Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Evolutionary Development of The God Concept part 1

 photo 220px-GuaTewet_tree_of_life-LHFage_zps5d6fe999.jpg

An Atheist on Cadre blog linked to a Wiki article (an article flagged as needing work be that as it may) saying:

 Barbara King argues that while non-human primates are not religious, they do exhibit some traits that would have been necessary for the evolution of religion. These traits include high intelligence, a capacity for symbolic communication, a sense of social norms, realization of "self" and a concept of continuity.[1][2] There is inconclusive evidence that Homo neanderthalensis may have buried their dead which is evidence of the use of ritual. The use of burial rituals is thought to be evidence of religious activity, and there is no other evidence that religion existed in human culture before humans reached behavioral modernity.
That is supposed to prove that religion is made up entirely by humans with no
God involved. I suggest that evolutionary nature of religion in and of itself is not enough to rule out God,After all of God users evolution in creation then we should expect God to allow evolutionary nature of religion to shape human development. Here is my article (part 1) showing how the evolutionary nature of religious development is not contrary to God.

All experiences of the divine must be filtered through cultural constructs, or symbols. God is beyond our understanding, thus beyond language. If we are talk about our experiences, however badly, we must filter them through culture.

RELIGION, although inherent in man, borrows its expressions from the setting or milieu in which man appears. The forms through which man expresses the supernatural are all drawn from the cultural heritage and the environment known to him, and are structured according to his dominant patterns of experience.In a hunting culture this means that the main target of observation, the animal, is the ferment of suggestive influence on representations of the supernatural. This must not be interpreted as meaning that all ideas of the supernatural necessarily take animal form. First of all, spirits do appear also as human beings, although generally less frequently; the high-god, for instance, if he exists, is often thought of as a being of human appearance. Second, although spirits may manifest themselves as animals they may evince a human character and often also human modes of action.[1]

Narrative is psychologically important to humans because it enables us to put things in perspective, to put ourselves into the story and to understand. Anything can be narrative. Even when events are taken as historical and the consciousness of myth falls away, the narrative is no less naratival. The resurrection of Christ, the existence of Jesus and his claims to be Messiah, all I take to be history and truth. Yet these are also part of the meta-narrative of Christianity. The meat-narrative is not closed or not an ideology or truth regime as long as it can be open to outside voices and to adult itself to them. For that reason the narrative hast to be fluid. The reason for this is that it has to explain the word in a new way to each new generation. To the extent that it can keep doing this it continues to be relevant and survives. This is equivalent to Kuhn’s paradigm absorbing the anomalies. Even when a certain set of fact is held out as historical and more that, but “the truth” such as Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, there is still an interpretation, a spin an understanding of just exactly how to put it, that varies from time to time and culture to culture. The facts of the event don’t change, the historical significance of it doesn’t change, but the way of relating it to each generation anew does change. This is not say that ideology doesn’t change, but the change is much slower and less obvious and less fluid. Even when the meta-narrative of a given religious tradition features factual material it’s not closed in the sense that ideology is closed and it’s still fluid.
            This is not to say that religious traditions don’t get infected with ideology. When traditions take on ideology they usually form something more than Orthodoxy, something like “fundamentalism.” Orthodoxy is just the recognition of stable boundaries that ground the fluid nature of the narrative in expression of continuity. While ideology seeks to create a black hole, like the eternal conflict between communism and anti-communism, that absorbs all light and allows nothing to escape; the attempt to suck everything in one eternal understanding. Ideology in religious tradition probably is most often he result of literalizing the metaphors. When we forget that the metaphor bridges the gap between what we know and we don’t know—through comparison--and that it contains a “like” and a “not-like” dimension, we begin to associate the metaphor with truth in literal way then we begin to formulate ideology. Critics of religious thinking might be apt to confuse dogma with ideology. Religious ideas are not automatically ideological, dogma is not automatically ideological. It’s the literalistic elements in some religious thinking (not all of course) that closes off the realm of discourse and crates a closed truth regime. The danger of form ideology may be acute in a religious setting since it is easy to confuse the metaphor with literal truth by casting over it the aura of the sacred. We often associate the things pertaining to belief in God with God, and in so doing forger a literalism that closes off discourse. Yet religious belief as a whole is too fluid to be fully ideological. Ideology is self protecting and self perpetuating. Thomas Kuhn’s talk about damage control in paradigm defense is a good example of the self defending nature of ideology. While meta-narrative often reflects concepts of divine truth, it’s too changeable to be ideological. Even though theology resists change and novelty is a bad thing in theological parlance, meta-narrative changes in spite of it all. The fact of changed is noted in the many examples of different versions of the same myth. One such change turns upon a burning question that must be raised at this point, why did religious thinking move from numatic realization to a theocentric nature?
            Why “God?” The same can be asked of the female form? Why a pseudo-parental, suzerain figure who creates the world and is in charge of the cosmos? Why not, since this model is obviously a metaphor comparing the unknown with some aspect of reality we know well, why that aspect and not another? What did people worship before they worshipped gods? Anthropology tells us that the shamanistic style of animism is older than the concept of a creator god.[2] This form of belief dates back to the stone age. Native American tribe “Shosoni, like other hunting people in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, have an idea of a “master of the animals,” or an “owner,” a supernatural being who is in charge of the animals:

Hunting peoples in Africa, Europe, Asia and America have developed the idea of a supernatural owner of the animal species, or of all animals, who protects them, commands them, and at request from hunters delivers them to be slayed and eaten. The concept is not infrequent in North America. The master of animals is a spirit, generally figured as an animal. The Shoshoni have possibly in very remote times known the coyote, or rather the mythical Coyote, as a master of animals. With the impact of Plains Indian culture the buffalo and the eagle have halfway achieved the position as master of animals and master of birds, respectively. In all fairness it should be pointed out, however, that this type of concept is very little noticeable among the Shoshoni.[3]

We must be cautious but since “shamanism” is connected to animism this owner of the animals might imply a transition between animistic thinking and beliefs in gods. We can’t say that all religions evolved in the same way in every location, but it does seem that in general it was an evolution from nameless “spirits” to specific pantheon of gods. The development of the concept of God was probably influenced by thoughts of parents, of tribal chiefs, or the leader, long before they became complex enough to fit a suzerain model. Yet it does seem that the concept of God evolved out of an understanding of nature oriented religion and evolved slowly over time based upon comparison with the authority figures we know best in life.
            In his work The Evolution of God,[4] Robert Wright distills the work of anthropology over the last two centuries and demonstrates an evolutionary development, form early superstition that personified nature (pre-historic people talking to the wind)[5], through a polytheistic origin in pre-Hebrew Israelite culture,[6] to monotheistic innovation with the God of the Bible.[7] Wright is distilling a huge body of work that stretches back to the ninetieth century, the work of countless archaeologists, historians, and anthropologists. Another such successful distiller of scholarship in recent years is Karen Armstrong. In her work A History of God: The 4000 year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, [8] she presents a similar evolutionary story, focusing specifically upon the Biblical religions. She sees the pre-historical religious scene through the eyes of wonderment at the world around us. The cave paintings she understands as an attempt to record participation in the all pervasive aspect of the enchanted world.[9] The general agreement between scholarship, social sciences, and the work of anthropologists is that the concept of God is a product of the evolution of human thought.[10] At one time the concept was not, then it began and it has developed over time. Of course the great body of this work is coming out of naturalistic assumptions, especially in the ninetieth century. In the anthropological study of the evolution of religion those assumptions centered around the concept of projection in human thinking. People are projecting the relationship with the father or the king. This assumption can be traced to the work of Ludwig Feuerbach, social critic and precursor to Marxian analysis (God is the mask of money). He understood the concept of projection in terms of Hegel’s philosophy of spirit.[11] In The Essence of Christianity Feuerbach argues that superhuman deities are involuntary projections based upon the attributes of human nature.[12] How this thesis came to be the basis of modern anthropological understanding of religious evolution is not hard to seek. As Harvey puts it “It became the Bible to a group of revolutionary thinkers including, Arnold Ruge, the Bauers, Karl Marx, Richard Wagner, Frederic Engles.[13] This circle became a major part of the basis of modern social thought. While modern anthropology has not necessarily played out Feuerbach’s actual inversion of Hegel it has taken its que from him by making assumptions about theoroes of prodjection of one kind or another.
            Hegel did not think of God as some projection of human imagination. Feuerbach inverted Hegel’s concept to produce the idea. Hegel understood stages of human culture as “moments in the unforlding of absolute spirit.”[14] Thus, as Harvey points out, the various stages in religious development can be seen as stages in the self manifestation of Spirit.[15] In other words, from the cave paintings, to the shamans and the wind talkers to the highest aspirations of Judo-Christian ethics, Spirit (God), is making himself aware of himself by moving through progressive revelation to humanity. “In other words, the history of religion culminating in Christianity was a progressive revelation of the truth that the absolute is not merely an impersonal substance but a subject.”[16] Feuerbach inverts this principal by asserting that finite spirit is becoming aware of itself through externalizing its own attributes and then projecting them into magnified from.[17] On Feuerbach’s part this was the result of a long struggle with idealism. Be that as it may, and for both sides, it’s clearly the roots of ideology. It sowed the seeds of ideology in terms of the social sciences naturalistic assumptions. Now we find those same kinds of assumptions being made with regard to the laws of physics. Paul Davies has been quoted to say that the traditional view of the laws of physics are just seventeenth century monotheism without God, “Then God got killed off and the laws just free-floated in a conceptual vacuum but retained their theological properties,”[18] The assumption of modernity is always that belief in God is dying out, religion is of the past, these are the things that are dying. Armstrong sounds the death knell and starts singing the dirge in first book. She observes that “one of the reasons why religion seems irrelevant today is that many of us no longer have the sense that we are surrounded by the unseen.”[19] It’s so irrelevant she’s writing books about it.
We can just hear those atheists saying "yes this proves man invented God," not so fast. see part 2 on friday.

[1] Ake Hultkrantz, “Attitudes Toward Animals in Shashoni Indian Religion,” Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 4, No. 2. (Spring, 1970) © World Wisdom, Inc. no page listed,online archive, URL:
[2] Weston La Barre, “Shamanic Origins of Religion and Medicine,” Journal of Psychedelic Drugs, vol 11, (1-2) Jan. June 1979 no page listed, PDF, URL: http://www.cnsproductions.com/pdf/LaBarre.pdf  accessed 3/22/13.
[3] Hultkrantz, op. cit.  the author also cites other works by himself on the matter: Cf. Hultkrantz, The Owner of the Animals in the Religion of the North American Indians (in Hultkrantz, ed., The Supernatural Owners of Nature, Stockholm Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 1, 1961). Hultkrantz, The Masters of the Animals among the Wind River Shoshoni (Ethnos, Vol. 26:4, 1961).
[4] Robert Wright, The Evolution of God, New York: Back Bay Books, reprint edition, 2010.  The book was Originally published in 2009. The company “Back Bay books: is an imprint of Hachette Books, through Little Brown and company. Wright studied sociobiology at Princeton and taught at Princeton as and University of Pennsyania. He edits New Republic and does journalistic writing of science, especially sociobiology.
[5] Wright, ibid, 9
[6] ibid. 10
[7] ibid, 11
[8] Karen Armstrong, A History of God: The 4000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. New York: Ballantine Books, 1994.
[9] Ibid, 4-6
[10] T. M. Manickam,, Dharma According Manu and MosesBangalore : Dharmaram Publications, 1977,6.
[11] Van A. Harvey, Feuerbach and The Interpretation of Religion, Carmbridge: Press Syndicate for the University of Cambridge, Cambridge Studies in Religion and Critical Thought, 1995/1997, 4.
Harvey is professor emeritus, taught religious studies at Stanford Univesity. His Ph.D. from Yale in 1957. His thesis supervisor was H.Richard Neibhur.
[12] Cited by Harvey, ibid., 25.
[13] ibid, 26.
[14] ibid.
[15] ibid.
[16] ibid.
[17] ibid, 27
[18] Dennis Overbye, quoting email message from Paul Davies, “Laws of Nature, Source Unknown,” “Science” New York Times. December 19, 2007. on line edition URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/18/science/18law.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1& accessed, 3/25/13.
[19] Armstrong, op.cit. 4.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Rage Against The Dying of The Light

Image result for Metacrock's blog Tank man

Here I use the dying father as metaphor, if Dylan Thomas* will forgive me, for the dying Western civilization, which I now mourn. We stand to lose in this era far more than anyone has understood. Not just every vestige of progress made in the 20th century, not just millions of lives, in death and hellish life, but the very capacity to object, to reason ,to discourse. We stand to lose more than this, the entire religious edifice which has made America the bulwark of Christian belief and stemmed the tide of modern secular anti-clericalism throughout the 20th century, That now comes to an end  not because of new atheism but because Christian fundamentalism delivered  the gospel into the hands of one-dimensionaizing forces to be used as a political tool and nothing more. It had been denuded of the values that make the gospel a meaningful answer in a meaningless world,

Trump destroying every vestige of progress

The Republicans have put forth 2000 bills so far everyone of them destroying some aspect of social progress. The entire edifices of social progress apprised throughout the 20th century is being devastated and pulled down in one college semester. They will terminate EPA, if that doesn't work they will gut 60% of it;s regulations, Tax dollars for private schools, Terminate Department of education, eliminate rules protective of  wildlife, eliminate affordable care act, defend planned parenthood (only a minty part of that funding goes to abortion) destroy the vestigial remains of the labor movement iwth right to work legislation, [1] Trash the nation's clear water supply by allowing toxic dumpling, ruining tap water for 117 million Americans [2] Eliminate funding for meals on wheels, for the arts, destroy PBS and many other barbaric and unconscionable things. Destroying research on climate change at crucial moment when we are approaching tipping point  and yes that science is proven, 97% of scientists agree that figure is firm and proven. [3]

It is pretty obvious that Trump seeks to erase every aspect of social progress made since the new deal. He seeks to take us back to pre FDR levels of social progress. I guess he;s saving segregated lunch counters for second term. We are talking about people's lives, Pollution kills. Before the EPA existed the first major scientific study on harms of pollution found that a 50% reduction in air pollution would result in 20% reduction in all cardio pulmonary deaths, we are talking millions of people.[4] Now we are going back to those levels by gutting EPA and eliminating regulations. Why is he doing it? He says it's because the national debt is so great, it's practically at emergency levels. The problem with that is none of the conservative economic publications back him on that.

Bob Bryan quotes Scott Brown of Raymond James April 2016 tells us:"There is no magic level of debt that gets an economy in trouble," Brown, the chief economist at Raymond James, said in the note. "Research arguing that view has been discredited. The federal government currently has no problem borrowing, nor is there any evidence that it is crowding out private investment." Bryan adds: "Brown's argument is fairly simple: Debt is an issue only if you can't repay it or if other people believe you can't repay it. And, as Business Insider's Myles Udland has noted, the US can literally print the money it needs to repay its debt, and it still maintains a high credit rating." [5] 

Trump's rational may be the deficit but he does nothing about it. His budget is a sham because, like with Reagan he cuts spending with one hand by slashing social programs, but then throws it all away on defense spending with the other. Trump's budget will make no gains of savings for all it/s death and destruction it causes among the poor. It features a 54 Billion dollar increase in defense. [6][7] The old Reagan strategy of treating defense dollars like magic so that spending them doesn't causer deficit.

Why the total devastation of social programs went it wont really reduce the deficit? One name that is very meaningful in the world of high finance is John C, Bogle of the Vanguard group. Bogle argues that Trump is aiming to produce a total business environment, He;s clearing the decks of all regulation to create a total business environment, In that way he will spur business and the economy will grow. [8]

Trump has chosen the typical  American penchant for short term prophets and immeidate pleasure screw tomorrow screw the future,

The Closed Realm of Discourse

As I have documented in the past Western Civilization has been reduced to a closed realm of discourse along the lines of Marcuse's One-Dimensional Man. [9] The way of life that has developed in America admits only one line of discourse backing the social protect and all else disappears into the black hole of false needs. C. Wright Mills said:
The individual learns not to reason, but to rationalize the goals and ends of life, and his or her position in the overall scheme of things. Given...the ascendant trend of rationalization, the individual 'does what he can.' He gears his aspirations and his work to the situation he is in and from which he can find no way out. In due course he does not seek a way out: he adapts. That part of his life which is left over from work he uses to play, to consume, to have fun. Yet this sphere of consumption is also being rationalized. Alienated from production, from work, he is also alienated from consumption, from genuine leisure. This adaptation of the individual and its effects upon his milieux and self results not only in the loss of his chance, but in due course of his capacity and will to reason; it also affects his chances and his capacity to act as a free [person]. Indeed, neither the value of freedom nor of reason, it would seem, are known to him.[10]
Marcuse extended the analysis to the consumer oriented lifestyle, the meaning of life because the acquisition of false needs,
..The irresistible output of the entertainment and information industry carry with them prescribed attitudes and habits...The products indoctrinate and manipulate; they promote a false consciousness which is immune against falsehood. And as these beneficial products have become available to more individuals, in more social classes, the indoctrination they carry ceases to be publicity; it becomes a way of life. It is a good way of life' much better than before and as a good way of life, it militates against qualitative change. Thus emerges a pattern of one-dimensional thought and behavior, in which ideas, aspirations, and objectives that, by their content, transcend the established universe of discourse and action are either repelled or reduced to terms of this [social-political] universe. They are re-defined by the rationality of the given system and of its quantitative extension..[11]

That has been the situation since the late 40s. Now we have a new situation in which all vintages of humanity, of culture,or arts, and of thinking and everything that is not business is to be swept aside children will no longer be trained in these things. It is all to be left to cruel market forces of hyper capitalism in a war time hysteria. We are on-dimensional as is, but even the slight alternatives that create small spaces for transcendence will be closed up and the closed realm of discourse will center itself around the business mentality.

One-dimensional Christianity

What happens to the Gospel of Christ in one-dimensional society?  We can already see the direction it's taking. In the last week we saw what has become of the value of compassion in the Trump culture, it is the side of sensibility to watch our for the poor exploited tax payers who are ask to help those vicious old ladies get lunches. We need to haven compassion on those poor beseaged guys in the upper brackets who are not getting their just share of American defense.Buying that extra fighter could swing the whole tide of the war, whatever war Our true leader Mr. Putin sends us to fight for him,[12] How about some compassion for those poor frightened KKK guys who didn't get to lynch everyone they wanted to? We need to have compassion for the poor lions getting indigestion on all those old Christians.

The basic values that underlay the Gospel are distorted and perverted when the realm of discourse is closed around a project of hyper capitalism in a climate of fear. We see this happening now when the evangelical church has become the American Taliban ready to sell their birthright for protecting from terrorism, at the expense of the truly helpless sea of humanity victimized by the dictatorship and war, but the Christians are taught to fear the foreigners.

Bob Eschliman, writes: "Stephen Powell, one of the newer voices of the prophetic movement, has shared another word from the Lord regarding not just President Trump, but how his presidency is reforming politics in America:"
I hear the Lord saying, "This man [Trump] is unstoppable because I'm unstoppable. My kingdom is unstoppable, and this man has a mandate from heaven; he has momentum that is not his own. His movement will not dissipate, it will grow, and it will reach beyond the borders of American governing. It will inspire; it will stir up a nest.
"As the eagle stirs up the nest, so the Lord will do through this man. People are laughing at him, saying that his plans are too bold, his ideas are too big, that his plans will not work because after all, what president has been able to do these things before without gridlock?
But the Lord is saying, "This president shall not be in gridlock, for his strength is not his own. I have put a spirit of breakthrough on this man and on this land, and he will do things that will be monumental for the generations to come. I will use him to stir up the nest and cause this young generation of young eagles to soar."[13]

The right wing fundamentalists seek to expropriate the mantle of Prophet in pushing their political. agenda. In so doing they tag as divine a set of values that contradict everything Jesus taught, I don't think the major criticism is that his plans are too bold, too stupid maybe not too bold. God told Israel to give the alien among them the same rights and protections as they enjoyed. Of course we know that we are called protect widows and orphans, to sacrifice for those who can't help themselves. Through the Bible we are told God takes the side of the poor. There is nothing consistent between these values and the discrimination and loathing for welfare and social programs the seeking to destroy every form of social progress made in the 20th century seen in the agenda of Trump. There is no way that Trump's anti-compass agenda is divinely mandated. Not to mention the Brown shirt effect, the massive awakening of racism and antisemitism we see in the wake of Trump's influence.[14]

Thus the last and in view most important alternative to any form of dictatorship, the sacred that which never be possessed by temporal power, will simply be defined out of being because the very capacity to understand the concept will be engineered away, as Schweitzer predicted.

The lesson of Christians in Sweden

In my article answering Phil Zuckerman I demonstrated that Christianity was a major part of the coalition that built the Swedish welfare state. But the Christians of Sweden made a huge mistake, The fundamentalists took over the Christian world and them out of the social coalition, They lost their place in Swedish society and have never gotten it back.[15] That is why Sweden is so secular and Christianity is perceived as old and antiquated and irrelevant. Because it made itself irrelevant and it betrayed the social mission of the Church. They did it because they were taken over by right wing political thinking that tried to suppress social programs.


(all sources accessed 3/20/17)

[1] Tom Cahill.,"While We Were distracted by Trump The Republoicans Unviled Nine Terrifying Bills," Resistance Report, (March 4, 2017) On line resource URL:


[2] Craig Cox, "Trump Plan To Gut Stream Protectionism," Know Your Environment Protect Your Health (WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1, 201)
Cox is  Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Soren Rundquist, Director of Spatial Analysis

[3] 97%

[4] L&S

[5] BobBryan, "U.S. Government's 19 Trillion Dollar Deficit Isn't a Problem," Busimess Imsider.
(APril. 25, 2016) URL:


[7]  @CNNMoney
March 16, 2017: 

[8] Alexandra King,"Legomndary Invester Bobler..." CNN March 18, 2017

[9] Joseph Hinman, "Atheists educe Knowledge to Science," Metcrock's Blog (JULY 03, 2016)

from my forth comimg book

[10] C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination. New York, London: Oxford University Press, 1967 (originally 1959) 170

[11] Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Soceity. Boston: Beacon Press, 1964, 12.

[12]Joseph Hinman, "Trump Budgetting: The Bizzaro Version of Compassion" Metacrock's Blog

MARCH 17, 2017

[13]Stephen Powell quoted by Bob Eschlisman, "Prophecy: Donald Trump Is Unstoppable Because the Lord Is Unstoppable," Charisma News (2/1/2017)
http://www.charismanews.com/politics/issues/62737-prophecy-donald-trump-is-unstoppable-because-the-lord-is-unstoppable (access 2/28/17)

[14] Joseph Himan,"Trump, Fascism, and the Rise of hate," Resistance is not Futile,March 17, 2017

Southern Poverty Law Center documents

[15] Kees Van Kersbergen and Philip Manow, "Religion and the Western Welfare State--The Theoretical Context," Religion, Class Coalitions, and Welfare States, Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, Kees Van Kersbergen and Philip Manow, (ed) 2009. 1-38,1.
Google books: http://books.google.com/books?id=bPYdeROiAD8C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=true

*Do not go gentle into that good night
Dylan Thomas, 1914 - 1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

From The Poems of Dylan Thomas, published by New Directions. Copyright © 1952, 1953 Dylan Thomas. Copyright © 1937, 1945, 1955, 1962, 1966, 1967 the Trustees for the Copyrights of Dylan Thomas. Copyright © 1938, 1939, 1943, 1946, 1971 New Directions Publishing Corp. Used with permission.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Urgent action altert!

The obscene stupidity replacing Obama Care goes to the house this week. it is time to call congress and demand that they vote no! CALL YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS 202-224-3121

Friday, March 17, 2017

Trump Budgetting: The Bizzaro Version of Compassion


On Thursday morning, the White House’s budget director Mick Mulvaney rationalized Trump's budget cuts with the  The Bizzaro Version of Compassion. He said: “When you start looking at places that we reduce spending, one of the questions we asked was, can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs? The answer was no,” Mulvaney told MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “We can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can’t ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”

Eric Levitz has come thoughts about things we are already asking them to pay for:

(1) The U.S. already spends more more on its military than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, France, India, and Germany — combined. By contrast, America spends far less than its peers (per capita) on many of the initiatives that the Trump’s budget cuts.
(2) Trump’s proposal cuts many programs that are more intuitively valuable to coal miners in West Virginia — and single mothers in Detroit — than a 10 percent increase in defense spending. The president’s budget cuts funding for early-childhood education, public housing, transit, food assistance, and job training — all programs that disproportionately benefit single mothers in cities with low median incomes. And it also abolishes the Appalachian Regional Commission and Rural Business-Cooperative Service, while shrinking the Labor Department — all moves that disadvantage coal miners.
(3) If the White House feels bad about taking money from coal miners and single mothers, then why is one of its top priorities to pass an enormous, regressive tax cut?
Reporters pressed him for futher clairificatiomn:

“Just to follow-up on that, you were talking about the steel worker in Ohio, coal worker in Pennsylvania, but they may have an elderly mother who depends on the Meals on Wheels program or who may have kids in Head Start,” Acosta said. “Yesterday, or the day before, you described this as a hard-power budget. Is it also a hard-hearted budget?”
“No, I don’t think so,” Mulvaney replied. “I think it’s probably one of the most compassionate things we can do.”
“To cut programs that help the elderly and kids?” Acosta asked, incredulously.

Now here is the crux of his reasoning, this is how he rationalizes it:

“You’re only focusing on half of the equation, right? You’re focusing on the recipients of the money. We’re trying to focus on both the recipients of the money and the folks who give us the money in the first place,” Mulvaney explained. “And I think it’s fairly compassionate to go to them and say, ‘Look, we’re not gonna ask you for your hard-earned money, anymore, single mother of two in Detroit … unless we can guarantee to you that that money is actually being used in a proper function.’”
That is Bizzazro logic. W can ask them to pay 149$ for a towelette seat (for defense--soldiers have to crap) but we can'task them to by an old lady lunch or for a hungry child  so he can learn and grow up to be a  brilliantine like Trump? 
If we look at murder from his perspective we have to take both ides of the equation we need to know if the murderer is getting a good clean kill. We can't just look at the victim's side of it, we should stick up for the murderer, make sure the she get's her monies worth worth.
Tax payers are not analogous to murderers but the principle is the same, both sides of every equation are not equal. The fact is the taxpayer only get's her money's  wroth from defense if it's used, but you have to have a war to use it. Not to worry I'm sure Trump will get us into  war, But there is one other point to be considered. Taxpayers benefit from services, social programs are not just helpful for some abstract category of lazy people called "the poor" they help tax payers too. We benefit from PBS,  from culture more than from defense.It's more important to go on with culture and civilization. We benefit from society we owe we should pay back. Defense id all overcharge anyway, no money's worth there.
This is a crime agaisnt humanity it is the essence of evil. The rich and powerful misusing a concept like compassion to justify their murder of the poor. It's double murder because they not only murder the poor but the English language as well.

White House Says Cutting Meals on Wheels Is ‘Compassionate’ New Yorkb (March 16, 2017)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

g Whiz, I Used to be Smart

Image result for Metacrock's blog the mind

A popular conception has grown up about IQ being meaningless as a measurement of intelligence. This view is held by various experts who study mind and things pertaining to it, as well as lay people. No great surprise that it is contradicted by experts who make IQ tests, It's what they do, Sure enough there's an article a friend of mine put me on to by an IQ researcher,Linda S. Gottfredson, who argues that most experts in the field see IQ as a valid predictor of intelligence and life success: "Intelligence as measured by IQ tests is the single most effective predictor known of individual performance at school and on the job. It also predicts many other aspects of well being, including a person’s chances of divorcing, dropping out of high school, being unemployed or having illegitimate children."[1] I believe this is an example of what I call "the illusion of technique" and I understand it as an aspect of Marcuse's one-dimensional man,It is the limitation of human potential, it lends itself to exploitation, the commodification of intelligence. In the final analysis they may prove they are measuring something but not necessarily intelligence.

Researchers have tried to isolate a single factor which they call "g" that stands for "general intelligence," they claim to find it in any statistical variation the charts success and achievement.

By now the vast majority of intelligence researchers take these findings for granted. Yet in the press and in public debate, the facts are typically dismissed, downplayed or ignored. This misrepresentation reflects a clash between a deeply felt ideal and a stubborn reality. The ideal, implicit in many popular critiques of intelligence research, is that all people are born equally able and that social inequality results only from the exercise of unjust privilege. The reality is that Mother Nature is no egalitarian. People are in fact unequal in intellectual potential—and they are born that way, just as they are born with different potentials for height, physical attractiveness, artistic flair, athletic prowess and other traits. Although subsequent experience shapes this potential, no amount of social engineering can make individuals with widely divergent mental aptitudes into intellectual equals..[2]
I think it's fair to say that some people are smarter than others, I think it's fair to say that intelligence helps one in whatever one does, so that any measurement of success is probably to some extent bound up with intelligence in some way.The one major exception of course is Donald Trump who is both an idiot and highly skilled in certain ways. Yet this is still not the same as saying that IQ measures intelligence. It's also not the same as saying that if one is successful it's a measurement of being smart, necessarily. Nor is failure a measurement of stupidity.

My major reason for the view I hold really comes down to the failure of IQ testes to regard discursive reasoning or indeed reason itself, as a sign of intelligence, If you crunch numbers you are smart, if you read philosophy and don't crunch numbers you are not smart, according to the testers. But the testers are by definition number cruncher. So they are using themselves as the final standardized by which they define intelligence. Why would working mathematics be intelligence any more than discussing Hegel? Granted both involve intelligence, but is the one who works math well and can't seem to get the negation of the negation or the sublation of dialectic still smart but the Hegel scholar who doesn't excel at math less so? The lesser mathematician  will have lower IQ because math figures in the test, that doesn't prove it's measuring  intelligence. What it proves is that they gear the test to objective measures (you can't prove you are right about Hegel like you can math) but are they measures of intelligence? I suspect that they are really measuring a complex amalgam of things involving drive, ambition, technical profession, mathematical reasoning and intelligence. The variables are too complex to include all the psychological factors so they level it out with mathematical scores, That means mathematical ability will determine the end result.

Math is not the only problem, the view of intelligence enshrined in the test is really about cultural absorption. They are effect measuring cultural literacy. One of the major disproofs of the validity of IQ tests is a phenomenon known as the "Flynn effect." This is a disproof becuase it indicates that IQ not fixed, it rises with time and that what is being measured is actually not intelligence but cultural literacy. 

Multiple studies have documented significant IQ gains over time, a phenomenon labeled the Flynn effect. Data from 20 industrialized nations show massive IQ gains over time, most notably in culturally reduced tests like the Raven's Progressive Matrices. To our knowledge, however, this is the first study to document the Flynn effect in a rural area of a developing country. Data for this project were collected during two large studies in Embu, Kenya, in 1984 and 1998. Results strongly support a Flynn effect over this 14-year period, with the most significant gains found in Raven's matrices. Previously hypothesized explanations (e.g., improved nutrition; increased environmental complexity; and family, parental, school, and methodological factors) for the Flynn effect are evaluated for their relevance in this community, and other potential factors are reviewed. The hypotheses that resonate best with our findings are those related to parents' literacy, family structure, and children's nutrition and health.[3]
Flynn argues that our ancestors were not dumber. He rules out better nutrition or knowing the tests better. The bias of the test is such that a kind of technological imperialism is imposed upon the masses.
Flynn cites a hypothetical, but typical, test question: “How are rabbits and dogs alike?” Answers such as “both destroy gardens,” “both are dinner in some countries and pets in others,” or “you can use dogs to hunt rabbits” are true, but the response the IQ testers want is “both are mammals.” The question tests not knowledge of the world or of functional relationships but mastery of particular abstract concepts, which the test makers have themselves internalized as trained scientific professionals and literate intellectuals.[4]

The tests reward problem solving that reflects a bias toward the technological sort of thinking.

IQ tests also reward certain problem- solving abilities—what Flynn calls “problems not solvable by mechanical application of a learned method.” He cites tests of similarities and analogies, and pattern-completion tests, such as Raven’s Progressive Matrices. In the latter, each question is a series of line drawings followed by a collection of drawings from which the test taker must pick the one that completes the sequence. When J. C. Raven developed the test in 1936, he claimed it measured the ability to discover patterns, which was for him the essence of intelligence. Raven’s test is often said (without good evidence) to suffer little or no cultural bias. Yet it is on tests of this type that the Flynn effect is strongest; gains in IQ scores of at least 5 points per decade have been seen. In the Netherlands, for decades all 18-year-old males drafted into the military were given the test, and those who took it in 1982 scored 20 points higher than those who had taken it in 1952.[5]
Gottfredson tries to argue against this kind of criticism:

Some critics of intelligence research maintain that the notion of general intelligence is illusory: that no such global mental capacity exists and that apparent “intelligence” is really just a by-product of one’s opportunities to learn skills and information valued in a particular cultural context. True, the concept of intelligence and the way in which individuals are ranked according to this criterion could be social artifacts. But the fact that g is not specific to any particular domain of knowledge or mental skill suggests that g is independent of cultural content, including beliefs about what intelligence is. And tests of different social groups reveal the same continuum of general intelligence. This observation suggests either that cultures do not construct g or that they construct the same g. Both conclusions undercut the social artifact theory of intelligence.
This doesn't answer the Flynn effect argument. "But the fact that g is not specific to any particular domain of knowledge or mental skill suggests that g is independent of cultural content," That does not mean that the test is not biased along the lines of thought categories such as science, g is not specific to any particular domain but  if it is biased in favor of cultural literary it can fail to measure certain intelligent responses because they don't fit the categories. All cultures have cloistral categories it's going to show up in all of them,

Some have asked "if IQ tests are not predicting intelligence, or at least not fixed, unalterably, heritable standard of intelligence, what do they predict?" The Flynn effect give us one answer, cultural literacy. Another answer is academic motivation. That is not necessarily a marker for intelligence, since a bright student can be turned off from the process of learning or trying. Angela Lee Duckworth, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, and her team, conducted two studies; they did a meta analysis of 46 previous studies, the effect of monetary incentive's on IQ scores."...the effect of financial rewards on IQ scores increased dramatically the higher the reward: Thus rewards higher than $10 produced values of more than 1.6 (roughly equivalent to more than 20 IQ points), whereas rewards of less than $1 were only one-tenth as effective."[13] 

Duckworth's second study involved data from an earlier study, following 500 boys age 12, tested in the late 80s, they were video tapes and signs of boredom and lack of motivation were observed. The study was longitudinal, following the boys into early adulthood. There were no difference in IQ or other factors between the boys.

Duckworth's team analyzed the results of these earlier studies to see what they said about the relationship between motivation, IQ scores, and life success. By constructing a series of computer models of the data, the team found that higher motivation accounted for a significant amount of the differences in IQ scores and also in how well IQ predicted later success in life. For example, differences in motivation levels accounted for up to 84% of the differences between the boys in how many years of school they had completed or whether they had been able to find a job. On the other hand, motivation differences accounted for about only 25% of the differences in how well they had done in school as teenagers. According to the researchers, that suggests that native intelligence does still play an important role in both IQ scores and academic achievement.
Nevertheless, the Duckworth team concludes that IQ tests are measuring much more than just raw intelligence--they also measure how badly subjects want to succeed both on the test and later in life. Yet Duckworth and her colleagues caution that motivation isn't everything: The lower role for motivation in academic achievement, they write, suggests that "earning a high IQ score requires high intelligence in addition to high motivation."[14]

This finding of course raises the question does this mean that those with high intelligence will score low on the test if they are not motivated? That test scores fluctuate at different times in your life would seem to be proof that IQ doesn't measure a fixed unalterable course. Take a book reviewed by NYT book review in 1998, published by Brookings Institue, the work shows that test scores between black and white narrow only a bit since 1970 but "the typical American black still scores below 75 percent of American whites on most standardized tests. On some tests the typical American black scores below more than 85 percent of whites?" Yet no genetic aspect has ever been discovered that would indicate that blacks are any less intelligent than whites. As a matter of fact when black children are raised in white homes their per-adolescent test scores rise dramatically (that also goes for mixed race children). Black adoptee test scores fall in adolescents. [15] I would actually predict that, since at that time the difference in racial make up of the family becomes more acute (I base that upon the experience of relatives). That could be a motivational issue. Moreover, the findings reported above by Nisbet shows the IQ gap bewteen blacks and whites has narrowed a lot more since 98. 

 --Even nonverbal IQ scores are sensitive to environmental change. Scores on nonverbal IQ tests have risen dramatically throughout the world since the 1930s. The average white scored higher on the Stanford-Binet in 1978 than 82 percent of whites who took the test in 1932. Such findings reinforce the implications of adoption studies: large environmental changes can have a large impact on test performance.
    --Black-white differences in academic achievement have also narrowed throughout the twentieth century. The best trend data come from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which has been testing seventeen-year-olds since 1971 and has repeated many of the same items year after year. Figure 1-2 shows that the black-white reading gap narrowed from 1.25 standard deviations in 1971 to 0.69 standard deviations in 1996. The math gap fell from 1.33 to 0.89 standard deviations. When Min-Hsiung Huang and Robert Hauser analyzed vocabulary scores for adults born between 1909 and 1969, the black-white gap also narrowed by half.[16]

Some scientists attribute the difference in IQ between men and women to motivation. Males surpass females by average of 3.6 IQ pionts, but more males decide to go to college than females. William and Mary psychologist Bruce Bracken thinks this is a good argument for linking motivation to the test score. [17]

I don't doubt that there is a general intelligence, and I can see the benefit in a concrete measure for it. That does not mean that IQ tests are that measure. We should use and put weight on reading and understanding ideas more so than on working quizzes. As long we  use technique to make that measure it's going to be exploited and used to oppress.


this is a secret message, it means nothing

[1] Linda S. Gottfredson, "The General Intelligence Factor," Scientific American,(no month indicated) 1998, 24-29 , 24. from the PDF version,URL:
http://www.hucama.se/uploads/1/6/5/0/16501994/g-factor_intellligence_1998.pdf (accessed 3/14/17).

LINDA S. GOTTFREDSON is professor of educational studies at the University of Delaware

another online version here:

[2] Ibid., 24.

[3] Tamra C. Daley,et al "IQ on the Rise, the Flynn effect Rural Kenyon Children." Psychological Science: A Journal of the Association for Psychological Science. vol. 14, no. 3, (May, 2003) 215-219.on line version  http://pss.sagepub.com/content/14/3/215.short accessed 8/16/13

co authors include: Shannon E. Whaley2,Marian D. Sigman1,2,Michael P. Espinosa2 andCharlotte Neumann3

[4] Cosma Shalizi, "The Domestication of the Savage Mind," Book Rview of What is Intelligence, Beyond the Flynn Effect, by James Flynn,  in American Scientist, Vol. 97, no. 3 (May-June, 2009) 244.
on line version: http://www.americanscientist.org/bookshelf/pub/the-domestication-of-the-savage-mind
 accessed 8/16/13.
Cosma Shalizi is an assistant professor in the statistics department at Carnegie Mellon University and an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute. He is writing a book on the statistical analysis of complex systems models. His blog, Three-Toed Sloth, can be found at http://bactra.org/weblog/.

[5] Ibid.

3,4,5 = 10,11,12 [6] Angela Duckwork in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, quoted by Balter op.cit.

[7] Ibid.

[8] New York Times book review, The Black and White Test score Gap, edited by Christopher Jenks and Meredith Philips. Washington DC: Bookings Institution Press. 1998. New York Times online
accessed 8/17/13.
[9] Ibid.

[10] Jeanna Bryner,"Men Smarter than Women Scientists Claim," Live Science, sept 8, 2006. On line resource or blog: http://www.livescience.com/7154-men-smarter-women-scientist-claims.html
accessed 8/17/13