Sunday, July 26, 2015

Mein Kampf: The Science of Hope and Change

The history of scientific insulting is now becoming more clear to me.  It begins with Karl Marx.  Hitler advanced the science.  Then Gordon Ramsay brought the science of insults to perfection.  After having read a collection of 19th century histories and communist writings, it seemed fitting to follow up with this Mein Kampf.

I have a little time to read, but didn't want to spend money on Hitler's work, so pulled a .pdf version down to my iPad for perusal.  The first half of this 500 page rant has now passed in front of my eyeballs.  Hitler is mostly condemning everything, but he has not yet proposed any program.  Everyone knows he is anti-Jew and anti-Marxist.  What I had not known is that he is equally anti-Slav and a bit anti-French, but everyone is anti-French.  The part that for some reason is missed by Dr. Wiki is that Hitler was also vehemently opposed to "international capital" and stock corporations to the same degree that he was anti-Marxist.    Somehow he managed to confound the two, since Jews were prominent in both international capital and Marxism, so that he considered these to be part of the same conspiracy and was oblivious to the fact that they are mutually exclusive.  This error was related to a separate error, that the Jews were all of one mind, thus, he completely failed to understand that just because some Jews might be pimps and pornographers, they weren't all of this profession.  His single minded attribution of every evil in the universe to a grand Jewish conspiracy seemed to me as a conspiracy theory worthy of The Matrix.  Other groups that Hitler condemns are the monarchists, the parliamentarians and the bourgeoisie.  The bourgeoisie is condemned because they are wealthy, comfortable, and consequently unwilling to take a course of action that might be risky.  Clearly I am a bourgeois slug, although he would probably still be astounded at the degree of self-destructiveness achieved by our Republicans.  Other targets of his vitriol are the press, the pacifists and the sick perpetrators of "modern art".  Then there were the scum who married outside of their race, with me as a prime example.

The fun part of this is Hitler's take on marketing and motivational speaking.  The principles are universal and are as valid for selling tacos as for politics, but Hitler claims to having mastered the field by studying the Marxists.  This amounts to finding a message that is simple enough to be grasped by the average person, then pushing it relentlessly.  For some reason all this comes naturally to most Marxists.  Hitler mastered this and threw it back in their face.  He chose red as his party's symbol and introduced "socialist" into NAZI for the purpose of deliberately goading the Marxists.  He then targeted the proletariat and turned their techniques against them.  Part of Hitler's success was undoubtedly simply because much of the population was longing for someone to talk back to the Marxists.  It is tempting to wish that America's conservatives might learn from this, but only for a brief time.  Hitler knew where he wanted to lead Germany, but America's conservatives have no such agenda, whether it be for good or evil.

So much for the first half of this.  Diagnosing the ills of a fallen humanity is the easy part.  The second part of Mein Kampf is supposed to tell us what he intends to do.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Sikh Religion, Its Gurus, Sacred Writings and Authors, by Macauliffe

Several years ago an elderly Sikh man who looked to be in his 80's started waving at me frantically as I was driving through the neighborhood.  I stopped and he jumped into my car and started saying something like "gudwara".  It was quickly clear that he didn't know a word of English, but was frantic to get somewhere.  I pondered the situation for a moment and decided that there should be some entertainment value to following this elderly gentleman's instructions, so started driving ahead and pointing different ways at the intersections to see if he approved.  After several miles we drove into a neighborhood that I wasn't familiar with and onto a "Gurdwara Road".  This quickly brought us to a Sihk temple where a number of other elderly Sikhs were waiting outside for my client.  I dropped him off and everyone waved, but I was almost as much in the dark when this was done as when I started.  My next door neighbor is a Sikh family.  Yet I know almost nothing about Sikhism.

Librivox.org has this work on the Sikh religion which I though it good to listen to for my commutes.  So far I am into the introduction which has shed a little bit of light onto the subject.  The religion was started by Guru Nanak in the 15th century.  I learned that the English officers encouraged their Sikh recruits to be good followers of their religion, since this facilitated military discipline, bravery and loyalty.  Although we might argue about loyalty when discussing the assassination of Indira Gandhi.  There was also some discussion of the pre-Sikh history which begins with the Brahmins driving out the Buddhists, and later the Mohammedans forcing their religion into India with the most brutal techniques known to man.  

Macauliffe explains his goals of providing a text on the subject that was as accurate as possible, avoided slanders, and met the approval of the Sikh gurus of his day.  These goals seem to have been met in their entirety.  This has me pondering the modern intellectual who will do almost the exact opposite with Christianity:  To meet scholarly approval, a work on Christianity must slander, defame and twist, ideally along new directions that had not previously been considered.  Anyway, I am glad to have such an introduction to Sikhism.
Something that I have wondered about is regarding the exodus of westerners from Christianity.  Even the Pope is ashamed to be known as a follower of Christ and chooses instead to be publicly known as a disciple of Marx.  In this mad rush, westerners have settled into all kinds of religions, but I have yet to see one embrace Sikhism.  Why is that?

Macauliffe tells a little of his problem of bringing Sikhism to the Western reader.  This relates to the original gurus preferring the vernacular, which is now a dated version of Punjabi.  To this is mixed in Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic, with some special terms that only the gurus can explain.  This creates an extraordinarily complex linguistic problem that can only be addressed in India in careful consultation with the gurus.  A related problem is that the Sikhs themselves might not be terribly well informed of their religion.  The first volume of this is 14 hours of recording, and it seems that there are 6 volumes to the set.  If I survive this will I achieve nirvana?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Origins of Life: What is Life?

Lecture three goes over the difficulties of coming up with a clean definition of "Life" that separates the living from the non-living, while keeping in mind that there is the formerly living category or images of the formerly living as would be the case of fossils.  This is one area where all parties can agree there is a problem.  Helpfully, one of the definitions includes a notion of life being "that which can undergo Darwinian Evolution", which tries to achieve a definition of life by invoking a term which intentionally isn't defined.

Professor Hazen reiterated the method he intends to employ as he considers origins.  He intends to proceed step by step identifying the various parts of life and then considering how they might come about.  My reaction is that this is exactly the method that I use for doing complex engineering software projects.  Initially I can't see my way to the goal, so I start out by identifying a few steps that I deem necessary and program them.  A method for testing the subsystem is devised, then I find another step that takes me towards to final product and repeat.  Eventually a path clears through the fog and I have a few dozen algorithms strung together over thousands of lines of code that solves a difficult problem, although some rework and false starts are usually part of the process.

So the problem that I have with professor Hazen's proposed approach is that it doesn't appear to be in any way distinct from intelligent design as I do day by day in my engineering work.  From the other direction, it is also not distinct from the rhetoric of "Darwinian Evolution", since this is exactly the same process that Darwinists use.  All this brings me back to one of my assertions:  The human mind is wired such that it is only capable of thinking in Intelligent Design paradigms.  Even if Darwinian Evolution existed as a distinct mode of explanation, I do not believe that any professor could find a way to employ his mental faculties in a way that wasn't overwhelmingly based on Intelligent Design.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Origins of Life, by Robert Hazen

This is the new noon time series for work.  We are on the second lecture, which purportedly dealt with the classical notions of the origin of life that would be deemed "scientific".  Professor Hazen mentions Democritus in passing, whose atomic atheism is well known, but fails to note the crucial point (from Aristotle's On The Heavens) that Democritus was a Flat Earther.  The reason this is significant is that Professor Hazen implies that Democritus was operating independently of the religious views of the time, but the religious view held by the astrologers was that the earth was spherical.  In this the astrologers were obsessed with hard evidence, mathematics and theory and would exceed all others in their scientific detail for a thousand more years.  Democritus was almost undoubtedly developing his views with little serious reflection.  Instead, he was simply reacting to other views that he found unacceptable for theological reasons, although the pretense of science needed to be maintained, so this fundamental reactionary principle could not be admitted to.  Likewise, much of what academia puts out today is also "science" and "ethics" by reaction that is devoid of any inherent substance.

The much larger oversight in Hazen's discussion, however, was the Epicureans.  Their view of spontaneous generation by the interaction of countless atom types over an infinity of time and space was more developed than all the other classical philosophers that we know about combined.  As I have noted elsewhere, however, the modern intellectual has extreme difficulty facing the Epicureans, since their abuse of science in the name of science exceeded all others, and the result of their "philosophy" was endless sophistry and moral license.  To study the Epicureans fairly, the modernist finds a creature too much like himself staring back.

An important part of this introduction is the relationship of science to theology in origins.  Hazen cites Aristotle as an example of the science only view, but this fails because Aristotle in his Physics puts theology as a key part of any philosophy and would never have accepted such a distinction.  For origins, we are really only given two options:  There is Creation, and there is Spontaneous Generation.  There are no other alternatives, so that even space aliens planting life on Earth would simply move the question back further to the origin of the space aliens.  

With that in mind, Creation has generally been rejected on, um, theological grounds.  That is, intellectuals (and modernist theologians) find the notion of a God who is outside of nature and could or would do such creative acts offensive to their chosen theological notions.  Likewise, Spontaneous Generation was rejected on scientific grounds.  That is, if we mix silicon crystals, copper, lithium and glass into a blender, and run it for a trillion years, we are never going to get out a working iPhone.  The simplest biological life forms are simply many orders of magnitude more complex than could possibly occur unless there were an infinity of universes.  And even here, we are operating on speculation.  

But then we have the modern intellectual, who proceeds under the theological premise that everything he believes is automatically "scientific" since it does not explicitly invoke God.  He must return to Spontaneous Generation, because his theology compels it, yet he must likewise insist that it is science only that drives him to this, since his theology does not permit him to admit that he is motivated purely by theology.  This series will be fun!

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Friday, July 03, 2015

Capital by Marx: End of Volume 1

Purgatory will not be so bad.  Marx goes on to project every evil of the last two centuries onto the capitalist, regardless of which continent it occurs on.  That petty tyrants of foreign nations were involved in the slave trade is noted, but it is the capitalist who is at fault.  The same goes for the massive transformation of Ireland both before, during and after the famine.  Listening to Capital does help clarify why it is that the only language Marxists understood was the language of the gun.  Marx's goal was to fill his followers with an all consuming and unquenchable hatred that would seek domination at all costs.  What Marxists lack to this day is any notion of forgiveness and reconciliation, which is a key component of Christianity.  They also had no notion about how they would improve on anything.  There was only a notion that if only they could grab all power to themselves, things would automatically improve.

As I have already noted, there is not a single crime of the capitalists that the communists didn't commit, and while the capitalist had the excuse of being too narrow in focus and blinded by capital to see the consequences, the communist can make no such claim.  The famines of the Ukraine, China, Cambodia, North Korea, ... all were man made, rather than the product of something like the potato blight.  Yes, there were mass migrations due to capitalism, but when the communists took over, it was the proletariat fleeing for survival to the more generous bourgeoisie, with the communist first putting up fences to stop them and later shooting them in the back.  Early capitalism was hard, but compared to the gulags, work camps and re-education camps?  Capitalism may facilitate prostitution, but where do we find a state like Cuba enticing pedophiles to engage in prostitution for foreign exchange?  When was there a tyrant in a third world country that was too vile for the communists to deal with for natural resources?

It is tempting to pronounce a curse on the Marxists.  This would be a wish that all the punishments that they had determined to be merited by the capitalists be given to them in eternity according to their standards.  But still, I must restrain myself since as Christians we are to ask for forgiveness of others and not vengeance.  May God bring some of these madmen to their senses.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Hegel's Constitution

In spite of the confusion in The Philosophy of History (1830-1831), there are a few things of interest.  One is the note on the gradual devolution of languages from their more pure and sophisticated grammatical form.  Another point that Hegel shares with me is that there are "rights" and there are "wrongs".  Today, both are placed under the heading of "Human Rights".  He considers the family - i.e. the human family according to the laws of nature - to be sacred.  Being a good German, Hegel is very much tuned in to the fact that different nations and cultures have different characteristics, a different spirit and a distinctive life.  Americans view everyone as being the same as us, but with some inexplicable peculiarities.

Hegel also is reluctant to embrace the Greek belief in the circular nature of government from aristocracy to oligarchy to democracy, and instead tends towards a view of humanity in a state of progress.  The Germany of his time might be a candidate for this belief, since the German people had been raised upon from barbarism to an advanced state by Christianity.  The idea that we are in a cyclic situation didn't seem to fit.

What really stuck out to me is the idea that the constitution of a country would necessarily be distinctive in that it reflect the religion and culture:

"We shall have to show further on that the constitution adopted by a people makes one substance — one spirit: — with its religion, its art and philosophy, or, at least, with its conceptions and thoughts — its culture generally; not to expatiate upon the additional influences, ab extra, of climate, of neighbors, of its place in the World."

If this is the case, the secularists attempt to decouple the constitution from religion and culture will have some complications:

"... for in secular matters only force and voluntary subservience are the principles of action; and the forms which are called Constitutions are in this case only a resort of necessity, and are no protection against mistrust."

My sense is that Hegel is doubly right as we apply this to our current era.  We haven't really succeeded to move beyond the principle that constitutions are derived from religion, but instead have embraced this notion to its fullest:  The SCOTUS has duly recognized that America has a new religion and culture now.  Before we were a Christian nation.  Now we each worship our lusts, desires and envy.  These are our gods.  Hard work was our former culture value.  Sloth is the new one.  Before we wrung our hands over slavery.  Today we have embraced slavery to vice sponsored by the government and available to all races.  Our art is the art of desecration.  Yes, our Constitution perfectly reflects our religion.