Saturday, July 01, 2006

I know I said I'd troll today...

...but this is a pretty nice day right now, though thunderstorms are predicted. Further, the place is dead on weekends. Hence, the wise course of action would be to wait until Monday. But here I will preview a couple ideas:
  1. Popular presentations of evolutionary ideologies are commonly digested and read as science. Take "selfish genes": an interpretation of facts or a useful way of looking at data is mistaken often for a fact in itself or "the truth" about the way genetics works.
  2. Science, in general popular discourse, being about "truth" - which it most certainly is not.
  3. Popular use of induction despite its formal invalidity. This will probably be left out, I just thought some Hume would be fun.
  4. The failure to produce ex ante mathematical models for speciation, or even particularly good ex post calculations. Suppose we had videographic evidence of the past 2 billion years and DNA samples from every organism as well as the abilities to process said information and realize that there were no deviations from statistically-predicted gene frequencies and what-not. What would the science of such a thing be? Predictive mathematical models, considerations of "convergence", all sorts of methods of analyzing fact using math. What would the popular account of evolution, however, be? All sorts of bosh about squeezing God out of all the gaps, "proving" the "truth" of evolution, dozens of conceptual frameworks a la "selfish genes" for interpreting the data. Which of the two do those advocating the teaching of evolution in schools rant more about? Hint: one of the two doesn't exist and would be way beyond the understanding of a high-schooler.
There is more, of course, to science than falsifiability and mathematical models, but not much if you're just looking for a rule of thumb. The IDers are going about it all wrong, but they're just as right in a certain way as anybody who wants to teach "selfish genes" in the classroom - neither are science because neither one would predict anything different about the world or could possibly be proven wrong by any situation in the world. They are both somewhat useful interpretations of the facts.

Actually, ID isn't. Some strands of it do make predictions. I think it's silly.

So I'll polish this up and expand for Monday. I hope it will be adequate and I will have to put an acknowledgment to Mr. Tkatchev at the end.

EDIT: more is needed on #1, particularly, the uncritical use of evolutionary theory [science] to build up naturalistic ideology [not science] in popular discourse [which is what eventually makes it into schools, since schools don't teach science].

Friday, June 30, 2006

why do I do this to myself?

I took a good long look at that dreadful site to see what they were saying. I felt like I should, you know, just look and see what was up. A comment about how conservative fear God, a God who smashes things and whose smashing of things the males want to emulate, while the liberalists trust God and make everything just dandy received much applause from the audience. It's like watching a train wreck. What possible buffets could have knocked them onto this course? Are they that deluded? Why is the left so disgusting to talk to?

In conclusion, everybody who disagrees with me is either dumb, diseased, evil, or adversely conditioned by their childhood.

EDIT: note that I haven't been interacting at all with them, I've just been reading. I don't think I want to write anything for them ever again. What point would there be? We, uh, just don't share any values.

dubium: whether our plucky young adventurer should critique the ideology of evolution

Since I feel like trolling and they asked for it [don't worry, not anywhere alluded to in the last post], tomorrow is a good day I think for poking holes at the ideology [not the science] of evolution. I know that I usually spend my time looking down on ID-ers and YEC-ers, but I feel that those silly proponents of scientism in all of its guises need a tweak on the nose. It'll be something for grown-ups. Does this sound like a good idea? I'll cross post arguments.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

today is a good day, i think...

...for being disgusted at websites i'm nominally-affiliated with and supposed to be regularly producing content for.

in this space, i was about to make rather cruel fun of some article about right-wing christians by some pluralist "lutheran seminarian', but i had second thoughts because it wouldn't be nice to make fun behind somebody's back. so instead i will talk a little bit about "affirming" and "valuing" things.

that is to say, if i ever hear of somebody "affirming" my tradition and "valuing" my religious experience, i will plotz. i mean, sure, i suppose i do "value" the tradition of the orthodox jews. i think there should be more of them and i think they're very cool by me. i "value" or perhaps even "affirm" most traditions and religions in some way [exceptions include: mormonism, modern paganism, genitalia worship [aka liberalism?]...]. i wouldn't tell anybody i affirm their tradition, though: it's contentless and patronizing. everybody "affirms" everything these days except for strawmen. as for valuing things and "values" in general: who cares? one of the stupidest moves by the religious right has been to assume the rhetoric of values in their discourse [the libertarian right is free to do so since they don't believe anything]. the modern nihilistic left is perfectly at home in it, and anybody who is not a nihilist will quickly begin to function as one. the "dominionists" and "theocrats" want governance based on truths about God and man, not on preferences and whims. Rousseau and most of the enlightenment folks, even, wanted governance based on truths about man: not so the moderns, they deny there is any truth about humanity and instead only have values for us to suck on. values are things we think are important, not necessarily things which are important. without grounding these values in some basis, political discourse simply becomes a struggle for power: who gets to impose their preference on the population.

in conclusion: i do not value reason, tolerance, respect for science, personal liberty, or religious freedom.

anybody want to hire me?

I work hard and don't eat much. Relocation: possible.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

so far today:

50-some probability problems done. only 80 more left in the chapter, and probably 30 of then are lame enough to skip. and then i'll be done with chapter three.

unless i get started on nethack today.

UPDATE: apparently i was on problem like 74 when i left off, which left fewer to do. and lots were lame or stupidly hard, so they were skipped for later decades. and i cut out early. good thing, too, 'cause now that i'm here there's like a thunderstorm. rockin'.

public service announcement

The 173 stops running mid-June.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

re: idiots, augustine, and sex.

It's one thing when secular folks try to pin stuff or whatever about Catholic sexuality on the good St. Augustine, their ignorance is readily excused. It's another when some silly Orthodox would try to draw a distinction between Catholic and Orthodox sexuality [that I may be fine with], pins the difference on Augustine [again, plausible], and the difference is that somehow the Catholic view is more restrictive or more ascetic or whatever [this is where the abject nonsense comes in]. I can't pretend to begin to discuss what an Orthodox sexuality might be or how it might differ from a Catholic sexuality, but I would suppose that the trends of Eastern theology which inform Orthodox thought on the matter were the same sorts which informed Gregory of Nyssa and, through other channels, Ambrose and Jerome. A cursory familiarity with their thoughts on, say, chastity and the married life combined with a cursory familiarity with Augustine's thoughts on the issue would put an end to any discussion on the matter.

If I weren't so lazy and had the primary texts on hand, I'd demonstrate in detail!

The question: why does everybody hate on St. Augustine? Is it 'cause he's beautiful?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

i do have something to say

i should probably retract that silly ecusa post.

it's time i wrote something

But i've got nothing. Except that my shift key is only sporadically working because the action on this new keyboard is just completely off. i guess I did read le petit Prince the other day and I could discuss that, but I really don't have anything to say. "I like books." "It's a well-known fact: foxes are cool but businessmen are lame." oh, and, of course, "I think the sheep did not eat the flower."