Friday, August 22, 2014

Exposing Goofiness

Someone posted a meme-like pic to Facebook with the purported quote by Albert Einstein "I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots." There is a picture of a sagely Einstein with his hands folded above another picture of cute teenage girls using Smartphones. The implication is that all these young women would be interacting with one another but for something called technology which the sagely Einstein feared would surpass said interaction. Whatever that means.

My immediate reaction was to suspect the quote. It doesn't sound like Einstein to me at all. Plus it's just too perfect for the picture, right? And sure enough, it's most likely that the real Albert Einstein never said anything of the kind. Quote Investigator has the skinny, here's an excerpt:

I was suspicious of this attribution and when I searched the internet I found another similar saying credited to Einstein in a web forum. This statement was also illustrated with an image of people staring at cell phone screens.

I fear the day when the technology overlaps with our humanity. The world will only have a generation of idiots.

I have a different fear. I fear the day that individuals will believe that Einstein actually made one of these inane statements. Could you examine these sayings?

Quote Investigator: There is no substantive evidence that Einstein made either of these statements. Neither appears in the comprehensive collection of quotations “The Ultimate Quotable Einstein” from Princeton University Press. 1

Both versions given by the questioner were in circulation in 2012. For example, a website called presented a version of the saying in a message with an attached date of October 21, 2012: 2

So it looks like I wasn't the first person to suspect/debunk this. This kind of goofiness disguised as wisdom just hits a nerve with me. If it sound like something Wendell Berry would say, the chances are very slim that a thoughtful person would say it.

But there's another aspect of this attempt to be clever that bothers me even more. If, about 15 years ago, you saw a bunch of businessmen standing around in Grand Central with their heads down reading magazines and newspapers before the morning commute, is your first thought really "These people are idiots who are eschewing human interaction!"? No. But what is the difference between them and the young ladies with cellphones? The newspaper and magazines are products of technology, just older technology. They put the town criers out of business just like the internet is putting them out of business now. Plus ça change.

The business man reading the newspaper instead of talking to his temporary neighbor at the terminal might be a callous manipulator who doesn't care whom he tramples, but no one can tell that by seeing him reading the paper or doing the crossword for that matter. He might be reading the paper before work so he has more time to interact with other humans throughout the day. Likewise the girls in the photo may be checking emails from their parents before an outing together, who knows?

Sure, it's irritating to see people using cell phones at inappropriate times, but blaming this on "technology" is to miss the real problems of intemperance, absentmindedness and all varieties of rudeness which have always existed. I have a friend who said that his father would spread out the Sunday paper on a kitchen table and you weren't allowed to talk to him until he'd read the entire thing. Only then could you even ask him for the comic section. Sorry, but that's anti-social behavior, no batteries required.

AND there is another aspect of this which many are not going to notice. It's sort of ironic and funny to me that this meme picture couldn't even be generated without the widespread proliferation of technology, let alone broadcasted all over social media and blogs. Photography is technology, people. And the fact that it captures a moment in time should be taken into account. Otherwise the following photo would represent the complete lapse of human interaction as much as a photo of girls using smartphones.

There has been a lot of good writing about curbing cell-phone use, like this one about not using phones in business meetings. I hope more people take that kind of good advice, but I also hope people don't lose their common sense in their over-zealousness to fight real abuses. If I whip out my iPhone while we're talking without saying "excuse me" then you have a legitimate beef about my behavior. But if you come upon me while I'm looking at my phone it doesn't mean I don't want to interact with you. Or talk to you.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pope Francis Underlines "Stop"

Ed Morrissey (a Catholic) has a pretty good explanation on where the Vatican is on ISIS. The UN and the US seem to be nowhere... so far. Excerpt:

“I underscore the verb ‘to stop’. I am not saying ‘bomb’ or ‘make war’, but ‘stop him’. The means by which he can be stopped must be evaluated. Stopping the unjust aggressor is legitimate,” [the pope] said.
In it, the Pope actually does specify that the proper venue should be the United Nations, plus he’s a little more careful than Reuters or the AP suggested in issuing an explicit endorsement of force. In this case, though, to ask the question is to beg the answer. “Is this an unjust aggression?” cannot be answered in any way other than yes, unless we want to suggest that genocides and sexual slavery are legitimate in some circumstances. “How should we stop it?” may be a little more nuanced, but there is no way to stop ISIS now without resorting to some kind of military force.

Just what I said here, writ large. If someone needs to be stopped, you may use workable means.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Plan A seems to be just to keep talking."

That's my favorite line from this dismal report on the LCWR. (The L-Word is leadership... I think.) Here are some other low-lights:

In April 2012, the Vatican released the findings of a multi-year doctrinal assessment of the women's conference, which raised concerns of dissent from Church teaching on topics including homosexuality, the sacramental priesthood and [...drumroll...] the divinity of Christ.

Oh, yeah. The whole "Divinity of Christ" thing. That's kind of important.

“LCWR leaders realize the organization would lose many of its members if its canonical status were revoked, so they don’t want that to happen. On the other hand, they do not want to implement the mandate, either. So Plan A seems to be just to keep talking,” she said.

Insert chauvinistic remark here.

At the annual assembly, the LCWR presented the conference’s Outstanding Leadership Award to Sister Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J., a theologian whom the U.S. bishops have criticized for serious doctrinal errors, including misrepresentations of Church teaching on [...drumroll...] GOD!

For any non-religious readers, let me just say that, like, the teaching about God is, like, a huge big deal in most religions, I mean like totally.

Sister Johnson doubled down against the oppressive patriarchy in her acceptance speech.

Sr. Johnson used her acceptance speech to strike back at her critics, claiming that the U.S. bishops’ assessment of her book misrepresented it. She said Cardinal Muller and his staff appear not to have read her book or her response to the concerns about it.

She contended that both her book and the LCWR were the objects of “institutionalized negativity.” She suggested that criticism of the LCWR was the product of several factors, including centuries-old historical tensions between religious orders and the bishops and an alleged “patriarchal structure where authority is exercised in a top-down fashion” which prioritizes “obedience and loyalty to the system.”

If reading this is too painful, the accompanying photo (also painful) tells you all you need to know.

The silver lining that most Catholics don't pay any attention to these perpetually angry females is mentioned in the article. Another silver lining may be that there is no way a priest or bishop can hang out with these women and regret his vow of celibacy.

I think these nuns on the bus sorts kind of want to push the CDF to revoke their status to reinforce their persecution-complex and their radfem street-cred, but at the same time they know that would make their continued existence completely pointless. They are some of the most confused people in the world, let-alone the Catholic church.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ed FitzGerald for Governor Update

First, Ed FitzGerald goes for the absolute kook vote by attacking Chief Wahoo. No, really.

Next, the rats are leaving the sinking ship; headline FitzGerald's top aides leave campaign. WVXU actually provides a good summary of how the Fitz campaign has done so far.

Buis, McElhatton and Hitt were all brought in from out of state to work with the campaign, and Buis and McElhatton made the choice to leave. It’s unclear whether the Democrats will spend what little money FitzGerald has left on an ad blitz or turn their attention to the downticket races.

There are still a lot of questions about why FitzGerald didn’t have a permanent driver’s license for a decade, which was discovered after a 2012 police report showing he was found in a dark parking lot in the early morning hours with a woman who was a member of a visiting Irish delegation.

Then last week, there came reports that FitzGerald disciplined employees in his office who didn’t have valid drivers’ licenses. FitzGerald’s campaign had stumbled early when it was revealed that his first choice for his running mate, Senator Eric Kearney of Cincinnati, owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes.

FitzGerald has struggled with fundraising since the beginning - as of the last reporting period a few weeks ago, incumbent Republican John Kasich holds a 5-1 money advantage over FitzGerald with more than $11 million on hand compared to FitzGerald’s nearly $2.5 million, and the latest Quinnipiac poll has FitzGerald down 12 points. Early voting starts in 50 days.

I really hope the man crashes and burns. He's a disgrace, and as out-of-touch as any elite leftist. And my desire to see him crash hard is not based on any great love of Kasich.

Tell Blacks the Truth

I must confess that I have no interest in this Ferguson story. It's the same-old race-baiting thing that happened with Zimmerman/Martin but with one idiot instead of two idiots.

But Kevin Jackson has written something worth reading. I agree with him, and have for a long time, that most of the racism in this country is black racism. Black racism is enabled by political correctness which believes that racism can only be present in whites. Or, possibly, any racism shown by the member of a minority is justified somehow.

At any rate, this racism is so irrational that it actually makes black people believe that any black is better than any white, and that the best result for them is to have more blacks in charge.

Cities are replete with black folks in charge of other black folks: Black aldermen, black city councilmen, majority black school boards (maybe one token white), black mayors, and the real shot-callers known as the Congressional Black Caucus.

Add to this a black president and a black attorney general, and you have a cornucopia of black power, all of which has led to devastation in the black community. And how is the life of Michael Brown celebrated in the black community? Looting.

You'd think by now black Liberals would have had enough of black leadership, because all they need to do is look at the evidence.

Obama has run the nation into the ground; and as I wrote a while back, if you want a recipe for failure in a municipality, elect a black Liberal.

When will black people select who is best for the job, regardless of color?

Then he gives a great anecdote about a friend who learned differently.

While in prison the second time, my friend learned to read. He was taught to read by an old white lady, and she taught him to read from the Bible.

He explained to me that this woman was his first real interaction with a white person, as he had robbed all the others. He described the care in which she took to make sure that he learned how to read properly.

He said that learning to read from the Bible taught him lessons beyond putting words together, lessons he would apply the next time he was released.

He's out of prison and a solid citizen, because of an old white woman.

My friend says this old white lady made the most impact in his life to date. Up to the point of meeting this old lady, my friend thought of white people as evil. He learned upon reflection that many of his black "friends" were not friends at all. They were enablers of his self-destruction and catalysts to his destruction.

This stuff should be obvious. And it is obvious "upon reflection" as Jackson points out. Of the great people I've known personally most of them are white. Of the jerks I've known most of them are white also. This is because most of the people I've known are white. I've known a few untrustworthy black people among the 20 or 30 that I've known, but it has nothing to do with their race. I don't know why this isn't taught in schools... well, actually I do. Politically correct indoctrination prohibits the reflection and the examination of the evidence.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Islam is violent

This article presents good arguments supported by facts the religion of Islam—as it is experienced in the real world—is violent. Excerpt:

But when newspaper cartoons deemed offensive to Mohammed, or false rumors of Korans flushed down toilets in Guantánamo, or reports of an obscure pastor planning to burn a Koran become known, then we see tens of thousands of Muslim protesting violently. Right now Muslim terrorists are committing unspeakable atrocities in northern Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, and elsewhere, but there is no global “Not in Our Name” mass movement, no “Million Muslim March” springing up among the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to protest this alleged distortion of Islam, and to reaffirm its true dogmas of peace and tolerant coexistence.

The silence from non-violent Muslims with regard to never comdemning violence from Muslim "extremists" is pretty loud. The list of reform-minded Muslim's is pretty short—that's why Jasser's name is always mentioned. Who would want to be on that list if you don't have a bodyguard? The author continues:

The point is not that all Muslims are anti-Semites and terrorists, or even are sympathetic to the jihadists. Rather, the scope and volume of jihadist violence, the financial and moral support given to jihadists by many millions of Muslims, and the relative silence of those who have no intention of practicing jihad themselves, all suggest that modern jihadism and its theological justifications have deep roots in Muslim theology, and ample models in Mohammed’s life and Islam’s history. This in turn means that Muslims who oppose jihadism or Muslim anti-Semitism do not have the authoritative, traditional, canonical arguments and precedents for that position, unlike the jihadists, who routinely and copiously quote chapter and verse of Islamic sacred texts in support of their violence.

It is possible that there is a peaceful version of Islam which exists isolated from the present actual world, such as in Plato's World of Forms for example, or in a certain place and time, such Mohammed's Meccan period between 613 and 622, before he moved to Medina and became a warlord. This is also no doubt the Islam which exists in Cloud Cuckoo Land where everything is awesome.

Sometimes hatred turns to pity

Sometimes hatred turns to pity. And I think that's kind of a Christian thing. I think Tolkien wrote something about that in one or two of his books.

A reader emails us:

A belated response to the Damon Linker suck-up post.

I've long since given up regular visits to Rod's blog (for reasons we all are familiar with) so it's good to drop in here and see the capsulized chronicle of Rod's decline and fall—something I do have the time for.

I used to hate Linker, seeing him as an opportunistic snake in the grass, a 21st century Maria Monk.

Then I saw a video of his wife, and now I think I just pity him. To imagine him picking up small change here and there as a freelancer and online "editor" but mostly surviving as a house-husband to a shrill, strident, man-jawed associate professor is to imagine something I would view as a living hell. As he writhes in the flames of this torment, I can understand if his cries are blasphemous and his shrieks are libelous.

The video is proof that even Ph. D.'s can be brainwashed.

Here's some supplemental reading material which might shed some light on the subject.

I'm back from vacation

I was on vacation last week. It was good, thanks. I'm back now.