Saturday, July 31, 2010

Who the hell do you think you are, Prince Charles? Al Gore?

Prince Charles seems to have this delusional belief that he, not Barack Obama, should be the Annointed One:
The Prince of Wales says he believes he has been placed on Earth as future King 'for a purpose' -- to save the world.

Giving a fascinating insight into his view of his inherited wealth and influence, he said: 'I can only somehow imagine that I find myself being born into this position for a purpose.

'I don't want my grandchildren or yours to come along and say to me, "Why the hell didn't you come and do something about this? You knew what the problem was". That is what motivates me.

'I wanted to express something in the outer world that I feel inside... We seem to have lost that understanding of the whole of nature and the universe as a living entity.'
Consider the following. Al Gore is much poorer than mega-biillionaire Prince Charles. Al Gore only has a mere mansion or two compared to the Prince whose ancestors where pro forma owners of an entire nation. Al Gore's only formal political office is gone, never to return, compared to the royal-for-life Charles. And Al Gore himself is only a couple of generations removed from the hillbillies compared to the unparalleled breeding of the future King.

In some bizarre paradox of fate, the doctrine of global warming somehow makes Al Gore the natural king of the planet Earth that Prince Charles will never be. Al Gore's vision of human society is one in which vast hordes of peasants live lives of stark, utilitarian efficiency in order to offset the carbon footprint of keeping Al Gore's private jet in the air. Gore's radical environmentalism is a divine right of kings in all but name, and yet, a non-trivial fraction of the peasants-to-be buy into it. Prince Charles, on the other hand, has the real divine right of kings on his side, but where he to mention this in public, people would literally laugh in his face.

And then there is Barack Obama, whose spirit lives on an ethereal plane far above any mere Earthly monarch. His next stimulus package is going to be the construction of a full-scale Egyptian pyramid devoted to himself. This would have the benefits of providing his cult a secure focus for worship, housing his mortal remains when his spirit ascends to the heavens to become one with the Sky God, and, incidentally, providing a lot of "shovel ready" construction jobs for the unemployed.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My PC pet peeve strikes again.

There's nothing worse than reading a thought-provoking, intelligent book and running across a sentence marred by a really stupid sense of political correctness. The latest example comes from "How to Read Literature Like a Professor", by Thomas C. Foster, on page 123:
Whatever we take away from stories in the way of significance, symbolism, theme, meaning, pretty much anything except character and plot, we discover because our imagination engages with that of the author. Pretty amazing when you consider that the author may have been dead for a thousand years, yet we can still have this kind of exchange, this dialogue, with her.
Quick! How many female authors from a thousand years ago can you name off the top of your head?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fire. Michael. Steele. Now!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Vox Day comes up with some really dumb stuff sometimes.

Here's his latest challenge:
PTQ claimed that science has a vast track record of correct predictions while religion has none. "Science has produced zillions of correct predictions. Religion has produced none. A bigger winner-loser gulf does not exist." Very well, then let's place a bet on the matter:

Religion: The poor will be with you always.
Science: Global poverty will be ended by 2025.
This is basically the foundation of a straw-man argument, and it's easy to see why. The challenge for science conflates a scientific (or, if you prefer, engineering) question, "Do we have the resources available do to this?", with a political question, "Can we convince people to accomplish this goal by 2025?" It's not exactly fair to fault the scientific method for failing to correctly motivate people to adopt one particular course of action, poverty reduction, over another. As Vox is usually the first to admit, science doesn't provide any answers as to how people should live their lives.

Suppose science concludes that the United States could spend, say, $1 trillion on poverty reduction per year through 2025 to end global poverty. Then suppose that our next several presidents decide not to spend money on poverty reduction because the pharaonic-scale pyramid that will house the mortal remains of President Obama is a funding priority. Does that mean that the scientific method is flawed and we should all give up science and become Benedictine monks instead? Obviously not!