Category Archives: Reason

NEW COLUMN: Conservation IS Conservative: BLM? Black-And-Yellow Lives Matter

Argument, Conservatism, Environmentalism & Animal Rights, Left-Liberalism And Progressivisim, Reason

NEW COLUMN: “Conservation IS Conservative: BLM? Black-And-Yellow Lives Matter.” It’s a feature on WND.COM, The Unz Review and The New American.

Excerpt:

… For the Left, love of the environment amounts to an anti-intellectual, atavistic ritual, the kind performed by Homo species, say, when lightning struck. Primitive man would have looked to the heavens, and promised a sacrifice, to appease the particular god in control. In our times, the pagan pantheon has been replaced with the Almighty God of Climate Change.

What about conservatives? Conservation is conservative. At least it ought to be.  But are conservatives better custodians of nature than progressives?

Everywhere you look conservatives are rejoicing that the world population count broke 8 billion this month. Population explosion is to be celebrated! You can never have too many people, for people, in conservative thinking, are only ever a positive sum; never zero sum. Resources are endless—or, so conservatives seem to assume.

Animal life and habitat? Who cares? Kill the good-for-nothing critters. Deforestation? Bring it on. Forests are overrated. Ditto oxygen. Besides, we are on our way to being an anaerobic species. Ask Mr. AI (Artificial Intelligence). He was on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” so he knows. (By the way, it’s beyond silly to believe in the autonomy of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is nothing more than meta-programing by mega-programmers.)

And, of course, the most populated places on earth are also heaven on earth. Oh, for the glories of Calcutta, Cairo and Gaza, already upon your little American hamlet.

The conservative overpopulation enthusiast could easily borrow the utilitarian arguments advanced by the open-border crowd, when touting the advantages of high-population density. …

… READ THE REST. “Conservation IS Conservative: BLM? Black-And-Yellow Lives Matter” is a feature on WND.COM, The Unz Review and The New American.

 

 

 

Tucker Carlson Gets Into Tiktok Mode, Blames China For Pervasive American Decadence

China, Communism, Conservatism, Logic, Pop-Culture, Reason, Sex, The Zeitgeist

Notice the theme on the Tucker Carlson Show today, July 18?

Tucker mindlessly blames China for, among other things, America’s gutter culture, as acted out on Tiktok. Accordingly, the Chinese made Americans worship hip hop and rap and twerk. The Chinese made American hos disrobe and simulate sex on TikTok. The Chinese made American Tiktokers privilege Ebonics over English.

Heavily into non sequitur mode, for the cultural trends Tucker blamed on China are mainstream American culture (Laura Ingraham loves rap by admission)–Tucker presented the proof to his blame-China thesis: Chinese Tiktokers are seen practicing piano, manners and magic cube mental skills, whereas Americans are seen doing what they do on TV, in movies, on reality shows, and on political panels.

Say no more. I’ve proved my point. QED.

China’s culture until communism was Confucianism, which is high-minded and genteel. And, contra ConOink, China is reactionary, returning to Confucianism; not Communism:

CNN’s Sinophobic Zakaria Is Clueless: China Is Reactionary, Returning To Confucianism; Not Communism

Enabled by indulgent and permissive parents and pedagogues, America’s youth have become increasingly licentious, lippy and libertine. Most are ignorant and lousy at writing, reasoning, and conversing coherently about anything other than raaaaaacism. They have also become un-moored from their finest traditions. The Chinese—who seem to know what’s good—are returning to things classical, traditional and eternally and universally beautiful.

Having banned corrupt hip-hop culture, China has a new export: Western classical music. “Once, classical music generally traveled from the West to the rest,” marvels the Economist. “Now China is reversing the exchange, not merely performing Western classical music in China, but exporting it. …

 

FRED REED: Toward a Theory of Impossibility: Column Upends Science

Argument, FRED REED, Logic, Pseudoscience, Reason, Science

FRED’S in the house. You heard the Man. If seen, do not approach. Call your local taberna instead

BY FRED REED

In today’s column, we will revolutionize science, and establish that much of what we believe, at least regarding living things, is at best improbable and likely impossible. Science won’t notice, so no harm will be done.

As we explicate the Theory of Impossibility, we must begin with particle physics. This will give the column a touch of class. Specifically, the Fundamental Theorem of Quantum Mechanics states, “If a thing makes no sense at all, wait until you get used to it, and then it will.” For example, the idea that a particle can simultaneously be a wave is absurd, but is now everywhere accepted, like potatoes. The EPR effect, holding that if one of a pair of entangled photons, in Scarsdale, changes polarity, its entangled partner, in Alpha Centauri, will simultaneously change polarity, is ridiculous. How would it know?  Neither of these things can happen. But they do, so we regard them as reasonable. Here we enunciate and underlying principle: A thing is not necessarily possible merely because it happens.

Unless something is going on that we do not know about.

Scientists see the universe as if it were a gigantic crossword puzzle. Crosswords are inherently solvable. While the great puzzle of life and existence has not been entirely elucidated, we assume that it can be, given time and effort. We may not know a five-letter word ending in Q that means “seventh-century Persian coin,” but we assume that it exists and can one day be found. But…is this so?

This reminds me that when I was in college, before the invention of fire, sophomores quoted Gödel’s Theorem as saying that in a logical system of sufficient complexity, there were questions that could not be answered within the system. Whether the theorem actually says this, I forget, but we said it said it, and felt very wise.

Here we come to one of my favorite clichés, by the British biologist J.B.S. Haldane, “The world is not only queerer than we think, but queerer than we can think.” Just so. Perhaps there are questions that can’t be answered, and therefore won’t be. This cannot be a comforting thought to a new-minted chemist as he rushes forth from CalTech, which may be why anything suggesting inherent unanswerability is rejected. But it may be that we just aren’t smart enough to understand everything, or maybe even much of it. Here we come to another cliché by my favorite philosopher (me): The smartest of a large number of hamsters is still a hamster.

Now, impossibility. Suppose I showed you a pair of tiny gears and said, “See? When I turn this one, it meshes with the other and makes it turn too.” You would respond with a lack of surprise. Suppose I then showed you fifty such little gears in an old-fashioned Swiss watch in which they all turned to make the hands move. You might say, “Isn’t that ingenious.” Suppose that I then told you that someone had assembled, literally, a cubic mile of such tiny gears and that they meshed perfectly for fifty years to do many complex things. You would ask me what I was smoking.

Even though each step in a cubic-mile process could be shown to be possible—gear A turns gear B, which turns gears C and D—you would sense that the entire complex wouldn’t work, however plausible each sub-process might be. You would be unconsciously applying the law that the improbability of the whole is greater than the sum of the improbabilities of the parts. The improbability is not a linear function of the number of parts but increases without limit as the number of parts goes above, say, one thousand.

Does that sound dreadfully portentous, or what? One day it will be the foundation of ponderous overpriced textbooks to extract money from sophomores. At least I hope so. I could use the money.

To a neophyte of biochemistry, the textbook description of a cell seems the mapping of a robotic Japanese factory onto a swamp. For example, in what sounds like a computer-controlled assembly line, enzymes uncoil the DNA, others unzip it, complementary nucleotides snap into place, a zipper-upper enzyme glues them together, click, click, click, whereupon the mRNA rushes purposefully off to a ribosome where, click, click, click. This is probably AP biology in decent high schools, if any, and has been verified thousands of times by biochemists. But…it sounds like mechanical engineering, not mindless undirected glop in solution.

You say, “But Fred, you don’t know anything about biochemistry.” True, but so what? You don’t have to know anything about it to know that it is impossible. Too many little wheels. You’ve got mRNA and microRNA and rRNA all rushing about, or sometimes holding still, and doing complex and purposeful things, and tRNA codons and anticodons coupling like drunken teenagers, and busybody enzymes editing this or that on the fly in the manner of bioschoolmarms or splicing this and some other thing and ribosomes and lysosomes and spliceosomes and palindromes and maybe aerodromes and really twisty long molecules with names like 2,4-diethyl-polywannacrackerene—and all of this is said to run with the efficiency of a Mexican drug cartel. All of this in a tiny space where everything ought to bang into everything else and just lie there in smoking rubble.

To us barbarians on the outside, the cell looks like a microscopic globule of goop with sticky stuff diffusing mindlessly about. I do not doubt that biochemists, whom I respect, have shown all of this to happen by careful experiments. I just don’t believe it. It’s the cubic mile of gears again. You have hundreds of reactive species in close proximity doing extraordinarily complicated things for sometimes a hundred years with what sounds like precisely coordinated purposefulness–instead of congealing immediately into a droplet of disagreeable mush. I do not doubt that lab folk have proved that it happens. I just don’t think it is possible. Unless something is going on that we don’t understand.

The foregoing is not orthodox biochemistry and may encounter initial resistance in the trade.

A problem of biology for years has been the inability of evolutionists to explain how life or many of its manifestations can have evolved, irreducible complexity and all that, the usual response being ok, we aren’t sure, but any day now we will have the answer. The check is in the mail. But in fact the inexplicability grows ever greater year on year as more and more complexity is discovered, such as epigenetics, and the more complexity, the less likelihood of coming about by chance. But we advocates of Impossibility Theory assert that not only can living things not have evolved, but also that they can’t function. Too many little gear wheels. Therefore life doesn’t exist.

Consider the retina, a very thin membrane consisting of ten distinct sublayers engaging in appallingly complex biochemistry, somehow maintaining position and function for, occasionally, a hundred years. These layers consist of millions of cells doing the impossibly tricky chemical dance mentioned above, more or less perfectly. In the rest of the eye you have the three layers of the eyeball, sclera, choroid, retina, and the five layers of the cornea, epithelium, Bowman’s membrane, stroma, Descemet’s membrane, and posterior lamina. And a lens consisting of a proteinaceous goop contained in a capsule, attached to the muscular ciliary body by suspensory ligaments, and an iris of radial and circumferential fibers innervated competitively by the sympathetic and parasympathetic subsystems of the autonomic nervous system. No way exists of explaining how this purportedly evolved—or how it works for many years without the layers of intricacy, biochemical through mechanical, collapsing. (I know this stuff because I have eye problems connected with Washington’s foreign policy.)

The intricacy of life is layered. We start with a zygote which, being a cell, is bogglingly complex. This little time bomb develops into a baby, which is impossible. If you don’t think so, try reading a textbook of embryology. The migration of cells, this control gradient, that control gradient, DGRNs, perfect inerrant specialization to form implausibly precise and complex things like incus, malleus, stapes, tympanum in the ear and (very) numerous other examples, all impossible individually and more so in aggregate.

Impossible, at least, unless we can come up with an auxiliary explanation.  Magic seems a good candidate.

All of the organs of the baby are in varying degrees impossibly complicated and, even more impossible, almost always all of them are perfect at once. Everyone knows Murphy’s Law: If something can go wrong, it will. A baby should bring joy to Murphy because the opportunities of disaster are nearly infinite—yet things almost never go wrong. It is like a federal program that actually works.

The functioning of said baby is as mysterious as its formation. Babies grow. Children grow. How does this happen? For example, the baby has various small, hollow bones which grow year after year into large hollow bones. For this to work, cells (osteoclasts) eat away the bone from the inside, making the hollow larger, while other cells (osteoblasts) lay down new bone on the outside. Complex and wildly implausible communication between blast and clast purportedly makes this work. Medical researchers, honest people, no fools, assure me that this happens, and I believe them. Sort of. The idea that this evolved by random mutation is, if I may use a technical term, nuts. So, according to Impossibility Theory, is its precise, inerrant functioning. We come back to magic.

The whole baby does this sort of thing. The skull grows. Kidneys grow. The heart grows. All, with few exceptions, perfectly. Meanwhile, kidneys excrete, endocrine glands secrete, neurons weirdly but correctly link up, skin grows in perfect layers, nervous system deploys—perfectly. Do you believe this? It isn’t possible.

Unless there is something we haven’t figured out, and perhaps can’t.

I don’t know much about anything (readers delight in assuring me of this). However, I don’t know less about computers than I don’t know about biology. I want an engineering information-flow analysis of cells and a baby. Probably there are courses and books about this, and I just haven’t heard of them.

Consider a drill, perhaps in a factory, controlled by a computer. The total information involved in this transaction presumably consists of information flowing from sensors on the drill to the computer, and from the computer to the drill. Digital bits are easy to understand if you have at least two fingers. Cells are dauntingly analog.

A whole lot of things have to happen in a cell at the right time and produce the right amounts of all sorts of stuff. But to my naïve gaze, not only do processes have to produce things in correct amounts, but the systems that tell them how much to produce have to know how much that is, and these interrelationships all have to interrelate with each other. How much is that in gigabytes? Again, I am a barbarian of such things, but I wish a software engineer would reduce the whole shebang to data-flow diagrams, including how it knows when things are wearing out and the information paths needed to repair them. And why everything doesn’t just stick to everything else.

There you have the elements of a theory of impossibility. Doubtless it will rank with general relativity and Watson and Crick. You saw it here first.

https://fredoneverything.org/list/

Read Fred’s Books! Or else. We know where you sleep.

******************************************

FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His  commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”

FRED’S BOOKS ARE ON AMAZON, HERE

FRED’S ARTICLES ARCHIVE

Killer Kink

Hardboiled is back! (The exclamation point is to arouse wild enthusiasm int the reader, a boiling literary lust.) Gritty crime fiction by longtime police reporter for the Washington Times, who knows the police from nine years of riding with them. Guaranteed free of white wine and cheese, sensitivity, or social justice.

BREAKING: NEW COLUMN: It’s Biblical, Zelensky: A Leader Who Fails To Haggle For The Lives Of His People Has Failed

Ethics, EU, Europe, Foreign Policy, Hebrew Testament, Reason, Republicans, War

Critical thinking is not in the American bone marrow. A decade or two must first pass, during which only the “mute-button pundits” get to mouth received lies. We’re currently suspended in that phase with respect to Ukraine and its mythical leader. But in the unlikely case that my readers suddenly doubt my instincts—I’m pleased to report that in Ukraine, there are already  rumblings against lionized leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

This from the impeccable reporters of the leftist Economist: “… she and her colleagues were lulled into a false sense of security by Volodymyr Zelensky’s urging that life should carry on as normal, and by the inaction of the Ministry of Culture. ‘It was all, ‘Don’t mention the war’, says another art historian; ‘basically, they screwed up.’”

That’s in the spirit of my NEW COLUMN, “It’s Biblical, Zelensky Is A Failed Leader,” which appeared on WND.COM, The Unz Review and The New American.

Excerpt:

… To normies, a leader who doesn’t plead for the lives of his people is a failed leader. Diplomacy, negotiations, a cease fire: that’s the nomenclature clear-thinking people ought to wish instinctively to hear when they see the immiseration of Ukrainians and their cities. To my knowledge, not before the war and not now has Zelensky initiated, or partaken in, or been urged to pursue serious, high-level talks with Putin.

And while there is some indication that Zelensky might be inching closer to acceding  “neutrality for Kyiv and security guarantees for Moscow,” publicly, Zelensky has done nothing but snarl his contempt for Russia, roaring at the Kremlin to “hold peace talks now or suffer for generations.” This is not diplomacy, but yet more political posturing and provocation. (But then Zelensky, an actor, could be prepping to appear before the central, universal seat of asininity: Hollywood’s Oscars.)

The Hebrew Testament (though “Old,” it’s never out-of-date) is bedecked with examples of leaders pleading, even bargaining, for the lives of the Stiff-Necked People. Abraham haggled ingeniously with The Almighty over Sodom and Gomorrah. Queen Esther petitioned mighty King Xerxes (Ahasuerus) on behalf of Persian Jews, and Moses did the same for his enslaved people before Pharaoh. Another Hebrew has written that “he who saves you from war is better than he who sends you to war.” That’s what real leadership is about—uphold and fight for the people’s natural right to live peacefully. …

MORE on WND.COM, The Unz Review and The New American.

BREAKING: Finally, the cocky little guy, Zelensky, is scrambling to make diplomacy noises—could it be to cover his sorry ass at the eleventh hour? Via a source called NTD:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says a meeting between him and Russian President Vladimir Putin is needed to negotiate an end to the war, and that any compromise needs to be approved by a referendum. Meanwhile, people have started to evacuate from the Black Sea port of Odessa as Russian forces loom.

Note how Zelensky’s first instinct is to create a media record of his belated impulse to move in the right direction. Very slick. You’d think that after weeks of hell for Ukrainians—we’d learn that the president had already set up an open line to Putin. But no.

Zelensky’s diplomacy is still aspirational.

Oh, and in case you didn’t know where his heart lies: Over to Zelensky: “Justin Trudeau was one of those leaders who inspired me to join politics.”

The European Parliament’s Christine Anderson has some fighting words for Zelensky’s political muse: Trudeau, “You are a disgrace to any democracy. Please spare us your presence”. Watch. Listen.
What an eloquent, and powerful lady she is. If only the Deplorables of America had such representation.