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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

All Homosexuals Are Going To Hell!

Just Kidding!

Actually, all whites are going to hell.
A long-time black civil rights activist said, so it must be true.

Now, obviously, it is patently absurd and deeply offensive for anyone to even begin to imply that there is anything wrong with being homosexual, or pro-abortion, or anything like that.

Being homosexual will not send you to hell.

But if someone accuses you of being white... well.. time to break out the asbestos suits.

“I don’t know what kind of a n—– wouldn’t vote with a black man running,” Lowery also told the audience in the St. James Baptist Church in Forsyth, Ga., according to the Reporter...
“It was a joke” told via the perspective of a young militant, Lowery told TheDC. “When I said it, I said it was a joke, I identified it as a joke,” he said.
Which is why we are all still laughing. 
I mean, that part where he calls black men the "n" word - that was HILARIOUS!
Cracked me up. I'm still wiping tears from my eyes.
So is Martin Luther King.

Lowery is major figure in Democratic politics. He headed the George delegation to the Democratic Party’s 2012 convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Thus, no harm, no foul.
And if you're a white guy reading this, you'd better think this is all a wonderful joke or you're just another damnable racist. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Pope's Unmentionables

God bless Pope Benedict XVI.
He's really trying to promote indulgences.
Even put out a brand new plenary indulgence for the Year of Faith.
(Sadly, it's not in my 2013 calendar because he just announced it last week)

Unfortunately, NO ONE will do this indulgence.

You see, this is the meat of how you get the Year of Faith plenary indulgence:
...take part in at least three instances of preaching during the Sacred Missions, or at least three lessons on the Acts of Vatican Council II and on the Articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in any church or ideal place;
The "spirit of Vatican II" priests will refuse to do what is necessary to fulfill the indulgence because they don't really like the theology of indulgences.

The SSPX and FSSP priests won't do it because they don't really like the theology of Vatican II.

Studying Vatican II documents to get a plenary indulgence is a contradiction in terms for the Church in America.

Ah, well.

Theoretically, it was a wonderful idea...

Muslims In Europe: Maybe Good News?

A Cardinal has apparently gotten into trouble by showing a YouTube video to an international synod of bishops. The video was entitled Muslim Demographics.

I've had people ask me what I think about this situation.
Here's my take.

I saw Muslim Demographics a few years ago when it first came out. It mixes facts with fantasy and gets things both very wrong and very right.

As the video correctly points out, every culture needs a rate of 2.1 children per fertile woman to stay viable. It is the case that as far as we know, there is no case of a culture with a consistent below-replacement fertility rate ever flipping to a consistent above-replacement fertility rate. It is likewise true that Muslims are immigrating to Europe in large numbers. Beyond that, things get a little fuzzy.

For instance, the video claims that native French citizens have a fertility rate of 1.8, while Muslim immigrants to France have a fertility rate of 8.1. Since France doesn't break out its census figures according to religious denomination, it is hard to know where these figures come from. And without a valid source, the numbers are really impossible to believe.

As this study from the Pew forum shows, Muslim demographics are dropping just like European demographics are dropping, and for pretty much the same reason: Muslims are getting rich. As any study of the numbers shows, the richer a country gets, the fewer children it's inhabitants have.

Now, it is true that Muslim demographics have only fallen to about 4.5. Muslims are nowhere near the 1.9 that is common to European countries. But that's only because Muslim countries haven't been as rich for as long. They only started getting their influx of petro-dollars in the 1970s. In fact, Muslim demographics are declining faster than the world as a whole.

But it's actually worse than that. As I have frequently pointed out, Muslims - especially the most violent kind, the Salafi (Wahabbi) Muslims of the Saudi Arabian peninsula - tend to kill off their fertile women. The male-female sex ratio in these countries for women 15-65 drops like a rock. Precisely because they kill off a significant proportion of their fertile women, they must have more women than other populations just to maintain their reproductive rates intact.

And, worse still, they don't use that reproductive capacity in a very useful way. Among orthodox Muslims, it is considered optimal to marry your daughter to your brother's son. That's right. First cousin marriage is considered the height of Muslim orthodoxy. You can imagine what this does to the Muslim genetic pool and the effects it must have upon Muslim intellectual capacity.

But you don't have to imagine - we have the numbers. Even though Muslims make up something like one-quarter of the world's population, they have produced exactly one Nobel prize winner in the sciences. By comparison, Jews make up about 0.2% of the world's population, but men and women with Jewish geneologies have produced roughly 20% of the Nobel prize winners awarded in the 20th century.

Overall, about half the Muslim population worldwide is inbred. This percentage is not dropping with time. So, even as they kill of their fertile women, they are marrying those same women to first cousins at the same constant rate. This produces a population which has lower IQs and higher rates of genetic and congenital birth defects than the general population.

Finally, we haven't taken into account the very real fact of Muslim conversion. According to the imams themselves, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity every day, 6 million a year.

So, to what extent does Muslim fecundity threaten European culture? That question cannot be answered as easily as the video in question pretends. Certainly Muslims are currently having more children than Europeans. Europe will inevitably become smaller and more Muslim than it has in preceding centuries. Consequently, it will also become stupider and more diseased. But, as their contact with Christians in Europe increases, these same Muslims are also going to provide a surge of converts to Christianity. As is the case with most conversions, Christian Europe will pick up the smartest, most well-read, most independent of the Muslims. Adult converts to the Faith are generally renowned for orthodoxy and fecundity.

And that, certainly, is good news for Europe.

Monday, October 01, 2012

The Cloud of Unknowing

What kind of social event are you attending? Listen to the dinner conversation. If the host is being complimented on the the excellence of the food, it is an event for middle-income or low-income guests. High income guests do not compliment high income hosts on the quality of the dinner because both guest and host know the host did not prepare the food.

A similar dynamic can be applied to what constitutes scholastic cheating.
Let me explain.

In Plato's day, when reading and writing were expensive hobbies, your mental agility was not measured by how many books you had read, but by how many memories you had created. The science of mnemonics required its practitioners to memorize large chunks of material and reproduce those memorized chunks on demand. Remember (he wrote, piquantly), the Iliad and the Odyssey were both originally memorized, not written works. Indeed, nearly everything we consider an "ancient work" got its start as a memorized work, not a written work.

What would Plato say of the modern reliance on books? Well, we already know what he would have said, because he already said it:
'Most ingenious Theuth, one man has the ability to beget arts, but the ability to judge of their usefulness or harmfulness to their users belongs to another; and now you who are the father of letters, have been led by your affection to ascribe to them a power the opposite of that which they really possess. For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise.'
Plato said using books was cheating.

Why do I bring this up? Because "cheating" has become a serious problem in all the best schools.  Unfortunately, it isn't necessarily clear that this is cheating.

We use use books to store knowledge now, not just our memories. This use of books is no longer considered cheating. So, to what extent is it cheating today to collaborate on answers to an exam? [Editor's Note: Before you accuse me of ulterior motives, I have NOT undertaken this action since 4th grade, when I glanced at a fellow student's math test, wrote down his answer and STILL got it wrong. From that point forward, I decided the candle was not worth the game. I could get it just as wrong on my own without any risk, so why bother outsourcing the job?]

Who You Know Matters
Just as books debased the value of memorized material, so the web has debased the value of books as a means of storing knowledge.

In Plato's time, the focus was on facts - you memorized the rendition of a passage or the facts of a matter, the specific authorship of the passage or the facts were merely supporting material. Since Plato lost the fight and books triumphed, authorship became more important. Today and for centuries prior, we have shown our erudition by referencing the book from which our material came. Even St. Paul felt compelled to remind his readers, not once, but twice, that what he was saying was already mentioned "somewhere in Scripture." (Letter to the Hebrews: somewhere).

When I was young, I disliked the fact that people got jobs based on the fact that they knew someone in the company. I felt people should be hired based on knowledge and skill level, not connections. In short, I was young and stupid.

Now that I am older and wiser, I recognize the fact: who you know is part of what you know.  People are often hired precisely because of who they know, the connections they can make for the company. Indeed, that's why upper management gets paid more than the line worker. Upper management knows people who can get the product attention and sales. The factory worker does not. Anyone can make a product, but selling it? That's a much tougher proposition.

So, in times past, we footnoted our papers to show that we had "met" a bunch of dead people by virtue of having read their books. That’s what all of academics teaches. The “who” in academia is simply about footnoting dead people in your papers instead of texting living people on your iPhone. According to the academics, if you know the Great Books or the Politically Correct Books, then you know the right people, even if you’ve never met them. You footnote them in order to “prove” that you “met” them.

But dead people don't network much, so footnotes are becoming less and less important. And, for that matter, so is the information being footnoted.
When 90% of any of the information you want is just a web search away, is the possession of a specific fact necessarily any more important than the dead person who could tell you the fact?

Stuyvesant and every other upper crust school teach primarily one thing – who you know is as important, more important, than what you know. In this post-print sense, collaborating on an answer via iPhone is the next logical step in the sequence. We began by moving information from personal memory (as Plato required) to book memory (what books have you read?). Now we move information from book memory to the "cloud" of interpersonal memory (who do you know that can get this done for us?).

In a society that values lobbying and social connections, people are (rightly) hired for their social connections more than the book knowledged that can be Googled at the speed of light. Using books would have been “cheating” according to Plato. Now using iPhones is “cheating” according to us old fogeys.

Is it cheating? Socrates presents Plato as someone who sought out every person who could in an ultimately futile attempt to remedy his own ignorance. These students do the same. Would Plato approve? That's a good question...