the only question left about the greatest athlete of our age.
TIGER GALLERY. As a resident of the Philadelphia area, I'm pretty
much stuck with the lame-brain sports analysis of Howard
Eskin and SportsTalk Radio at WIP. I can't tell you how many times
I've been masochistic enough to listen to dumb-jock deejays opining
about how race car drivers and golfers aren't really athletes. They
devote hours and hours of their call-in shows to it, and their experts
are usually ex-NFL players who are certain that bloated offensive
linemen are athletes while wiry Grand Prix drivers aren't.
I'm pretty much sick of it. I won't name
names. Uh, come to think of it, I will. Ex-Eagle Hugh Douglas
is willing to stipulate that Tiger Woods is an an athlete, but no other
professional golfer is, unless Hugh knows for a fact that he works out.
You see, what they do is not athletic. They're not in shape the way the NFL and NBA
define it. According to Hugh and the other armchair jocks of WIP radio,
golfers are merely privileged gameplayers. Hugh's sidekicks are eager
chime in with the opinion that race car drivers may have a certain
knack but aren't athletes, either.
Which beerbellied oaf is
tougher? Butkus or Foyt?
Nicklaus had a gut. But so did
did a 100 mph flamethrower named Goose Gossage.
I'm calling foul on all of them. Athletes are
people who make a living with their bodies, what their bodies can do,
and what their bodies can withstand. Their 'shape' is what it has to be
for them to excel at what they do. It may not conform to standard
ideals of beauty or athleticism. Sumo wrestlers don't look like male
models. Neither do most shot-putters, marksmen, or dressage champions.
Race-car drivers and golfers are athletes. Perhaps the best of them
all. Because they can only win by using their minds as well as they use their bodies.
Race car drivers bet that their reflexes and physical endurance are
sufficient to keep them alive and competitive in situations where you
or I or talk radio hosts would fail from fatigue or loss of focus or
lack of skill. The penalty for failure is death, much more so than in
any other sport. No 'athletic' sport has a list of players "killed in
action" with talents of the caliber of Wolfgang von Trips, Graham Hill,
Mark Donohue, or Dale Earnhardt.
Golfers play the greatest
and oldest sport of all -- its players are always alone, challenged
to keep striking the smallest target in any sport the longest distance
with the greatest accuracy over the longest period of time -- one
against hundreds for days rather than hours.
Occasionally we get a glimpse of the fact
that it is an athletic event,
in the starkest terms. Like today, with Tiger Woods.
Golf is a game?
Nothing more? Chess players don't wince or double-up when they make a
on the board. They don't have to fight to the finish against fifty
opponents and a wall of pain.
Woods proved the idiots of SportsTalk wrong this
week. Playing golf and winning at it does does involve physical commitment
and all kinds of suffering. Knees, shoulders, backs, necks, hands --
the same list you'll find in every other sport.
And, Hugh, Tiger wasn't the first to battle agony for a victory in
golf. Before him were other greats. Ken Venturi. Ben Hogan. Bobby
Jones. Look them up. They were the most poignant of many.
I'm tired of your whole prejudiced act.
Go, Tiger. Win or lose, we're with you.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Global Warming is
Pass it on. To Everybody.
The founder of The Weather Channel has delivered the most stinging
condemnation of the Global Warming frenzy ever reported in the media.
Here is a link to the text of a
speech by John Coleman to the San Diego Chamber of Commerce. I'm
providing a few teaser excerpts below, but that's no substitute for
reading the whole thing. I urge every reader of this site to email the
link to 10 other people and urge them to do the same thing. Because the
impossible has happened. Our present economy and our future as a
civilization are being seriously sabotaged by a con job. This state of
affairs can't be permitted to stand.
You may want to give credit where
credit is due to Al Gore and his global warming campaign the next time
you fill your car with gasoline, because there is a direct connection
between Global Warming and four dollar a gallon gas. It is
shocking, but true, to learn that the entire Global Warming frenzy is
based on the environmentalists' attack on fossil fuels, particularly
gasoline. All this big time science, international meetings,
thick research papers, dire threats for the future; all of it, comes
down to their claim that the carbon dioxide in the exhaust from your
car and in the smoke stacks from our power plants is destroying the
climate of planet Earth. What an amazing fraud; what a scam....
Now allow me to talk a little about the science behind the global
warming frenzy. I have dug through thousands of pages of research
papers, including the voluminous documents published by the United
Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I have worked
my way through complicated math and complex theories. Here’s the bottom
line: the entire global warming scientific case is based on the
increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from the use of fossil
fuels. They don’t have any other issue. Carbon Dioxide,
Hello Al Gore; Hello UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change. Your science is flawed; your hypothesis is wrong; your
data is manipulated. And, may I add, your scare tactics are
deplorable. The Earth does not have a fever. Carbon dioxide
does not cause significant global warming....
All the computer models, all of the other findings, all of the other
angles of study, all come back to and are based on CO2 as a significant
greenhouse gas. It is not.
Here is the deal about CO2, carbon dioxide. It is a natural
component of our atmosphere. It has been there since time
began. It is absorbed and emitted by the oceans. It is used
by every living plant to trigger photosynthesis. Nothing would be
green without it. And we humans; we create it. Every time
we breathe out, we emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It is
not a pollutant. It is not smog. It is a naturally occurring
Let me illustrate. I estimate that this square in front of my face
contains 100,000 molecules of atmosphere. Of those 100,000 only
38 are CO2; 38 out of a hundred thousand. That makes it a trace
component. Let me ask a key question: how can this tiny trace
upset the entire balance of the climate of Earth? It can’t.
That’s all there is to it; it can’t....
I suspect you haven’t heard it because the mass media did not report
it, but I am not alone on the no man-made warming side of this
issue. On May 20th, a list of the names of over thirty-one
thousand scientists who refute global warming was released.
Thirty-one thousand of which 9,000 are Ph.ds. Think about
that. Thirty-one thousand. That dwarfs the supposed 2,500
scientists on the UN panel. In the past year, five hundred
scientists have issued public statements challenging global
warming. A few more join the chorus every week.... No I am
not alone and the debate is not over...
The battle against fossil fuels has controlled policy in this country
for decades. It was the environmentalists' prime force in blocking any
drilling for oil in this country and blocking the building of any new
refineries, as well. So now the shortage they created has sent gasoline
prices soaring. And, it has led to the folly of ethanol, which is also
partly behind the fuel price increases; that and our restricted oil
policy. The ethanol folly is also creating a food crisis
throughout the world – it is behind the food price rises for all the
grains, for cereals, bread, everything that relies on corn or soy or
wheat, including animals that are fed corn, most processed foods that
use corn oil or soybean oil or corn syrup. Food shortages or high costs
have led to food riots in some third world countries and made the cost
of eating out or at home budget busting for many.
So now the global warming myth actually has led to the chaos we are now
enduring with energy and food prices. We pay for it every time we fill
our gas tanks. Not only is it running up gasoline prices, it has
changed government policy impacting our taxes, our utility bills and
the entire focus of government funding. And, now the Congress is
considering a cap and trade carbon credits policy. We the
citizens will pay for that, too. It all ends up in our taxes and the
price of goods and services.
So the Global warming frenzy is, indeed, threatening our
civilization. Not because global warming is real; it is
not. But because of the all the horrible side effects of the
global warming scam...
Now get busy with those emails.
Friday, June 13, 2008
More on Atheism
sci-tech-atheist nerds really think you're smarter than William Blake?
THERE IS NO GOD. The
argument for why atheism is an absurd philosophical position is simple
in its basics. Most of the complications that arise in the debates
between atheists and non-atheists are due to assumptions made by
atheists. How many of them begin making their case, for example, by
attacking the Bible and the supernatural beliefs of Christianity? The
decisions people make to accept individual religions are, indeed,
matters of faith and largely irrelevant to the principal question. But
religious faith is not the sole alternative to atheism. There are at
least two more alternatives that allow the subject to be framed more
The agnostic position is an acknowledgment of not knowing. There might
be a supreme power of some kind, and there might not be. The agnostic
accepts that he doesn't have enough evidence to be certain one way or
The second alternative is what I will call the deist position, which I
know has various connotations of its own, so I will define my use of it
as precisely as I can: The deist is one who subscribes to no
particular religion or specific incarnation of divinity, but he rejects
the premise that something can come from nothing and that a universe
governed by myriad natural laws could exist at all without some
precipitating higher intelligence, even if that intelligence is
intrinsic to every particle (or string) of the universe.
And to restate the obvious: The true atheist is certain that there is
no supreme intelligence present in or behind the creation of the
universe. All that is simply is.
To be fair, there are also what I call pragmatic atheists. Their
position is more lawyerly than philosophical (and there are more of
them than admit to it). They believe that even entertaining the
question philosophically is an irrelevant distraction, because the
answer can't possibly matter in the here and now. Therefore, atheism is
for them simply a working assumption that enables them, they think, to
keep a clearer, more objective mind in matters of real life than those
afflicted with speculative fancies about life, the universe, and
everything. Importantly, these are not true atheists. They are merely
the incurably incurious left-brained know-it-alls who have always been
impatient with matters of deep philosophy. It's conceivable that their
approach is an efficient one, but it is entirely disconnected from the
subject of truth and meaning, about which they are obsessively scornful
and dismissive without ever being responsive. Interestingly, they also
tend to be the population of self-styled atheists who are the quickest
to attack when atheism is questioned as a position. Because they don't
ever ponder the underlying philosophical issues, they are the most
outraged when someone points out just how thoughtless and mundane their
mental processes are.
Doesn't this simplify the legitimate scope of disagreement? Now, the
atheists love to take the position that any perspective but their own
is the one that bears the burden of proof. Prove to me that there is a
God. If you can't, I win.
What should be obvious to fair-minded rationalists is that the most
defensible, if least risky, position is that of the agnostics. I don't know.The question is a lot bigger than I am.
This is the only person in the debate who has a right to demand proof
without accepting a reciprocal demand for same. When an atheist demands
proof that there is a God, he does so secure in the knowledge that the
agnostics are right about the difficulty of doing so. But he almost
universally rejects the notion that he has an equal obligation to prove there is
no god. Because contrary to popular belief, it is possible, under
certain conditions, to prove
a negative. The problem is that atheists are not operating under
those conditions. The field of potential sources of refutation is
not the finite box of intellectual experiments; it comprises everthing
that ever was, is, and will be. So when they attempt the feat of
proving their position, they almost invariably engage in the same kind
of argument by anecdote they decry in the foolish sectarian religionists who
sally out to do battle with them. Their arguments are generally
preoccupied with a false premise -- that to prove individual
instances of so-called miracles natural instead of supernatural, they
have stripped the universe of divinity. What they disregard is that the
natural universe and its workings are, ipso facto, the best possible
rebuttal of their position, not an endorsement.
Even if one could prove to a certainty that there is not, and has never
been, an interventionist divinity at work in human affairs, it would
not prove the absence of divinity from the workings of any part of the
universe, including human affairs. Scientific deists may take comfort
in positing a supreme intelligence capable of devising laws of physics
and a field of mathematics that set the universe in motion like some
clinical experiment never to be interfered with until it winds down of
its own accord, but they have no solid philosophical basis for doing
so. They have simply chosen, like the ancient Israelites, to cast god
in their own image, as a remote and superior observer behind the screen.
There is nothing -- no principle of science whatever -- to rule out the
possibility that an intelligence capable of generating the universe,
from string or quark to multi-galactic infinity, would not also be
capable of observing or participating in everything, in perpetuity,
without ever violating the laws of his own creation and yet
accomplishing his will in everything. It's not that the scientific
archetype of divinity is impossible; it's just that it's typically
anthropomorphic and lacking in any kind of evidence.
Now if we posit the agnostic sitting on the judicial bench between the
two sides who might reasonably be asked to produce proof of their
positions, we can begin to assess the scale and quality of the
arguments that might be made on each side. It is here that the relative
frailty of the atheist position versus the deist position begins to be
1. First Causes. The atheist
is constantly bedeviled by the question of "before"? If he subscribes
to the Big Bang Theory, that the universe begins with a tiny speck and
explodes into the reality which has obtained ever since and whose laws
and effects we study, he has not answered the question of the
beginning. What put the speck there? A black hole from yet another
universe? Perhaps. But that only puts the question of origins at one
more remove. It does not resolve it. If he accepts the laws of physics
he uses to understand the function of the universe, he is also
accepting that energy is neither created nor destroyed but merely
changes form. Here's the ugly paradox. The atheist has a greater
responsibility to account for the origin of the energy that makes and
drives the universe than the deists do. The deists accept at some level
that the energy which has continually changed form since the beginning
of our universe arose, much like the probabilistic multi-states quantum
mechanics describes for electrons, from a kind of unreal potentiality
we might describe as the energy of intention. The history of quantum
mechanics is rife with the unsolved ramifications of the apparent role
of consciousness in the behavior of electrons. It is the atheists who
have to explain all this away in other terms. They have to accept a
universe that has no beginning -- an eternal law-driven universe with
no originating or architectural intelligence of any kind (uh, a
philosophical paradox), or they have to posit a universe which violates
a fundamental law of physics, i.e., that a universe-sized field of
energy can spontaneously arise from nothing at all (an, uh, scientific
paradox). In comparison, the deist position is common-sensical, even a
demonstration of Occam's Razor. Before there was matter, there was an
intelligence which imagined matter and the laws governing it; then
there was intention; and then there was a manifestation in reality.
Which is not a paradox. It's a process seen many many times in our own
experience. Ontogeny recapitulates philogeny. Except that the atheists
have to reject that easily verifiable truism as well.
2. Mathematics. This is its
own universe. It overlaps our physical universe very substantially but
is not identical with it. One could, I suppose, belittle the aspects
that don't overlap (i.e., unreal numbers, which have no counterpart in
the reality we can apprehend through the senses), but since they have
proven vital to innumerable technological breakthroughs which
demonstrate their utility and consistency with the rest of the universe
of mathematics, Occam's Razor would again suggest that mathematics is
its own universe, a conceptual one that straddles the worlds of
physicality and intellect, suggesting that the universe itself is at
least part intellect. For the atheists this is another fatal paradox.
They must postulate the existence of algorithm and principle without
originating intelligence. When I see a house, I am also seeing evidence
of an architect. And here, the existence of math prodigies is also
valid evidence. Pascal's tutor gave his young student the first
postulate of Euclid. That same day, Pascal recreated the rest of
Euclidian geometry. There is an order and consistency in math which
betrays the deep order of the universe, and because it is not purely
physical, it entirely refutes the phantasm of a brain-dead, designerless
3. Human Intelligence. We are
all stuff of the universe, created from the same particles and atoms
and laws as every other part of the universe, and thus we are part of
an entity which is capable of asking questions about itself. What are
we? Where did we come from? Where are we going? What does it all mean?
The atheist position -- that we are a pointless emergent property of a
soulless, mechanical universe -- is still another hopeless paradox that
defies the observations of science and even the theory of evolution
upon which so many atheists depend for their foundation, like Atlas standing on
the free-floating tortoise of Greek mythology. How much of their scientific certainty
rests on their belief in the prescriptive power of DNA, that what we
are is what the process has made us? How diligently have they sought to
demonstrate that what we are is an adaptation of what we have been
before, that hands come from fins and abstract thinking from synergies
of reptilian, avian, and mammalian brains? But where lies the precedent
for any of this in the geology of stars and planets? The brute fact is
that higher intelligence, as we conceive of it in ourselves, does
exist. On what basis do we rule it out as one of the principal
properties of the universe in which we live? Whence the observed
phenomenon that matter inevitably complicates and complexifies itself
until it is capable of asking philosophical questions? So that a
handful of arrogant Philistines can declare themselves superior to the
universe itself, which as we must remember in the atheist model, is
undesigned, unintelligent, directionless, purposeless, and amoral.
Here's what the true atheist is declaring to the rest of us. He is
superior to the entire universe, explored and unexplored. Because there
is no intelligence involved in its cause, design, development, and
current incarnation. Which makes him, who has not yet penetrated that
universe's most arcane secrets of physics and biology, capable of
declaring that universe a meaningless but wholly unexplained accident
of an existence he does not yet possess the vocabulary to define in
terms of a beginning, an end, a scale, or an outcome.
QED. Atheism as a philosophical position is a rank absurdity. An act of extraordinarily conceited and conveniently narcissistic faith. Agnostics
are philosophical cowards who probably haven't looked at the facts much
more than "pragmatic atheists." Deists are like non-practicing
Vegas card-counters; they know the math but don't have the guts to take
a risk. And the faithful are the army of gamblers at every game in the
casino. They know the odds are hopelessly against them, but they have
learned that the reward is in the playing, not in the cold-blooded automatons
who deal the cards and handle security.
I haven't looked at comments from the last post since the first one or
two. I don't think I will (although I might). Fact is, I'm still
laughing at atheists assaulting Rachel and then taking my bait. You're
MSM isn't much for remembering its own recent past, but here and there
one can find contrarians who look backward at times for a better view
of today. Here are some examples of relevant journalistic archeology,
all of them worth reading in full despite their length. I'm giving you
teasers only. What you do with them would be up to you.
Neal Boortz occasionally turns up a nugget of gold among the dross.
This 1993 article from the New
York Times is one of those. But those of us who continue to
maintain that climate is more complex than computer models indicate are
the ones supposed to be in denial.
To the astonishment of climate
specialists, an analysis of ice extracted from the full depth of the
Greenland ice sheet has shown that except for the 8,000 to 10,000 years
since the last glacial epoch, the climate over the past 250,000 years
has changed frequently and abruptly.
The findings suggest that the period of stable climate in which human
civilization has flourished might be unusual, and that the current
climate may get either warmer or colder much more quickly than had been
believed -- in spans of decades or even less...
The scientists said their data showed that significantly warmer periods
and significantly colder periods had occurred during the last interval
between glacial epochs, about 115,000 to 135,000 years ago. They said
they could not tell whether that meant similar changes were in store.
Their findings were reported today in two papers in the journal Nature.
Previous studies had shown that there were abrupt changes in climate
during glacial epochs, but the new results show that the same was true
in the periods when glaciers had retreated. In one "catastrophic event"
during the last interglacial period, the average temperature plunged 25
degrees Fahrenheit to ice-age levels for about 70 years, the scientists
The Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge is back in the news, with John
McCain reiterating his absurd comparison of that
off-the-edge-of-the-world locale with the Grand Canyon. Helpfully, one
of the editors at the National Review decided to dig up Jonah
Goldberg's account of his visit there in 2001. The whole piece is
long but engagingly written and chock full of details about all the key
variables, from the oil fields and their crews to the lives of the
caribou herds the armchair environmentalists think they are saving with
their oil-drilling ban.
During my tour, the "company man" —
that's really what they call them — walks us around the well and
through the huge machinery that processes the oil and washes the gravel
thrown off by the drilling. I expected the oil workers to feel more
than a little put out by all of the environmental hoops they are forced
to jump through. But I can't find anyone to say so. In fact, everyone
brags about how they run a "zero discharge" facility. "What comes on
the slope, comes off the slope," is a mantra. Alongside the runway are
huge piles of garbage slated to be flown back to civilization.
Regardless, the media coverage of North Slope oil extraction is a
constant source of exasperation to the engineers and roughnecks. For
example, the biggest topic of conversation during my stay here is a
recent issue of Field & Stream that asserted that bored Prudhoe
workers were shooting endangered animals for fun in their off hours. It
is the source of constant eye-rolling, jokes, and sighs among the
allegedly bored and dangerous workers.
"I knew a guy who got fired for throwing a rock at a fox," the former
ranger tells me, with great exasperation. He wasn't throwing rocks for
sport, mind you; apparently almost all of the Arctic foxes are rabid.
If you get bitten by a rabid fox with inactive rabies, you get those
infamous shots. If you get bitten by a fox with active rabies, the
company pays for your funeral. "Every single fox head I've sent to
Anchorage for testing has come up positive," he explains.
Has the riddle of Barack Obama's 20 year association with Reverend
Wright and the Trinity United Church been resolved to everybody's
satisfaction? Well, maybe you missed this essay by the National
Kurtz, which dared to dig through the archives of Chicago
journalism for a profile of Obama written in 1995. There's more
evidence of what's going on in Obama's mind here than in the sum total
of the reportage you've received from the MSM during the campaign.
Although it’s been discussed before
(because it confirms that Obama attended Louis Farrakhan’s Million Man
March), a 1995 background piece on Obama from the Chicago Reader has
received far too little attention. Careful consideration of this
important profile makes it clear that Obama’s long-standing ties to
Chicago’s most rabidly radical preachers call into question far more
than Obama’s judgment and character (although they certainly do that,
as well). Obama’s two-decades at Trinity open a critically important
window onto his radical-left political leanings. No mere change of
church membership can erase that truth.
By providing us with an in-depth picture of Obama’s political worldview
on the eve of his elective career, Hank De Zutter’s, “What Makes Obama
Run?” lives up to its title. The first thing to note here is that Obama
presents his political hopes for the black community as a third way
between two inadequate alternatives. First, Obama rejects, “the
unrealistic politics of integrationist assimilation — which helps a few
upwardly mobile blacks to ‘move up, get rich, and move out. . . . ’ ”
This statement might surprise many Obama supporters, who seem to think
of him as the epitome of integrationism. Yet Obama’s repudiation of
integrationist upward mobility is fully consistent with his career as a
community organizer, his general sympathy for leftist critics of the
American “system,” and of course his membership at Trinity. Obama, we
are told, “quickly learned that integration was a one-way street, with
blacks expected to assimilate into a white world that never gave
ground.” Compare these statements by Obama with some of the remarks in
Jeremiah Wright’s Trumpet, and the resemblance is clear.
Having disposed of assimilation, Obama goes on to criticize “the
politics of black rage and black nationalism” — although less on
substance than on tactics. Obama upbraids the politics of black power
for lacking a practical strategy. Instead of diffusing black rage by
diverting it to the traditional American path of assimilation and
middle-class achievement, Obama wants to capture the intensity of black
anger and use it to power an effective political organization. Obama
says, “he’s tired of seeing the moral fervor of black folks whipped up
— at the speaker’s rostrum and from the pulpit — and then allowed to
dissipate because there’s no agenda, no concrete program for change.”
The problem is not fiery rhetoric from the pulpit, but merely the
wasted anger it so usefully stirs.
Finally, and just for fun, Mark Steyn is so good at what he does that
he regularly reposts old op-ed pieces of his, as requested by readers
of his blog. This one dates from the end of the Clinton Administration,
when he summarized that epoch for us in a useful A to Z format.
S IS FOR THE SMALL-BREASTED DEFENSE
When Kathleen Willey accused the President of assault, Monica was
indignant: how could the President be unfaithful to her? Fortunately,
Mr Clinton was able to reassure her that Mrs Willey’s story was
completely unbelievable because he’d never grope a woman with such
small breasts. If you study the women who disrobed for Playboy and
Penthouse, this appears to be one of the less risible Clinton defense
U IS FOR UNDERWEAR
He was the first President with tax-deductible underwear. Throughout
the 1980s, he gave away his old underpants and claimed the gift as a
deductible item on his tax return: in 1986, he claimed $2 per pair for
three pairs of used briefs; in 1988, $15 for a pair of long johns.
Okay. That's a lot of reading I've given you. But I guarantee you it will
be more illuminating than anything you find today at the Drudge Report
or RealClearPolitics. Because sometimes old news is, if not good news,
at least more informative than sensational.
normally use Rachel Lucas's site
to cheer myself up when I'm having a bad day. She seems immune from
most of the downers that afflict us ordinary folks, and she makes it
possible to believe that a defiant quip really does suffice to banish
the blues. So imagine my surprise upon discovering that she had made
herself a target
for abuse in a moment of personal vulnerability, when she was
soliciting good wishes for an ailing loved one. (I know that a lot of
you will immediately go to her site to tender best wishes for her
boyfriend's father, so there's no need to suggest it....) But what
really knocked me for a loop was the news that the abuse was coming
from atheists. Because she
quoted, in the course of discussing the medical crisis, the old
chestnut that "there are no atheists in foxholes."
Never mind the fact that Rachel is herself an atheist, or at least an
agnostic, despite her fascinating response to the Pieta. Who would have
suspected that the "foxhole hypothesis" could have inspired such fury
and irrational hostility?
Isn't the whole point of being an atheist to be free of imprisonment by
mere myths and fairy tales? To move through life unaffected by the
emotional maelstroms that so complicate life for believers in various
spiritual orthodoxies? I mean, shouldn't the prospect of the death of
someone's loved one inspire only sympathy, the pure condolence of those
who know that life ends when the last breath leaves the exhausted body?
But no. Atheism has apparently become its own religion. Atheist
websites are irate. Atheists who have been in foxholes -- or claim to
have been -- found it necessary to register their outrage about her
cavalier generalization, as if she had thought it up herself. This is a
sacrilege that cannot be brooked. And when Rachel, in her natural
wisdom, deleted such comments, she exacerbated their ire. Now she's
become a symbol of the bigoted anti-atheist, which singles her out for
even more abuse.
I don't know whether to describe the Articles of (non)Faith of the
Atheist Church or to mock them in simpler terms. Well, that's
not true. I do know. Atheists need to be mocked from here to the next
blue moon. It hardly matters whether their Pope wears a mitre or a
baseball cap, and whether their Sunday services involve masturbation or
mirrors. It's their belief system which is nonsensical and eminently
worthy of ridicule.
The agnostic is worthy of respect. He doesn't claim to know. He just doesn't believe that
there's any story of divinity that accords with the facts. The atheist,
on the other hand, is a narcissistic popinjay. He stands at the end
point of a creation no one can claim to understand fully, and he
declares that there is no higher intelligence than his own in the
fabric of a universe many hundreds of trillions of times larger than
himself. But he knows there
is no meaning in any of it. What an ass.
Show me a true atheist and I'll show you an idiot, a poseur, a vain
seeker of attention. Which is why I really wasn't surprised that
Rachel's offhand comment provoked an assault. What's important about
being an atheist in not the attainment of an enlightened objective
philosophy free of the savage prejudices associated with organized
religion. It's about being recognized as a superior intellect.
Imagine being disappointed and humiliated by the post-death discovery
of an afterlife. That would have to be the biggest "Oh shit" moment
anyone could conceive of. It would instantaneously reduce your
surviving soul to the size of a peanut.
Unless that's the size it was already.
the Cheetos? Well, I -- unlike all of you, I'm sure -- have these
streaks I get on. A couple months ago, it was Cheetos. Right now, it
seems to be Rachel's website. But don't worry that there's anything
sinister about it. I'm easily old enough to be her father. I think
that's part of the fascination. If my
daughter were just a bit older and had a blog, I think it would be a
lot like Rachel's. Fun, smarter than it looks on first blush, and
charming. So if there are any atheists out there who want to give
her a hard time, come here instead. I'll give you all you can handle.
(Before you join battle, you might want to take a look at this.)
Rachel has this to say: "So. In all seriousness, it’s been an
interesting discussion and more than a little illuminating. Nicki
have joined in, and the angry atheists are already on Nicki’s site,
comparing me to a racist for using the foxhole quote." Same old, same
old. C'mon. COME ON. But they don't. Atheists and lefties are cowards
to the core. The last thing they'll ever do is enter the InstaPunk
brush-chipper, where our comment policy is never to kill the comment,
only the commenter.
Atheists! Come! Fight! We can't wait
to kill you.
Yeah, I know. You're just a bunch of fucking retards. I'Il let Rachel
know. And her friend Nicki.
Monday, June 09, 2008
The New Age
ready, kids. The New Age is upon us. Just substitute "Earth" for
"God" in this song, and you'll know what you
have to look forward to in the Obama years.
. I'm going to suggest a different kind of chronology by which we
can understand the times we live in. It's one that should make more
sense to young people than to traditionally educated historians. It
also monkeys with the concept of distinct generations, which has been
overused by those who presume to interpret cultural and societal trends
for us. Baby Boomers know, for example, that their break with their
parents was much more extreme than the rifts they've experienced
between themselves and their own kids. When we speak of the Victorian
Age, we are talking about a 60-year period, from 1840 to 1900, three full generations unified by a
more or less common set of values and customs. That age might have been
followed by what is now known as the Edwardian era, a slightly more
relaxed and rococo phase of imperial Brit decadence -- except for the
violently traumatic intervention of World War I, which reset the clock.
That's why the next milestone is the Jazz Age, whose official start
date is the publication of Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise, the first
work of real literature which documented the power of music and social
rebellion to drive a sea change in cultural mores. Note that it's
common to represent this phenomenon in technological terms -- as the
ascendancy of popular music made possible by the emerging availability
of records, radio broadcasts, and moving pictures. But this is the
as it is rendered by secularists. One can as easily make the case that
it was jazz music which fueled the rapid advance of technologies
capable of disseminating it to a generation starved for an avalanche of
change. Because jazz was a revolt against formality, family tradition,
and programmatic lives. It represented a reassertion of
individual choice and spontaneous creativity at a time when
traditional obligations had resulted in the worst carnage ever
recorded in human history. Monarchies, aristocracies, elite credentials
of family and class, immersion in the beliefs of the past were all
suspect. The Jazz Age, for example, was the real beginning of the civil
rights movement in America, as privileged white people discovered that
wholly uneducated (in their terms) black people were capable of
generating a brand new fom of music that was as intellectual as it was
The Jazz Age lasted for 40-plus years. All the way though the Great
Depression, World War II, and the burst of prosperity in America that
led to the election and presidency of John F. Kennedy. Long before the
Rosa Parks moment and the first marches in the south, jazz music was a
driving force of integration. It had served as an elemental diversion
from the privations of the Great Depression, the insouciant soundtrack
of the Second World War, the effervescent accompaniment of fifties
confidence, and the clarion affirmation of all things American in the
early sixties. It accorded entirely with who we were -- individual,
adaptive, indefatigable, and in tune with the deep rhythms of personal
freedom and expression. It was also -- in its respect for the
individual voice of a saxophone, trumpet, xylophone, drum set, or human
being (Sinatra, Nat Cole) -- a paradoxical demonstration of the
American melting pot: individual spirits of widely divergent
backgrounds could somehow bridge all the differences between origins,
traditions, and times to produce a kickass togetherness of product.
The Jazz Age died with JFK and Vietnam. It had already accomplished a
miracle -- delaying the nihilism implicit in the total savagery of
World War I for 40 years. But it had subsisted on a false belief, that
there was some kind of intellectualized theory of art that could
legitimize the cost of so much human failure. Jazz had been a new
incarnation of faith, a faith in the rhythms of life and the
productivity of pushing essentially intellectually ideas of variation
and expression into a creative realm that would offer a new kind of
salvation for people who had grown weary of fairy tales.
If you're starting to get the idea that black people have been a kind
of emotional barometer of the health of our culture, you are
correct. The Victorian Age represented the compleat amputation of
emotion from intellect. The Jazz Age was the first attempt to bridge
the rift. It failed finally in the crashing careers of Coltrane, Davis,
and Byrd. The Rock and Roll Age was a high stakes gamble to substitute
emotion for intellect. Emotion and
The Rock and Roll Age lasted from the mid-sixties to a few years ago.
It provided the soundtrack to assassinations, the doomed war in
Vietnam, and most of the lifetimes of the most spoiled, self-absorbed
generation in several hundred years of history, the Baby Boom
generation. But the Rock and Roll Age was even more flawed in its bases
than the Jazz Age. Its prime assertion was that we were not questing
intellectual creatures, but animals. Universal peace and contentment
were to be had if we could at last recognize that our natures were
governed by the need for sex, endorphins, and an absence of rules.
Both jazz and rock and roll arose from the same sources. Jazz was an
intellectual thrust, very close to Bach and Mozart in its aspiration to
make of music a sound-based expression of the universe. The music of
the spheres, if you will. Rock and roll was the opposite. It was the
music of the evolutionary biologists. We are animals. We can't help
what we do. We feel, we lust, we seek sensation, and we're not at all
concerned with the meaning of a Miles Davis solo or a Nietzchean rant.
And, sure, there are still jazz musicians. And rock bands. But their
age has passed. Now we have returned, in the manner of threes, to a new
version of the Victorian Age. Now we have given up real hope for a
breakthrough and have decided to believe again in Old Testament sin. We
have decided to believe that we must be manacled in laws, and
repressions, and denials of our humanity that are more consistent with
Yahweh's judgments on us than Christ's exhortations to freedom. After
all, Christ was the ultimate rebel. He dared to suggest that we could
live with only two commandments because we all have a spark of the
divine in our makeup. But if there is no divine, then we are deserving
When you meet the true-blue Green, the worshipper of Gaia, the ones who
want to punish mankind for environmental sins and so push him back to
the fantasy harmony with nature they see in Native Americans who died
at 28 from scurvy and hunger, you are seeing the price of disbelief in
a higher power. You are seeing the final impact of the Law of Threes.
It takes three times three generations of human beings to feel the full
impact of a mistake. Three Ages.
It's all rather predictable, isn't it? But the question you have to ask
yourselves is this: if science has liberated us from the need to
believe in judgment, condemnation, doom, and hell, why are we so
anxious as a secular people to embrace the concept that an
insignificant by-product of random evolution should somehow subscribe
to a death wish that values a few thousand tigers or polar bears over
the species that produced the Sistine Chapel, the pyramids, and the
works of Shakespeare, Newton, Einstein, and Jesus Christ?
Three Ages. Are you prepared for the next one? Now for my final idea of
Ages. They also come in threes. Here are two YouTube videos, both
focused on the subject of "The Trial." The first is based on a book
written in 1925, about five years after the beginning of the Jazz Age.
It's actually a pattern. We put ourselves on trial again a few years
Roll Age. (It takes longer when you're not thinking.)
But the idea of coming up short against a brick wall is the same. The
first inquiry is a philosophical and theological drama. The second is a
lugubrious exercise in self pity about the human plight of being
sexual, psychological, emotional, powerless, and animal.
Next comes the reversion to paganism inside a veneer of science AND
superstition. Try this unofficial poll. How many believers in Global
Warming and Saving the Planet from Mankind would deny that this little
display of pop culture was a significant breakthrough in human
Uh, yeah, stupid. But ask them. How many doubt that Obama is the
"dawning of the Age of Aquarius"? Perhaps that's why their children and
grandchildren are intent on sending us headlong back into the era of hippies
The old'uns may think they're turning the clock back. But that's not
how it works. The New Age will be the precursor to a wholly different
age, in which the need to believe in a higher power will manifest
itself in slaveries unthought of during the twentieth century. That's
how strong the need to believe in a higher power is. Even if it's one
invented out of whole cloth by objective science.
That's why Nietzche was smarter than the Nazis and all who sought to
belittle him after the fact. He knew what people would do. That's why
he collapsed in a heap at the abuse of a horse. Long ago.
The green folk are pretty sure by now that Nietztche was a
fascist. They can't possibly imagine that they were his worst nightmare,
brilliantly and presciently conceived as the end of all things human.
before him knew exactly what would happen when the "smart people" took
control of the rest of us.
You see, only suppose
that there was one such man
among all those who desire nothing but filthy material gain-if there's
only one like my old Inquisitor, who had himself eaten roots in the
desert and made frenzied efforts to subdue his flesh to make himself
free and perfect. But yet all his life he loved humanity, and suddenly
his eyes were opened, and he saw that it is no great moral blessedness
to attain perfection and freedom, if at the same time one gains the
conviction that millions of God's creatures have been created as a
mockery, that they will never be capable of using their freedom, that
these poor rebels can never turn into giants to complete the tower,
that it was not for such geese that the great idealist dreamt his dream
of harmony. Seeing all that he turned back and joined -- the clever
people. Surely that could have happened?"
"Joined whom, what clever
Alyosha, completely carried away. "They have no such great cleverness
and no mysteries and secrets.... Perhaps nothing but Atheism, that's
all their secret. Your Inquisitor does not believe in God, that's his
"What if it is so! At last
guessed it. It's perfectly true, it's true that that's the whole
secret, but isn't that suffering, at least for a man like that, who has
wasted his whole life in the desert and yet could not shake off his
incurable love of humanity? In his old age he reached the clear
conviction that nothing but the advice of the great dread spirit could
build up any tolerable sort of life for the feeble, unruly,
'incomplete, empirical creatures created in jest.' And so, convinced of
this, he sees that he must follow the counsel of the wise spirit, the
dread spirit of death and destruction, and therefore accept lying and
deception, and lead men consciously to death and destruction, and yet
deceive them all the way so that they may not notice where they are
being led, that the poor blind creatures may at least on the way think
So what's the next age? Victorian without the prosperity or the belief
in progress. Politically correct, totalitarian, suicidal, and filled
with the spiritual anguish of those who must have a God but can't
believe. Luddite with a desire to punish and reduce. There can be no
more youthful rebellion. Rap is the last pyrotechnic explosion of that,
as outrageous as it will be short-lived. What's left is collectivist,
Stalinist chorales celebrating the life of Earth purchased by the death