blueollie

Reality: rams, Keynesians, winters, US history, epigenetics and bigotry

I am enjoying a chilly, “when in the heck is spring going to arrive” day by watching women’s basketball on television (NCAA Sweet 16) and blogging. Eating Indian food with Barbara saved me from watching the horrible 105-54 pasting that Connecticut laid on Texas.

The way that Connecticut plays reminds me a bit of the way the better NBA teams played in the 1970’s: lots of ball movement, efficiency and little wasted motion. They look as if they are loafing even while playing fast; they are just cool, calm, collected and ruthlessly efficient.

But the race for spots in the Final Four is interesting.

Reality
This farmer talks about rams and how violent they are:

Do not try to run away from an attacking ram. He can outrun you. If you watch two bucks about to deliver orgasms to each other, they will face off and take a few steps backwards. Then they charge, colliding head on with enough collective force to make an anvil bleed. Then they quiver with pleasure and do it again.

So when you see your buck start to back away from you, walk towards him. I mean go right at him. Almost always this is confusing to a buck and he will keep backing away for awhile and might lose interest in killing you. This can give you time to get closer to a fence or a tractor. If you can get to an immovable object like a tree, all you have to do is keep it between you and the ram. Then he can’t do his classic charge and soon tires of the game.

Otherwise, like out in the middle of a field, he will eventually quit backing up at your advance and attack. Stand your ground. This takes a great deal of nerve the first time. But at the last second before he butts you, he will lift himself on his hind legs to give his forward motion extra pile-driver strength. Up on his hind legs, he can only lunge straight ahead. He can’t turn. So when he lunges, all you have to do is step sideways, quickly of course, and his momentum carries him past you. This maneuver is quite effective and it is almost comical to see how puzzled the ram will be when all he collides with is thin air. If you are young and strong, this is the moment when you grab him, twist his head around backwards, set him on his ass like you were going to shear him, and pummel the living hell out of him. Some shepherds say this will only make him meaner but in my experience, he will act like a gentleman for about a month. Or will absorb enough fear of the Lord so that when you see him backing up the next time, a warning yell will make him stop short and decide it is more fun to go eat hay.

If you are not young and strong, you should only be out with the flock in the pasture if you are riding a tractor or other vehicle. I have often wondered what would happen if a ram decided to dispute his territory with a four wheeler. I’m afraid that the four-wheeler would come off second best.

He isn’t kidding:

Science

Epigenetics (that changes can be passed along without there being changes in the genome) is important, but it isn’t “revolutionizing biology”:

This sounds both liberating and terrifying at the same time: Our destinies are not fixed by our genes, and yet much of what we do and experience could have a profound effect on the biological make-up of ourselves and our children. But the hype has outrun the science. As one group wrote last year, “scientific hyperbole rarely generates the level of professional and personal prescriptions for health behavior that we are now seeing in epigenetics.” Many of the boldest claims being made about the relationship between epigenetics, health, and our environment are based only on evidence from animal studies, and thus are, at best, premature. In fact, much of the recent research in epigenetics hasn’t turned up anything fundamentally new.

Scientists have long been aware that our genes aren’t chiseled in stone—they are in a constant dialogue with our environment. The epigenetic marking up of our DNA, discovered decades ago, is a key part of how that dialogue takes place. And while these marks are an important feature of our biology, the biggest flaw in many of the claims being made about epigenetics is that they confuse cause with effect.

Epigenetic marks are a consequence of changes in the activity of our genes in response to our health, our environment, and our social experiences, but they are not the underlying cause of those changes. There is no reason to believe that drugs, treatments, or health advice that target these DNA markings will be unusually effective compared to therapies that aren’t specifically epigenetic.

While epigenetics is rife with hype, there is at least one advantage to all of the attention this field is getting: People are recognizing just how profoundly our physical and social environment can affect our biology.

Now I believe that science is important to our society and evidently, so did early Americans:

But what’s nice about it is what Will imparted in his email:

The interesting part is the motto on the coin: “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry”. Now we all know that the “In God We Trust” motto is a relatively recent innovation, but I was surprised to find (although I shouldn’t have been) that the founders rated science as one of the boons of liberty. And nary a mention of the creator. Just another little nail in the coffin of “America founded as a Christian nation.” I’ve attached the image.

Sure enough, on the face it clearly says “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry”. If Republicans had their way, it would have said, “Liberty, Offspring of God.”

first-penny-1

According to CNN

The coin, known as the “Birch Cent,” was made in 1792, months after the one-cent denomination was first authorized by Congress, according to the auction house Stack’s Bowers Galleries.
It was made in a trial run for the penny, and depicts Lady Liberty. Thomas Jefferson and George Washington discussed the design in letters dated August 1792, before it was presented to Congress as an option for the new coin.

Bigotry I feel good about this: some very wealthy, powerful CEOs are taking stands against Indiana’s “freedom to discriminate against gays” law. Though the law is a setback, we are winning the social war.

Social and economy

This is interesting: some people are saying that Paul Krugman isn’t a “real Keynesian” because

Brad DeLong points me to Lars Syll declaring that I am not a “real Keynesian”, because I use equilibrium models and don’t emphasize the instability of expectations.

One way to answer this is to point out that Keynes said a lot of things, not all consistent with each other. (The same is true for all of us.) Right at the beginning of the General Theory, Keynes explains the “principle of effective demand” with a little model of temporary equilibrium that takes expectations as given. If that kind of modeling is anti-Keynesian, the man himself must be excommunicated. […]

If you can show me any useful advice given by those sniping at me and other for our failure to be proper Keynesians, I’ll be happy to take it under consideration. If you can’t, then we’re just doing literary criticism here, and I’m not interested.

I’ll bet that the person making this claim is religious, which explains why that person might cling to an economic dogma even among a ton of contrary evidence.

And speaking of contrary evidence: this is Krugman’s part II of “air conditioning lead to the growth of the south, not Republican economic policies”; here he shows a correlation of population growth with January temperatures:

As I pointed out the other day, this long-term movement toward the sun, in turn, probably has a lot to do with the gradual adjustment to air conditioning.

And as I also pointed out, the search for mild winters can lead to a lot of spurious correlations. With the exception of California — which has mild winters but also, now, has very high housing prices — America’s warm states are very conservative. And that’s not an accident: warm states were also slave states and members of the Confederacy, and a glance at any election map will tell you that in US politics the Civil War is far from over.

The point, then, is that these hot red states also tend to be low-minimum-wage, low-taxes-on-the-wealthy jurisdictions. And that opens the door to sloppy and/or mendacious claims that low wages and taxes are driving their growth.

This really shouldn’t even be controversial — I think it’s kind of obvious.

He also posts more data about air conditioning: from 1900 to 1970 the south’s share of the population dropped. It started to gain in 1980, right when widespread home air conditioning grew.

Now, of course, both of these points could be correlation and not causation.

But of interest to me was this remark:

If you’re wondering why I’m doing posting so much on a Saturday, I’m housebound with a cold, so why not?

What? This happens to Nobel Laureates too? :-)

March 28, 2015 Posted by | economics, economy, nature, politics, politics/social, religion, science, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

Hills, Huckabee, Cruz and Cranks…

Workout notes: right around freezing, overcast and breezy.
1.4 mile warm up
lower loop in 10:16 (8:20 pace)
4 x lower to upper Bradley park hill, with walk/jog recoveries
10 minute jog
38 minute walk home (from the rear Park Road entrance past the dog park and Parkside)

Slight tug in the upper left hamstring early. I focused on quick steps and knee lift. Some Bradley men’s track team runners were there and did some hill reps; they blew me away (half the time), which is completely expected. Still, it is humbling to be shown, in stark terms, exactly how slow you are.

Nevertheless, I had a tempo run, hills and a walk so it was a good workout. I got some lung burn going, which is what I need.

Topics
Mike Huckabee: recounts PART of the story from I Kings, Chapter 18. This is where Elijah calls down fire from heaven to accept his sacrifice to “prove” that his god was the real god. Pity he didn’t produce a unified theory instead. :-)

Here is the part of the story that Gov. Huckabee leaves out:

36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”

40 Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.

This murder of people who follow a different religion kind of reminds one of…ISIS?

How any modern person can take this stuff seriously continues to baffle me.

Speaking of Charlatans: Ted Cruz is an official candidate for the 2016 GOP nomination. No, he won’t win. But in 2012, he carried Texas 56.5-40, whereas Elizabeth Warren carried Massachusetts 53.7 to 46.2. President Obama won Massachusetts 60.6 to 37.5. That is why I don’t take Senator Warren’s presidential chances seriously.

Now Texas is a southern state, and southern states have enjoyed a population influx. Some say it is the Republican policies but others point out…it may be …the weather….now that we have air conditioning to make summers tolerable. Seriously, if I could find a job with comparable salary and benefits down south, I’d move. I am tired of northern winters.

Other languages: Randazza goes after those who were outraged at the Pledge of Allegiance being said in Arabic. What many don’t know is Allah is merely the word for “God” in that language; it is the same deity that Jews and Christians worship. Personally, I skip that part anyway and say the pre-1950’s version:

Now this is NOT the original, no matter what the caption says. But it is the pre-Red Scare version:

The original is this:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

It was changed to the video version in 1923 and then to the current version in 1954.

March 24, 2015 Posted by | 2016, politics, politics/social, religion, republicans, republicans politics, running | , , , | Leave a comment

Ideal Republican ticket in 2016: Schock-Palin or Palin-Schock!

Hey, why the heck not? Given that the Republicans have lost 4 of the previous 6 general elections and lost the popular vote in 5 of the previous 6, well….new, fresh and energetic! Mr. Schock will be above the minimum age for President by the time the election rolls around!

Just trying to help…

March 19, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans | | Leave a comment

Aaron Schock (R, IL-18) OUT….and perhaps some Karma ….

That’s right:

Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., announced Tuesday he will resign from Congress following weeks worth of questions about his use of taxpayer dollars.

“I do this with a heavy heart. Serving the people of the 18th District is the highest and greatest honor I have had in my life. I thank them for their faith in electing me and letting me represent their interests in Washington. I have given them my all over the last six years. I have traveled to all corners of the District to meet with the people I’ve been fortunate to be able to call my friends and neighbors,” Schock said in a statement.

Schock’s lavish spending first came to light in February after the second-term Congressman redecorated his Capitol Hill office in the style of the hit television show “Downton Abbey.” That opened the floodgates as members of the media began looking in to a number of other outlandish purchases that may have been made using taxpayer or campaigns funds.

“The constant questions over the last six weeks have proven a great distraction that has made it too difficult for me to serve the people of the 18th District with the high standards that they deserve and which I have set for myself,” he added.

Hmmm….who said “Haters gonna hate” when these allegations surfaced?

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), has had a rough couple days. First the Washington Post was set to reveal his “Downton Abbey”-inspired office decor. His office tried to kill the story and failed, and it quickly went viral. Then ethics groups suggested the decorating arrangement might violate House rules, leading Schock to pay back the decorator.

Schock’s response? “Haters are gonna hate,” he told ABC News’s Jeff Zeleny.

Being slick was nothing new for him:

And he isn’t the only one who is going to be leaving….I am reminded of this photo from March, 2012, taken at Bradley University. The guy in the jeans lost the election, and the other two are “resigning” from their current positions:

PENTAX Image

Note: in 2012, I was taken out of Mr. Schock’s district (IL-18) and put into IL-17. So I had the pleasure of voting against him 4 times: twice in the Illinois House elections and twice in the US Representative elections.

Now he deserves some credit; he got his college degree in 3 years and came from nowhere to serve on the school board and then get elected in a normally Democratic Illinois House district. There is nothing wrong with being energetic, ambitious and striving to achieve. But sadly, the quick success went to his head. What a waste of genuine talent and intelligence…then again he wasn’t beneath being blatantly dishonest and it caught up to him.

March 17, 2015 Posted by | Aaron Schock, IL-18, Peoria, Peoria/local, politics, politics/social | | 1 Comment

Knowing what might not be so….

No, not everyone’s opinion is of equal value on every subject; I think that this is especially true in subjects that require specialized knowledge (e. g. science issues).

But I think that, at times, even smart people can fail to account for factors that may be foreign to them.

First we have this:

Okay, if the Cable News Network (CNN) is really an unbiased and objective news source, they’ll have to counter this program with another. According to MediaIte, the unctuous apologist and atheist-basher Reza Aslan is going to get his very own show. I can’t bear to describe it, so I’ll just copy the announcement:

One day after CNN announced its Kevin Spacey-led campaign docu-series, the cable channel announced two more original series, part of anetwork reorientation away from breaking news coverage and commentary. [..]

But where’s the “Unbeliever” series to counter Aslan’s apologetics?

Bottom line: commercial television is about ratings and money from sponsors, and secular atheists just aren’t a large market segment and I’d bet (don’t have the data) that the more intellectual atheists don’t watch a lot of television.

Of course, I am merely making a conjecture; giving a possible reason why this might be so.

I’ll be even more speculative here: remember the racist chant from a University of Oklahoma frat that was in the news? It turns out that a couple of students were expelled over this. Personally, I think that there are free speech issues here; I don’t think it is a good idea to kick someone out of school because they expressed ideas that you don’t like. And there may be some legal problems here as well, as Randazza explains. But where I part ways with Randazza is over the “why” of the expulsion. I really don’t think it was over PC-ness. After all, I was teaching at a university that graduated a well known racist activist.

But at Oklahoma…well, sports are a big business and we have stories of football recruits changing their minds. The cynic in me thinks that this played a big part in the decision to expel.

And, if I haven’t touched on enough sensitive topics yet, we have rape. A Democratic State Representative was quoted:

At a New Mexico House Judiciary Committee hearing last week state Rep. Ken Martinez (D) said “rape is defined in many ways and some of it is just drunken college sex.”

Republicans are hammering the state lawmaker over his comments, while Martinez is denying that his remarks were dismissive of the seriousness of rape.

At the hearing Wednesday Martinez, the former state House Speaker, said “rape is defined in many ways and some of it is just drunken college sex.” His remarks were concerning a bill that would remove parental rights for rapists, according to The Santa Fe New Mexican.

Republicans have aggressively criticized Martinez for the comments, with Rep. Kelly Fajardo calling for an apology.

“It is simply inexcusable that Rep. Kenny Martinez dismissed a serious crime as nothing more than a night of ‘drunken college sex,'” Farjado said in a statement. “His comments are belittling to anyone who has ever been a victim and survivor of sexual abuse, and I hope that he will apologize.”

Uh…like it or not, there is some truth in what he said. On college campuses, there is an ongoing debate about what should be done when BOTH sexual partners are too drunk to consent, or what constitutes being too drunk to consent, and if there should be a double standard between men and women.

But a good way to draw the ire of some “feminists” is to point out that sometimes, some nuance is involved.

March 11, 2015 Posted by | atheism, civil liberties, human sexuality, politics, politics/social, religion, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

Ok, Democrats: what about the 2016 Presidential election

Ok, it was February 10, 2007 when then Senator Barack Obama announced that he was running for President. I was there in Springfield.

It is about a month later than that and, to my knowledge, no serious Democrat has yet to make the official announcement though, of course, most of the buzz has been about Hillary Clinton.

So, IF YOU USUALLY VOTE DEMOCRAT (no Republicans, Greens, etc.), what do you think?

March 8, 2015 Posted by | 2016, Democrats, hillary clinton, politics, politics/social | | 1 Comment

Yucky snow….:-P

Today: right around freezing…rain which changed to heavy snow. It isn’t that cold right now but the roads are very sloppy.

So, I’ll blog for a while then walk to the university gym (if it is open) at 9 am; lift and use the treadmill.

Right now, I am listening to an old Fleetwood Mac album Mirage.

Posts
Science and the public
Yes, scientists and “the public” at large disagree on many key issues. Of course, the scientists are right, except for one issue. The scientists seem to think that better science education will narrow the divide. But I disagree for two reasons.

1. Religion is still a huge factor in determining what people think.

2. Science is hard and frankly many (most?) people simply don’t have the ability to master it or at least obtain an “educated layperson’s knowledge” of it. Accepting something that sounds counter-intuitive seems like going against “common sense” and it takes some intellectual ability to distinguish between what is nonsense and what is…well…true.

I know that I have that trouble with regards to things like “learning disabilities”: what is quackery and what is solid? Of course this area will be difficult for a while as it isn’t as if we can open up people’s brains and examine them.

What isn’t difficult to accept is that vaccines work. Sure, the uninitiated might read a list of ingredients and say “yuck”, but the fact is that some preventible diseases are coming back and some are fighting back. It has gotten to the point that some doctors won’t see “anti-vaccine” patients:

With California gripped by a measles outbreak, Dr. Charles Goodman posted a clear notice in his waiting room and on Facebook: His practice will no longer see children whose parents won’t get them vaccinated.

“Parents who choose not to give measles shots, they’re not just putting their kids at risk, but they’re also putting other kids at risk — especially kids in my waiting room,” the Los Angeles pediatrician said.

It’s a sentiment echoed by a small number of doctors who in recent years have “fired” patients who continue to believe debunked research linking vaccines to autism. They hope the strategy will lead parents to change their minds; if that fails, they hope it will at least reduce the risk to other children in the office.

The tough-love approach — which comes amid the nation’s second-biggest measles outbreak in at least 15 years, with at least 98 cases reported since last month — raises questions about doctors’ ethical responsibilities. Most of the measles cases have been traced directly or indirectly to Disneyland in Southern California.

I haven’t thought this through, though part of me wants to cheer this.

I admit that I am disgusted by this “hey, I am a MOM therefore I know best” attitude that I sometimes hear. Hey, aren’t there moms in 3’rd world countries which have high child mortality rates? Weren’t there moms 100 years ago when the childhood mortality rate was roughly 50 percent?

Sports
In *some* quarters, there is quite a bit of anger over the basketball team’s demise:

Losing to last-place Drake, at home, is yet another colossal disaster for the Bradley men’s basketball team.

Last week, I was tempted to write a letter alluding to the fact that I, and many of my friends and acquaintances, no longer even care about Bradley basketball. But, after this latest debacle, I, and others, now have attitudes much closer to furious than to apathy.

The utter ineptitude of the people responsible for this once proud program is staggering; President Joanne Glasser, athletic director Michael Cross, and head coach Geno Ford have all had a hand in ravaging the Bradley men’s basketball program. Together, they have wrought destruction upon Bradley basketball, embarrassed the city of Peoria and made Bradley athletics a laughingstock within the Missouri Valley Conference and throughout the region. Plus, they haveshamelessly increased ticket prices, alienated countless fans and driven away loyal supporters in droves. […]

Click on the link to read the rest, if you are interested. Note: the team, minus three suspended players, lost to Indiana State on the road yesterday. But they played very hard, which was good to see. And the women won two road games in a row, albeit against the two last place teams. Each time, they came up with key defensive stops down the stretch.

Now you might ask “what does it matter?” And, well, what can I say? I enjoy following the teams but that is really it. I show up whether they are 5-25 or 25-5; in some sense I am the worst possible kind of fan. I go “awww” if they lose and “yay!” if they win. I admit that I get a type of entertainment watching the drama on the fan boards.

Some BU fans are upset that the previous coach (who was a top BU player and lead BU to one Sweet 16) was fired. His current team (California-Davis) is doing well.

Screen shot 2015-02-01 at 7.59.34 AM

They drew 5317 fans for their 81-78 win over Cal-Poly. They are 16-4.

In all honesty, I reluctantly agree with the university’s decision on this coach.

Now about that Super Bowl
Screen shot 2015-02-01 at 7.11.24 AM

Yeah, I’ll watch the game BECAUSE I AM A FOOTBALL FAN and these really are the best two teams in the NFL, as far as I am concerned. I watched the Patriots a bit back when I lived in Connecticut in 1983-1984. They played in Foxboro Stadium (sometimes called Sullivan Stadium) which was very plain; not at all like the new jewels.

February 1, 2015 Posted by | basketball, Illinois, NFL, politics, politics/social, science, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

President O dunks on the Republicans

Ok, ok, there is zero chance that the Republican Congress will do anything to work with the President. But please spare me about “the people”; the Senate is badly skewed toward the Republicans due to small states having 2 senators, just as the large states do and due to the House overrepresenting the population of rural America.

Still, it was nice to see.

Workout notes
I’ve had some pain on the lateral part of my foot (the outside, almost where the sole meets the instep, just ahead of the ankle…cuboid syndrome?; there is some slight swelling and tenderness and “light” burning; almost more of a minor nuisance than anything) but I felt it might be a good idea to reduce mileage.

I think it may have come from walking without my foot orthotics.

so today: I swam: 2200 yards

500 steady
10 x 100 on the 2:10 (1:50-1:53 mostly)
100 in 1:48
4 x 50 on the 1:10 (55 each)
100 back
100 side
100 fly practice
2 x 25 fly
50 fist/free

It was enough to start the semester.

January 21, 2015 Posted by | Barack Obama, injury, politics/social, swimming | | Leave a comment

Huckabee’s nonsense

Yes, I might check this book out of the library and read it. But look at the contempt he has for “those HARVARD PROFESSORS”….

Seriously dude: I am glad that you think that your “Bubba-ville” is so superior. But you know what? The world isn’t 6000 years old…

The Founding Fathers weren’t fundamentalist Christians and the nation didn’t view itself that way:

The Treaty of Tripoli (Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary) was the first treaty concluded between the United States of America and Tripolitania, signed at Tripoli on November 4, 1796, and at Algiers (for a third-party witness) on January 3, 1797. It was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, receiving ratification unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797, and signed by Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797.

The treaty was a routine diplomatic agreement but has attracted later attention because the English version included a clause about religion in the United States.

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims]; and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries

.[3]

Note: it was ratified unanimously.

Now, of course, I am no “Harvard Professor”; my mathematics isn’t within an AU of being good enough.

But if you think that I believe that we’d better off if everyone was like me, you are crazy.

The first photo shows how a professional locksmith had to repair my attempts to install a lock (note the ring around the upper dead bolt lock and the large brass plate in the lower lock).

PENTAX Image

In the second case, the handle kept coming off of the screen door lock. I thought that I could repair it, but I couldn’t drill a proper hole. Later I might see if I can find the type of door we have and buy a storm door lock kit somewhere, though I am tempted to get a new door.

PENTAX Image

I am GLAD that not everyone is like me; we would still be living in caves if everyone was like me!

January 20, 2015 Posted by | huckabee, politics/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Secularism, rage of the zealots and missing the point.

Yes, I know; Bill Maher holds some woo-woo beliefs (vaccinations). But his point: if you are secular, be open so others know that you aren’t alone is well taken, as is the point of living by some book that was written in a very ignorant age.

Oh sure, some might be offended by this.
People get offended when their deeply held beliefs are challenged; ok, I am no exception. But I can change my mind.

Not everyone can though, as Paul Krugman explains:

A bit more on the curious back and forth between myself and Robert Samuelson. It started when I made the commonplace point that normally the Fed, not the White House, is responsible for managing booms and busts, and that the great disinflation of the 1980s was basically a story of a Fed-imposed recession, and had little if anything to do with Reagan’s supply-side tax cuts.

Samuelson declared this “maddeningly wrong”, and proceeded to say that my analysis of the economics of the 1980s was … basically right — but that Reagan deserved credit for letting Volcker be Volcker. I pointed out that this wasn’t really critiquing my point. […]

Yet Samuelson is angry about something; indeed declared himself “maddened” by a column whose economic analysis he doesn’t actually dispute. What’s going on here?

The answer, I think, is Reaganolatry. Specific policies aside, Reagan must be seen as the hero who saved America. And therefore he must be given credit for a disinflation carried out by a Fed chairman who was appointed by, and began his anti-inflation crusade under, Jimmy Carter. Anything perceived as detracting from the Reagan legend is infuriating, even if you can’t find anything wrong with the substance.

Yes, one faces fury when one doesn’t pay proper deference to a legend or when one examines something perceived as fact:

Damn you, how DARE you question our VICTIM STATUS!!!!

Now in science, there are disputes. One of the tug of wars is in the theory of evolution. Basically, the tug of war is between the adaptationists (those who believe that evolutionary change is primarily an adaptation that improves reproductive fitness) verses those who see a bit more randomness at play. That is, some results of evolution can be, well, accidental and serve no “enhancement of reproductive success” purpose.

To see a demonstration of how this debate plays out, read Larry Moran’s post about “How did a zebra get its stripes.” It is very possible that the stripes occurred by..well…accident. I know; some just grit their teeth when it is shown that sometimes things happen for no good/useful reason. That is, Pangloss was wrong. :-)

Back to social I think that Vox goes astray here. They put forth a story that says that their free speech/cartoon posts received no threats from Muslims but that their “Islamophobia” posts got threats from non-Muslims.

That misses the point, I think. Yes, there are isolated key board commando crackpots out there; no argument here. The difference is that there are no influential Christian clerics who are issuing the analogy of fatwas against people who write books, and there are no reasonably wealthy Christian countries that have governments who give lashes to those who insult religion.

I said “reasonably wealthy” because there are some third world backwaters where things like witch burnings still happen and where the Christians have a hand in it.

January 15, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, economy, evolution, politics/social, religion, science, social/political | , , , , | Leave a comment

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