I saw of Trump meeting with Kanye it looked very much to me like Trump wasn’t far off the same colour as the MAGA hat mad Kanye was wearing.

    On a more serious note the right wing attack machine is now going after murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi trying to frame him as a terrorist because he once interviewed Osama Bin laden many years ago. So it’s clear Trump is rather going to try and assassinate Khashoggi’s character than confront the Saudi’s about actually assassinating him. I think that tells us all we need to know about the depths these people are capable of stooping to. Imagine his girlfriend and relatives having to go through not just his murder but the attempted destruction of his reputation because Trump is too cowardly to face up to his responsibilities.

    This is the real face of what it’s like to have a psychopathic despot in the Oval Office. Children getting ripped from their parents at the border and in many cases getting lost in the system, journalists being put at risk and in fact being murdered because Trump frames them as enemies of the people and purveyors of fake news, dictators being courted and Trump saying he and Kim Jong Un fell in love when allies are rebuffed and insulted and subject to trade tariffs.

  • Reckless, #64

    I’m sorry to have been absent and missed this excellent and thoughtful post. I will be back to it soon, but now is probably inappropriate, being after Liquid Philosophy, that lubricated meeting of minds not unlike the Bilderberg Group sessions, but with a built in reset button to make next week necessary.

  • Reckless,

    I may take a couple of goes to do this simply because work presses at the moment and I need lots of thinking time especially on the aboriginal issue.

    I have a new respect for the tenacity of culture. Without selection pressures cultural attributes may survive 500 years and more. The study of female status in a particular region of China where in the 13th century a few women having acquired a skill to weave particularly fine cloth became rich. Other women learned the skill and soon women qua women in the whole area achieved a very high status. After a couple of hundred years the skill leaked out to the rest of the country and the particular wealth creating advantage was gone. In the 1980s China had both an active one child policy and ultrasound scanners and pregnant women chose to abort females in preference…. except in this region where females remained culturally valued. Status quos can persist for no good reason whatsoever unless challenged.

    A supermarket chain has every likelihood of doing better with a female CEO (and support execs and management in dominant proportion. yet..

    … last year 60% of retail industry employees were women and yet 20% of executive teams and 10% of executive board members were women. This, despite the fact that 85% of all retail purchases were made by women.

    Retail is going downhill on the high street and in the malls. Is it in the wrong hands at the moment? Though I loathe the dull dirigisme of quotas, gender (and other) testing is surely a useful parameter to know and initiate action upon? Surely MPs need to reflect the full range of societies needs with insight and competence? Surely retailers are under threat from their customers (and mostly not their suppliers) and need to reflect more fully their clientele? The the problem is in the specification of jobs. Shareholders and stakeholders all, need to get more involved in the setting the requirements rather than letting things go by default. Cultures persist for no good reason.

    More later…

  • phil rimmer #74
    Oct 13, 2018 at 5:28 am

    Retail is going downhill on the high street and in the malls.
    Is it in the wrong hands at the moment? . . . . . . .
    … . . .
    Surely retailers are under threat from their customers (and mostly not their suppliers) and need to reflect more fully their clientele? The problem is in the specification of jobs.

    I think the number of delivery drivers carrying on-line orders, is going up and up, but much of that work is outsourced to specialist companies!
    Some orders are delivered direct from the suppliers! without going near malls!

  • Phil,

    Thanks for the reply.

    The more I learn about how aboriginals managed the land and survived in this country the more amazed I am at their application of knowledge and their communication of that deep knowledge through story, dance and an attitude of just engaging ‘walkabout’. This survived for they think now perhaps 70 000 years before Arrival of Arthur Phillip and the first fleet. Of course there was the unusual and understandable exposure of disease that wiped out some major proportion of the population, but massacres, effectively slavery, persisted. Even in living memory many Aboriginal children where separated from their parents (the stolen generation). All of these things have combined with the poverty, drug abuse, alcoholism, poor diet etc. of a greater proportion of aboriginal people (compared the rest of the population) to create a perfect storm. I have a good aboriginal mate who as a child lived in abusive family. He was at 4 thrown into a wall so hard by his father that he smashed through the fibro and broke 4 ribs (that’s just one example I won’t go into some of the worse abuses but it gives you a flavour). He was constantly beaten and abused and eventually the family was broken up and he was raised and latter adopted by a farming family who frankly saved his life. The rest of his family didn’t do so well. He managed to drag up self out of this and make a life for himself inspite of all of this. I cannot express how hard it has been for him to drag himself out of this and make a good life for himself. He actually not only has had to suffer from this background but his siblings consider him a coconut (brown of the outside but white on the inside) so he’d dragged himself out of poverty and the rest of his family considers him a race traitor. In terms of his culture everything (not quite I’ll get to this shorty) he has learned about his culture has been in his adulthood. So he is a proud aboriginal man, getting prouder as he attempts to learn about the cultures of Aboriginal peoples (he is unsure of his tribal background). So this is what many face and those that do often struggle to get out of it. The trouble is that untangling the mess that was his childhood was not an easy thing and fixing it even less so. To simplify this issue down to all of white society is racist is simply not going to help someone like him. An awareness of racism and how much harder it makes life for people already on the backfoot is appropriate but turning this into the whole goal is counterproductive.

    I have to go to work briefly (on leave) but I need to grab some stuff I’ll get back to this latter today.

    regards

  • Hi Phil I’m back,

    A supermarket chain has every likelihood of doing better with a female CEO (and support execs and management in dominant proportion. yet..

    Yes, same thing became apparent after the Global Financial Crisis. A couple of studies found that women stock traders were more cautious and made lower gains in the short term but better gains over the longer term than their testosterone driven contemporaries. So a 50-50 quota makes no sense the problem we have here in the financial markets is not that 5 or 10% of women are in this field when then should be 50% it is more like in these fields there should probably be 85% women (if you are concerned about the bottom dollar). However to me this is a problem too, this hasn’t to do with penises or vagina’s it’s to do with brain wiring so perhaps a better way of looking at it would be to say that feminine traits in some areas are more useful than in others and likewise male traits may be more valuable than others. So the trouble with the way we often look at the data is that although a bell curve could predict the likelihood that one gender may be over represented in a field the reasons that women or men choose to work in certain sorts of positions may not be linked to the outcome we want – more women CEO in financial companies for example and why women in general don’t choose these. Additionally I think if we looked for people in a field with the correct traits (let’s identify why the women in the GFC fared better) and categories those traits then choose people (male of female) and not only would you get more women statistically, you’d get better men for these jobs also (men who don’t fit the typical male traits when taken as an average).

    On better representation of women in politics I agree there is a problem. In Australia our two major parties Labour (notionally a left leaning party but the modern reality in many areas is they are only slightly right of centre) has made a positive effort in pre-selection and has close to 50% women as a result we have some excellent labour women who I really would prefer to the current Labour leader Bill Shorten. Liberal (Further right) are currently in government and have very limited women in the party. This happens at pre-selection and the party steadfastly refuses to do any sort of quota, unfortunately many of the male liberal ministers are pond dwelling pod scum, incompetent and considering some of the women in the party were far more competent it’s hard to argue they are running the meritocracy they claim. Additionally our PM was recently ousted and in the shenanigans leading up to the leadership spill and numbers for people trying to take over one extremely popular female leader Julie Bishop (I don’t like her politics at all but she is competent and smart) didn’t get a vote in her own home state. Other female minister had members bully them in an attempt to get them to vote for the leader they wanted. As a result about 3 female MPs have resigned leaving only a couple in the government. This lead to a wonderfully diverse joke on a political comedy show “Mad as Hell” in which an a wildlife documentary about frogs changing sexes when all females in the group are killed and an implications that this was the tactic the Liberal party was using in lieu of quotas. I can’t make it sound funny but it was. So my feelings are that there should be a meritocracy but that clearly many claiming there is are not, whether they are deliberately trying to hold women back or they have just set up a massive testosterone driven system that on average disadvantages many women is an interesting question. It’s complex but it seems we just say patriarchy.

    The obvious question I have is why do so few women actually consider voting for another woman? And of all people when we did have a female PM it was Germain Greer who comments on the size of her bum?! It was in the context of Gillard coping criticism about her appearance and Greer was effectively saying look you’ve got a big bum, get someone in your party to help you choose more flattering clothing and shift the focus back to running the country. However I would have thought Greer could have been counted on to cut through the sexist crap and point out that the size of her bum is in no way something that any intelligent civilisation capable of complex thought should be wasting air time on would have been a given. But again it’s complex.

    I think the start is to acknowledge the complexity and not try to oversimplify. Look at some of the great BBC documentaries like “The Ascent of Man”, that show was appealing in-spite of the fact that it assumed some knowledge, certainly when I first watched it as a boy 95% of the content I didn’t fully understand. They assumed you would look up stuff if you were interested, they addressed the complex problem or thought or theme but didn’t try to make it digestible to the lowest common denominator. None of this is simple the extremes of politics seems to be driving the idea that it is and the population is voting towards these extremes. The general public it seems to me has lost respect of knowledge and expertise and just want to vote for someone like them. Unfortunately the extreme left come across as narcissistic whiners who ultimately seem to to aiming for no less than thought crime. It has to stop or the left will loose through resentment and ultimately a complete ineffectiveness to achieve anything at all. If we cannot put a spotlight of our limited attention on what the real problems are then our civilisation will collapse.

    I note the alarming figures on Global Warming and what are we doing? We are racing towards 1.5 degrees which means what 70-80% of coral reefs will be killed a 1 in 100 year frequency of of the North Pole freezing over and the leading party in my country barely even acknowledges that AGW is real.

    Anyway that’s probably enough for now.

    Cheers

  • Hi Alan,

    I think the number of delivery drivers carrying on-line orders, is going up and up, but much of that work is outsourced to specialist companies!
    Some orders are delivered direct from the suppliers! without going near malls!

    Until of course auto-drive cars and trucks take those jobs away – although it would also need a robot to deliver the package. So those jobs may be safe for a bit longer.

    But I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more. I’m about to pop down the local shops and I detest it. The Muzak, the crowds, the carpark, Urgh! I have tried the online shopping with supermarkets and its not quite there yet. I find the yogurt and perishables are often due too soon and you have to be there obviously when they deliver but buying electronics and robotics gear I now do almost exclusively online. If you look at the average shopping mall and think about the open fridges and huge real estate bills in built up areas it’s got to be far cheaper to have a warehouse somewhere and an efficient delivery system. Amazons robots have nailed effectively collecting items etc.

  • Trump holds yet another rally with his deplorables while homeless Florida residents without food or water manage by themselves because FEMA hasn’t bothered to show up. Meanwhile his vile son Don Jr attacks murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi trying to further the lie that he’s a terrorist who no one needs to worry about.

  • Reckless, Alan

    From delivery driver to robotics engineer. Let it be that they are the lowest “skills” in our society!

  • Since I got into Cyprus politics out of frustration about twelve years ago, it has been impossible to get women to join our NGO as they see us as right wing through gossip in the community. Luckily the umbrella goup, we helped to form and run for a year, has had two women chairs in its four years of running. They have given the group a softer face but both have been more right wing than our NGO group ever could be (with me in it at least). The umbrella group has many women in it now and one of the NGO members is the Turkish Cypriot women’s society. Unfortunately, none are very good at politics or diplomacy except for one who is actually a politician but boy can they get the job done. We have had two very successful cultural festivals in the UK so far all down to the tenacity of our woman chair despite not having a clue how to talk to people. I can’t work with her but really appreciate the work she has put in and the results despite the difficulties she has faced.

  • Looks like Melanoma has been bought off somehow from contradicting Trump. But what do you give someone who has everything anyway? My guess, if she shuts her mouth while he’s still president she gets a divorce and a big wedge of cash afterwards. So now she’s suddenly saying she’s not concerned about the allegations of infidelity, she’s changed her story about the “I don’t care” jacket which at first was supposed to carry no message and now she’s agreeing with Trump’s bullshit that it was aimed at the liberal media. So it seems “be best” means be best at lying just like the rest of the Trump family. Feckless bint.

  • Arkrid #83

    So now she’s suddenly saying she’s not concerned about the allegations
    of infidelity, she’s changed her story about the “I don’t care” jacket
    which at first was supposed to carry no message and now she’s agreeing
    with Trump’s bullshit that it was aimed at the liberal media.

    Literally just a week ago she said, ““I wish people would focus on what I do, not what I wear.”

    Now she’s saying that what she wore was, in fact, a message to the ‘liberal media’.

    Consistency not her thang, it would appear.

  • Reckless,

    For me the historical gender discrimination problem is ameliorated by policy-making like the following.

    Make pay more consistent with societal value in private companies, by pressuring investing institutions (by legislating for suitable audit) to demand better for their members by denying in their portfolio companies ripoff exec. pay and lifting low end pay and training to improve process quality…..Like Germany.
    Make pay more consistent with societal value in public institutions recognising the value, status and investability of civil servants, teachers, nurses etc. Teaching pre-seven is hugely formative. (Biiiig subject for me. So another time.)
    Accept that producing the next generation successfully is to everyone’s benefit, If not for your own children, then to you retrospectively. Facilitate parenthood in the work place by means of public insurance covering costs, training and other transitional facilitations.
    Specify job requirements more intelligently. (This is so big I won’t even start,… well, a taste. I think a lot of the problem in private industry, f’rinstance, lies in the nature of raising capital and the focus on it. Long term financing per the German Mittelstand companies and banks, substantially frees companies to focus ever closer on the socially rooted nature of all enterprise.)
    Use quotas only as a temporary analytic tool to pressure test routes into professions where there is a reasonable expectation that a different balance of genders will be socially advantageous, eg by way of better representation. Fix apparent roadblocks eg presumptive education and wait to see the results.
    Educate like crazy that whilst there are broad male and female attributes these have no consequences for individuals and our dealings with them. Whilst boy nerds may outnumber girl nerds and boys may become mathematicians more often and girls biologists more often, there will always be a Maryam Mirzakhani (a maths “Nobel” level winner), girl nerds may yet be more important, more likely combining other cognitive attributes to deliver otherwise less likely capacities. This is why education must cultivate all available talents without let. Cognitive diversity is intellectual strength. (There is, I like to think an equivalent argument for we (me ‘n’ others) girlier boys.)

    After doing stuff like this, if there is still notable gender differences in some jobs, don’t sweat it unless there is dissatisfaction associated with it. Social processes are complex and many substantive attributes other than say the neurological may play into them. Fixing long-term dumb cultural habits is our job for now. This will lay a lot of other interesting detail and choices open to us.

    Aboriginals next. But I have some PCBs to lay out now.

  • Marco #84
    Oct 14, 2018 at 7:13 am

    Literally just a week ago she said,
    “I wish people would focus on what I do, not what I wear.”

    Now she’s saying that what she wore was, in fact, a message to the ‘liberal media’.

    Actually, “I don’t care!“, pretty well sums up the attitudes of Trumpies to the responsibilities of office, ethical standards, and the welfare of other citizens!

    However, on any occasions when Trumpies accidentally make HONEST statements, these obviously need “clarifying” with “alternative meanings”! 🙂

  • Marco #84
    Oct 14, 2018 at 7:13 am

    Arkrid #83

    So now she’s suddenly saying she’s not concerned about the allegations
    of infidelity, she’s changed her story about the “I don’t care” jacket
    which at first was supposed to carry no message and now she’s agreeing
    with Trump’s bullshit that it was aimed at the liberal media.

    Literally just a week ago she said, ““I wish people would focus on what I do, not what I wear.”

    Now she’s saying that what she wore was, in fact, a message to the ‘liberal media’.

    Consistency not her thang, it would appear.

    I very much doubt she’s smart enough to recognise irony. Especially when it’s her own.

  • I doubt Malignednia had any illusions about Donald’s commitment to matrimonial fidelity , I bet her ire is more raised by the ‘class’ of mistress. Having it public knowledge that your husband is bedding porn stars has a unique sting.

  • thad

    Add to that the concern that he could father any number of children with those women which would divert his resources from hers to theirs. Not ok.

  • LB
    I doubt she is so feckless as to not have considered that during any ‘negotiating’ prenuptial wise. I don’t think she is stupid.

  • thad #91
    Oct 14, 2018 at 12:54 pm
    I don’t think she is stupid.

    Really? This is the woman who gave a speech in 2016 which was lifted almost verbatim from one of Michelle Obama’s. How dumb do you have to be to plagiarize the words of the most famous and most watched woman on the planet? Having been caught out once you might think some sort of learning would have taken place but earlier this year she released a booklet on kid’s safety online as part of her Be Best campaign which was copied in its entirety from a booklet written in 2014 by President Obama’s Federal Trade Commission.

    These are not the actions of a smart person. I also think that when you watch her give a speech it’s obvious there’s not a lot going on under the hood. If she were any more wooden she’d get dry rot.

  • Hi Phil,

    Thanks for all of that it is useful.

    I think we are largely on the same page a couple of clarifications though…

    Make pay more consistent with societal value in private companies, by pressuring investing institutions (by legislating for suitable audit) to demand better for their members by denying in their portfolio companies ripoff exec. pay and lifting low end pay and training to improve process quality…..Like Germany.

    I’m unfamiliar with how they do things – obviously they have some audit system in play. But this seems to align with my thinking that focus should be on valuing contributions more fairly.

    Make pay more consistent with societal value

    Agreed although in Australia teachers are doing well financially once you’ve put in a certain number of years you can apply for senior teacher pay and a number of others along the way that will make us quite well remunerated. However I have for some time been pointing out you can pay me an addition $10 000/year but I’d rather you cut a few kids from the class (lower class sizes) and cut down the amount of compliance documentation and planning I do and no one ever looks at again. Another teacher and I wanted to test just how much these documents were reviewed so we started to put in deliberately ridiculous risk assessments and planning docs full of utter nonsense (some of it terribly funny none the less) no one has ever picked up on these. Anyway I could go down the rabbit hole on that – your point here is well made though. A lot of jobs that are more often chosen by females (early childhood teaching is one) are often seriously undervalued.

    Use quotas only as a temporary analytic tool to pressure test routes into professions where there is a reasonable expectation that a different balance of genders will be socially advantageous, eg by way of better representation. Fix apparent roadblocks eg presumptive education and wait to see the results.

    I think I’m with you on this too. I have some sympathy for meritocracy. When you play it out do you want the best qualified brain surgeon or pilot etc. However this can easily be solved by simply having a requirement to have people who meet a minimum standard of competence then you could use quotas for a time to change the culture if that is a barrier. Again if traits that might be over represented in one gender are useful then you would expect a certain amount of that gender in the workforce and it’s reasonable to ask why not if it doesn’t align. The only thing I would object to here is thinking this number should be by default 50%. I think this is unrealistic. I’m sure for example if the government refused to hire female early childhood teachers until the numbers were 50% there’d be hell to pay. Trouble with meritocracy argument is as valid as this argument may sound it’s clear from say our parliament in the Liberal party in this country that this is not working, at least on this side of politics.

    regards

  • Thad #91

    Hi Thad

    I think you are confusing intelligence with opportunism. As an opportunist, I’d say Ms Trump #3 is very adept, and that trait melds neatly into the Trump family.

  • Reckless Monkey #94
    Oct 15, 2018 at 2:32 am

    However I have for some time been pointing out you can pay me an addition $10 000/year but I’d rather you cut a few kids from the class (lower class sizes) and cut down the amount of compliance documentation and planning I do and no one ever looks at again.

    In England, a few years ago, the Tory government enacted legislation so that schools could give above-scale pay rises to “outstanding teachers” as part of their “promotion of education facade” – and then allocated no funds to the budgets for doing so!
    One or two large secondary schools paid silly rates to heads (executive bonus culture?), but most schools were still struggling to afford books and equipment while neglecting the repairs they did not have the money to pay for!
    With the present cuts, class sizes are going up and more children are being taught by low paid teaching assistants rather than qualified teachers – But guess what? Modifying earlier Labour legislation, initially, selected schools applying to be “academies” and faith-schools, which opted-out of local education authority accountability, got extra funding direct from the central government and “sponsors”, and they did not have to follow the National Curriculum, which has bogged down teachers education in bureaucracy as well as ensuring coverage of broad subject areas!

    The requirements of 10% sponsorship have now been removed, so this is essentially privatisation of education at the state’s expense extended to cover all schools, – with local accountability removed!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_(English_school)

    In terms of their governance, academies are established as companies limited by guarantee with a Board of Directors that acts as a Trust. The Academy Trust has exempt charity status, regulated by the Department for Education.[3] The trustees are legally, but not financially, accountable for the operation of the academy. The Trust serves as the legal entity of which the school is part. The trustees oversee the running of the school, sometimes delegating responsibility to a local governing body which they appoint. The day-to-day management of the school is, as in most schools, conducted by the Head Teacher and their senior management team.

    In Sponsored Academies, the sponsor is able to influence the process of establishing the school, including its curriculum, ethos, specialism and building (if a new one is built). The sponsor also has the power to appoint governors to the academy’s governing body.

    When I was chair of a board of governors, most governors were appointed by the elected councillors of the Local Education Authority, or elected by parents.

    As of 2018 many academies are struggling financially and running deficits.

    Converter academies

    The Academies Act 2010 sought to increase the number of academies. It enabled all maintained schools to convert to academy status, known as Converter Academies and enabled new academies to be created via the Free School Programme.

    At the same time the new Conservative-led Coalition Government announced that they would redirect funding for school Specialisms [i.e. Technology College Status] into mainstream funding.[39] This meant that Secondary Schools would no longer directly receive ring-fenced funds of c£130K from Government for each of their specialisms.[40] One way to regain some direct control over their finances was to become a Converter Academy and receive all of their funding direct from Government, with the possibility of buying in services at a cheaper rate.[41] This, along with some schools wanting more independence from local authority control, meant that many state secondary schools in England converted to academy status in subsequent years.

    Of course there are consequences from removing local LEA control!

    . In March 2016 the Perry Beeches The Academy Trust, a multi-academy trust, was found to have deleted financial records for £2.5 million of free school meal funding, and that the chief executive was being paid by sub-contractors as well as by the trust. Its schools are likely to be taken over by a new trust.[45] In August 2016, the former principal and founder of Kings Science Academy, the former finance director, and a former teacher who was the founder’s sister were found guilty of defrauding public funds of £150,000.[46]

    In October 2017, the Wakefield City Academies Trust collapsed, and The Observer reported that “Wakefield City Academies Trust now stands accused of ‘asset stripping” after it transferred millions of pounds of the schools’ savings to its own accounts before collapsing. On 8 September it released a statement announcing it would divest itself of its 21 schools as it could not undertake the ´rapid improvement our academies need'”.

  • Vicki #95
    Oct 15, 2018 at 4:46 am

    Thad #91

    I think you are confusing intelligence with opportunism. As an opportunist, I’d say Ms Trump #3 is very adept, and that trait melds neatly into the Trump family.

    Yup, she was bought and paid for a long time ago. Obviously some more has been put in the pot recently for her to start supporting Trump again after dissing him quite blatantly in the last few months. She’s a whore basically.

  • Not a week goes by it seems without a white woman in America calling the police on someone for being black. Last week it was a guy babysitting his friends two white kids. This week a woman in St Louis blocks a black man from entering his apartment building, demands he proves he lives there and then calls the police on him after he gets into his flat, despite him having the key which she plainly saw. It seems to me that the racism in America grows more and more rampant and I wonder how much Trump has to do with it.

  • Arkrid

    It seems to me that the racism in America grows more and more rampant and I wonder how much Trump has to do with it.

    It’s difficult to get a clear view of this here. I see that the young people are less racist than their parents and grandparents are but do we have some regional differences too? I’m not saying that the south is more racist than the north is (not sure) but the south has been more overt about it than the covert racism that exists in the north.

    One statement I’ll stand by is that instead of shaming racists, Trump & co. has opened the floodgates for racism and sexism and the haters are pouring out into the open.

  • *

    It’s difficult to get a clear view of this here.

    I think racism is a social manifestation of a deeper economic issue. People don’t lash out or get defensive if they feel secure. Racism (and xenophobia) has come to the forefront at about the same pace as the widening income gap.

    *

  • That doesn’t square with decades long wage stagnation.
    More likely the left’s identity politics baring fruit. White people are inherently evil, the premise is sacrosanct.

  • People stolen from and kept poor will believe the thieves when told all shades of brown people are the ones doing the stealing.

    The telling of the lies (and/or their reinforcement) is key to timing.

  • I’m thinking about the history of slavery in the US when white male slave owners had sexual access to their female slaves but male slaves and even free African American males were severely punished for any sexual activity with white women, even for smiling in their direction. White males who had no slaves strongly supported and enforced the guarding of their white women and oppression and murder of black males (lynching and maiming).

    Now we are left with the remnants of this system here, segregation is still firmly entrenched. Racists can’t get away with separate but equal drinking fountains, eateries or other overt discrimination thanks to legal reforms but the segregation and discrimination has morphed to a more covert kind.

    Here in Boston we’ve had pain and suffering due to the significant segregation in housing. The neighborhoods all around Boston and into the suburbs are strongly segregated by race. This has a dire effect on school systems and makes it impossible for the kids to break out of the disadvantaged towns and neighborhoods. In the background of my childhood was the Boston bussing drama which was an attempt to desegregate the black and white neighborhoods. After all this time I just can’t say that we’ve had any success with any of this.

    http://sparechangenews.net/2016/03/boston-busing-timeline/

    Keeping minorities blocked into certain neighborhoods and in a cycle of poverty and deprivation serves to keep undesirable men away from wives and daughters who may find them to be interesting. The roots of racism are deeper than economics and politics of the current time.

  • So then a better or good mechanism to combat the thievery would be to properly identify the thief. No one cultural/ethno/race group enjoys legal power to steal from any other.
    The leftist /redistributionist policies and policy makers are to blame as one cause , not the recipients of the distribution.
    The unholy alliance of government power and corporations via national trade policies are a special case in that the recipients are to blame as they are also the perpetrators, no ?
    Hard to not see the appeal of someone claiming to be against both , yeah ?

  • Did anyone see the article a few weeks ago under the headline: “Steve Bannon drafting curriculum for right-wing Catholic institute in Italy” by Mark Hosenball. The article can be found at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-politics-bannon-catholics/steve-bannon-drafting-curriculum-for-right-wing-catholic-institute-in-italy-idUSKCN1LU176

    The article describes Bannon as a “Former Trump White House adviser,” and “rabble-rousing conservative media entrepreneur and activist popular with Trump’s base.” Bannon dreams of leading “a new political movement that supports his ‘America First’ agenda of tougher trade deals and immigration laws.” Among the people with whom Bannon is working are Raymond Cardinal Burke – a leading Vatican conservative who is president of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute’s board of advisors – and Benjamin Harnwell, director of DHI which is based in a mountaintop monastery (which, according to the article, is large enough to accommodate 250-300 students at a time) not far from Rome. Harnwell is quoted as saying: “If you don’t have a culture of religious principle, we no longer have a credible basis for life.” The article states: “Harnwell said the Institute was setting up two training programs: a leadership course that Bannon is helping to design, which Harnwell described an “academy for the Judeo-Christian West”, and the Cardinal Martino Academy, named after a former papal ambassador to the United Nations, which will promote pro-life Catholic social teachings.”

    One of the reasons this article caught my eye, was that when Professor Dawkins and Professor Krause debate the question of whether religion is or is not good for society, they are often asked about the “godless” fascists who murdered so many people during the 20th century. The professors rightly point out that before Il Duce and der Führer (“The Leader” in Italian and German, respectively) took their countries down the path of crimes against humanity, they both made their peace with Sancta Mater Ecclesia. Christopher Hitchens was also a master of trouncing that argument.

    Although Bannon and Harnwell are making common cause with the most reactionary elements of the church (which is itself a reactionary organization), I think there is cause for alarm that the voices of neo-fascism are once again finding friends in organized religion. I suppose it can be argued that the two movements (fascism and theism) are like two peas in a pod, or two sides of a coin.

    Likewise, we must be very vigilant that the voices of reaction are becoming so loud and are attracting so many followers all around the world. Only this last weekend, I saw a story in BuzzFeed that a black shirted gang called the Proud Boys were beating up protesters following a meeting at which Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes “reenacted the samurai sword assassination of Japanese socialist leader Inejiro Asanuma, calling it an ‘inspiring moment.’” See, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/juliareinstein/proud-boys-gavin-mcinnes-protest. See also, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/nidhiprakash/ew-york-gop-defends-proud-boys (Manhattan Republicans Are Defending Inviting The Proud Boys To Their Event).

    I just finished reading, and highly recommend, Fascism: A Warning by Madeleine Albright, the former Secretary of State of the United States and now a professor of International Relations at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Professor Albright discusses in detail the history of fascism, and chronicles the many countries, including the United States, that are dangerously close to, if they haven’t already, installing fascist regimes. The thought that the likes of Bannon and Harnwell are seriously influencing the training to hundreds of future priests, bishops and possibly cardinals and popes, I think is a cause for alarm, as is the sight of marching black shirts on the streets of New York is a very scary sight.

  • thad #104
    Oct 16, 2018 at 10:16 am

    So then a better or good mechanism to combat the thievery would be to properly identify the thief.

    I think the sub-prime mortgage salesmen, their “investment instrument packagers”, and rogue mainstream bankers, were identified fairly clearly as the cause of the banking crisis – along with the reckless political de-regulators who undid the protection measures which were put in place after the 1929 crash!!

  • Even a cursory overview shows the bite of such protection measures were largely defanged by the the early 1990’s and eliminated in 97. More unholiness abound! Fannie and Freddie and their special status greatly contributed to the housing bubble, along with a positive push by engendering identity politics to loosen, even further, loan strictures to bring minority home ownership(more mortgage” customers”) into the fold.
    The Swamp ! Drain it 🙂

  • I have written before about how I have worked on council estates in UK for over forty years and the festering racism I have seen. One common factor in most of these homes is a copy of the Sun newspaper and ignorance. The worst are those born and bread on these estates with no intention of moving out or moving up. I talking about the white population btw. I have seen the black population as the ones persecuted and when the Indian population grew the blacks accepted and the Indian the new enemy. Now it seems to be Turkish and Eastern Europeans that are the new threat and who Borris Johnson used in his lying campaign. Near the end of work for me, even the black people were using the same language about the “new threat” that I had heard from the whites and also had the Sun as the common factor. My wife and I managed to get our sons into private schooling in an area of affluent Essex Jews. We made friends with a couple of these people were one displayed a photo of his mother with a tattoo from Auschwitz on her arm. At a school meeting when another Nigerian couple we had befriended turned up, our Jewish friend was offended and asked who the shvarsah was. I took great pride telling him that he was a prominent surgeon who was the first to be accepted by the orthodox Jewish community in Stamford hill that could treat their women folk.

    I have found that low level racism exists regardless of class just waiting to raise its ugly head and be used by the likes of Farrage to bolster other agendas. The only thing that seems to keep it at bay is the voice of decent intelligent people who keep morality at in the foreground, showing what is right. The minute they go silent and start playing games with freedom of speech and allow the Farrages of this world to voice an opinion in order to show how stupid he is in reality, the trouble begins and then it is an uphill struggle to get back to a moral state that we think will stay high because we have evolved.

  • Olgun #108
    Oct 16, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    One common factor in most of these homes is a copy of the Sun newspaper and ignorance. The worst are those born and bread on these estates with no intention of moving out or moving up.

    A lot of ignorance comes from the sensationalist, anti-intellectual, “tabloid trash-writers-trio” of: The Sun, The Express, and the Daily Mail!
    When they don’t have enough propagandist staff trash writers or are short of scurrilous gossip, they invite in a few extremist political ones or celebrity air-heads, to contribute articles!

    A few years back after some court cases and defamation pay-outs, there was a common saying:

    There are lies, damn lies, and “Sun Exclusives”! 🙂

  • Sorry guys but I feel that the intelligent with high moralvalueshave taken their eyes off the ball and are just talking amongst themselves and not dealing with the “trivial” stuff and have allowed the meek to take over the world.

  • thad #107
    Oct 16, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    The Swamp ! Drain it

    Unfortunately, those who wanted the US swamp drained, were not told before voting, that Trump’s plan was to drain some of the more stinking swamp creatures and their habitat, INTO the White house!

  • Olgun #110
    Oct 16, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    Sorry guys but I feel that the intelligent with high moral values have taken their eyes off the ball and are just talking amongst themselves and not dealing with the “trivial” stuff and have allowed the meek to take over the world.

    It is a sad fact of life, that in a democracy, two tabloid manipulated knuckle-heads, out-vote one professor, economist, or scientist, who has spent much time studying the subject!

    The sponsored media propagandists and bought politicians are very aware of this!

  • Alan #112

    I don’t believe these knuckleheads would stand a chance against the collective intelligence and high moral values Alan. I do think I see an apathy for the small stuff and an expectation that intelligence and high moral values will live on regardless, without the person and needs no input at low level. A disbelief that stupidity can thrive. That alternative facts can be as real in these minds as real facts are in intelligent minds. I feel let down. From the eighties to the nineties, in the UK at least, I felt I had become a real boy and finally a Brit, accepted as such and protected from bigots. 2018 and it all seems to have been a dream.

  • Hi Alan,

    In England, a few years ago, the Tory government enacted legislation so that schools could give above-scale pay rises to “outstanding teachers” as part of their “promotion of education facade” – and then allocated no funds to the budgets for doing so!

    Yes we have something similar happening here, they have just released a education package you can apply for however there is a heap of documentation you need to apply for and it costs you quite a bit to apply, there are several stages of compliance documentation and then you might get it, if you fail you can apply again in a year and pay out again presumably. However I’ve been teaching for some decades and am very happy with the amount of money I get, in fact when I first started teaching I was very happy with the money I was being paid (I wouldn’t for example teach under the hideously underpaid US system). The problem I’ve always had was the levels of stress and the amount of rubbish (unrelated to my core job) that restricts my ability to do my job more effectively. I don’t need more money, I need less stress, more time to work out what I’m doing with my classes and some more work life balance.

    I’m currently on long service leave. I have been happily spending a lot of that time making programmable bungee launch gliders using Raspberry Pi Computers. My students will launch and fly these inside our hall around a course. I’m hoping to get enough height from the bungee system I’ve devised to get a couple of turns and have them land along the far end of the hall. Initial experiments make it seem likely this will work and I have the Raspberry Pi controlling the servos for the rudder and elevator and am experimenting with a application which uses the Blue tooth to network to the kids phones so they can initiate the pre-coded python which they will use to fly around helium balloons tethered to the floor, I’m thinking of adding another servo and using that to drop a bomb on a target along the way too. We can hook up cameras into the nose and ultrasonic sensors and much more but just flying a simple course will be enough. I’m going to get the kids to make their own bungee launchers with elastic bands they’ll have to tests how much each will pull before working out how many to add to get sufficient altitude, so lots of graphing, hand throwing, timing, working out speed on that basis etc. So lot’s to plan for. Why am I doing it now instead of over the last year (I planned this idea when I wrote to the work program for my STEM class in 2017!? Because I am kept spending almost every moment (including much of my free time at home) doing BS compliance documentation. I teach in a couple of subjects where my Head of Department knows nothing about what I do (because we are a small school and have HODs sharing subject areas) so all the planning, assessment writing is done by me and this is literally the first chance I’ve really had.

    This means there are about 3 layers of stuff that essentially say the same thing, My year level plan is more than detailed enough for me to work with, but I also have to write a unit plan (more detail down to synopsis of each lesson) which is pointless because you cannot predict the level of your class before you get it so within a week its out the window as you adapt and adjust. Then I have to do a week by week plan (redundant as my unit plan is down to the lesson) however knowing that the unit plan may not reflect the class on a week by week level. Of course this is of no use to me as I know what I’m doing anyway. But the hours I spend doing stuff that literally no-one ever looks at (except to confirm I’ve done it) is a staggering waste of the money they pay me and the opportunity cost is breath taking. The justification is that someone can then come along and teach my class should I fall seriously ill. A couple of things on that. I teach specialist subjects with the specialist skills I have developed over the years for example in my ICT I have taught myself Python (I’m the only teacher at the school who knows Python, the other main ICT teacher is actually better at programming than I but he learnt Pascal and C some teachers know HTML or Java and yes they could stumble their way through with some work but if they were to take over my class next year in all likelihood they’d just teach Java or whatever they knew). I use Python for a number of reasons but mainly because I teach 3D modelling and animation using Blender, Blender has a python interface and a logic brick game engine which can use python snippets within. So because I’ve spend years developing my skills with Blender it makes sense to ease them into python through that and game making then latter work into robotics and other physical computing latter on. I use Blender because it’s open source (free) and I teach at a low socioeconomic area so kids can and do download at home and become expert. Now Blender has taken me years to learn well, I started with small units where we would do small tasks out of a bigger unit but no-one could just come in and follow a work program I’ve written off the bat with this (I couldn’t of 10 years ago) I’m relying on my knowledge of the software acquired over a decade which allows me to push kids further than I could if I hadn’t spend that time. I also do 3D printing audio and film editing (again I used to teach film and television and art) so I fall back on knowledge I specifically have. I’m not writing tickets on myself I’ve just been teaching for decades and have learned stuff that I can incorporate into a class. Some/much of this is very specific, so my writing detailed stuff about exactly what I am teaching every lesson is loosing the advantage and efficiency of having someone who has spend decades learning their job. If I were to walk into another ICT teachers class who had written work programs around other ICT skills and there are many I would be lost or certainly not able to do work to the level they had. It drives me nuts that they train me, and then I train myself but I’m expected to write up masses of nonsense planning documentation that is of no use to anyone (least of all me). Their money could be much better spend and the idea of writing out more crap for a few thousand dollars extra a year is not appealing in the least.

    Anyway enough of me ranting.

  • On a positive note guys for those down under

    It looks like the Australian government is at last closing the loop holes on religious schools being able to discriminate against gay students. It’s really nicely ironic. During the Gay Marriage debate churches were worried they would be forced to marry gays and demanded religious protections and exemptions under the law to codify that they could not be forced to marry gays in their churches. Now no secularists like me wanted this, we were happy to let bigotry sit within the bounds of churches. However I did have a problem with tax exempt institutions being able to discriminate with tax payers money. Anyway they got their review and low and behold the review has in fact discovered that not only were there sufficient religious protections in place but there were in fact much unwarranted discrimination for example gay students could be expelled from religious schools. Now the Federal government (conservative) with a our new PM (conservative evangelical christian) wanted to hold back the report until after the election when a reporter mistook the leaked findings for a plan to recommend that religious schools be able to discriminate and so the PM was asked if this was their plan and the PM had to admit that actually no that’s inaccurate the current law is religious schools can discriminate and exclude a gay student on the basis of his/her sexuality. All of a sudden there was a massive flap about it and the government (doing poorly in the polls already) was forced to declare they would remove this religious exemption. Terrific! I even heard on the news several times the argument that if religious schools and hospitals wanted impose their bigotry onto their students/patients etc. they should probably do so without secular tax payer support. I’ve been asking this for decades!! At last some traction and some progress.

  • @Michael #13

    … it was Fred Hoyle coined the term “Big Bang”. He was not a fan, it was meant to be derogatory.

    Apart from that, very interesting post. Thanks.

  • OHooligan #116
    Oct 16, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    @Michael #13

    … it was Fred Hoyle coined the term “Big Bang”. He was not a fan, it was meant to be derogatory.

    Hoyle denied it was meant to be derogatory even though he believed in the steady state model of the universe. He said it was just a graphic term he came up with to highlight the difference in the two models. I’ve watched some of Hoyle’s interviews where he tried to defend his steady state hypothesis and it’s clear he had become completely obsessed that the big bang model must not be allowed to be true. Not because of evidence because all of that was on the Big Bang side but just because Hoyle couldn’t bear to be wrong and he was too stubborn and pigheaded to back down. He went kind of crazy, like a religious fervour and kept inventing all sorts of bollocks to try and square his steady state position with the indisputable fact that the other galaxies are rushing away from us. It’s the same kind of mindset as theists trying to defend the Noah’s Ark story despite the boat being too small and not enough people there to take care of the animals.

    He put his entire reputation on this ridiculous obsession he’d got locked into and ending up becoming a complete twat. Hoyle decided that if the galaxies are rushing apart but he was still determined to be right about the universe being in a steady state then new stars must keep being formed in between the galaxies in the space created as they separate. So the average density stays the same despite the expansion. It was a stupid idea, not least because no such stars can be seen, but Hoyle decided it made as much sense for stars to be continually created from nothing as for the universe to have been created from nothing originally. He fell out with most of his erstwhile colleagues about this as he got more and more entrenched into his ridiculous position. It was the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, the radiation remnants of the primal explosion, that confirmed the Big Bang model for everyone else but Hoyle still refused to believe it. He went to his grave in 2001 still the same stubborn old twat he had been for the previous 50 years.

  • The tangerine wankmaggot calls Stormy Danials horseface, says “who cares?” about Elizabeth Warren’s native american ancestry after caring a lot about it in the recent past and later claims her DNA test was fake. He’s also clearly going to support the Saudis trying to pin the blame for murdering Khashoggi on a rogue general. I think it’s ironic that the world’s ugliest man always attacks other people’s looks. I wonder if he took a DNA test whether it would show any human DNA. My money is on 75% orang utan and 25% chimp.

  • Reckless Monkey #114
    Oct 16, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    I’m currently on long service leave.

    I took early retirement from full time school teaching about 20 years ago, as the government policy was to strangle budgets so schools could not pay for experienced and promoted staff. Bottom of the scale newly qualified students were cheaper and pension funding was a different department!

    Now in my 70s, I finally retired from part-time work in education last year.

    I have been happily spending a lot of that time making programmable bungee launch gliders using Raspberry Pi Computers.
    My students will launch and fly these inside our hall around a course.

    Interesting!!! My younger son (the one who is Head of Development and Technical Director of an IT company), is doing some voluntary work, helping the teachers with IT at his daughter’s primary school, and teaching children basic coding.

    I taught him how to author multi-program kiddies stories (text graphics sound) when he was 5, but by 7 he was showing his teachers how to fix problems with school computers for which they lacked training due to the poor quality of the underfunded LEA training service.
    He has now left me waaayyy behind!

  • Hi Alan,

    I taught my son to install Linux on an old laptop so he could have a computer at about 5 or 6 too, he then had me download about 20 versions of Linux we’ve had Linux Mint, Puppy, Ubunutu, Kabuntu, Red Hat, Zorin, Suse and many many more, this got him into video editing so he could make videos about it as he was watching You tube and so on. He is now highly competent for an 11 year old and mixes his own compositions in music, makes various videos in after affects and much more. He will jump into terminal commands (or whatever it is in Windows) and is constantly fiddling with settings and configurations all self taught now from the You Tube. Unfortunately he’s reached an age where he wants to rebel against his Dad and has gone Windows all the way (the Heretic) but he’s learning to put together computers now and I’m sure before too long he’ll be way ahead of me. That’s my goal anyway.

    I’ve had so many of my students slip straight past me over the years, I have an arts background and so I do a bit of 3D modelling and animation work and my students pick it up one girl I introduced to Blender (3D modelling animation, CGI effects, Game Making open source) in year 8 by year 10 she was well beyond me and now she is at university doing the sort of stuff I’m sure will end up with her on the long list of credits of one the of next CGI block busters. Other students of mine are now doing robotics and engineering, film and TV stuff all of them flinging past me substantially. I consider it my job to learn just enough to light the fire under their bum and step back. Of course I’m also doing it because its fun as hell playing with this stuff. I just wish I had more time to play and learn and less time wasted on useless compliance documents.

  • Arkrid #122

    Sorry about that. You’ll find it at #117.

    It had wrongly landed in the Trash filter for some reason, but we’ve retrieved it for you now.

    The mods

  • Last year Propublica broke the story about Ivanka and Don Jr narrowly avoiding criminal charges for lying to prospective purchasers about the Trump Soho apartment project. They claimed up to 60% of the units had been sold when it was only 15% to entice buyers into believing the units were in high demand and would command good resale values. Prosecutors found emails where they discussed how to deceive investors and how to keep it all secret. Then their lawyer made a $25,000 contribution to the Manhattan DA’s election fund and he decided to drop the charges. He did pay that donation back but the lawyer promptly made an even larger contribution once the decision had gone in his client’s favour. In addition the Trumps refunded unhappy investors but only on condition they sign an NDA where they wouldn’t talk to the DA’s office unless subpeonaed.

    Now Propublica have a new story where it seems this Trump behaviour was the basis for an entire business model. Ivanka and Don Jr as well as Trump himself have lied about investment project’s viability all over the world. Not that any of this comes as a surprise. We know very well the entire family is rotten to the core.

    Trump meanwhile claims he denies climate change because he has “an instinct for science” which lets him see through the political biases of the climate scientists. No Donny, you have an instinct for bullshit and spray tan. You have no science knowledge at all which nicely complements your similar weaknesses in fiscal policy, international relations, trade, history, the military and law.

  • Arkrid #124

    Here’s further clarification:

    So Trump’s claim to scientific competence rests on his belief that science is a matter of instinct, and this instinct is passed on genetically, as evidenced by his uncle Dr. John Trump. Those lucky few possessed of this gift can look at two competing hypotheses and know which one is correct, without needing to study the evidence, or even having a clear understanding of what “evidence” means. Trump has luckily inherited this instinct, along with some $400 million in untaxed gifts from his father.

  • Erol #125
    Oct 17, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    So Trump’s claim to scientific competence rests on his belief that science is a matter of instinct, and this instinct is passed on genetically,

    Mmmmm! Isn’t genetics a biological science based on evidence?

    Has he mentioned which peer-reviewed Scientific Journal has published his claims? – or was it reviewed by a medium at a seance? 🙂

    as evidenced by his uncle Dr. John Trump.

    . . . . And scientific evidence is based on objective observation and induction or deduction, following from this – which real scientists like his uncle, actually spent time studying!

    The delusional Liar in Chief seems to be well into self deception, as well as into deceptions in general!
    No wonder those evangelicals with their “instinctive knee-jerk preconceptions” love his lies and his sincere belief in his own delusions!!

    Those lucky few possessed of this gift
    can look at two competing hypotheses and know which one is correct,
    without needing to study the evidence,
    or even having a clear understanding of what “evidence” means.

    . . . . . and as we know from his various decisions and proclamations, Donald Trump has a consistent record maintaining his usual standard of accuracy, when tasked with choosing “correct hypotheses”!
    (Even random decisions could achieve 50% correct some of the time!) 🙂

    Erol #125

    Be careful I don’t convert you to be a raving evangelical under this Trump hypothesis of inherited abilities!!! 🙂 (I had a great uncle who was a mission preacher in the USA!)

  • Alan #126

    I had a great uncle who was a mission preacher in the USA!

    Really!!? Please enlighten us!

  • Erol #127
    Oct 18, 2018 at 4:11 am

    Please enlighten us!

    Just the usual religious black sheep of my mother’s side of the family!

    Theological college, English church minister, sexual involvement with a single parishioner, pregnancy, + cut and run to the USA where he became a preacher in a mission church.
    Lived to the age of 90, married 6 wives in succession (5 rich old ones when his first wife died in her 60s)- as he outlived them and continued preaching part time.

    He also liked jet-setting to Europe to visit family members!

  • Alan #128

    Wow! You surprise me. Did he have any children who followed his preacher footsteps in the U.S?

  • Erol #129
    Oct 18, 2018 at 5:13 am

    Wow! You surprise me. Did he have any children who followed his preacher footsteps in the U.S?

    No children that I know of in the US!
    I don’t know what happened to his illegitimate child in England more than a hundred years ago.

  • Here’s news of the very rare sighting of a native American bird in the UK! What’s even more puzzling is what then prompts a great many native Brits (known as birdwatchers) to travel hundreds of miles in order to get close to the bird and take photos of it. Is this a peculiarly British hobby, or does it also exist in the US and Australia (or indeed anywhere)? I can’t understand it myself.

  • I certainly hope given the more grown up attitudes that prevail in most? smarter than Merica societies, that those traipsing hither and yon do so in a carbon neutral fashion, photos can easily be shared and viewed.

  • What happened to journalist Jamal Khashoggi sounds truly horrific. Tortured and dismembered while still alive. All we can be certain of is Trump will not care in the slightest, especially since Saudi Arabia just paid the USA $100 million for him to look the other way. This is the evil I said was out there happening right in front of us. With his constant attacks on journalists Trump is enabling this. He might not be actually doing it himself but he’s party to this atrocity by virtue of his own inherent evil. His presidency will be viewed by history as one of the most shameful periods America has gone through.

  • I just read that article and it seems like what one would expect from the New Yorker about DJT. Mostly hearsay and innuendo about how he sucks.
    He has been very successful at his number one ambition self/brand promotion. And kudos to him, everyone knows the name Trump, and well prior to 2016. I’m no expert in all things Trump, but I do think he has a number of buildings/projects that are on the whole considered ‘nice’ properties and I’d wager he makes a fair profit from such enterprises.
    I voted for him and believe I will vote for him again. I wanted a Trump like candidate to go to Washington and raze the place, drain the Swamp, shine the bright light of sunshiny disinfectant on the corruption and partisan muck.
    His administration seems to making great strides in that realm. He’s my favorite RINO , the day he came down the escalator I couldn’t believe it, I thought he played at putting his hat in the ring every four years as a free publicity stunt. ( I still think he did then, too, but was shortly made aware that he could have an actual real chance and decided to go for it).
    I’ve been more then pleasantly surprised at the ‘winning’ which I am not yet sick of and would like to see continue.
    I was also very surprised to see old interviews and hear him espousing relatively the same views and proposed actions he would take if he were in such a position and voila he is 🙂
    I understand the partisan opposition to him in Washington, but the blind hatred of the idea of Trump expressed by people, members of the public foreign and domestic is pathological .

    Look at the Khashoggi incident, it’s Trump’s fault and he should do something.. ? Why? The Saudi regime is barbaric , pretty much always has been, most western democracies have done and stilll will do business with them and unless they stop , today, they can shut their hypocritical mouths.

  • thad,

    My fellow American,

    He has been very successful at his number one ambition self/brand promotion. And kudos to him, everyone knows the name Trump, and well prior to 2016. I’m no expert in all things Trump, but I do think he has a number of buildings/projects that are on the whole considered ‘nice’ properties and I’d wager he makes a fair profit from such enterprises.

    This paragraph, while probably true, has nothing whatsoever to do with any qualification that we would associate with a good President for our country. Why in the world does this impress you?! Just because someone wheels and deals in the real estate market, whether successfully or not, does not inspire admiration at all. Trump didn’t start up that business – his father did and then his father bailed him out on a regular basis. While I don’t begrudge successful business investors a single cent that they’ve earned through ingenuity and hard work, (none of those things apply to Trump), as a fellow American citizen I do require that they pay their fair share of taxes and this is something that we have no verification of from Trump. Is Trump a full time real estate salesman and a part time President? Visa versa? I don’t want a part time President. I want a President with a tip top education and as much on the job experience as possible. I want to know that the attention of that President is one hundred percent focused on our national interests and whatever involvement in the world that is required by the geopolitical realities.

    I wanted a Trump like candidate to go to Washington and raze the place, drain the Swamp, shine the bright light of sunshiny disinfectant on the corruption and partisan muck.
    His administration seems to making great strides in that realm.

    Thad, you just can’t be serious about this! It’s a shocking statement to tell you the truth. I really want to hear about what qualities of Trump’s life, character and business practices that would have ever led to his taking a stand against corruption. I see no guiding ethical principles in this person and in fact we see his eyes glaze over when presented with corruption and conflicts of interest with members of his own cabinet. Do you have no problem with the ongoing aggressive business as usual with Trump’s hotels, Ivanka’s business interests, Kushner’s disastrous money grubbing to bail out his failures and all of the massive loans and gifts that are now being uncovered by the press and the special investigation? No problem at all? You don’t think this is swamp-like?! Have you never heard of these multitude of unethical and inappropriate business practices? I’ll leave the word illegal for a later date. Or is it that you know about these dirty dealings but actually have no problem with it whatsoever?

    Try to suppress your tribal affiliations, Thad. It’s not easy to do but right now I will say that if you come back in support of this corruption and unethical behavior, it will cause people to judge you as having a character flaw. Some things are immoral and if you don’t speak out about immorality then you could be judged to be complicit with that immoral behavior.

    I’ve been more then pleasantly surprised at the ‘winning’

    Winning what?! I mean that seriously. What are we winning?

    I understand the partisan opposition to him in Washington, but the blind hatred of the idea of Trump expressed by people, members of the public foreign and domestic is pathological .

    Are you saying that Democrats, Independents, progressives, liberals, old school Republicans, college educated women, secular minded citizens, and everyone else who has been shocked and disgusted with the behavior and policies of this administration are just being partisan and hate Trump blindly just because the party leaders told us to do so? This may shock you but Trump, his opportunistic children and friends, the cabinet members who are barely qualified for their positions or not at all, the evangelical Christians who lead Trump around by the nose, and the behavior, policies and goals are more than enough to frighten the majority of citizens of our country. It’s more than enough to inspire hate when combined with the naked opportunism and money grubbing while lying, evading and downright tricking citizens into supporting positions that are against their own best interests.

    You are confused as to who is actually pathological in this scenario and who is actually a victim. Don’t blame the other Westerners for their horror. They will be directly affected by his behavior and policies.

    The Kashoggi murder is a blatant act of gruesome vengeance that surprises no one who follows the Saudi dramatis personae and their hideous medieval murderous ways. These people are a huge tribe of psychopaths who go unchecked. The fact that Trump, his ethically challenged children, his orthodox Jewish son-in-law who has divided loyalties between US and Israel, and various other compromised administration individuals are so chummy with MBS and tied to him and his supporters with big money business contracts is way too close for comfort in the first place never mind in light of this brutal murder. Trump can try as he might to promote big business over concern for the murder of a journalist with a green card but his “whatever” attitude will only disgust anyone with a modicum of good character.

    unless they stop , today, they can shut their hypocritical mouths.

    Hyperbole

    I hope we and every civilized country WILL punish the Saudis. If not for their oil they’d be a nation of barbaric sheep herders. These things take time but energy research is on the move and self sufficiency can’t get here fast enough. There are ways of making those people feel the error of their ways and a good ethical leader that we could be proud of wouldn’t hesitate to use them.

  • Thad

    I’m not sure why you’re in here but you won’t be making many friends. You don’t appear to be capable of seeing Trump rationally for what he is – a despicable, racist, misogynistic, psychopath with a malignant narcissism complex that prevents him from learning anything new because he already thinks he knows everything and is unable to take advice or criticism. Your comments about him draining the swamp and winning so much are risible. He’s massively enlarged the swamp, most of his cabinet, WH staff and government posts he’s nominated are straight from it. His staff turnover is the highest in history because his only criteria for appointing people is if they’ve said nice things about him so he selects useless corrupt people who then get found out and have to leave. He loves despots and dictators but he’s alienated all of America’s real allies and you’re now the laughing stock of the world.

    What he has done though is show the world how many deplorables live in the general population who love him because they share exactly the same racist, homophobic, xenophobic feelings. Plus of the course the evangelicals who don’t care what he does as long as he appoints judges who will reverse Roe v Wade. They can see he’s evil but still think their imaginary god is using him for some higher purpose. Nutters the lot of them.

    In the midst of this awful Khashoggi business he’s just praised a Montana congressman who assaulted a reporter last year and got 6 months deferred jail time for it saying “that’s my kind of guy”. He’s disgusting beyond all belief and he’s putting reporter’s lives at risk all over the world by enabling and whipping up this fervour against them for doing their very valuable jobs.

    There is only one place Trump deserves to be. In jail in an orange romper suit the same colour as his spray tan. Along with all his kids too if I had my way. When the Dems get back in power I hope they prosecute them all for every damn thing they can find. LOCK THEM UP.

  • If we go back to RD’s Selfish Gene, we are at a stage where the “cheaters” are at or close to their peek buoyed up by the “suckers”. If it carries on that way then it may well lead to our extinction. (10. You scratch my back, I’ll ride on yours) we “grudges” need to win over the “suckers” to stop the rot. We can’t afford to lump them in with the “cheaters”.

    I am in Cyprus with a couple who are English and good friends of ours who I thought I knew well. I suspected my friend was a Brexiter but didn’t think he would automatically be a Trump supporter too. He is convinced that Trump has actually built that bloody wall. I told him that he has only replaced some of what was already there and with a budget that was already agreed before Trumps ugly mug had hit the scene but he says he has read differently. All this after admitting he did not know that the centre is f the earth is still a burning churning mass. Oh boy! He and his wife without doubt fall into the sucker category. It’s going to be hard work not to offend them as I try to educate them but who knows, it might come about. These are the same people who said there were too many foreigners in the UK as they prepared to emigrate to South Africa FFS!!!

  • Olgun

    Oh dear! Well, you’re not the only one in this predicament. It must be common. You guys have the Brexit ordeal and we have the Trump abomination. Our friends, the English-Algerian couple from Manchester are Brexiters and we were surprised to find this. My whole extended family are Trumpeters and at this point, when I walk into the room an uncomfortable silence falls over them and the conversation turns to the weather. If my brother, who I get along with very well in normal times brings up any political issue in the most gentle way it inevitably ends up in total divide between us and I always leave in a state of disappointment and worry. The latest was during the Kavanaugh hearings and I remember saying back to him, “This is all about abortion…” and he, shocked, said, “What?! This is absolutely nothing to do with abortion!” My 79 year old mother was sitting quietly on the couch next to me and piped up forcefully, “YES it IS about ABORTION!” “THANK you MA!” I was ready to leave anyways so made a smooth exit before it devolved down into muck throwing. This divide is causing us distress and my mom and the younger generation are not happy about this either. Is this how we’ll go forward? Avoiding all discussion of current affairs?

    Olgun, we here have been noticing a strong divide between the Muslim immigrants to the West depending on their own religiosity. I have no data but we’re noticing that the secular educated Muslim bunch are more short tempered when discussions of their fundamentalist brethren come up. That Bexiter Algerian-English friend is incensed over the behavior of recent Muslim immigrants there. Our French Algerian friends are also incensed in the same way and the Algerian-Americans we know here are totally divided into secular/fundamentalist world views and their politics fall along similar lines. Is there anything to this? Mind you, the Algerians are still traumatized over the civil war between seculars and fundamentalists so our secular Algerian friends in Europe and here in the States are forceful in their criticism of all devout and fundamentalist Muslims wherever they find them.

    Are the educated, assimilated, secular Muslim immigrants so disgusted with the new group of devout Muslim immigrants that they’d be willing to vote for Brexit and Trump and other far right groups? Is this a thing or just coincidental observation?

    If we could magically delete religion from all of these issues then we could form a committee and negotiate all of these problems straight to solution in about an hour. No need to instruct me as to the errors of my wishful thinking. I indulge myself in fantasy from time to time. 😉

  • For those who don’t yet see which way the wind is blowing on the Khashoggi murder I’ll lay it out. Turkey is making a great show of getting to the bottom of it, and indeed they want to, but not to hold Saudi Arabia’s feet to the fire. What Erdogan wants is financial aid for his failing economy and proof of the killing would be a great cudgel to hold over Crown Prince MBS’s head as well as Trump’s who along with Kushner will be embarrassed if they have to take a stance against the Sauds. Then the horse trading will begin. That proof might just disappear in return for a nice fat payday.

    The Turks have said that there is an audio recording but they haven’t let anyone listen to it including Pompeo and of course not because then it ceases to be deniable. The Sauds will pick a scapegoat, probably the individual seen in various photos with Prince MBS who visited Turkey at the same time as Khashoggi, Trump will gleefully latch onto that and say there is no proof of MBS’s guilt. The Turks will apologise for the purported audio recording which they will say turned out to be a mistake made by an inexperienced surveillance operative who was really listening to a movie on someone’s tv not a real event. Huge amounts of money will change hands behind the scenes and Khashoggi will officially be forgotten. If the Turks find Khashoggi’s remains in the forest they are currently searching those remains will get properly disappeared this time in a crematorium furnace.

  • Laurie #140

    I can really only speak for the Turkish Cypriots and somewhat for the Turks.

    I see the comments from TC’s on a daily basis and most will follow Turkey’s lead in condemning the EU regardless of the damage they are doing to themselves in the UK. (I should have written British TC’s above but I will have to delete everything to get back to that point on my IPhone) misplaced patriotism plays a big part in their thinking. Other (I will not say better educated because that is not the case. Better informed would be more accurate!) better informed thinking British TC’s who are not necessarily less patriotic to Turkey but feel they have more of an identity in secular values, will vote to stay in the EU in UK, their permanent home, but also acknowledge the unfair treatment from the EU in the Cyprus problem. They are not interested in throwing the baby out with the bath water but would rather deal with each issue separately. As it should be. Mainland Turks are no less confused. Those with high levels of religion will follow Erdoğan but only trying to stay true to their religion and their flag. Turkey is as split on this as Americans are with the loyalty to the flag clouding issues. Erdoğan is not necessarily the flag or Turkey to them. The devout religious have no problem living with this anomaly whilst others are being pulled all over the place. If tomorrow Erdoğan says that the EU is where they are headed then they will switch instantly with him. The similarities with America and Turkey is so obvious to me. Whether TC or mainland Turk there is a fear that we are being watched no matter where we are but that isn’t true either. A woman journalist magazine owner I know is very outspoken about Erdoğan and she goes in and out of Turkey with no problem at all. It seems to be a lottery as to whether you have problems or not. Others have been arrested and the crowd (?) turn to the traitor word in an instant. It is all very confusing and changes on a monthly basis it seems. The devout religious are the angry outspoken ones and the secular are fast running of energy it seems to me.

    Akrid #141

    The money situation is a big factor agreed but who will lead the Muslim world is bigger in this case. The west are favouring the Saudi Arabia at the moment because that is where the money is but the branch of Islam there are the Wahhabi’s where as you know, the terrorist element is. Erdoğan will not give up his ambitions there for all the money in the world.

  • Olgun

    but who will lead the Muslim world is bigger in this case.

    Yes, and I think the release of the American pastor was the grease for the gears of negotiation. The brutal stupidity of the Saudi murder is a gift for Turks to take them down a peg or two. They stand to profit hugely from payoffs from Trump & co. and from the Saudis who have been exposed as dangerous murderers. Turks are sitting pretty right now.

  • Hi All.

    I hope for further enlightenment on another recently debated topic. As I’ve been unable to find answers with any degree of reliability from other sources RDFRS was my natural port of call.

    During the course of discussion an assertion was made regarding the fact that the originators of the Genesis story did not take it as literal, instead assuming it was allegory from the word go. Historians put the Genesis creation myth at between 1000 -200 BCE.

    My contention is that the account was meant to be taken literally as there’s nothing to signpost this story as anything other than the true and literal word of Yahweh. I arrived at this conclusion because there was no other explanation for the creation of the world (as they knew it) and the creation of the entire world in six days would seem logically consistent with the thinking of the time. I compared this to other creation mythologies such as that from the Australian Aboriginal tribes which considered the stories to be self-evident.

  • @ Nitya. Continued.

    My opponents firstly claimed that there was written evidence from Jewish scholars of the times saying that the stories in Genesis were not taken literally and that Biblical literalists are a modern phenomenon only occurring over the last couple of hundred years.

    My requests for links to translations of these writings went unanswered and it appeared the evidence was only the opinions of later scholars in the field.

    One of the more civil opponents suggested that the Genesis account was firstly taken as gospel and later taken as allegory and now taken literally once again by fundamentalists.

    I propose that during the time when the only access to the written word was in Latin and by the clergy and so were able to put any spin on it they wished.

  • So the big lie begins. The Saudis now claim that Khashoggi died after a “fight” inside the embassy and have arrested 18 men as part of their “investigation”. I’m sure it will be every bit as thorough as the one the Republicans did into Bret Kavanaugh. No doubt Khashoggi will soon be blamed for going mad, starting said fight, cutting all his own fingers off and beheading himself in the worst case of suicide ever seen by Saudi investigators.

    I’m pretty damn sure that if there was any fight inside the embassy that day it was only amongst the torturers themselves about who got to use the garden secateurs on Khashoggi’s fingers next.

    Meanwhile feckless dolt Eric Trump, the chinless wonder, shows that the Saudis have nothing on Trump family members when it comes to lying. When asked by Fox News to defend pater tangerine wankmaggot’s praise for Montana’s Greg Gianforte’s attack on a reporter young Trump said it was what his supporters loved about his dad that he was not politically correct and could have a joke with his fans. Nor did he blink when asked why he Eric Trump had lashed out at Eric Holder’s comment that “when they go low we need to kick them” as being uncivil and calling for actual physical harm to be done to Republicans he claimed that Holder’s comment was said with a totally different demeanour, non jokey and clearly offensive unlike his dad’s own witticism. This despite Holder tweeting he would never call for any actual physical attack on anyone and Gianforte having being sentenced to 6 months jail deferred for an actual physical attack.

    There is nothing the Trump family cannot lie about with a straight face and much pretend indignation as shamelessly as their father. You might think the various mothers involved would have had some input into raising their children with moral values but as far as honesty goes it all seems to have been inherited from Donny’s own collosal mendacity. The entire family disgusts me as does anyone who can support them.

  • We can see clearly now how Trump’s pathological lying has enabled all Republicans to sink lower and lower. There is no longer even a pretence at truthfullness in anything they say or do because for the deplorables in their bubble listening to Fox News parroting the party lies the truth no longer matters at all.

    Mitch McConnell has just made the outrageous claim that the huge budget deficit caused by the massive tax cut is all Democrat’s fault for spending so much under Obama on social programs. The tangerine maggot at the heart of what used to be the apple of democracy has corrupted everything beyond what we could have believed a few years ago. It’s eaten away the centre of the apple and everything is now rotten and corrupt.

  • Nitya,

    Some of the stories in Genesis seem to have their origins pre-dating the bible Noah’s Flood for example is given in Epic of Gilgamesh, so it was probably a composite and plagiarism of other stories around at the time. I would suggest that you’re not going to have to take anyone who claims there was any real consensus terribly seriously. If you google the Babylonian Talmud

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/talmud.htm

    which was not written until the 3-5 century (much latter than the original stories of course) you get all sorts of arguements about when you have to pray (based on how visible a donkey is in the morning light was one memorable example). It gives the impression that no-one can agree so I’d not think it likely there was a consensus at the time. I’d also point out the God seems pretty annoyed at the Jews inability to go along with his plans in-spite of him hovering about them in a cloud the whole time during the exodus and occasionally descending down in the form of a crowd leaving their clothes glowing whiter than whit like some form of magic laundry detergent. Anyway he’s constantly killing them for disobeying him. So I’d suspect their cohesion on this to be unreliable to say the least.

    regards

  • Arkrid Sandwich #148
    Oct 19, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    So the big lie begins. The Saudis now claim that Khashoggi died after a “fight”

    And Trump immediately praises the Saudis for releasing that statement, says it’s a great first step and that the story sounds quite credible to him. Several hundred Nigerian princes immediately perk up and start emailing Trump about the money they need his help to move out of their country.

    Trump has apparently already also decided that even if there are sanctions for KSA (hint, there won’t be) he’s not including cancelling any arms deals as part of those as to do so would be “devastating” for the US economy. Yeah Donny, the whole country will collapse if you don’t sell a few more billions worth of cruise missiles to the Sauds they can lob at kids in Yemen.

    So the disgusting charade plays on with the world’s top liars all striving to outdo each other. It does however look like Prince MBS has bitten off a bit more than he can chew finally. His dad the king is reported to be stepping in to try and clear the mess up and sonny boy could be in the doghouse for a while now.

    If the USA stopped sellings arms to KSA and stopped buying oil from it the barbaric goat fuckers there would be screwed. The west could demand proper rights for Saudi women, the abolition of inhumane punishments like flogging and beheading and if the Sauds don’t want to play ball then fine. Isolate them and let them sit on their unsellable oil or light their tents in the desert with it because without oil sales the whole country is little more than a wasteland stuck in the middle ages. No one has the balls to do that of course. They know Trump is bought and paid for just as Putin does so they can get away with pretty much anything.

  • Arkrid

    *

    If the USA stopped sellings arms to KSA and stopped buying oil from it
    the barbaric goat fuckers there would be screwed.

    I’ve also suggested invoking the Magnitsky Act, freezing individual SA assets here in the States.

    *

  • How are the mighty fallen. Paul Manafort asked the judge in his current trial to let him attend court in his own clothes not prison ones and he got short shift on that from her. She said he’s a convicted criminal now and has lost the right to wear his own clothes in court. So now he’s appeared in a wheelchair complaining that prison doesn’t suit him and is making him all hurty. How I’d love to see Trump and family in the prisoner’s dock wearing prison romper suits and complaining prison doesn’t suit them.

  • Nitya #145

    An answer to there not being other stories to go on at the time;

    The link below, IMHO, gives you all the stories you need to bring together all the peoples myths and beliefs in an attempt to unify tribes. From creation and first light, to floods and life from a mound of earth. There was no need for an all new story to be told. Just a continuation and inclusion of rituals in order to draw all fractions into one belief.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Egyptian_creation_myths

  • Nitya

    The next phase can be the bringing together of the three Abrahamic religions and all the myths and traditions you would have to bring together from each to satisfy all.

  • The increasing level of UK arms sales and continued arms sales from other western democracies to Saudi Arabia is the primary fault of the USA?

    Feels a lot more like that blinding pathological hatred of orange-ness provides some comfy CYA.

  • Arkrid #151

    Isolate them and let them sit on their unsellable oil

    The impact of that would almost certainly result in a very sharp rise in oil prices which would have repercussions across the world!

  • The largest arms suppliers to Riyadh are the U.S., with $8.4bn worth of sales since 2014, followed by the UK ($2.6bn) and France ($475m).

    President Donald Trump met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman at the White House on Tuesday and boasted of massive defense deals signed between the kingdom and the US.

    The president had several charts with him that showed the type of weapons, vehicles, and equipment being bought by Saudi Arabia. The charts showed how much money the deal were worth, and which US states were going to benefit the most from them.

    One of the charts showed off eight purchases the Saudis have finalized, worth $12.5 million dollars. Another chart featured four sales that were still pending, but will be worth nearly $20 billion.

  • Thad

    You seem perpetually offended at the idea that our country, the US of A could or would ever act in ways that have bad effects on other countries or bad effects on us in the near and distant future. Have you been living under a rock or something? You really need to look into the history of the Middle East, South America, our own disastrous history with Native Americans and black slavery, and every other aggressive meddling perpetrated by our government. Do you ever read history at all?

    Yes, there are plenty of good things about this country and our people but there is also much to be angry about. When Europeans, Africans, South Americans and whatever other bunch of people point out a bad action by our government or our people, why do you jump to a pouting defensive attitude?! Why not listen to the complaint and then go off fact checking and try to understand the problem in the historical context? Then we can all discuss it from different perspectives and maybe, just maybe we’ll all learn something from it!

    It’s called rational discourse.

  • Pointing out anti, fill in tha blank, bias is not a part of rational discourse?

    Thanks to Phil , for seeming to help the cause . Pointing out that Trump proudly and publicly shows the world the extend to which the US government allows its domestic arms industries to sell to KSA is probably his way of pointing to US transparency in foreign policy, or at least a drift in that direction since his administration.
    I think he may be pointing other counties’ policies of keeping their extend of arms sales covert. He may be intimating that until the UK can more publicly flush out arms sales covered under OIELs condemnation could , at least in some respect be more circumspect .

  • @ thad #160

    Pointing out that Trump proudly and publicly shows the world the
    extend to which the US government allows its domestic arms industries
    to sell to KSA is probably his way of pointing to US transparency in
    foreign policy

    You are joking, right ?

    That is just Trump being Trump : waving his (small, mushroom) willy around, making wildly exaggerated claims, boasting to his braindead followers in order to bolster his fragile ego. Trump is a one-trick pony, and that pony is called ‘bullsh1t’.

  • Joking, risible?
    I actually have a slight problem with the leader of the free world proudly showing off arms sales, but I will give credit for the public display.

    I honestly didn’t have a single thought about genitalia, brain dead followers indeed. Who are you allowing to control your thought content and why?

    We were commenting on what should be appropriate policy responses to a regime that openly murders dissidents.

  • thad: the word you’re looking for is “extent”. And if you’re going to tangle with Phil, hang on, I’m getting some popcorn.

  • The “leader of the free world” is not responsible for UK arms deals or anything else the “free world” does. 😂

    Which is it?

  • @150 Hi Reckless,

    Sorry to have taken so long to reply and the same applies to Olgun. I appreciate your input.

    I imagine the writings referenced were regarding the Mishnaa and Gemara which apparently came into existence early in the common era. I knew of the similarities with the Gilgamesh stories as it seems the Jewish accounts were an evolved form of this source. Believers would disagree with this take. From what I was able to glean from my reading there was no suggestion that these were not believed as an accurate account and, as they spread by an oral tradition we can’t blame the writing as being colorful or figurative as there’s nothing to see. This is all later interpretation and interpretation of interpretation. Not a very solid base.

    I have not read your link yet, but I’ll get to it as soon as I’ve finished typing.

    there was no consensus

    That was exactly as I would have thought Reckless. The entire theory seems to rest on the philosophising, of early Catholic scholars who had their own barrow to push re interpretation. I contend that the people of the times would have been looking for explanations regarding the origins of their world and the stories would have satisfied their understandings. There’s nothing to suggest this is not so.

  • @154 Hi Olgun.

    Thanks very much. I’ll read through this along with the link given to me by Reckless. In your opinion, would there be any reason to doubt that these creation myths were taken literally? Any hint of allegorical intent?
    By my reckoning, people in all stages of their cultural development want rational answers to their questions on the formation of the world as they knew it. I can’t see why a set of stories would be proposed as a fictional account to a real query because to their mind the god was all powerful and all knowing. Why would he speak in riddles? It’s just a ridiculous attempt to explain away the fact that it’s at odds with the knowledge we have today.

    Thanks for your contribution Olgun.

  • @166 Reckless Monkey

    BTW sorry also that I did not get back re the Jordan Peterson podcasts. I’ve still not watched all four. He’s a very slippery character and his style of argument leaves me perplexed. I predict he’s a flash in the pan, though I haven’t read anything by him. Maybe less obscure in print.

    By election in Wentworth looks good, though still votes to be counted. Better watch the news.

  • Nitya #167

    I can’t really offer any scholarly advise but it is the story of my childhood and then later through work. Being a Turkish Cypriot and having uneducated parents and a natural people watcher, if there is such a thing?

    My mum read coffee cups for free, so didn’t really take her skills seriously, and we had a constant stream of friends and family visiting who sometimes brought their friends and family too. There was very little variation in what she told them she saw in the cups and I was amazed at their gullibility from an early age. Throw in a whole bunch of myths and traditions from small island mentality and how these misconceptions spread, had me question everything. People are still killing harmless whip snakes on the island because of a story of black mambas attacking donkeys from long before. These stories soon became further exaggerated stories of boa constrictors that clearly do not exist on the island. My mum being bubbly and popular for coffee cup readings soon attracted mainland Turks as friends, there weren’t too many in the UK in those days, brought their own legends and myths which were very entertaining but totally untrue. In school I was then expected to believe the rubbish spouted by Christianity that conflicted with the rubbish from Islam at home. My dads stories were of Turks inventing everything and being the best in the world. When I started work, I was thrown into the world of council estates and uneducated English and people from all over the world believing their own brand of rubbish. This is why I like this site. It is like an oasis floating above the sea of crap and a safe refuge.

    For me, reading through the link I posted is like a map of all I have seen and heard and knowing how much rubbish people can take on board and believe and how much of the real world just passes them by. To read how Christianity has taken all pagan beliefs and incorporated them into its own legends only shows me my line of thinking is right. The “metaphorical” line some believers take is just a way for partially informed people to sleep at night because and pretend the rest all makes sense.

    So for me, we don’t have to imagine how people thought thousands of years ago because it is happening now. The theee abrahamic religions keep popping up together trying to push the idea that they all believe in one god but it is clear they don’t. What if they did try to unite? They do not even have one unified story in their own religions so what would they include in the new unified one?

  • Thanks to Phil

    No need, thad. We have all been richly rewarded by your responses. To see first hand such confabulated imputations over Trump’s motives, informs us about how his followers get to live in an evolving world of fantasy. Those fantasy excuses, seemingly credible at a glance, given even a cursory examination, are just revealed to be deeply ludicrous .

  • So for me, we don’t have to imagine how people thought thousands of years ago because it is happening now

    Thanks very much Olgun. The most pertinent point I’ve heard so far. If people are capable of believing the stories of the here and now of course they would have taken stories from the past in the same light. Goes without saying, though impossible to prove. Everything about religion is fanciful, which possibly explains its appeal.

  • It seems the Khashoggi affair can be put to bed now. The biggest question the Saudis have been facing is where is Khashoggi’s body. After all it hardly walked out and disappeared by itself and if the death was “accidental” then surely no one would want to dispose of it clandestinely. A new statement from the office of Crown Prince MBS explains things. It seems that after Khashoggi went mad and attacked the 15 interrogators, ummm we mean “greeters”, who has been specially flown in to make him welcome, amputated his own fingers and hands and then beheaded himself with the stumps the Saudis very much wanted to keep his body safe so it could be returned to his loved ones. Unfortunately before they could do that it was abducted by aliens who teleported into the consulate, loaded Khashoggi’s body and sundry removed body parts onto a shimmering silver transporter device and teleported back out again. They even cleaned up after themselves with special alien cleaning devices so sadly there is no forensic evidence either.

    Trump immediately said that sounded completely credible to him, thanked the Saudis for their honesty and openness and claimed it proved they were innocent all along just like Kavanaugh. After all what were they supposed to do when faced by alien body snatchers? Everyone knows how those pesky aliens just love to snatch bodies opined Trump. He even remembered a documentary about it from his youth in the 1950s “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.

    So phew, mystery solved finally. 54% of Americans believe in alien abductions so this should hardly come as a stretch for them and the majority believe in invisible sky pixies, talking snakes etc etc compared to which aliens, which almost certainly actually exist, is pretty small beer. In fact more Americans believe in alien abductions than in Trump. Trump can brag that he was right all along to not rush to judgement, he only does that about accused Democrats, and now he can keep all his lovely Saudi arms money.

  • thad #160
    Oct 20, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    Thanks to Phil , for seeming to help the cause . Pointing out that Trump proudly and publicly shows the world the extend to which the US government allows its domestic arms industries to sell to KSA is probably his way of pointing to US transparency in foreign policy,

    Wow, you should be on Fox News. You have that rare ability to spin straw into bullshit they prize so much there. I’m pretty sure that none of the rest of us in here could have come up with spinning that little Donny bragging to his mommy about how great he’d done selling weapons to the Saudis with his kiddies picture card show was really about transparency in foreign policy. I bet Mitch McConnell would also love to hear your ideas about how he can blame more of the tax cut budget deficit on Obama.

  • More breaking news from Saudi Arabia. Crown Prince MBS went on Saudi tv this morning and gave a rambling tearful statement to camera in which he claimed he has proof he had no involvement with the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Between sobs and pauses for breath he told the heart wrenching story of how his dear dad, the King, took to keeping a calendar, and sometimes a diary, of everything he intended to do or had done each day. Soon after the prince started keeping his own diary and he presented the page for the day Khashoggi died which said “Lifting weights with PJ, Tobin and Squi. Did NOT speak to any interrogators or contract killers all day”. The prince added “I’m a Muslim, I don’t like beer, hate beer, never drank too much beer”.

  • Maybe a cursory glance is all I was trying to elicit, trying to pique intellectual curiosity enough to at least question the totality of confabulation.

    Am I not only to will I remain friendless , but to also stay surrounded by posters whose opinions are formed by the notion that the only explanation for Trump’s appeal is found in the ‘fact’ that a near majority of the population of the US are bible thumping gun toting racist sexist homophobic xenophobic ect ad infinitum ignoramuses?

  • Being

    bible thumping gun toting racist sexist homophobic xenophobic

    are not the roots of the problem. Too many Americans fit this description because they are hyper anxious, two paychecks or a medical problem from catastrophe. They are aware they work three jobs and have made no seeming progress for two generations now, having no more wealth than the median Greek family.

    They wish to emulate the rich who are the very people who are stealing from them, taking and hiding their excessive profits off-shore and out of the economy, a double failure of “trickledown”.

    To cover their tracks the kleptocrats, at least those on the right, blame every shade of brown person for the theft, through their malice or indolence, and every Democrat that might actually lift them out of their precarious state. If that happens the Kleptocrats will lose the ability to depend on their vote.

    So of course these people seek consolation from religion and keep guns at the ready, hate all the groups they are directed to and kept stupid with piss poor education, use the lamest arguments, to defend “their” position.

    They were promised a drained swamp. They expect a saviour, promised they are indeed the chosen ones.

    The

    bible thumping gun toting racist sexist homophobic xenophobic, “being lied too and under-educated”

    are symptoms of the true malaise.

    But it is where we have to start, The voting mass need to start to see the bigger picture.

  • olgun
    I’m a believer in individual rights and private property that thinks the federal government has been encroaching on and endangering the enjoyment of those natural rights since at least the Wilson administration.

  • So, from the above we can see these folk, the poor and the newly poor, destabilised, and made anxious constitute a class of the abused. Now abusers are manufactured from the abused as they try to normalise their own experience and two things necessarily flow from that.

    First and for as long as possible the abused need compassion and help. Harms need to be mitigated and fairness restored. Indeed my man on the political front line, Bernie Sanders knows he must preserve this stance for as long as he can. He does not think of these abused folk as the deplorables of Clinton. This is essential.

    Second, as will be needed for too many, when the abused become vociferous abusers in their turn, even when the ideas are planted in their heads, their abuse must be challenged and forcefully pushed back on. Damaged folk further damaging themselves in their misery cannot be allowed to add to the burden of yet others. Championing non dogmatic, reason based morality is one of the few tools we have to treat both abusers and their victims,

    The USA as a land of hyper individualism and hyper selfishness has encountered a flaw in its seemingly successful formula. It lacks the checks and balances others have incorporated to handle an economic Malthusian meltdown, because its wealth can escape its borders at too low a cost.

    Trump is of course the biggest Kleptocrat yet and the biggest threat yet faced.

  • While I recognize the utility of dogma , I prefer things non dogmatic.
    There is a lot to ‘unpack’ in the above post. Could you give an example of a non-hyper individualistic principle, one that preferably retains the genus, or is there no ‘good’ individualism qua principle?

  • I count myself anti dogmatic in the extreme. The ideas of Libertarianism, of James McGill Buchananism I very much count as under-evidenced and over rigid dogma.

    Hyper individualism gives little or no value to the contributions of society. The USA is hyper individualistic in conferring such extensive reward to the capital provider and so little to the society that facilitates the the whole wealth creating operation through its provision of infrastructure and social capital. The USA is astonishingly and increasingly unequal to the risk of its own mid term future.

    Hyper individualism gives little or no blame to the contribution of society to the crimes of its own citizens. The USA accounts for a quarter of the world’s prisoners. It doesn’t realise that justice is expensive and fairness is cheap. It doesn’t realise that justice (just what a kleptocracy needs!) has no power to change society, merely pin it in place, and that fairness can be transformative.

    Ask me about the Chinese….

    I have a lot to say in favour of individualism, but that is not the problem here. It is striking a more functional balance between differing individualisms and differing mutualisms.

  • thad,

    FWIW, I count myself

    A capitalist

    Possessing euro left of centre aesthetic which I cannot get behind or shake off.

    Nevertheless desirious of making policy based only on evidence and reason despite gut feels.

    Recognising the selfish (if not the poor) are always with us and must be lived with.

    An anti-idealist.

    A Betterist, unwilling to form rigid long term goals for most things, happy to take the next step and evolve (contingent on evidence and reason).

    Happy to accept (democratically constrained) dirigisme in handling “the Commons” and use state facilitation of long-term investments not possible in current markets

  • Thad #178

    So it is your own neck.

    Makes sense that you agree with Trump then. The wall mentality. The more the “individuality” the bigger the wall needed. Israel’s mentality. No realisation of the cost of the wall or insurance premiums as you struggle to keep out the “undesirables”. Taking your own natural freedoms away and creating greater dangers. What sort of freedom is that?

  • Right Olgun. It’s the gated community mentality. Fear based authoritarians holed up against the dirty inhuman masses. It’s not sustainable even with the biggest guns obtainable.

    What sort of freedom is that?

    It’s not freedom at all. It’s a prison of their own making and in the end it will not serve them well at all.

  • Olgun
    Lol, yeah I always look to my neck first, but that’s kinda built in, yeah?

    I’d have more sympathetic feelings toward increasing immigration levels if they were coupled with a lessening of the welfare state. Given the cultural push toward things like single payer medical care, free tuition ect, a lessening doesn’t feel imminent. And that feels like it falls more and more on my wage earning neck, and the necks of my kids and theirs.

    Phil spoke about the profits the social system loses due to the off shore siphoning , how much siphoning occurs through the new immigrants sending monies back ‘home’? I’m no economist , so I’d have to think a little harder about offshore being detrimental but if it does have even a temporary net negative effect ,slowing illegal immigration would have a positive effect in shutting off millions of siphons , albeit small individually, but death of a thousand cuts and all ,yeah?.

    It sounds like the average fee for cartel/coyote services is around 5-7k usd, I bet a first class one way ticket to Sweden would be cheaper.

  • thad #186
    Oct 21, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    I’d have more sympathetic feelings toward increasing immigration levels if they were coupled with a lessening of the welfare state. Given the cultural push toward things like single payer medical care, free tuition ect, a lessening doesn’t feel imminent. And that feels like it falls more and more on my wage earning neck, and the necks of my kids and theirs.

    And that in a nutshell is what is wrong with right wing America and the hyper selfish frontier mentality that prevents the USA from reforming into a truly modern democratic country. That the poor or sick are scroungers on “my” tax dollars and fuck the rest of you as long as I’m all right Jack. The USA squanders $1.5 trillion dollars a year on its for-profit health system which at a total cost of $3 trillion a year costs twice as much per capita as the average western democracy spends on universal healthcare that is free for all citizens. The UK spends 9% of its GDP on healthcare, the USA spends 17% to obtain lower average life expectancy because the care is so badly directed at the poor. The USA has one of the highest discrepancies between the lifespan of rich and poor.

    That wasted $1.5 trillion could transform education and infrastructure but instead it goes into the pockets of insurance companies and drug companies and hospitals which charge $200 for an aspirin or a bandage.

    A strong welfare state and healthcare system means people live longer, stay healthier, are able to work more and pay more taxes and build up savings and pensions for their retirements which take the burden back off the very welfare system which enabled them in the first place.

    You, like Trump, look at everything as a zero sum game where the long term benefits of money flows are never taken into consideration because it might involve a little bit of deeper thinking. That’s why you are mired in trade wars because Trump thinks international trade is zero sum with exports = I win and imports = I lose.

    how much siphoning occurs through the new immigrants sending monies back ‘home’? I’m no economist , so I’d have to think a little harder about offshore being detrimental but if it does have even a temporary net negative effect ,slowing illegal immigration would have a positive effect in shutting off millions of siphons , albeit small individually, but death of a thousand cuts and all ,yeah?.

    More zero sum thinking. Any money leaving the country must be bad n’kay. You’re like a stuck record. The USA spends hundreds of billions of dollars on aid to poor countries but it’s a horribly inefficient system where money gets wasted on bureaucracy, ends up in the wrong places or just gets lost to corruption. Money remitted by immigrants goes straight to where it’s needed and it is estimated that every dollar remitted back home is worth $1.7 in foreign aid payments. Much of that money enables the recipients to buy American goods and so flows straight back in again.

    The above notwithstanding it’s still only paltry amounts. Immigrants remit about $25 billion a year to Mexico. American corporations have $1.4 trillion stashed in overseas bank accounts and Trump’s trade wars are going to drive more of them to set up operations overseas. The USA maintains 800 military bases overseas costing somewhere between $150 and $220 billion a year. Where do you think that money gets spent when the men go out for a night on the town to a bar, restaurant or whorehouse? Where does the fresh food, water, electricity, consumable supplies come from? Clue, it ain’t the USA.

    But sure, blame impoverished immigrants for draining money from the USA and whatever you do don’t look at the big picture. You don’t want to be in danger of getting an open mind. The scroungers in the American system aren’t the poor, the sick or the immigrants. It’s the mega rich like Trump who cheat on their taxes, get their goods made in sweat shops abroad like Ivanka and drain trillions of dollars out of the pockets of the bottom 90% i.e. you.

    Immigrants do most of the jobs that Americans are too fat and lazy to do. Already southern farms have billions of dollars worth of fruit and vegetables rotting in the fields because they now can’t get the pickers to harvest them. Immigrants are statistically more law abiding. harder working and less of a drain on welfare than residents. What you need is more of them not fewer.

    But of course little of this is really about the facts. It’s just naked racism which is what Trump ran on and what he constantly whips up amongst his deplorable base.

  • Thad #186

    Yes it is in built. A primitive evolutionary trait that is vital but we thinking humans have moved on. Nature now “says” I’ve taken you this far and allowed you to think, Google even. You ask questions and make excuses you are not an economist but that’s as far as it goes. The rest you just guess and get wrong. You can’t be bothered to calculate the cost of the wall in just mathematical terms let alone sociologically. You then justify selling billions of dollars of arms to despot regimes in order to pay for the wall. Do you really think you are going to see any of that money? It will all go into making Trump look good to those who already have walls in their heads. You have been given facts and figures here. Make use of them FFS.

    I want you to know that I had/have all the anxieties and distrust of politicians before Trump and May in the UK. There is definitely something to fix but there are more tools in our toolbox than a hammer. Trump is not even a hammer. He is a wrecking ball swinging wildly. Who do you think he is going to turn to when the arms money route goes cold? Although I had a British passport before I left Cyprus at the age of five, I have been working since I was fourteen years old. I went to a country that had already symphoned most of the wealth from my country of birth and paid my taxes in full. Throughout my working life I witnessed the fact that many many more English were on a lifetime of welfare than any immigrant.

    I didn’t visit Sourh Africa in the days of apartheid but we went and stayed with friends after, for a few weeks. The remains of your wall type of mentality was on every corner in the shape of guard huts. They now lay rotting with doors hanging off their hinges. The barbed wire still shone brightly around garden walls though. No cars parked on the roads because you dare not walk the few feet from your front door to your car. Instead, you packed your children into the car with the garage door closed and only then did you open them to drop your kids off to a barbed wire protected school. It is slowly getting better though with Cape Town almost feeling like normal. Your mentality will not work and those walls will come tumbling down just the same way.

  • Laurie #184

    All my instincts are saying, give them a quite part of America and let them build a wall and leave us alone. But, as I said to Thad, we, some of us at least, have gone past just instinct alone.

  • Phil l #185

    District 9 is awesome. Don’t know how anyone is going to top that.

    Not the best of films but a scene in World War Z where the zombies breach the wall in Israel is good too. Nuclear deterrent are no longer a deterrent or any use when the “hoards” are at your wall.

  • Thad,

    East European temporary workers carry back a little money with them each year from the UK. They aren’t coming back any time soon thanks to Brexit. They enabled us to supply 70% of our needs in salad vegetables and fruit without importing. Plans were afoot (I know, I was part of it) to eventually lift this at least another 10%. Brexit has put an end this happy state of affairs. The substantial deficit in our own production will be covered by imports. The total cost of these goods will now escape our borders and help the Netherlands and Spain.

    You are clearly no economist if you think these petty sums sent out by the poorest are significant. Don’t make policy based on gut feels but on evidence and reason. The US rich sequester fully 20% of US wealth outside of its own economy and out of benefiting you.

  • District 9 was indeed brilliant, Ollie.

    It made you realise that “humanity” as a term connoting compassion falls multiply short.

  • There was an awesome episode of Doctor Who on tv last night which is well worth downloading (or Youtube) for anyone who missed it on tv. They travelled to Montgomery Alabama in 1955 and foiled a plot to prevent Rosa Parks getting on the bus she refused to give up her seat on thus kicking off the civil rights movement. It brought home very starkly what it must have been like to be black in the south of the USA back then. For a light entertainment program it was incredibly powerful and emotional, to me at least. Racism is a terrible ugly thing and probably the largest part of why I hate Trump so much, although there is lots to choose from in his case. It reminded me of Driving Miss Daisy and the bit where the police pull over their car and call Hoke “boy” which I still find very hard to watch even after seeing it many times over the years and which incenses me to the point of me yelling at the cops on the screen.

  • Malorie Blackman is some kind of genius writer and a perfect choice for this new season. Her Noughts and Crosses novels were hugely effective.

  • Chaps (and unusually I mean male chaps only)

    Do any of you have any sympathy for Lawrence Krauss and the position he has got himself into? Do you feel informed enough?

    I want to take care not to bias you here.

  • Hmm? Don’t know what the uptick means, so I’ll ignore it, but it gives me an idea.
    I’ll make two posts

    This one is Sympathy for Lawrence Krauss…

  • …and this one is No Sympathy for Lawrence Krauss….

    I’ll throw my vote in later sometime. Uptick as you feel or comment.

  • olgun
    Are you familiar with Scott Adams , the creator of the Dilbert cartoon series? Has has a very interesting theory/explanation for the success of the Trump campaign. His thoughts on that are rooted in his understanding of persuasion as a technique.
    A or THE wall, and the Fact that Mexico will pay for it is something he uses as an example of the skill of the Trump( team?), it has very interesting sociological implications when considered in the broadest sense. And not much to do with racism , but more an aversion to the cultural left and its anti American-ism.
    I’m no racist, some of best friends are human, but I am anti-collectivist as ideology , I do grant we are a social species , but to me that does not justify as rational anti-human atrocities such as Stalinist Soviet Russia , Nazis of Germany, Maoist China , Pol Pot, ect , things I consider real world examples of the horror that comes from human beings organized into societal structures based on the idea of being one of a whole, a hyper anti-individualism.
    I do not mean to suggest that you do rationally justify such horrors, but you can see the underlying premise , the fundamental attribute they all share, no ?
    “punch a Nazi” , yeah for sure, not because you are not a Nazi but because Nazis are bad/evil.
    The left ‘over here’ is labeling their opposition Nazis and there by justfying punching anyone They deem worthy of the label and that persuasion has its targets too.

  • Scott Adams is an increasingly scared old white man with the moral integrity of a sponge and the prescience of a sponge.

    Clinton’s team of cognitive scientists and professional persuaders did a terrific job of framing Trump as scary. The illusion will wear off – albeit slowly – as you observe Trump going about the job of President and taking it seriously. You can expect him to adjust his tone and language going forward. You can expect foreign leaders to say they can work with him. You can expect him to focus on unifying an exhausted and nervous country. And you can expect him to succeed in doing so. (He’s persuasive.) Watch as Trump turns to healing. You’re going to be surprised how well he does it.

    Well before Clinton’s team got to work, the rest of the world had formed its uniquely negative opinion.

    Your thinking over what constitutes a mutualist society by identifying fascist, coercive and autocratic societies is frankly demented. It also totally undercuts your talk of the left squealing nazi…

    Give us some facts, thad!

  • I think world leaders have said that they can work with Trump. So slow but sure ..

    Aren’t fascism and socialism fundamentally designed on the idea of being members of a group, and the group’s value trumps all personal value?

    Mutualism is a slippery slope, how do we recognize the line , human nature has yet to change , but I’m sure you think I”m safe , as they always come for the intellectuals first 🙂

  • thad #199
    Oct 22, 2018 at 10:21 am

    The left ‘over here’ is labeling their opposition Nazis and there by justfying punching anyone.

    Nonsense. With the advantage of my unbiased position outside your country with no skin in the game, no identification as either Democrat or Republican, no vote in your elections I can see that Dems are generally bipartisan, fair minded, open to compromise and they vote, in Congress as well as elections, with their consciences.

    Republicans vote the party line in jackbooted lockstep. They recently contemplated a motion to make it punishable if congressmen voted against the party line. They spent 8 years just obstructing everything Obama did and started off with the declared intention of making him a one term president. They even vote against ideas they used to espouse if Democrats propose them. They don’t just oppose Democrats they demonise them. Trump is saying constantly now that Democrats are evil, dangerous, violent, they might cause civil unrest if he wins again.

    Left wing programs like Bill Maher, MSNBC constantly have right wing guests who they freely let give their side of the story. Try waiting for a left wing contributor on Fox News. They have no interest in both sides of any story. They want their viewers kept firmly inside the bubble just like Jehova’s Witnesses want to give you their own literature but are banned from taking any of yours in case they learn any truths about their nutty organisation. The Republican party is not a political party it’s a religious cult and it behaves just like other cults. No dissent, no outside opinions. never contradict dear leader.

    The whole ethos of both Trump and now the Republicans is to lie and confuse the truth to the point that no one knows what the hell is true anymore so hopefully the dumb and low information faithful will continue to only believe the party line.

    As a brit I find Democrats, both those I see on tv and those I chat to online, as pretty much like ourselves. Normal people with good intentions. I find Republicans almost unrecognisable as normal humans by any metric we use to judge people over here.

    Do you think it’s normal for people to wear T shirts saying “I’d rather be Russian than a Democrat”? Do you think it’s acceptable that over 40% of Republicans surveyed thought it was fine or at least ok for Russia to meddle in the next elections too as long as it was to help elect Republicans not Democrats? How do you square gerrymandering and voter suppression with your Constitution that mandates “no taxation without representation”? Do you even believe in Democracy? The Republican leadership certainly doesn’t. They want only to win by any means and if that means the poor and the black don’t get to vote at all that’s just fine.

    Trump is the maggot inside the apple of democracy and the Republican party is a cancer which is killing the country.

  • Fox News is totally in the tank for Trump and the rest literally hate him, none of that is news( 🙂 ).
    I’m no fan of the Two Party system, it isn’t conducive to free democratic elections of representatives. That situation is an ex-legal, cultural self reinforcing boondoggle that will be/is hard to get ‘uninstitutionalized’.
    I think a constitutional republic is a good system , though I do think our federal government has been given too much power and has eroded the important role state and local governments have in protecting individual rights.
    You are sorely mistaken though if you believe there isn’t a pitched battled being waged by the Left and that the major media outlets are egging it on. Political correctness is a real cultural ‘thing’ a meme with legs. The loudest and most violent aggressors are the minority but their allies and handlers control for want of a better term control the media. Liberals have ceded their influence to the hard Left.
    You like polls, have you seen the one that cites that over 70% of those polled think political correctness is a problem ?
    enter link description here
    The left’s tactic of labeling Trump and his supporters as racists , kept most supporters fairly quiet, why was 2016 such a surprise, the media said She would win ,polled that way right up til the results starting rolling in and the fair and balanced commentators wept and wet themselves live on air , it was hilarious.
    I don’t remember white republicans pouring through the streets of DC Nov 9 2008, which one would assume would happen at such an historic moment, if they were actually racist. I did expect to see the left come out in 2016 and they did. And they brought with them millions of non thinking twits and caterwauled to the high heavens, it was hilarious too, only in a sad way.

  • Thad #199

    Very muddled post as per usual Thad. I am not sure whether you are saying I have been fooled by Trump and his “power of persuasion” or that you are happy that you have been and therefore sticking with the blue pill?

    Which part of America are you talking about when you say “Anti-Americanism” because I for one am only anti-American to those that think like you and Trump. You don’t really think you represent America as a whole do you?

    Can you please explain to me how you separate Trumps wrecking ball approach to create individualism to that of the Natzis or any in the list you provide?

    As for Scott Adams:

    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/537297/

    Half baked ideas collapse as soon as they are taken out of the oven.

  • thad #201 Oct 22, 2018 at 11:54 am
    “Aren’t fascism and socialism fundamentally designed on the idea of being members of a group, and the group’s value trumps all personal value?”

    Somehow, I think you are erroneously finding fascism and socialism to be the same. In her book, Fascism: A Warning (see my post #105), Madeleine Albright defines a Fascist as someone who claims to speak for a whole nation or group, is utterly unconcerned with the rights of others, and is willing to use violence and whatever other means are necessary to achieve the goals he or she might have. Professor Albright notes that “[f]ascism draws energy from men and women who are upset because of a lost war, a lost job, a memory of humiliation, or a sense that their country is in steep decline. The more painful the grounds for resentment, the easier it is for a Fascist leader to gain followers by dangling the prospect of renewal or by vowing to take back what has been stolen.”

    Based on Professor Albright’s definitions, I’m surprised that fascism is so attractive in this country (USA). America has not “lost” a war, in the sense that Germany or Japan did. After the great recession of 2008, when the world economy was on the brink of collapse, the United States has had the longest drop in unemployment and period of rebuilding of the economy. Nevertheless, large numbers of people seem to be attracted to the policies of the Republican party as it’s currently branded.

    I hope that it’s not fair to call the current Republicans fascists, but when I see torch light parades with the marchers chanting they won’t be overcome by Jews; when I see the editor of an ultra-right “news” organization advising the President of the United States as well as leaders of the catholic church; when I see black shirted gang members beating protesters outside of Republican assemblies; when I see a Republican congressman – Steve King of Iowa – endorsing a neo-Nazi mayoral candidate in Canada; when I see a future Republican presidential candidate appearing before organizations such as the, mostly evangelical, Council for National Policy (See, https://harpers.org/blog/2018/10/nikki-haley-at-the-council-for-national-policy/), just to mention a few signs, I think there is cause for worry. So does Professor Albright who devotes a chapter of her book to conditions in the United States.

    Socialists, on the other hand, stand for such things as income and wealth equality, a living wage, combating climate change, humane immigration policy, racial justice, health care for all, free universal education, including college and university, etc. etc. See, e.g. https://berniesanders.com/issues/

    As an Atheist, I see a great deal of difference between the two, and I’ll take socialism over fascism any day of the week.

  • @Akrid #202

    To sum up your post more concisely (as I once read): The difference between Democrats and Republicans is this: Democrats believe in Democracy. Republicans believe in Winning.

  • Legislation by plebiscite? In a constitutional republic?

    Michael
    Why do you need Bernie for free universal education?

  • Michael 100 #206
    Oct 22, 2018 at 5:18 pm
    I hope that it’s not fair to call the current Republicans fascists

    They might not quite have attained the definition given by Mussolini which included the aim of world domination but as regards the part about a centralized autocratic government under the control of a dictatorial leader where criticism of the state or leader is not tolerated then I think the label applies pretty well. There are still a few constitutional checks and balances that keep Trump’s worst instincts under control but he rails against them on a daily basis.

    As to socialism where that is defined as the state controlling all means of production and no private property allowed at all then this does not exist and never has existed even under communist regimes. Most western nations are social democracies of some form including the USA although it is far to the right of where other democracies lie. The distinction between the USA and say the UK is the rampant paranoia that the government is too controlling and is going to “come for our guns” one day which is why the paranoid cling to them to protect themselves from their own government as well as outside threats.

    I would say that paranoia is the defining quality of Trump’s America and has been for many decades. There has always been a boogeyman that Americans fear which changes over time. After WWII it was the Soviet Union, then the jews under McCarthyism, the Chinese after the Berlin wall fell and then the muslims after 9/11. Trump has whipped this paranoia into a general fear of all outsiders especially those with dark skin.

    I find it ironic that the self professed land of the free and home of the brave is really a land of those trapped inside the mental cages of their own paranoia and the home of the trembling cowards who think every tiny nation like Iraq or North Korea that possesses weapons with even a fraction of the power of the USA’s is going to come and destroy them one day.

    The central tenet of Nazi propaganda was that you can always control the people by telling them that a terrible external threat exists which only their government can protect them from and to which they must cede control of their lives. This propaganda works best on the low information and poorly informed and the paranoid. That is why it has been so easy for Trump to float to the top of the turd filled cess pit he exists in. Rural America is full of the low information and paranoid. Betsy Devos and Fox News are there to keep them that way.

  • thad

    Democratic mutualism is never a slippery slope, for one thing because of the friction of individual selfishness.

    But a people sufficiently divided by an insufficiency of fellow feeling, can fall prey to those predators who from a simple biological lack of empathy, yet possessing brains, and using purchased power, achieve a monopoly of power and money. We are divided and conquered. Worse we are divided with at least one relatively large cohesive block, the one least able to defend itself from predators and parasites.

    The Right innately do loyalty. Their three distinguishing moral attributes per psychologist Jonathan Haidt “The Righteous Mind” are, loyalty to the group, to the leader and to their institutions. This makes them the perfect group to parasitise. The strong in-group demands a threatening out group or groups. Parasites can create cohesive narratives of out-groups and achieve loyalty and votes against them and legislate in their own favour on taxes and dismantling democracy (Citizens United!).

    To see some of the deep history of this start with

    “Democracy in Chains. Nancy MacLean.

    By contrast the left are comparatively fractured. Their primary moral drivers are concerns for Harms and Fairness. (The right do these too but are reduced in extent to accommodate all that loyalty.) These concerns are far less easy to turn into dogma though the regressive left seek to do this. They involve rather a process (including evidence and reason) that delivers a slightly different answer for each. More compromise is needed for agreement and for parasites a much less attractive prospect is offered.

    Achieving a society wide Democratic Mutualism (defensive against parasitism) is no slippery slope, but rather sustained hard work.

  • thad

    Bernie Sanders understands that education for a thriving nation needs to be considered as part of The Commons, like air and water.

    Trump, one of the most criminal educators to date, appears to want to more fully privatise education along the line of that successfully money making model of healthcare. The removal of mandating standards is essential for him.

  • Phil #197 & 198

    I’ll throw in another uptick on “I don’t know”.

    The way he has left it is not decisive and makes me suspicious. I feel anger, confusion and loss.

  • Evidence and reason suggest that public education , attended by over 90% of the students enrolled in k-12 in the US , has seen a qualitative degradation.

    Isn’t the ‘problem of the commons’ one of access not necessarily provision ?

  • thad

    How can you be said to have provided anything inaccessible?

    Are you saying excess take up of education to K12 has degraded it?

  • Phil
    The accessibility to air and water should not be legislatively denied to any individual in a society that exists for the enjoyment of liberty , yes ?

  • Arkid
    Are you suggesting the list of boogeyman is a list of nonexistent threats? I believe many have viewed those and more as existential threats .
    I do believe Eisenhower’s admonition was/is prescient and a lot of blood and treasury has been extracted from citizens to the end of only enriching those that controlled/control the military industrial complex , lives be damned .
    The HUAC was a permanent House Committee from the 1940’s until about the 1970’s. It’s main focus was identifying subversive ‘UnAmerican’ activities , mostly looking for communist infiltration of the government starting in FDR’s administration. Before the Committee was made permanent other such investigations by Congress were made into identifying fascist and antisemitism influences in the Wilson administration .
    There is history of anti-leftist in America, stupid terds we are.

  • Coy? I have said several times I am an advocate for individual rights and their protection. If that is libertarianism , fair enough. but I’m no squealer.

    Phil , why must mutualism throw out the baby with the bathwater, why the need for positive law?

    Education is a service , providing materials for innate autodidact-ism. When society needs a service and no one is willing to perform it , who then has to and how do ‘we’ extract it from them?

    You mentioned before some people having biologic deficiencies , who should police and bring them under control?

    I don’t think you are afraid of power, it does seem though you believe there is a way to ensure those who have it won’t abuse it.
    I’m curious about that. I think the best way to control that tendency to power is to tend toward the end of spectrum where hyper-individualism resides, you say or seem to me to say there is and will always be a safe middle ground or at least place on a spectrum that can assure a nice balance.

    Lately , I’ve been listening to a lot of the “IDW-guys” , Peterson’s take on hierarchies and the apparent need for or the purported evidence of a perpetual battle between the ‘right’ and ‘left’ wings was intriguing .

  • Crumbs, thad, no wonder you are so slow to reveal!

    Text book, bluff libertarian cover for a ‘fraidy cat.

    Scared of institutions not in your personal control.

    IDW…Peterson…

    I have my standard dismissal of Libertarianism and its simple minded models of the world for slightly clever aspies, and more recently, a standard dismissal of Peterson’s out of date neuro-psychology (so much has happened since Vilyanur Ramachandran’s pop books), but you have made statements with assumptions of virtue that have yet to be demonstrated.

    Why not tell us how you think things should be and why lest I/we strawman you?

    I don’t seek to control the neurally/cognitively diverse (with one exception). I seek to encourage and use their talents and capacities to their benefit and ours. Psychopaths, on the other hand, though they have a lot to offer us, they can become the parasites that always seem to find an evolutionary stable mode of co-existing. We need to do better than this particularly in the US which seems curiously configured for their specific benefit. I suspect them of flipping some of your switches even.

  • Laurie #217 & Phil #220

    Not sure I could ever use the word “libertarian” with any conviction after reading the Wiki pages. Way too many variables for me to be able to pigeon hole someone into. If Thad (or anyone) started with the label first and then tried to define themselves as one, then I am no longer surprised that they sound inconsistent and confused? To me, and I more than appreciate the difference in level of intelligence between you and me Phil, it just sounds like another pointless philosophical brain excercise with no ending. In my mind, I can’t help going back to a simplified event in my electrical life when I was asked to install some outside lights above a garage and instructed to provide just enough light but not too much. I thought about it and decided not to ask how much was not too much as the people didn’t know either and the discussion would not solve anything. In the end, what I fitted was too much and was resolved by the removal of one of the bulbs in the unit which I knew was a compromise for all of us. I don’t have it in me to be a salesman and go on to convince these people that what I fitted was in fact what they wanted all along and I can see that is not what you are trying to do either Phil. I was going on instinct when I did what I did. I hope Thad realised he is dealing with pure genius when tangling with you and saves himself a lot of time and pain by listening and not trying to compete.

    @ #163

    Sorry Peter but how much popcorn can a person eat? 😉

  • So far, though I am willing to be convinced otherwise, I favor the idea of a constitutional republic. ( and revel in my jingoism that the USA’s is the bestest).

    I don’t think I fear institutions as such, I like the concept of a ‘nation of laws not men’ , although just that statement requires a lengthy philosophic discourse on morality and how to generate/derive principles, a task I’m not up to.

    How do I think it should be? ( should is hard enough to define, let alone working out what that would translate to in being)

    How about the ‘golden rule’ , a well reasoned application thereof, I’m bright enough to realize I can’t articulate or conceive what that would look like, but idealistic and arrogant enough to go around yellin “BS” at what i feel it is not.

    olgun is probably right and the eating of popcorn always ends poorly all the shards stuck and all

  • “olgun is probably right and the eating of popcorn always ends poorly all the shards stuck and all”

    A good time to contemplate all our short comings whilst picking our teeth. Time is precious.

  • Olgun

    Interesting interview of al Masseri #226. He says the Turks will leak the consulate videos. I agree with that. Even if they won’t confess to spying on the Saudi consulate they will leak the videos and that will be unsurvivable damage to House of Saud. The ripple effect of this will look more like a tsunami.

  • thad #277

    ( and revel in my jingoism that the USA’s is the bestest [constitution])

    Which ones have you compared it with?

  • Suspicious packages have been intercepted that are addressed to the Obamas, the Clintons, and CNN offices in Time Warner building in NYC have been evacuated. MSNBC reporting all devices in those packages were similar. Soros got one previously.

  • thad,

    The Golden rule was brilliant when it popped up all around the world in the mouths of axial age philosophers around 600BCE. It suited later religions like Christianity and Libertarianism that proposed people were essentially made to a plan, that folk were of identical cognitive capacity and supreme as individuals owing nothing to their antecedents. Of course they would want what I want. Of course they need what I need.

    However we have progressed, We acknowledge our great strength is indeed our diversity of needs and capacities. Our very ability, growing slowly, to live with and bridge those gaps, those differences of needs and capacities is the very secret of our success as a species. Why we progress on all fronts, solve such a diversity of problems.

    2600 years on we can reveal the secret of our growing success is the Platinum Rule.

    Do unto others as they would wish to be done by…

  • Perhaps some rules are made to be broken, but the trick is to figure out which ones.

  • @Thad

    I would appreciate your response to my question #191 regarding Trump’s denial of climate change through fossil fuel burning.

    Or would you just prefer to ignore replying to an awkward question?

  • Laurie #230

    Sorry for late reply Laurie but thunderstorms on the island has the internet on and off and has made posting impossible.

    I am finding it hard to believe there are cameras inside the consulate. When the Mavi Marmara and the Gaza incident happened a while back, YouTube had many doctored tapes that were ‘leaked’ from both Turkey and Israel it seemed. I just hope that is not the case here as it might give the house of Saud a way out. What they have already is enough.

  • erol
    “As you are aware Trump doesn’t accept the human causes of global warming through the constant emission of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning over the last several decades. What’s your take on this stance?”

    I know he was interested in an idea that would feature a Red Team / Blue Team debate on the subject.

  • thad #239

    I have looked back over this thread for a post where Erol asked you whether you knew Trump was interested in a Red Team/Blue Team debate on the human causes of global warming, and have failed to find one.

    His question was:

    “As you are aware, Trump doesn’t accept the human causes of global warming through the constant emission of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning over the last several decades. What’s your take on this stance?”

    Want to have a go at answering that one? Because right now, you’re looking as if you’re more interested in obstructing a discussion than in engaging in one.

  • Marco
    Given what seemed like the political focus of this discussion I thought Erol asked that question in reference to my take on Trump’s political stance on AGW.

    I take Trump’s statements about ” global warming” with a grain of salt, as he is now a politician. When he makes statements or claims that “global warming” is a hoax inventing by the Chinese to harm the Merican economy, I understand that as his response and push back on the idea that CO2 levels in the atmosphere can be mitigated by political means.

  • Marco
    in #241 I meant to say “should be mitigated” as opposed to ‘can be’.

    and given your query re which other constitutions have I read I read , I gave a quick perusal to the constitution of the State of New Jersey and the Egyptian constitution, and I still like the USA bestest.( and to LaurieB I like it with all the amendments but not sure if I love the idea of a popular vote for Senators)

  • thad #243

    I gave a quick perusal to the constitution of the State of New Jersey
    and the Egyptian constitution, and I still like the USA bestest.

    Back in #227 (not #277, as I wrongly typed in my question to you), you wrote:

    So far, though I am willing to be convinced otherwise, I favor the
    idea of a constitutional republic. ( and revel in my jingoism that the
    USA’s is the bestest)

    Not that the USA’s is merely the best of three you’d looked at, but that it was the best. Period.

    Are you aware that there are a total of 157 countries around the world with a written constitution?

    And given that there are, and that you have only looked at the constitutions of 3 of them, how can you be confident that your belief that the USA’s is the best of them is well-founded?

    I grant you that you have confessed that your preference for the USA’s version is based on jingoism – but since this kind of jingoism is currently so dominant in the Trumpian narrative and approach to the rest of the world, and is therefore having real-life effects, what makes it a reliable basis for political judgments and actions?

  • thad

    In my comment 231 I was wondering if you think USA is the best at everything. Most jingoists would say yes with no hesitation.

  • LaurieB #245, only Mericans would , all jingoists would theirs is bestest

    Marco
    I would make the claim that the American Constitution and the republic it founded is the pinnacle of political thought, my jingoism is an attribute of my tribal affiliation/affection with anyone who shares a requisite appreciation of the ideals on which the nation was founded. “America” is an ideal not a place , sappy perhaps but a true sentiment for jingoes like me

  • thad #246

    I would make the claim that the American Constitution and the republic
    it founded is the pinnacle of political thought

    But on what basis?

    By your own admission, you’ve only looked at the constitution of one other country (not two others, as I wrongly suggested above, the State of New Jersey self-evidently not being a country).

    Without proper investigation, how can you possibly arrive at this conclusion?

  • Marco , you got me , it’s just an opinionated assertion. Do you have a favorite ?

  • Thad #241

    I understand that as his response and push back on the idea that CO2
    levels in the atmosphere should be mitigated by political means.

    Why on earth would he want to ‘push back’ on any global attempt to reduce CO2 emissions by political (or any other) means? What kind of logic is he employing to deny that the earth’s average temperature is steadily rising in a clear correlation with the CO2 build up – and not realise that that could ultimately lead to the demise of life on earth? Every sane person understands what’s going on, but he denies it because of his fixation to re-employ people in the US heartlands that once used to work in the coal mines. His action confirms what a poor judgement he has, and that he’s not fit to hold the POTUS office.

  • thad #246
    Oct 25, 2018 at 3:14 pm
    LaurieB #245, only Mericans would , all jingoists would theirs is bestest

    No shit thad. You’re deflecting. It’s not honest. You’re boring me. Put some real ideas out there if you have any at all.

  • Laurie ideas in what area ?
    What categories do nations have, which ones do you need to hear my normative judgements about?

    ‘Nation’ is a broad abstraction, could you delineate , a little?

    There seems to be about 7k Hondurans , really motivated btw, that feel the US is better than at least three other countries.

  • Certainly an encouraging outcome, Vicki. We need more of this type of news.

    Commenting elsewhere I endorsed Sue Blue’s phrasing

    Sometimes you have to break the glass and take out that fuck and use it with all the passion you can.

    Fuckin’ A!!

    My Krauss poll was rather a flop. Elsewhere a woman asserted that all the “fan-boys” would come out in defence of Krauss. I thought very few would. The Buzzfeed list was long enough to suggest a good deal of smoke at least, nor did I think Krauss was particularly loved per se even on RDdot net. I guess he wasn’t

  • Phil #254

    Can’t speak for others but my initial reaction was, why is Phil, Phil of all people, asking a question in such a simple way. I knew you weren’t out to embarrass or trap anyone but was suspicious of the question which made it difficult to answer. Did you panick a little maybe? Not sure that your guess of him not being loved is correct either? I even thought you had some information you would reveal after a little survey for your own use. I decided to just go with how I felt anyway and stick with the facts at hand. Being honest again, I do now feel that it might have unfair to ask the question here in such a fashion and it could have done some damage but will go with you just panicking. You are human after all. 😁

  • I was genuinely curious to find the truth behind that woman’s assertion, Ollie. I seek no judgement of others and thought in asking the question about having enough information plenty of cover could be sought. But the uptick idea gave complete protection.

    It was only very recently that I became confident the moral call was against him, after reading the Buzzfeed article. But then I also had little regard for his popularising physics. I felt little urge to save him, by pointing out as many decent people do, that a man’s career, or some part of it, has been ended on the strength of what may be hearsay.

    I also think we are a group utterly comfortable with each other’s moral integrity. Different judgements on matters will be for a reason. Surely we have never judged our friends for a single opinion?

    It was not panicked-ness but, perhaps it was aspie dumb-fuckery. Apologies if this made you feel uncomfortable. But, perhaps typically, I can still see no reason for feeling so.

    Phil

  • Phil #256

    Of course Phil. Said much better than I ever could as usual. Moral integrity here is solid as a rock. Had a hard time with a few here when I first joined. Some have disappeared but those that are still here I respect immensely. It wasn’t really about feeling uncomfortable just unusual and interesting. I felt protective of atheism and angry we had lost a voice but it was all aimed at Krauss with a little conspiracy theory bubbling in the background. That all fades when I remember how strong people here are individually though. I never know if I have written what I mean because of my education, or the lack of so apologies from this end too for any mistakes I have made. And that goes to all.

  • You’ve made none, Ollie. Very often you have brought us back to the moral heart of the matter. Education is not the issue, though it can distract one into fol da rols and twiddly dees. (I may have passed this failing on. My daughter confided yesterday that one of her lecturers told her to stop reading so much.)

    If anything I’m the eccentric here. Though identifying as atheist for politically active reasons, my real concerns are secularism and centrally, morality and doing it better, despising all dogma (but pre-eminently religious moral dogma) for what it is, a smug end to thinking. For me morality always starts with “think again”.

    I bought “A Universe from Nothing” and felt it a cheat (equivocating on Nothing) and painted us into a corner that few cosmologists actually share. All mostly accept that the removal of matter/energy and a spacetime doesn’t make for nothing. There simply IS a stripped down quantum reality of some sort from which these things and even observers with minds can emerge. I am rather happy to see him no longer punting otherwise.

    I can see a T shirt.

    Dogma, a smug end to Thinking.

    This may make me hopeless as a political animal, but possibly a cracking irritant.

  • I was interested to see the results of Phil’s little poll. I’d like to see another poll on the same question that is split between gender, age, and other factors. Maybe it already exists.

    Our recent Kavanaugh debacle served as an unofficial poll of the public attitude toward sexual harrassment. People were heard to say that the bad behavior should be overlooked because if pursued then the guy’s career would be wrecked. Images of his smiling wife and two daughters were presented constantly on TV.

    This is an issue that falls solidly in the category of business ethics. In ethics we have a framework, a procedure for working through these quandaries. The process takes into account the harms to various people, what type of harms, and then the compensation due to all parties. Context is important. Gray areas like Kavanaugh and Krauss and countless others are exactly where we need our best ethical analysts to weigh in. This can’t be sorted out by limited black and white thinkers who can’t deal with nuance and not by extremists on either side.

    Phil, in your poll above, your n was too low. This is a cardinal sin in the world of stats, as you well know. haha. Say a few hail Marys for penance and blame it on lack of funding, you’ll be off the hook.

    Must be tough going through life a standard deviation or so out from the mean, dumbing everything down all the time, or on the other side, struggling to keep up. I wouldn’t know about that either way but once, after a lecture at Harvard I attended with my very smart friend, (she has 10 IQ points on me at the very least!) she said, “What a relief to hear someone speak who has a more expansive vocabulary than I have!” She was so happy but I realized that she must be dumbing everything down in her life with everyone around her, including with me. Some will say that’s nothing to complain about but I think outliers are often lonely.

    Phil, I don’t mind if some of what you say goes over my head. The bits I glean are worth it. Betterment, morality, resistance to ideological labels, centralism and secularism are now firmly woven into my warp and weft.

    Dogma, a smug end to Thinking.

    Dumbed down version:

    You pray

    I’ll think

    You’re welcome 😉

  • Olgun, you’ve written before about your self-doubt about some of your posts here. All I can say is that you have absolutely no need for it. None whatsoever.

    You are always thoughtful in what you write, always honest, always the first to admit where your confidence in your assertions begins to fade, always looking for the thread that links (or sometimes doesn’t link) the theory to the lived reality, and always – and in a harsh world perhaps this is what I value in your posts most of all – deeply humane. There is robustness there, a willingness to challenge and to probe, but I can’t recall ever reading anything by you that was mean-spirited or unkind.

    There are several ‘stars’ here, all of them always worth reading in their different ways and for different reasons, but for my money you are definitely one of them. I don’t mean to embarrass you, but it truly saddens me when I see that you so grossly undervalue your contribution here.

  • … and now I’ve read all that through again, it strikes me that it reads as if I value your contributions for everything but their intellectual content. And I’d just like to make it absolutely clear that that isn’t the case at all. Far from it.

  • *

    Phil, in your poll above, your n was too low.

    Agreed. I can only conclude that the purpose of asking input from male-only posters was to look for gender bias, in which case including the women posters would have either reinforced that or debunked it.

    Tsk, tsk, Phil. (I’d go with Laurie’s suggestion of a few hail marys.)

  • Vicki I asked for male only input because of someone else’s claim about Krauss’s “fan-boys”. I wanted to offer her a poll result from a Dawkins friendly web site.

    I haven’t gone back…

    I’d be interested in much wider data for myself.

    I’d submit to a few Hail Adas….

  • Laurie,

    If it goes over your head its only because it comes out of my brain insufficiently finished. For much of my working life I’ve had handlers who, through familiarity, can translate some of it into coherent speak.

    You pray

    I’ll think

    See what I mean? Thank you.

  • phil rimmer #264
    Oct 26, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    Laurie,

    If it goes over your head its only because it comes out of my brain insufficiently finished.

    Using words and phrases that most people are unlikely to be familiar with does not help readability or comprehension. “Malthusian” came up recently. I had to google that. Much of what you write is difficult to parse and in some cases incomprehensible. The word order is often just weird. Because of this I’m afraid I often just give up and don’t finish reading.

  • More evidence yesterday of how Trump’s appalling misuse of his bully pulpit is causing real harm to people. The suspect arrested in Florida for sending a dozen or so bombs to people Trump has attacked is a right wing conspiracy theorist nutcase with a twitter page devoted to praising Trump and threatening people who are anti Trump. Any normal president would tell his supporters that such behaviour is never acceptable and must not be indulged in, that political opponents are not enemies and that everyone’s views must be respected even if they disagree with your own.

    However Trump is not normal and stoking divisiveness is his stock in trade. I don’t see how anyone can argue that his rhetoric has not enabled or at least motivated this madman just as his attacks on the press make journalists unsafe in many parts of the world.

  • Poor Donny. He’s really mad at the Florida bomber. Not because the guy sent Democrats pipe bombs though. Because he took the media headlines away from the migrant caravan and the feeble opioid bill Donny signed.

    On 23rd Oct Donny tweeted this.

    Oct 23, 2018 11:43:46 AM Billions of dollars are, and will be, coming into United States coffers because of Tariffs.

    Shit for brains still doesn’t appear to understand how tariffs work. He seems to think the exporting countries pay them. The American consumer pays them and not a penny comes into US coffers from outside. It’s probably not surprising he doesn’t understand taxes though. He’s evaded most of his all his life.

  • The day after the Florida pipe bomber is arrested another nutter shoots up a synagogue in Pittsburgh killing 11 so far. The first had social media accounts showing he hated Dems. The second had social media showing he hated Jews. So my question is this. Why are there so many nutters in the USA? They all seem to hate someone or something. In the UK as far as home grown nutters are concerned we’ve had the Dunblane school massacre in 1996 and 11 people killed in Cumbria in 2010. Everything else recently has been Islamist terrorist attacks. In the USA it’s a weekly occurence.

    It can’t be genetic surely. It must be cultural but I’m not sure exactly how American culture differs so much from ours to produce all these aggrieved people. I think there’s a sense of entitlement in the USA and that if ones life is not perfect then someone else must be to blame. In the UK I think we just accept that life can suck and then you die so just get on with it and don’t grumble. Stiff upper lip and all that.

  • Irish singer Sinead O’Connor says she’s converted to Islam and is changing her name to Shuhada. About Islam she states “This is the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian’s journey. All scripture study leads to Islam. Which makes all other scriptures redundant.”

    I beg to differ dear. The natural conclusion of any intelligent study of theology is atheism. All scripture study reveals how awful the major religions are and how badly they treat people including women, gays and non believers.

    O’Connor has spoken often about her struggle with mental illness and the belief that her family has abandoned her because of it. I have no doubt this has much to do with her embracing religion suddenly. Most people get religion in one of two ways. Brainwashing as a child or some deep personal crisis like illness or addiction in adulthood. This sounds like a classic case of the latter.

  • It was asinine for NBC to hire Megyn Kelly in the first place, especially at the outrageous $69 million for 3 years wage they gave her. She was racially insensitive for years at Fox, declared that “Santa is just white” so there, was of course rabidly anti Democrat like all Fox pundits and it seems pretty ridiculous to expect that the leopard was just going to change its spots overnight and be able to host a cheery light hearted morning show.

    It’s reported she quickly fell out with just about everybody from guests to colleagues and staff on the show. However her denouement was about blackface. She asked an all white panel of guests why whites putting on blackface or blacks putting on whiteface was a bad thing if they were dressing up in character. She opined it was fine for kids at Halloween to do that when she was a child.

    I’m kind of torn about all this. I tend to think this is all PC nonsense and people should find more important things to bitch about. Blacks have been using skin whiteners and hair straightener for ages to try and look more white. In Jamaica it’s called “browning” when you lighten your skin from black to brown. It’s designed to emulate the first natural “browns” who were the offspring of wealthy white settlers and black natives. Being brown carries connotations of social status and connection to wealth. It also gets girls noticed more by guys when darker skin is so commonplace you don’t stand out. Is all that racist? I have no idea.

    When I was growing up we had the Black and Minstrel Show on tv and Robertsons jam had a golly on the label. Both are long since gone. Golly got canned in 2002 although the company claim not for PC reasons, it was just no longer popular with kids.

    I haven’t watched any clips so I don’t know the exact words that Kelly and her guests used in the discussion but it would seem that even having such a discussion is taboo. I object to that. I thought the 1st Amendment did too.

  • Phil #258 & Marco #260

    Can’t accept I made no mistakes because when I go into a rant about others I hide my guilt knowing I am hardest on myself.

    Phil.

    I hate my shyness. I want to walk into a room full of people and feel comfortable but very rarely do. One on one seems even worse. I do realise though that it is the reason that I naturally “think and think again” as I stand in the corner and people watch. Other times I just talk too much to hide my shyness and regret that even more. I wrote early on when joining this forum that it has helped in keeping my small group of friends out of trouble many times. I should be content with it but which of us doesn’t want it all?

    Marco

    Many, including me, have been heard to say that it is hard to show emotion and ones real self over the Net but I felt your generosity as a person straight away. To even bother to comment on my self doubts shows a character I very much admire. I can mostly only comment from my heart and my experiences with not much ability to use names and quotes to back me up. I am aware that some see that as anecdotal and worthless but I do try to find some sort of link that better explains what I am trying to say. It really was hard for me to make my first post here but am so glad I did. People here have made it okay for me to come out of the corner and say my peice and it feels great to get out of my head and hope that they realise I don’t mind being corrected as long as it is not done the Dan way 😉. The Mediterranean comes out in me when that happens 😁

    Enough about my short comings and me in general.

    Laurie

    Krauss should feel shame with no reservations. He should be the first to realise his importance and not have it as an afterthought or for others to judge.

  • Phil

    Did your daughters lecturer give details on why he asked her to not read so much? If you remember, my dad said the same because he felt threatened and wanted me to stay dumb.

  • Ollie, I share your social anxiety though I have learned a few coping techniques. Acting calm when the stress levels rocket. Keeping conversations on my topics until some new person is sussed and I can relax, works well. When meeting just one new person and I don’t control the start of the conversation, every last bit of my brain is trying to compute what this or that gesture or phrase means. Little is left to take in any substance. Two new people together and I’m completely overloaded. I’ve turned down holiday jaunts because of too many new people to cope with… Work situations are OK though as I know what I’m doing and I often have minders.

    I remember your dad’s comment. The lecturer was being taken out of his comfort zone, I suspect. Antique ideas (in psychology and literature) were being challenged from new directions. Maybe both reflect a nervous concern for a loss of authority?

    My son (a little older, just aced his MA with a first) can now thoroughly trounce me on literature, history and politics. I can die happy, knowing I am increasingly redundant.

  • Arkrid #271

    *

    Irish singer Sinead O’Connor says she’s converted to Islam…

    My thoughts on that is she welcomes the structure. Malcolm X did, too. Both of them have a history of rebellion, and I think deep down they take comfort in having someone or something controlling their every waking minute.

    *

  • Phil and Olgun

    I’ve learned and practiced social interaction in group settings since childhood and now have it down to a science, literally!

    My mom was, from my perspective, excessively social, belonging to every club and organization in town. This resulted in her inviting hoards of friends to the house on a regular basis. I would’ve been happy to hole up in my room with a book for the duration but it wasn’t allowed. Rules of engagement were established and enforced.

    Dress appropriately for the situation. Make eye contact. Proceed through greetings appropriate for the occasion that have been selected and practiced beforehand. Create and practice mnemonic devices to remember names and use the name often in conversation for reinforcement. (Even with this in place I’m still terrible with names.) Immediately after eye contact and proper greetings offer refreshments – link it straight to the greetings so it won’t be forgotten! Draw someone nearby into the conversation to facilitate one’s own exit.

    This strict training program, that I never volunteered for, gave me skills to negotiate the more intimidating gatherings where I would need to walk into a room full of people I’d never met and proceed forth without anxiety. I can now address a room full of people and in the past couple of years I’ve been able to speak in front of a crowd in the worst state of mind – funerals. I won’t say I like it, but at least the situation is in control and I can get through it. I feel I’ve reduced it down to an equation which may sound cold and calculated to some but equations are a thing of beauty to me!

  • In nearly 2 years of the most bizarre presidency in my lifetime, this surely has to be one of the most bizarre moments yet. What the hell is wrong with this man?

    Short video clip via the link:
    https://twitter.com/jonwurster/status/1056226917928591361

    As multiple people on Twitter are commenting, “That umbrella is all of us.” (And no, it’s not the one where he holds the brolly over himself, leaving Melania and Barron to get rained on, though that, too, was just jaw-dropping.)

  • Phil #275 & Laurie #277

    Thanks to you both. Has me reaching for my inhaler at the thought of even trying but I have managed it a few times only to then regret saying this and that later 🙄😁. I seem to function better when someone pisses me off. Things become clear and time goes slower. It feels like the moments with Robert Downey jr in Sherlock Holmes. At least I can ask questions at meetings now. Even that came about through shear frustration at the direction the discussion was going. I see it as a virtue most times though. It keeps me out of mob mentality.

  • Marco #278
    Oct 28, 2018 at 10:36 am

    In nearly 2 years of the most bizarre presidency in my lifetime, this surely has to be one of the most bizarre moments yet. What the hell is wrong with this man?

    Pretty much everything as far as I can see. In the early 1990s Vanity Fair magazine did a photo shoot with Trump. They put him in a Loro Piana cashmere sweater which cost £1,200 these days. When the shoot was over he refused to take the sweater off because it might muss his hairdo up so an assistant had to get a pair of scissors and cut it up the back. Not his money of course so he couldn’t care less. That tells you all you need to know about how much empathy or common dency Trump has.

  • Marco #278

    Seems to me he was more eager to go in and bollock someone for not being there to take the umbrella off him. His ‘Apprentice’ hat on.

  • Arkrid #280

    When the shoot was over he refused to take the sweater off because it
    might muss his hairdo up so an assistant had to get a pair of scissors
    and cut it up the back

    I’ve taken to checking stories I read online before expressing an opinion about them – or I have when I remember, anyway. I’ve been caught out before!

    But that really does appear to be a true story – published by Vanity Fair itself – https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/10/graydon-carter-on-donald-trump

    The English language is in urgent need of a word that means “shocked but not shocked” for things that are a) shocking to the point of not seeming possible but b) on reflection totally in character and therefore not shocking at all.

    Any suggestions?

  • Marco #284

    *

    The English language is in urgent need of a word that means “shocked
    but not shocked”…

    I predict the word “trump” will displace its current definition in our lexicon, and it will be one of the few things he’s actually earned.

    *

  • “I won’t buy that hat, it’s too trumpy.”

    “I won’t go to that restaurant, it’s full of trumpists”

    “A trumpeter told me there’s a gun show coming to town.”

    “More tax cuts will bring on the trumpean dystopia.”

  • Yuck, that burger is trumpalicious if ya know what I mean

    Don’t trumple on my dreams

    Who trumped in here? (old but good)

    He’s a real psychotrump

    “Trumped up” charges. Truly dishonest, demented, derisory charges.

  • Late joining this party, saw the name Krauss, I thought (not paying much attention) that he was one of the Big Names in (for want of a better term) the promotion of the secular. At least, I think this site is the only place I ever heard of him.

    Now I see that Krauss resigns rather than fight a probably unwinnable fight (regardless of The Truth), over reports of him “grabbing a woman’s breast”.

    While DT brazenly boasts he can “grab them by the pussy”, to no consequence.

    Any disparity here?

    I seem to see here vague “never liked him anyway” type comments (about LK, not DT), and having not gone to any effort to investigate further, this all looks a bit like that scene in Brazil (the movie, not the country), with the quote: “Until this whole thing blows over, just stay away from me.”

    Disclaimer: “I know nothing. I am from Barcelona.” — from Fawlty Towers. OK, I’m not really from Barcelona, but sometimes I feel I am, in the same way that JFK was a Berliner.

    Meanwhile, Sinead OConnor has gone the way of Cat Stevens. Well, better than going the way of Amy Winehouse or Dolores ORiordan. I hope she lives happily ever after.

  • LK

    I never liked his physics explanations from the get go and wrote here and elsewhere about them well before all this. My opinion on his social behaviour changed following the weight of reported incidents, that I only latterly went out to research. Any one incident is a lapse that demands a need for caution. One thing I learned from being involved in the creation of plays (improvised then written over) was that it is always possible to create a kinder more acceptable narrative for events that seem criminal or malicious. Context is everything and often unknown.

  • Krauss’s alleged infractions seem to be trivial in comparison to Trump’s yet there are enough of them for me conclude there is no smoke without fire. When I am in the company of females I’m constantly aware of the need to not make them uncomfortable in any way especially sexually. I guess some men, maybe many men, do not have this inbuilt mechanism. If he overstepped some boundaries that I myself would never have done then I can’t feel any sympathy for him. Nonetheless it can be hard to interpret signals one receives at times. Women generally expect men to make the first move so we are used to having to be proactive but they get mad if that move was unwanted.

    I feel it is a little harsh in that the woman whose breast he is alleged to have touched never wanted to make an issue of it. It was another woman there who escalated it into a “thing” against the actual “victim’s” wishes.

    Still, it seems like high time he re-evaluates his behaviour and maybe gets some counselling.

  • Hitler and Goebbels would be very proud of the right in America these days. Their constant message is to stoke up fear and divisiveness in a paranoid electorate. This is straight out of Goebbel’s playbook that you can control a population by making them afraid enough to cede their decision making to a fascist government. Trump is laying it on thick that the migrant caravan contains Muslims, terrorists and MS13. Fox News is now claiming the caravan will be full of diseases. Ooooh so scary. They might have cooties and you’ll catch it if you go near any of them. After all it’s not like an advanced western country like the USA has any ability to manage diseases.

    You have to wonder just how fucking stupid any of the voters this is all directed at have to be to swallow any of this crap but they sure seem to. “Home of the Brave” my arse! Home of the fraidy cats more like.

  • We are a civil activist in youth rights. Cultural, artistic and literary in Arab societies of religious nature, we are subjected to great pressures and some of them have been threatened with death.

  • my dear. LaurieB

    Arab reality does not need to be interpreted especially third world countries. We are surrounded by concrete walls that do not want to evolve and do not want to know that the world is developing and the victim is certainly the most conscious of our ideals.

  • A.B.RESHAN

    The internet floats through concrete walls. Satellite TV transmits ideas even in the middle of the Sahara. Cell phones connect camel riders to city slickers. Oppressed young people now know how their Western peers live. This is a war of ideas and as V says, “Ideas are bulletproof.”

  • I just finished reading The God Engine by James Alcock, posted elsewhere on this site. I thought the article was very informative. Below are a couple of things that occurred to me as I read it.

    The article is illustrated by a portrait of Thomas Aquinas, holding a church building in one hand and a copy of, what I assume is, the Summa Theologiae and/or Summa contra Gentiles, in the other. This is appropriate since a great deal of organized religion’s understanding of philosophy and theology is a result of Aquinas’ and other prescientific scholars’ work. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I would be of the opinion that Aquinas had more influence on the practice of religion than any other writer – including the writers of the books of the bible. This is especially true for the members of the European churches – Roman, Anglican, and German/Scandinavian (i.e. Lutheran). As a child, attending catholic schools, we were always taught that the bible was only one source of authority for our faith. Just as important were the teachings of the church, which are based on the writings of many church fathers, the most prominent of which is Aquinas. Our religion classes always used the Baltimore Catechism, rather than the bible, as the text book. I’ve always found it curious that the American churches find the bible to be so authoritative – as though the King James version was dictated verbatim by the divine author. Remember the old joke, the punch line to which is: “If the King James version was good enough for St. Paul, it’s good enough for me!!”

    I loved Alcock’s comparison of belief in god to the belief in Santa Claus. The writer of the essay published on September 5, 2018, in the Convert’s Corner – The religions were interesting to me, but none were persuasive – noted that he realized he was an atheist while sitting in a monastic choir during a period of meditation, at which time he compared his belief in god to his childish belief in Santa Claus. He said it was as though someone had turned on a light, a light which has never gone out. I was also reminded of a short poem by Robert W. Service, called The Sceptic, published in a collection called Rhymes of a Rolling Stone:

    My Father Christmas passed away
    When I was barely seven.
    At twenty-one, alack-a-day,
    I lost my hope of heaven.
    Yet not in either lies the curse:
    The hell of it’s because
    I don’t know which loss hurt the worse —
    My God or Santa Claus.

    The sad thing is that in the 21st century, so many people still do not know how to distinguish fantasy from reality. In order to see the consequences of this confusion, one only needs turn on a television or pick up a newspaper. Once again, I’m so grateful to Richard Dawkins and the other atheist intellectuals for providing a scientific basis for rational thinking. Thanks too to whoever posted Alcock’s article.

  • Michael 100 #296
    Oct 29, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    The sad thing is that in the 21st century, so many people still do not know how to distinguish fantasy from reality. In order to see the consequences of this confusion, one only needs turn on a television or pick up a newspaper.

    Indeed so!

    We only have to look at the junk-food and the pernicious junk pseudo-information many are fed on!

    http://humanevents.com/2010/06/17/the-atheistdominated-national-academy-of-sciences/
    It is important for us to understand the mindset of the hierarchy of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) because they are the ones whose alleged expertise on “global warming” will justify the Democrats’ cap-and-tax legislation. Over the last 50 years, the NAS hierarchy has become one of the most poisonous organizations in America, a nest of atheists who base their pseudo-scientific dogma on the arbitrary rejection of God, and not upon empirical evidence and the scientific method.

  • Fox News is pulling out all the stops to keep people scared of the Honduran migrant caravan. A guest on Fox last week, former ICE agent David Ward stated that people in the caravan are infected with smallpox, leprosy and TB.

    The slight trouble with that is that the World Health Organisation declared smallpox eradicated back in 1980. It now only exists in laboratories in Russia and the USA. The last known case was in Somalia in 1977. Leprosy is almost unknown outside of India and Brazil and TB is easily treated with antibiotics.

    I’m pretty sure I know what the people in the caravan really have which Fox viewers are afraid of. NBS disease, which is widespread in central and southern America. NBS affects almost 100% of the population down there and is passed from generation to generation. Fortunately it’s not contagious but can be inherited by any offspring if you have unprotected sex with an NBS carrier. If you suspect anyone you come into contact with has NBS you should immediately phone your nearest CDC office and/or Fox News. Explain clearly that you are reporting a case of NBS and if they are not sure what you mean then clarify that you are talking about Nasty Brown Skin disease.

  • As Pittsburgh grieves and the Dems who received pipe bombs thank their lucky stars none of them detonated we mustn’t forget the real victim in all this. Sarah Huckabitch Sanders is determined that we won’t. Giving her first press conference for a month SBS stomped out onto the stage yesterday with a freshly picked scowl plastered on the face that always looks like a slapped arse and read a prepared statement. After a cursory mention of the dead in Pittsburgh she saved most of her time for bemoaning how badly the press have treated Donald Trump in all this. Donald Trump didn’t pull the trigger in that synagogue. Donald Trump didn’t assemble or post those pipe bombs. Even the most left wing press doesn’t think he did those things and the rest of us doubt he would be capable of either. Pulling a trigger requires several pounds of force and can be hurty on ones index finger if you aren’t used to it. Assembling pipe bombs takes knowledge and some skill with tool use. Donald Trump has never picked up a screwdriver or a spanner in his life. We are after all talking about the laziest man in the history of the world. Someone for whom putting an umbrella up was so overwhelmingly onerous he just dropped it on the steps outside the plane. There’s as much chance of Trump being able to assemble a pipe bomb as of my pet ferret assembling Ikea furniture. Anyway, Trump never does his own dirty work. He encourages, or pays, others to do it for him. He wouldn’t want anything cutting into his 9 hours a day of executive time.

    SBS continued by saying the Press is the real enemy in all this. Oh really, not the shooter? Not the pipe bomber? The Press is the real enemy and Trump is the real victim? Poor Donny. How could he have known that there might be nutters out there hanging on his every divisive word and his calls for violence. Because yes there have been those. He said he’d pay their fines if anyone at his rallies beat up protesters. He called the Montana politician who assaulted a reporter “my kind of guy”. When asked if he might now tone down his rhetoric he said he’d tone it further up. So yes Donny you’re to blame for inciting these people.

  • Michael

    James Alcock is an excellent guy to have on our team. His skeptical writings on PSI are a case in point. He proposes that PSI investigators never sufficiently entertain the idea that PSI may not actually exist.

    The failure to take the null hypothesis as a serious alternative to their psi hypotheses leads them to rely upon a number of arbitrary “effects” to excuse failures to find predicted effects, excuse the lack of consistency in outcomes, and to excuse failures to replicate.

    For me the God Engine appears to insufficiently consider the possibility that the cognitive biases he lists are insufficient to explain the persistence and narrow identities and distinctions of religion(s). Rather they are the loosest of cognitive biases needing diligent and aggressive exploitation, promotion and policing by a self serving shaman class, to be turned into stable religious thinking.

    The God explanation industry fails to sufficiently analyse the anthropological roots of religion and capitalises on ideas like The God Spot, The God Gene, The God Engine, preaching innateness of an idea that emerged very late in the day, towards the very end of the agricultural revolution only two and three thousand years ago. Before this there were explanatory mechanisms that slowly evolved into more efficient ones. (We can make chickens (who learn about the world in the same way as we do), superstitious by screwing with their experience of the world. But without interference, they get along just fine. )

    I am ever frustrated by our (atheist) reluctance to collar the exploiters, the shaman classes (often unbelievers themselves), for the persistence not only of this kind of thinking but a very very specific kind of thinking.

    Go for the “shepherds” not the flock.

  • Krauss’s alleged infractions, I was very disappointed to hear of the allegations in relation to Laurence Krauss. I’d hope we’d be prepared to hold our own to account as we are certainly willing to hold the religious to account when they trespass into the realm of the creepy and sexual transgressions. However I’m also concerned about some of the witch hunt aspects that the Me Too movement has been engaged with at times. A number of people have been falsely accused in my country and some of the papers here have had to retract stories over the past year or so.

    He released a letter outlining the allegations in Buzz feed and his correspondence leading up to the article. A couple of points of note were that I believe that Rebecca Watson had given information to Buzz Feed about Krauss (Watson was the women involved in the elevator gate issue a few years back) she has been accused of making false allegations from others in the past, I don’t know how reliable these reports are either. However even what Krauss admitted in his statement would indicate that he was open to hooking up. I’d say the jury is out until there is more information and a clearer sense of what happened. Buzz feed had apparently refused to interview other witnesses who claimed the breast grabbing incident did not happen however again it’s hearsay.

    Allegations like this are a serious weapon we need to be careful that it is not used as such or we risk victims not being believed. I worry over all of this, Krauss seems of have pretty much disappeared off the landscape. If he is guilty then this is appropriate if not then the destruction of someones reputation is a frightening prospect. As I teacher I try to avoid being in a classroom alone with a female student but it sometimes is impossible to avoid but you know when a female student needs to talk to you about a sensitive matter you are leaving yourself open to an allegation you would have no way of disproving (I try to leave a door open or organise a more public place but not always possible). Having in my career worked alongside both male and female teachers who have been guilty of sexual misconduct with students I also know that you can’t trust all of us. Each of these teachers claimed innocence and was believed I was surprised at the stupidity of some of the actions so clearly some people are not only creeps by are so narcissistic that they don’t think they could ever be caught.

    Anyway I’d suggest caution on all sides of this. We should be treading very carefully.

  • Even by Trump’s own standards he’s getting very weird this week. He says he’s going to end birthright citizenship, the right of any child born on US soil to claim citizenship even if its parents are illegal imigrants. Trump says he’ll do this by Executive Order even though the right is granted by Amendment 14 of the Constitution and to change one of those requires a 2/3 majority in each House plus the consent of 3/4 of the states. Trump also claimed that the USA is the only country in the world stupid enough to grant birthright citizenship despite this being the law in both its neighbours Mexico and Canada plus nearly every country in Central and South America.

    One therefore presumes this is just an attempt to grab the headlines back from the nasty bombers and shooters who have taken them away from him.

  • Grrr humbug. Having just read that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince MBS new nickname is Mister Bone Saw I now have ELO’s song Mister Blue Sky stuck in my head except with the words Mister Bone Saw.

  • Trump sends 5,200 troops to the southern border to deny entry to Honduran migrants who are still 1000 miles away. I can therefore confidently predict that for at least a few weeks the troops will be 100% successful. If and when the migrants actually arrive it might be a different story. The military is not allowed to enforce domestic laws unless there is no other option and Trump has many other options. This was enshrined in law in 1878 as the Posse Comitatus Act signed by President Rutherford B Hayes. The president can invoke the Insurrection Act in the event of civil law enforcement being overwhelmed by an uprising and hence deploy troops but the migrant caravan would appear to be rather too distant to be overwhelming anyone just yet. The military is also not allowed to detain civilians which means the troops can make coffee for ICE agents or act as drivers for them but not a lot else.

    So this spectacular waste of time, resources and money to impress a few hard of thinking deplorables is very likely an illegal act, unconstitutional and possibly impeachable. I imagine the new Speaker of the House in 6 days time, Nancy Pelosi, will be getting her constitutional lawyers to have a good look at it.

    Some time ago I raised the spectre of Trump refusing to leave at the end of his term, declaring martial law and surrounding the White House with military. He’s now demonstrated he has no compunction about using them for his own corrupt purposes so my scenario might be one step closer to reality.

  • ..Or equally plausible, Trump is using the caravan as an excuse for military deployment to seal off the border, hasten construction of a physical barrier to ensure his rule and make escape impossible. It may be that the press has been totally co-opted and the sealing of the northern border has been established, the only real explanation why so many liberal elites have not fled , as they hysterically exclaimed they would rather than submit to tyrannical rule.

  • Surge in emigration from US since Trump became president:

    http://fortune.com/2018/02/02/us-migration-new-zealand-trump/

    https://globalnews.ca/news/4396938/move-to-canada-donald-trump/

    https://globalnews.ca/news/3918164/immigration-from-u-s-surging-in-year-since-trump-elected-consultant/

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/us-citizens-emigrate-new-zealand-record-numbers-visa-applications-donald-trump-us-president-politics-a7628701.html

    But even if not a single ‘liberal’ had left the country, are you seriously suggesting that emigration is the only honourable option for citizens of a democracy who wish to oppose and resist what they see as harmful and evil policies in their country?

    “If you don’t like it, you can always leave” is not the language of democracy. For which reason, it doesn’t surprise me in the least to hear it implied from a Trump supporter like yourself, thad.

  • Do we all remember Trump boasting during the campaign he’d be so busy working as President he’d have no time to play golf like lazy Obama? So far he’s played golf 162 times or 1 day in every 4 of his 649 day presidency. Obama played 250 rounds in 8 years.

    His average day doesn’t start until 11 am, sometimes as late as 1 pm before they see him staff say. When he isn’t golfing or fawning to deplorables at a rally he does an average of 3 hours work a day with 9 hours of “executive time” i.e. sitting on his fat arse watching tv scarfing down burgers and fries. He takes only about 2 hours of intelligence briefings a week and clearly little of even that small amount sinks in. Too lazy to put up an umbrella, too unfit to keep up with the other world leaders walking at the G7 in Sicily he has to follow them in a golf buggy like a cripple. The end result of a brain so disfunctional he thinks exercise is bad for you.

  • Marco
    You incorrectly inferred from my comment, my comment was directed at the ludicrous idea that any significant segment of the American population would stand for a military usurpation of the rule of law.
    ( or that any significant segment of the military would participate in such a nutter scheme as Akrid posited)

  • ” or equally plausible” , I implied nothing about political participation or even patriotism when referencing the stated claims of some rather silly pop culture buffoons.

  • Nor does #310 get #305 any closer to the meaning you claim in #308.

    I think it’s probably pretty clear to all now that you are merely trolling here.

  • Vicki #312
    Oct 31, 2018 at 10:11 am

    @Thad #305

    Heh…”elites.”

    One wonders how anyone can be more elite than Trump. Does he even wipe his own arse or does he have someone to do that for him? I suspect he’s too fat to reach that far round.

  • Michael 100, you read my mind. It reminds me of this classic Q&A with Dawkins from around the time of the publication of TGD:

    ***It’s interesting that you link those two words — intelligent and atheistic. Are you saying the more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to be an atheist?

    RD: There’s a fair bit of evidence in favor of that equation, yes.

    That sounds like an elitist argument. Do you want to cite that evidence?

    RD: It’s certainly elitist. What’s wrong with being elitist, if you are trying to encourage people to join the elite rather than being exclusive? I’m very, very keen that people should raise their game rather than the other way around. As for citing the evidence, a number of studies have been done. The one meta-analysis of this that I know of was published in Mensa Magazine. It looked at 43 studies on the relationship between educational level or IQ and religion. And in 39 out of 43 — that’s all but four — there is a correlation between IQ/education and atheism. The more educated you are, the more likely you are to be an atheist. Or the more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to be an atheist.***

  • Steven007 #315

    I’ve recently become aware that the internet now seems overflowing with flat Earthers. Most seem to be pretty dim and ignorant of the physics involved in our understanding of how our world actually works. But a few are quite bright, they have much better presentations, have expending some considerable effort on production values but most notably they are pulling the same rubbish that many of the educated bright religious people do. They very creatively (and very dishonestly) play a selective game with the data, carefully ignoring the obvious pitfalls in their own premises. Hucksters are often very smart people. So this may correspond to the 4 out of 43 Richard mentioned.

    So I suppose I’d prefer to link my atheism to my integrity. I became an atheist because I was trying to convince others that they were wrong and I was right and fortunately for me could lie to myself when solid evidence was presented against my own beliefs. You do need sufficient IQ be be able to understand the issues and clearly I possessed this IQ before becoming an atheist. One of the issues we have with AGW denial is it takes two seconds to point to some cherry picked graph claiming global warming is not happening and to people not familiar with reading scientific papers or analysing data you then need to be very familiar with the data and tricks used to try to use climate science data misleadingly to educate someone convinced of this. You may need to give them an hour long maths lesson and ultimately you come across to the uneducated (in climate science) as just another talking head. Meanwhile the deniers simply point to some other graph and creatively misquote it. I’ve come to the point where on this issue I don’t argue much the point anymore but instead tend to point out that deniers don’t engage in the actual science ever. You never see climate science deniers funding and manning ships to drop buoys into the ocean to gather data, you never find them taking ice core samples, they simply sit on the outside and nitpick. They have no explanation for the rising temperatures that stand to any scientific scrutiny etc.

    Reagrds

  • Reckless #216

    Sorry but how can “stupid” people even try to make the leap with language like that? I can’t do the maths either but I understand other things like Ozone layers and rising see levels and can see the effects. I didn’t like RW saying that “people should step up and not the other way around”. Pulling up the ladder or what! Teachers, and you are one if you engage in conversation were you intend to inform and change opinion, should find a way to teach whoever is in front of them. If those of high IQ are waiting for everyone to reach their level then the battle is lost even before it’s begun. Wish I COULD do the math but not doing so doesn’t get in the way of my understanding or my understanding of my atheism.

  • Not convinced that his sending 5,200 troops to head off the migrant caravan was sufficiently impressive to get all the deplorables fired up to vote next week Trump says he’ll now send 15,000 troops there. Perhaps if he sent them with nukes instead of just guns he’d look stronger.

    Trump’s fear mongering is almost comical in its stupidity. He bemoans that the caravan contains many young men, very strong, virile, bad hombres because of course the USA has no defences against strong young men. Weak old men can be shot but bullets just bounce off strong young brown men. It’s the NBS (nasty brown skin) which makes them bulletproof like Luke Cage. Maybe it’s just me but when Trump says these sorts of things on camera about how strong and young all these men are he sounds really really gay. He sounds like he’s trying to scare aging spinsters that the actual threat from these strong young men is rape. I’m pretty sure the fear he is stoking is his own. I recall a biographer of his saying that Trump is terrified of black men in particular. He finds them physically intimidating or maybe sexually intimidating and it may be a penis size/ virility issue with him.

    Fox have the exact opposite message but designed to do the same thing. The caravan is full of disease. Mainly diseases that were eradicated 40 years ago.

    So basically it’s a caravan full of strong young men who are so disease ridden you better not touch them or go near them. They’re either going to leap on you strongly and youngly and rape you or coat you with gunge from their exploding smallpox pustules as they lie feebly on the ground.

    I said above that Hitler and Goebbels would be proud of the right wing propaganda but I may have to take that back. Goebbels would be saying “my god these guys are stupid. Do they thing anyone will fall for this pathetic bullshit?”

    Sadly the American electorate really is that stupid and probably not capable of spotting the oxymoron that is the mixed message of strong young disease ridden men. They’ll catch the “we must be very very scared” bit and thank you uncle Donny for being strong and brave enough to send troops to keep us all safe in our beds.

  • As I am wont to do, even after 25 years, I was pondering the conversations I used to have with my fundamentalist young earth creationist friend back in the 90s. He used to claim, and I think he truly believed himself, that he was rational, logical, interested in evidence, facts, the truth of his beliefs. It’s just that in practice he instantly rejected out of hand anything which conflicted with his beloved buybull. So the question I was specifically pondering was when I asked him if he was really rational and logical and evidence based then what evidence would he need to see to convince him that his god didn’t exist. He said that nothing anyone could ever say or show him would make him stop believing in his god.

    It occurs to me that this all sounds very much like addiction. Like an alcoholic or drug addict these people can only think about where their next god fix is coming from. Maybe this means that addiction type counselling is needed to get through to them. I wondered if the brain trust in here think I’m on to anything.

  • Trump says he needs 15,000 troops at the border because the migrant caravan is much bigger than is being reported. He says he knows this because he’s really good at estimating crowd sizes. This man’s delusions of adequacy are staggering.

  • Trump’s self proclaimed ability to judge crowd sizes seems to have failed him at Pittsburgh. He claimed he and Melanoma were warmly received and there was only a small demonstration, it was far away and anway he never saw it. I’m not sure how he could tell what size it was if he never saw it. It reminds me of Father Dougal in Father Ted trying to understand the difference between toy cows on the table near him and real cows away in the field. As Father Ted patiently expained. “Dougal, these are small but very close. Those are big but far away.”

    80,000 people in Pittsburgh signed a petition to stop Trump turning up but Trump has never cared about the popular vote. He went anyway and never mentioned the dead once, just how badly he’d been treated by the media.

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