Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
March 2, 2012 - February 24, 2012

Friday, March 02, 2012


"Can you make a fist? Will you take a swing? Can you think for yourself? Do you love America? Good news, then: Breitbart's alive." - Josh Treviño

LET HAPPY WARRIORS WAGE A HAPPY WAR. Just in case you were tempted to think of Breitbart's fighting spirit (has anyone coined "Fightbart" yet? Can I take credit for that?) as the province of pissnvinegar filled young guns, look who's most conspicuously keeping it alive. Rush Limbaugh.

Rush isn't backing down after, the way just about the entire internet tells it, calling a poor little helpless co-ed a slut for daring to utter the word "condom." Slight hiccup with the narrative the MSM would love to prevail: Politico has the actual remarks Rush made.

“What does it say about the college co-ed Sandra Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her?” Limbaugh said on his radio show on Wednesday. “It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps.”

(I keep forgetting how slim Rush has gotten. Good for him.)

On Twitter, I screamed at Gawker to learn to parse a fucking sentence (I used those words, point of fact). Momentarily forgetting that the left psychologically survives only by leaving out inconvenient details that soften a nice hard hate-on. Did Jerry Falwell really accuse the Teletubbies of promoting homosexuality a few years back? Nope. He mentioned "the homosexual agenda" in a video presentation that also happened to show a few seconds of the British kids show, but where's the opportunity for fun and slander in that? A quick narrative polish and boom: Falwell singles out Tinky Winky by name as causing spontaneous faggotry in American children. Close enough to the truth that they can site isolated facts of the video in question as though they refuted any objections.

Naturally, Fluke thought, or wanted everyone to think, or both, that Rush's use of the word "slut" in the same paragraph as her name constituted oppression no less severe than Chinese feet-binding. I won't rehash her all-purpose feminist outrage, but I found a quote that's proof positive that what Rush did say successfully got to the heart of the issue.

Fluke explained at the hearing that as a student at a Jesuit campus that does not provide contraception, birth control costs can be as high as $3,000 during the time that she is in law school.


The Boss might want to weigh in with some lamentation of the promiscuity of the modern young woman and how such enlightened freedom really just exposes them to more physical and emotional danger and so on. I can't share that concern. I am staunchly pro-promiscuity-- it's the female's anemic lack of sex drive that should be shamed and discouraged, not the male's healthy sexual appetite-- and I think women should sleep in the beds they make. Pardon any pun. They insist they want equality? Society should call that bluff. Take away all their special protection and see how they like it. See if they're up to it.

My problem, THE problem, is that the list of things that someone else should pay for is keeps getting longer. I've heard it called a slippery slope, but that's not quite what's happening here. The moment we agree that any bill a person can't pay MUST be paid by someone else, we allow into the national conversation the idea that ALL unpayable bills must be paid, no matter who ends up doing the paying. The lengthening of the list of things society is on the hook for? Just an increasingly consistent application of that idea.

That's Rush's point, too. And instead of backing down in the face of an attack by offense of an errant sense of propriety, he's doubling down.

Those remarks whipped up a frenzy of Democratic denunciations, but on Thursday, Mr. Limbaugh doubled down. He riffed off earlier comments by Foster Friess, a wealthy backer of one presidential hopeful, Rick Santorum, who said that in his day, women prevented pregnancy by putting aspirin tablets between their knees.

“I will buy all of the women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees as they want,” Mr. Limbaugh said.

Learn from this. No apology, no backpedaling, no equivocating. No conciliatory overtures. She doesn't like being called a prostitute? She can stop asking us to finance her sex life. It's not rocket surgery. Neither her bills nor her feelings are our problem.

(Establishment idiot John Boehner did back down. That's just more correction he faces from his constituents. From us.)

One of Breitbart's final tweets was "Apologize for WHAT?" This is the attitude we should have had all along. We are correct. They don't know right from wrong. Let's start acting like it.

It's what the Boss has been trying to tell us for years. We can't play fair with these animals. They don't have the desires for fairness and brotherhood that we do. They are not like us. They must be destroyed. Pounded into the ground. And, like Breitbart, we ought to-- GET to-- enjoy ourselves while we do it. Why shouldn't we? What's not to love about winning?

Now that Breitbart's gone, we all have to fight as hard as he did. We are all Breitbart now. Otherwise, we're sunk.

UPDATE NO ONE WAS WAITING FOR. The damn Objective Theory of Value post goes up this weekend. Or maybe Monday. Gotta do it right. Busy-ass week, friends.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

(1969 - 2012)

A DARK DAY. We just lost the other guy who knew exactly how evil and dangerous the institutional left has become. I feel utterly bereft. A true warrior is suddenly gone.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The First Cause

Take how you think it happened. Invert it.

TOO BIG FOR THE COMMENTS. Way too big to cram into a single comment. I'm at the point where I've got to divvy up the main parts of my philosophy-- I call it Transtheism, a name so perfect I periodically re-astonish myself contemplating it-- and cordon them off into their own posts, where you all can focus your savage attacks on one aspect at a time.

I'll start with Lake's comment.

The existence of the *life* you so cherish, not to mention the Universe, mathematics, and the very logic you are appealing to -- all of this either had a Creator or it didn't. That's where you have to start. You have to answer your 'definite maybe' first.... We have these effects of an organized, finely-tuned universe, of mathematics, of life. How can you abandon the cause to a Forever Maybe?

I recognize these arguments as Robert's. All featured in the post More on Atheism, which will be included in the forthcoming InstaPunk book. As he’s the premier theistic innovator of the last century, I'll address his points and be way ahead of the curve.

First, I'll clarify my agnosticism as best I can in a single paragraph. I may have to bite the bullet and dedicate a post to the explanation, but I’ll try to make it work here, briefly.

If God exists, He chooses to remain unseen. He could choose to be seen tomorrow, or the moment I finish this keystroke. His omniscience and omnipotence (if He exists) means that He stays hidden for as long as He wants, and no human power can find Him ahead of His schedule. If God exists, he makes Himself a definite maybe. Which means: Until He chooses to make Himself known (and not just believed in), our concept of morality cannot hinge on Him. It cannot hinge on a Maybe. There must be an... are you ready?... objective standard.

This is why Will's "superior story" argument falls flat. "Someday soon I'm going to inherit 50 million dollars from a distant relative I can't track down" is a "superior story." I'd be a fool to spend my money as though it were true. Even though it may well be. For his story to be valid, Will would have to, in his words, prove it.

This is also the reason I do not "have to start" with the creator. I have to start with the definitely real.

On to the day's main event. The First Cause argument and its derivatives are flawed, and I can show how. Most, but not all, of this refudiation comes from the Objectivists.

On the face of it, the First Cause argument is good logic. Experience teaches us everything has a cause, had something happen to it before it comes to us as it comes to us. From rocks to people, everything (or a thing's constituent parts) has a history of events. As there's all kinds of different things in existence, and they work together in ways that create all kinds intricate new things, experience teaches us the only way such an efficacious complexity can arise is by intent. That's solid induction. Richard Dawkins has to resort to the analogy of computer programs-- programmed by a programmer-- to explain how trees grow, never mind how a human brain could develop. Makes sense that luck is an unsatisfactory explanation for something as involved as life. A bunch of chemicals happened to squirt at each other at just the right time, in just the right amount, at just the right temperatures, in just the right climate, with just the right minerals and nutrients nearby? When has any accident ever been so happy? There must have been some kind of... design is the only word for it!

Let's grant for the moment that "creation" needs a creator. Every five year old asks the next obvious question: If God made us, who made God? Who created the creator? And from Aristotle to Augustine, and all in between and since, just about every theologian has taken this stance: God is a self-existing principle. God is so powerful and so full of awesomeness, He doesn't need a cause. He Is Who Is.

The shortcomings of this position aren't tough to weed out, if one wants to do the weeding. What is the justification for asserting God is self-existent? Pure philosophical (in the sense of conceptual) speculation. It's comfortable—intuitive, gibes with induction-- to posit a trans-material cause for all matter, and then have there be nothing complicated beyond that cause. We're used to existents needing a cause. But we're not used to, say, trans-existents needing a cause, because we're not used to trans-existents at all. That doesn't run afoul our inductive intuition. Above the universe is God, and that's that. Nice and tidy. [Bold for emphasis. No skimming this part.]

The theory can be easily exploded by the assumption behind it: At some point in the chain of causality, we reach a first cause, and that cause is self-existent.

Why not make that cause the universe itself? In other words, to quote a Randian: "...if it is argued that no one created god, that god does not require a cause, that god has existed eternally - then on what grounds is it denied that the universe has existed eternally?" If something gets to be self-existent, how about we say the universe is self-existent and call it good? Even tidier. If that's what floats your boat.

Moreover, it makes more sense to stop at existence than at the classical God. "All causality presupposes the existence of something that acts as a cause. To demand a cause for all of existence is to demand a contradiction: if the cause exists, it is part of existence; if it does not exist, it cannot be a cause."

(That's the first of two options for the origin of the universe. The second is to postulate a chain of causality that stretches back into infinity. No beginning, no end. Which isn't quite the metaphysical brain-buster it may seem at first. If space is infinite, then the amount of matter and stuff in the universe is conceivably infinite as well. And if, on top of that, time is infinite in both directions, then causality is infinite in both directions as well. And that scenario could very well accommodate a God. It could accommodate a proverbial fuckton of Them; a genealogy of deity back into forever. There's nothing in science or philosophy-- other than any personal distaste-- that says this couldn't be so. [My take on this is, in case you're curious, a departure from the essay I've been quoting, which dismisses the notion of infinite regress without giving it much thought.])

"But what about complexity?" is your next objection. Two possiblities here, too. One: Same rub as the First Cause. If God can be self-existent, why not complexity? What can't complexity can't just be how things turn out, given enough time and space? (that goes double-ditto for the infinite causality model) Or, Two: If space is infinite, the chemicals had to squirt right somewhere. If time is infinite, the chemicals had to squirt right sometime. And if there's infinite parallel universes, well, shit. Life's in the bag.

Mathematics, while fascinating in ways few outside our little circle appreciate, is a non-starter in the creation argument. To postulate the creation of math, you first have to conceive of a mathless universe. Where quantity somehow cannot exist. Good luck with that. You could have a differently-mathed universe, where its "one" is our ".25" or whatever. At best, you could have a universe of chaotic math, where the flow of time is choppy and splashes back on itself, and the quantity that amounts to "one" changes from moment to moment. God could come in and smooth that out, make it orderly. But math ex nihilo?

The strongest argument for a creator is Number 3 in “More on Atheism”: Intelligence as a natural phenomenon. In RL's words: "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 principle properties of the universe in which we live?" To hold that intelligence is a fluke of earth's particular conditions is like saying electricity is a fluke of earth's particular atmospheric conditions and can't possibly happen anywhere else, in any other form, in the whole universe. Intelligence has happened here, and if the universe is designer-less, it has happened on its own-- naturally. What's to keep this natural phenomenon from happening elsewhere? In fact, what's to keep this natural phenomenon from being a regular occurrence? And even if the universe is only a few trillion years old, on what grounds do we assume we're the first intelligence to emerge? AND, given the different sizes, shapes, and intensities electricity can manifest, what’s to keep intelligence from manifesting in forms nothing like we mobile meat sacks?

Sound reasoning. But look how far we are from the classical First Cause model. We've got God coming from a universe of laws, not God hiding out in the 8th dimension building our universe out of-- is it literally nothing? Is that how that doctrine goes? Hagiographic bluster as metaphysics?¬ It also would seem to mitigate the omniscience and omnipotence parts of the God hypothesis. And clearly the “without parts or passions” notion wouldn’t apply to such a real God (though, again, you could have a God without “body” in the conventional sense) (and the “without passions” part is definitively refuted by the scriptures themselves, so God only knows how theologians got away with that jive for so long).

Moreover: WHERE IS THIS INTELLIGENCE NOW? What's with the disappearing act? I'd love any explanation for God's invisibility that doesn't stoop to "God's in charge so it's evil to question His ways" sycophancy.

Tomorrow: The Objective Theory of Value. How to be atheist without condoning mass slaughter. It's easier than you think!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Deadly Wine

WINE. ETC. The editorial staff of has always displayed an interest in "fringe science." As it happens, I've been dabbling in some fringe science lately, so when IP invited me to write some guest posts, I knew right away where to start.

Perhaps you have, like venerable Harry, enjoyed wine from time to time. Perhaps, like him, you've even enjoyed enough at one sitting to experience an intoxicating effect. But let's not dwell on such excesses. For this journey of imagination, let's merely stipulate that you enjoy one single, modest serving of wine every evening while you curl up in your Snuggie in your favorite cozy chair, savoring the latest drollery of Maureen Dowd or James Wolcott. A comforting, yet intellectually stimulating, routine.

But one night, a friend stops by and insists, quite insistently, that you read a book. A book he claims may -- no, will -- change your whole life for the better. A book that, if you chose to believe it, would mean giving up wine for life... or at least indulging in it only on the very most special occasions. Certainly not on a nightly or near-nightly basis.

The author is a doctor who has seen thousands of patients. His years of experience have convinced him that the wine sold in stores today bears little resemblance to the wine that people have been drinking since before the dawn of writing. Yes, its flavor is similar or even better; but the twentieth century introduced innovations in winemaking that not only reduced wine's nutritional value, but made it actively harmful to humans. So harmful, in fact, that "Frankenwine" by itself may account for a good portion of America's increases in health problems over the last few decades.

He has spent considerable time and effort searching the corpus of scientific knowledge for relevant information. He has found much that he believes supports his theory, and includes citations for all of it.

The author claims that if you are willing to undertake the experiment of going without your daily glass of wine for one month, you will notice significant positive benefits. Your mood will improve, possibly within days. Your energy will increase. Your excess weight will begin to melt away. Your skin will clear up. Your chronic aches and pains, particularly those related to inflammation, will diminish or vanish entirely. And so will your cravings for wine.

All you have to do is go without wine! -- Though you do have to be scrupulous about it. Drinking one glass of wine may be enough to halt your progress for three days. You also have to keep an eye out for wine lurking where it isn't advertised; for example, in your Chicken Marsala, or in your Mimosa. Sorry, champagne counts as wine.

The author also maintains a web site. It is usually updated daily, and many people visit it. Oftentimes the comments on a given blog entry will include posts from people who just stopped by to thank the author for changing their lives. Some even write impassioned personal histories, or lament that the knowledge came too late to save a relative who died of a wine-related illness.

You take the time to determine whether this author has detractors, and of course, he does. But you notice a curious consistency among them. They don't seem to disprove the author's arguments. Some point out that wine has been around for a long time. Some say wine allergy is a well-known problem among a small percentage of the population, and the book has no broader application. Others refute assertions the author never made. Still others complain that the author failed to include wine-free recipes.

In the meantime, while you contemplate the book and the words its detractors have written, you grow ever more fat, tired, and depressed, and you need to buy a bigger Snuggie.

So. Are you ready to give up wine?

You may have guessed the scenario isn't hypothetical. But before you make up your mind, I should mention there's one detail I changed. The substance in question is actually wheat, not wine.

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