20051220

Down in Dover

I'm continually frustrated that the Left fails to recognize what should be in their arsenal: a moral sense that is not based in religious sentiments, and a spirituality that does not invoke nonexistent ghosts. A politicization of that moral sense, as well, having that idea set coalesce into a force that attempts to survive on its own. A movement. Or at least, the Dems catching some of the ideas from it to power themselves.

Science needs to play at politics, because it has been neutered. There need to be nonprofits that aren't massively inefficient, lobbyists who are good at encouraging politicians, and some way to wrench the balls of the people pulling the strings. (Yeah, we might be talking about teh 4liens now, but we might still be serious.)

More to come.

Scopes Trial final score: Monkeys 1, Jesus 0

Not the best score we could have hoped for, but not quite the drama of what the opposite decision would have unleashed, either. Judge John Jones could have gone farther than just rejecting ID from the classroom and claimed that ID had no valid reason to be studied as a science. He could have grown balls, but as we know from our legitimate science classes, testicle size is in direct proportion to the amount of competition from cohorts*. And this opinion had no nuts whatsoever:

Jones wrote that he wasn't saying the intelligent design concept shouldn't be studied and discussed, saying its advocates "have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors." (CNN.com via AP)
Of course, bona fide beliefs do not make for bona fide scholarship. As far as I can tell, good scholarship is based on honest appraisal of facts, reliable peer-and-competitor review, reproducability of results, and a demonstrable lack of underlying motivation to tip your conclusion to one side (e.g., devotion to some belief system.) Judge Jones made the right surface choice, obvs, but with no depth: the scores of other school districts facing the same issues are going to have to rehash the argument, scores of times. Why not just grow a set and say what's on everyone's minds: science classes and Sunday school are two separate beasts. And no Aslan movie is going to convince me otherwise.


*OK, I'm stretching a little bit for the sake of prose. (No, not ball stretching, you disgusting pervs)

20051216

The Assimilated Homo

I get asked sometimes what my ethnic background is, and of course my inner WHITEY BUNGALOW GLINESTONE teh FOURTH hearkens back to my standard PC response: that our human psyche is the same mind-plan shared by all of us, and so that I really come not from some tiny European coastal islands with awesome kilt-themed bands you haven't heard, but instead from a breeding population of roughly ten thousand individuals who lived on the savannah just near the trees on the eastern side of Africa, who were mostly like us, but a bit different, were versions a little more crude and rough, like the hand-axes our predecessors Homo erectus made and then tossed on the ground, ending up, like Homo sapiens sapiens, scattered across the whole of Africa, Europe and Asia. H. Erectus never made it to Oceania, the Americas, the Arctic regions, or space stations, but you know they'd have dropped their trash there if they had. That's my ethnic background, then: the people who drop their wasted, broken implements at the exact moment they lose their value.

Ah, the glorious and wonderful trash-heaps of history!

(I don't know where I was really going with this, but it got you this far.)

20051209

/. postings: On Ecology

Ecology vs economy, round infinity(Score:4, Insightful)

by geekpuppySEA (724733) on Friday December 09, @06:29AM (#14219069)

It's the ages-old assertion that any change in policy that benefits the environment must come with economic costs, and vice versa.

It all comes down to individual costs vs. group costs. The Left is more concerned with long-term group costs - not to say that they're not concerned with individual costs, but they're more willing to pony up for stuff that makes long-term sense. Conservatives, for the most part AFAICT, can't be bothered with worrying about the group costs.

I'm not going to say that not worrying about group costs automatically makes you greedy and evil, although the Left would love everyone to think that (and I would too, insofar as it might get the system changed before we're all choking to death.)

But I DO claim that being concerned about individual costs more than group costs makes sense from an evolutionary perspective - the individual mind must be more concerned with its own survival rather than everyone else's too. One lone organism can persist to reproduce, etc even if all its clan are killed off. Clearly, this kind of mentality had to evolve prior to group selection.
However, it's been said repeatedly that the history of modern morality and cultural evolution describes an expanding circle, in which more and more people are encompassed within the region of "people we need to care about and grant rights to." In modern times this has surpassed individual humans and expanded to include the whole environment.

So conservatives aren't wrong, they're just not caught up with the rest of the world.
Now, is it going to make sense when those on the Left who are crazies (don't deny it, every side has got 'em) - when they start targeting oil executives (why aren't those pansies doing that shit yet anyway!), is that going to change how people think? Probably not - but it sure would make those revolutionaries feel better. Not that I'm advocating that - it would be better if they'd just realize the error of their ways and start giving a shit about other people. That'd make all that x-tian rhetoric all the more realistic...

this was in response to
Not every conservative wants to start burning trees and immediately dump dioxin into the water. Many in fact do "get it" and comments like these merely serve to polarize the issues, while at the same time making the liberal "point of view" seem hopelessly simplistic and naieve.

which was in response to
I never understood conservatives' problems with environmental issues. Things like global warming, the eventual depletion of fossil fuels, deforestation ... why is it stupid to consider this issues like this? I mean we live on this planet, don't you think we should look out for it? We're not going to get another shot at this. Once we fuck it up, we're extinct.
Politicians have a good reason to be anti-environment because they and their friends make serious bank by drilling oil, cutting down trees, running industries that pollute and the like. I can understand their point of view. But why does their profit mean anything to you? You realize that by supporting their point of view, you're just making them rich at the expense of the planet's (finite) resources, right?