GDP Watch

In the interest of watching the statisticians work their fictional magic, I thought it might be educational to track the economic contraction as it develops and see to what extent it shows up in the official figures. Notice that according to the current Advance report on the fourth quarter of 2008, the economy actually grew 1.3 percent this year. I’m guessing that they just might revise that down a bit in the next report or two.

Quarter Adv Prelim Final Revised Annual
2008 Q1 0.6 0.9 1.0 0.9
2008 Q2 1.9 3.3 2.8 2.8
2008 Q3 -0.3 -0.5 -0.3 -0.5
2008 Q4 -3.8 1.3
2007 Q1 1.2 0.5 0.6 0.1
2007 Q2 3.4 4.0 3.8 4.8
2007 Q3 3.9 4.9 3.9 4.8
2007 Q4 0.6 0.6 0.6 -0.2 2.0
2006 Q4 3.5 2.2 2.5 1.5 2.8

Rationalist unreason

It seems the incidence of the self-proclaimed rationalist drawing errant conclusions from demonstrably inaccurate data is not a new phenomenon:

Innumerable have been the explanations which men have offered for the apostasy of Julian. They have pointed to his Arian teachers, have suggested that Christianity was hateful to him as the religion of Constantius whom he regarded as his father’s murderer, while rationalists have paradoxically claimed that the Emperor’s reason refused to accept the miraculous origin and subtle theologies of the faith. It would be truer to say that Christianity was not miraculous enough – was too rational for the mystic and enthusiast. The religion which had as its central object of adoration the cult of a dead man was to him human, all too human: his vague longings after some vast imaginative conception of the universe felt themselves cabined and confined in the creeds of Christianity…. A Greek by education and literary sympathies, the Christian Bible was but a faint and distorted reflexion of the masterpieces which had comforted his solitary youth: a mystic who had felt the wonder of the expanse of the heavens, with a strain in his nature to which the ritual excesses of the Orient appealed with irresistible fascination, it was easy for him to adopt the speculations of Neoplatonism and to fall a victim to the thaumaturgies of Maximus. The causes of Julian’s apostasy lie deep-rooted in the apostate’s inmost being.
– The Cambridge Medieval History Series, Vol I, p. 78

Just as history’s most famous apostate did not become a pagan mystic because he was too rational for Christianity, the atheist does not become a secular humanist because he is too devoted to reason for religion. In both cases, the cause lies within the individual’s character rather than from any superior rational faculty. This should be obvious due to a) the oft-demonstrated logical errors of the leading atheists, (to say nothing of their collective belief in the AGW myth), and, b) the fact that atheist intellectuals tend to convert to atheism in their inexperienced youth, but irreligious intellectuals who convert to religion have tended to do so at the height of their intellectual powers.