The books, they ship

The second print-run left the printers today, so the books are on their way to the distributor. Figure about a week for them to get to Amazon and get processed, then another three days to your house. I’m sorry about the delay.

I am intrigued

It seems I’m not the only one pointing out the intellectual, moral and spiritual bankruptcy of the Enlightenment:

[W]e humans, probably unlike animals, need death to be more than just dying in a Darwinian sense, and like a dead fish, rotting and stinking on the beach. If that’s all death is, biological death in that sense, then life loses its meaning. If death doesn’t have meaning, one doesn’t need to argue this, one just needs to look at the great stories and the great paintings, the great wrestlings with precisely this question, from Tolstoy right back to Shakespeare and then back to the Greeks. It just is the case with us humans. If death has no meaning more than the biological sense, then life loses its meaning, and life becomes absurd, or horrible, to quote Nietzsche. So yes, looking back over 500 years of Humanism, Humanism was doomed from the start, and I think this is precisely Shakespeare and Holbein’s point in the Renaissance.

Humanism, like Communism, Feminism and Secularism, was absolutely doomed from the start. The only reason it hung around as long as it has is that it was sustained by the Christian tradition. Severed from that, it can’t last, one need only look at how much the Humanist creed has transformed in the two iterations since the first one to know that it is a transient thing.

Money never stays silent

The wall begins to crack:

The federal government continues to deny a link between vaccines and autism, but the U.S. Court of Federal Claims has ruled in favor of a child alleged to have regressed into autism as a result of vaccinations. Several of the vaccinations included the controversial mercury-based preservative thimerosal, points out the National Autism Association, which sees the ruling as confirmation of the claims of many parents.

“This case echoes the stories of thousands of children across the country,” said NAA President Wendy Fournier. “With almost 5,000 similar cases pending in vaccine court, we are confident that this is just the first of many that will confirm what we have believed for so long – vaccines can and do cause children to regress into autism.”

Now cue all of the science fetishists and herd statists squawking about how a court ruling isn’t science. That’s true, and neither are statistical meta-studies. Notice that it’s always the vaccine sellers and the see-no-evil “vaccines are an unmitigated good” crowd that is staunchly opposed to any proper double-blind empirical studies of the matter.

Vaccines aren’t inherently bad. But even generally pro-vaccine European pediatricians think that the U.S. vaccination schedule is insane. If the federal government didn’t know that vaccines caused harm, they wouldn’t have made the vaccine makers and administrators immune to civil lawsuits from the families of the children harmed. And that’s despite the applied standard of harm that if applied to handgun homicide would conclude that about 50 percent of gunshot victims died of unknown causes wholly unrelated to the bullet-sized holes that happened to exist in the bodies.

Portrait of a Smug Married

She does paint a vividly vicious metaphor, though:

One of the recurring sticks which women are whacked by, and whack each other with, is the “FACT” that you can’t find a husband past the age of thirty five. On your 28th birthday, three quarters of available straight men apparently shift into an unreachable dimension distant from your own, and, if you haven’t got one by then, you have to wait until they’re all released from their first marriages, ten years later, and come to you bitter, broke and lugging two traumatised children behind them – children whose sole purpose is to loathe you….

Is me calling my sisters (30 and 28) “shrivelled-up childless spinster-antelopes on the edges of the migrating pack” actually a bit too close to home?

She’s generally correct, though. A woman who marries in her twenties will almost always marry better in superficial material terms than a woman who marries in her thirties. It’s worth keeping in mind if such things matter to you. I don’t quite understand why so many women think that it’s wiser to wait until they’re past their peak level of attraction to the opposite sex to begin looking for a husband. There are three things that every pretty girl should have branded on her brain at puberty:

1) The world isn’t all about you even if it looks that way now.
2) Looks fade surprisingly fast.
3) There’s plenty of girls on the girl tree, with new ones blooming every year.

The bad start

Gentlemen, I submit that if you wish to have even a remote chance at a successful marriage with a woman, beginning it by demonstrating to all and sundry that you are the submissive party is not the optimal way to kick it off:

“I expect that more women than ever will be proposing in 2008,” says Dr Sheri Jacobson, a relationship counsellor at Harley Therapy in London. “I think that attitudes are shifting and there’s more room for women to assert themselves.” How much more room can there be?…

And besides, you may be surprised to know that a tradition dreamt up by other chicks doesn’t insist that the woman buy the ring. Suzanne Kelly proposed to her husband Eamon during what would otherwise have been a magical trip to Florence in 1992. “After he recovered, we found a jeweller and he bought me a classic diamond solitaire,” chirruped Suzanne, smugly.

That isn’t marriage, it’s a pirate with a cutlass in her mouth boarding a helpless merchant ship. However, some of the unquestionably brilliant writer’s suggestions for how the gamma male can avoid an unwanted proposal are pretty amusing:

You are not even safe taking your nephews to the local branch of Games Workshop for a few rounds of Warhammer – she will get the shop assistant nerds to let her write “Will you marry me?” underneath all their area of effect-damage templates (ask nephews). Only a modern “high-class” orgy will dampen her plans – the last thing she wants is for your (inevitable, gutless) acceptance to be celebrated by a round of applause from a bunch of naked “heedonists”, as Larry David calls them. Don’t admit that it’s an orgy either. When she brings up the fact that everyone’s getting it on, say: “Sex party? What are you talking about? These are my friends from university.”

It sends shivers down your spine, really. If women are getting so desperate for establishing legal claims on men’s finances that they’re actually willing to enter a Games Workshop of their own volition, there’s no telling what they might do. In the old days, before women realized that geeks can literally buy and sell jocks, a few strategically arranged painted little orcs and elves were sufficient to send any self-respecting girl running screaming into the night.

Evangelical Outpost’s TIA review

Joe Carter rules from the bench:

The Verdict: Vox Day is a cyberpunk sage, equal parts inflammatory and erudite. Those familiar with his blog and his WorldNetDaily columns will know what to expect from Day, while new readers may find his style abrasive and off-putting. (For example, he starts Chapter 1 with “I don’t care if you go to Hell.”) But those who stick with the book will find a well-researched and exhaustively documented rebuttal. Day has applied his skills as a blogger to present a book-length fisking of the writings of antagonistic atheists like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens (indeed, Day should excerpt his book as a daily blog entry). Reading the book is like watching a streetfighter hammering a string of inferior and nasty opponents–while a bit tedious in the blow-by-blow its ultimately exhilarating to see them get their comeuppance.

The Land of the Formerly Free

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that this has occurred at a time when American liberties are under direct assault:

For the first time in history, more than one in every 100 American adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report tracking the surge in inmate population. The report, released Thursday by the Pew Center on the States, said the 50 states spent more than $49 billion on corrections last year, up from less than $11 billion 20 years earlier. The rate of increase for prison costs was six times greater than for higher education spending, the report said.

Using updated state-by-state data, the report said 2,319,258 adults were held in U.S. prisons or jails at the start of 2008 — one out of every 99.1 adults, and more than any other country in the world.

Look for that percentage to continue to grow, most likely at an increasing rate.

The atheist dance

I always enjoy the way atheists leap back and forth between claiming that “no religion” are actually atheists whenever it suits their purposes, then arguing that they are not whenever it doesn’t. The new Pew poll is interesting, but it actually doesn’t say much that wasn’t obvious before from the 2001 ARIS study.

As for that massive growth from .4 percent, .5 percent and 13.2 percent for atheists, agnostics and No Religion in 2001 to 1.6 percent, 2.4 percent and 12.1 percent in 2008 that some atheists are celebrating, that looks a lot more indicative of margin of error than anything else. It’s absurd to try and argue that the attacks of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris on agnosticism has caused 380 percent growth in agnosticism, especially since 48 percent of the “no religious affiliation” report that “religion is either somewhat important or very important in their lives”. I’m a non-denominational Christian myself, so I know many fundamentalist Christians who would show up in this category.

Since ARIS didn’t account for this effect, which Barna later noted, the total irreligious population in America would actually appear to have dropped from 14.1 percent to 10.3 percent over the last seven years. I don’t think this is the case, however, I assume the 14.1 percent was an exaggeration born of insufficient inquiry.

Science bloggers don’t do science

Of course, neither do a lot of scientists:

Now there are thousands of blogs dedicated to science, yet only a few are popular. And strangely the popular ones are only loosely related to science…. If you examine the elephant in the room, ScienceBlogs, the trend is maintained: politics, religion books, technology, education and music are tagged more often than biology or genetics. This suggests that their primary motives are entertainment rather than discussing science.

Actually, I don’t see why the science blogs should be expected to pay any attention to science… it’s not like all that many scientists do either. The biologists are busy drama-queening about stickers on schoolbooks for kids who can’t read or do math when they’re not foolishly declaring war on 4.5 billion theists, the chemists are occupied with hiding the studies that show their shiny new drugs don’t actually do anything, the astrophysicists are writing science fiction about g-strings and multiverses, and a significant percentage of the rest appear to be devoted to the notion that democracy is the only scientific way to examine the global climate while simultaneously advocating the abandonment of democracy in favor of dictatorship by scientist-king. So, I see no reason why Anonymous Coward should see fit to criticize a leading science blogger for devoting his attention to the empirical evidence of Republican evil, the peer-reviewed science of my father’s legal status, and the sophisticated methodological falsifiability of his daughter’s affection for animals when he’s not busy torturing zebrafish or whatever. As Jim Rose so famously said of the man with concrete blocks suspended from his pierced pectorals, “It is science!”

The more I consider the lack of interest that so many so-called scientists demonstrate for actual science in favor of political ideology, the more I’m convinced that science – or at least the method and the knowledge base – would probably be best served by dragging the scientific community outside, shooting the lot, and starting over with nothing but the method. Because at this time, there is no other group of humans on the planet that is doing more to imperil human existence and not very many that are doing more to imperil human liberty.

Just as every philosophy PhD should come with a mandatory cup of hemlock, a science PhD should be accompanied by a Logan’s Run-style hand implant that turns black after 15 years, terminating the implantee. They tend to do all their most useful and significant work in their youth anyhow. Although perhaps the auto-termination should be rethought, since seeing fat bearded men in white coats and glasses being hunted down would probably make for some fairly entertaining television for the bored and desensitized masses.

And now, science fans, you may provide your socially autistic and rhetorically deaf responses for the amusement of the audience.

The relevant math

Delegates: Obama, 1,187; Clinton, 1,035.5.
Superdelegates: Obama, 188; Clinton, 241.5.

Total delegates: Obama 1,375, Clinton 1,277

Texas Primary: 67 delegates
Texas Caucus: 126 delegates
Ohio Primary: 161 delegates

Nomination: 2,025 delegates

Obviously neither the Magic Negro nor the Lizard Queen can win via elected delegates alone, hence all of the righteous democratic posing by the Obama crew. This is why it’s a mistake to put too much weight on the electoral action taking place on March 4th and why there’s no reason for the Lizard Queen to quit regardless of whether she wins Texas and Ohio or not, even if one assumes she was the least bit inclined to allow the opinions of others to impose ny limits on her ambitions in the first place.

The Democratic nomination, and almost surely the Presidency as well, therefore comes down to which campaign has the ability to exert muscle behind the scenes. And while Obama has shown a facility for making his opponents mysteriously disappear in the past, (see Jeri Ryan), it hardly rivals that of Team Clinton.