The idol crumbles

From a review of Fodor and Piatelli-Palmarini’s new book, What Darwin Got Wrong:

I really enjoyed this book; however, it may only appeal to a very small audience – those who believe in a thoroughly natural evolutionary process, but are also unhappy with the current state of evolutionary theory (the Modern Synthesis). I happen to fall into this category so I appreciated Fodor and Palmarini’s book, but I can also understand why this book may receive negative reviews. The gist of the book is this: “…we will run a line of argument that goes like this: there is at the heart of adaptationist theories of evolution, a confusion between (1) the claim that evolution is a process in which creatures with adaptive traits are selected and (2) the claim that evolution is a process in which creatures are selected for their adaptive traits. We will argue that: Darwinism is committed to inferring (2) from (1); that this inference is invalid (in fact it’s what philosophers call an `intensional fallacy’); and that there is no way to repair the damage consonant with commitment to naturalism, which we take to be common ground. Getting clear on all this will be a main goal of the book.”

This is only the first step in the eventual abandonment of Darwinism and evolution by natural selection that has been inevitable since Mendel, but it’s an interesting one. It should eventually make clear what a religion Darwinism actually is, as atheist and agnostic materialists begin moving away from the Darwinian model for very different reasons than most Creationist theists. I’m looking forward to reading this book because I believe that unlike the intelligent design people, Fodor and Piatelli-Palmarini are looking in the correct place for proving the model incorrect in a scientific manner, assuming that it is actually incorrect. As I have pointed out on numerous occasions, the natural selection component of TENS is a logical and philosophical hypothesis, not a scientific one. Even Richard Dawkins has reluctantly admitted in his latest book that it is entirely plausible natural selection is not the mechanism by which evolution operates, and since after 150 years there is still no significant scientific evidence that Darwinian natural selection takes place, I expect that it will not be too terribly long before Darwinism takes its rightful place with phrenology, astrology, and other pseudo-sciences. And in the meantime, it is always amusing to see not-very-bright biologists shrieking about how their intellectual superiors don’t understand the tremendously complicated concepts to which they are so emotionally attached.

Since we’re on the subject of evolution, I would be remiss if I did not mention that Scott Hatfield has concluded that the Pagel paper about which I posted back in December apparently does not call natural selection’s time scale into question in quite the manner that the article to which I linked had claimed. Scott says: “It turns out that Pagel’s group actually endorses the Red Queen hypothesis of constant speciation rates, but proposes a novel reinterpretation of the data uncoupling the former from phyletic gradualism.”

It would seem that physicists can be trusted to write accurately about evolution as biologists write about military history, theology, and pretty much anything outside of biology. And yet, the point I made in the original post stands regardless, especially in light of the recent range reduction in the hunt for the Higgs boson.

“Now, this research deals with the matter of natural selection’s time scale rather than its existence, but nevertheless underlines my point that the natural selection hypothesis has always been logic, not science. The fact that it is difficult and dangerous to paint grizzly bears pink in order to see if they breed less successfully doesn’t change the fact that no one has ever tested the widespread assumption of why polar bears are white. And while the jury is still out on both matters, the exposed cracks in the major theories naturally leads to a philosophical question: since the foundations of both modern physics and modern Darwinism appear to be wobbling, what is the basis for considering materialism to be rational given such demonstrably flawed understandings of what the material happens to be?”

Killing the corpse of Keynes

The UK is doing its best to do so through its Keynesian response to the Great Depression 2.0:

The U.K. has produced notable economists over the years, but John Maynard Keynes, the guru of government intervention, was one of truly global significance.

So it may be fitting that the U.K. will also become the deathbed of Keynesian economics.

Britain has been following the mainstream prescriptions of his followers more than any developed nation. It has cut interest rates, pumped up government spending, printed money like crazy, and nationalized almost half the banking industry.

Short of digging Karl Marx out of his London grave, and putting him in charge, it is hard to see how the state could get more involved in the economy.

The results will be dire. The economy is flat on its back, unemployment is rising, the pound is sinking, and the bond markets are bracketing the country with Greece and Portugal in the category marked “bankruptcy imminent.” At some point soon, even the most loyal disciples of Keynes will have to admit defeat, and accept that a radical change of direction is needed.

The usual Keynesian defense of “well, it just wasn’t enough stimulus isn’t going to wash this time, no matter how often that Paul Krugman complains that a bigger stimulus plan than the one he prescribed himself was too small. Their myopic cluelessness simply knows no bounds; reading Brad DeLong’s attempt to school Brian Riedl is like watching two little girls in a slapfight where neither of them knows how to fight.

“When–in conditions in which there are masses of unemployed–the government spends money to hire people who were previously among the involuntarily unemployed, their productivity increases. It goes from zero to whatever the value of what the government hires them to do is. This increases income and demand, all in tandem.”

No, you blithering idiot with a PhD, it doesn’t necessarily do anything of the sort. The number of incorrect assumptions contained in those three paragraphs are remarkable. These cretins babble on and on about irrelevant factors while constantly ignoring the elephant in the room, namely, the debt-imposed limits of demand. Aside from the obvious fact that there is a high probability that there will be no productivity gain whatsoever from the nonexistent demand being “met” by the government employment and the fact that unemployed people do not immediately go into a frozen stasis where they do absolutely nothing economically productive, the mere fact of providing employment and income to a worker does not create demand.

Keynesians simply don’t understand debt or demand, at either the micro or macro levels. They’re not equipped to do so because of the structural flaws of their conceptual models. And that is one of the primary reasons why the various economies around the world are not only in terrible shape, but are going to get worse.

The cougars strike back

Since no one wants to marry forty-something women, a solution has been provided. Ban the competition!

How far out of touch with reality are women legislators anyway? That’s exactly the question being asked by citizens (women and men) regarding a proposed bill in the Maryland General Assembly, that would restrict men’s rights to use dating sites to meet foreign women and will likely spur copycat legislation in other states.

Delegate Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, Vice President of the women’s caucus is leading 35 other delegates (all women) on a campaign for passage of HB 65, that would shockingly require Maryland men to submit their fingerprints and other background information before they can initiate communication with a foreign woman if they use an “International Marriage Broker”.

Frankly, I don’t see why they’re starting with what can’t even reasonably be described as half-measures. This is pathetically insufficient! What is the point of only making it vaguely difficult for Maryland men to talk to foreign women? Obviously the law should forbid men to date or even talk to any woman without a license specifying what strata of women is permissible for them to have contact. These strata would be set on an annual basis by a panel of women and each community would have its own panel of judges who would interview every male individual over the age of 16 decide what license would be assigned to him. Licenses would require renewal every five years, they would be color coded, and the licensed man would be required to produce it upon the request of any adult woman. And no contact of any kind with foreign women will be permitted at any time; a first violation will result in a fine, the second in the loss of a man’s license.*

The insane thing is that at least half the women who will read this will find themselves thinking, “you know, a system like that really would make society a much better place.” But they’re not fascists. No, not even a little bit. They’re just strong, independent, beautiful, intelligent snowflakes who care too much about the planet to permit those bestial American men to oppress and abuse foreign women too.

* Yes, there is an obvious logical flaw in this plan. But keep in mind that it wouldn’t be proper central planning if the legislation didn’t autodefeat its primary justification.