Justice always requires discrimination

December 16, 2018

Equality is a mirage and justice (fairness) always overrules equality.

And justice always requires the discrimination between good and bad.


 

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Creation Myths

December 7, 2018

Religions have no answer to the question and merely invoke God (or a god among a a pantheon of appropriate gods). Science has no answer either. No physicist or astrophysicist or cosmologist actually has the faintest idea about where energy and matter came from. The disingenuous claim that a smooth nothing suddenly and spontaneously produced clumps of matter and anti-matter (such that the total remained nothing) is just as far-fetched as any creation myth. Energy is handled similarly. The otherwise homogeneous universe is allowed to have clumps of “something” provided that they can be neutralised by equivalent amounts of “negative somethings”. The Big Bang is just a label for a Big Unknown.

Atheists, of course, don’t even try to answer the question. They are satisfied to say that the answer is unknown but they do know that it is not any kind of conception of God.

The other Big Question is : “How did life begin?”

Religions again have no answer and invoke God or gods. Science has no answer either and puts it down to random chemistry which became biochemistry and which, by accident, led to life.

Neither science nor religions nor philosophy have the faintest idea of what time is.

It’s all just Magic.


 

Fear of political incorrectness is just cowardice

December 4, 2018

Every human has a conception of good and bad. It is the most fundamental value that underpins all other values. Not everybody agrees on what should be considered good or what should be labeled bad, but it is pretty clear at the level of the individual.

Taking cowardice to be the subjugation of actions to fears (and bravery then to be the subjugation of fears to necessary actions), it seems to me that since WW2, the discourse about human behaviour is dominated by cowardice. Judgements of good and bad are suspended or ignored for fear of being labeled politically incorrect. Bad behaviour is excused and even encouraged by the failure to hold to one’s own set of values. In fact, the cowardice is rationalised by the idea that bad behaviour is always excusable. It is conveniently forgotten that all so called “human rights” are, in fact, just privileges afforded by human societies to their members. Politically correct rhetoric will have it that these “rights” (actually privileges)  are not subject to behaviour – yet there is no society which does not, in practice, sanction members for their behaviour (but not always).

How Political Correctness Protects the Bad Guys

……. Today, police know that criminals’ rights will often be held above victims’ rights. As a result, police must cope with procedures specially designed to prevent criminals from admitting their crimes, with evidence procedures designed to prevent officers from looking where evidence might be, and with a virtual ban on profiling the characteristics of a likely criminal during the search. …….. 

The power of political correctness is especially evident in Britain, where a training manual instructed magistrates not to have prejudice against black youths who commit violent crimes but, rather, according to the Salisbury Review, to “think of them as quirky Lenny Henry characters”—referring to a black English comedian. The Sentencing Guidelines Council says teenage muggers should not be jailed. Those who defend themselves when criminals invade their homes, however, are regularly jailed. One woman was ordered to remove barbed wire from the roof of her house because an intruder could be injured. Dr. Ian Stephen gave the following advice at Glasgow Caledonian University: “If you attack the burglar, or react in an over-the-top manner … you will inevitably end up on the receiving end of a prison sentence that will far outstrip that imposed on the intruder in your own home …. Direct contact should be avoided whenever possible. If unavoidable, the victim should adopt a state of active passivity ….” One must show proper respect for the criminal!

A consequence of this cowardice in making judgements is that “bad” is equated to “good” in the name of equality. What is fair and just, which requires a judgement of good or bad, is subjugated to the politically correct notions of “human rights” or “equality” or “discrimination” or “sexism”.

  • For fear of being labeled racist, anti-social activities by “ethnic groups” are tolerated and even allowed to flourish.
  • For fear of being labeled “anti-religion”, brainwashing of children is permitted and encouraged.
  • For fear of violating “human rights”, vicious rapists and murderers are treated better than their victims.
  • For fear of violating “human rights”, being bad is privileged.
  • For fear of being labeled “discrimination”, the incompetent are equated with the skilled in the job market.
  • For fear of being labeled “anti-feminist”, incompetence is equated with experience or skill.

To allow a fear of being labeled “politically incorrect” to subjugate one’s own values is simple cowardice.

Bad is never equal to good.

We cannot keep making excuses for bad behaviour. There may be explanations for bad behaviour, but it must have consequences. An explanation cannot eliminate liability.


Related:

Why is there an ethical problem with capital punishment?


 

Best optical illusion of 2018

December 2, 2018

Follow the circles around.

None intersect.

I have not come across this before and it is the best optical illusion I have come across this year.

(from The Science Scoop)

from The Science Scoop

 


 

Elementary but often forgotten: Multilateral depends upon the unilateral

December 2, 2018

Maybe some day geographical boundaries will give way to some other way of clustering and organising and administering human societies. Maybe some day the nation state will become obsolete. But not yet. The sovereign nation state is still the basic unit of organising human societies. Without sovereignty within its geographical boundaries, a nation state cannot exist. (A nation state which cannot protect its geographic boundaries and its sovereignty cannot survive).

Without nationalism as the foundation stone, internationalism falls down.

Without the brick of unilateralism as the fundamental building block, no multilateral structure can exist except as a castle in the imagination of mindlessness.

What is often conveniently forgotten with the multinational or multilateral organisations (UN, EU, IMF, WTO, WHO, …..) is that the multilateral (or multinational) is meaningless without maintaining the integrity of the unilateral (or the national). Undermining the unilateral leaves the multilateral floating aimlessly. Multilateral is a service provider to the unilateral. Without a customer a multilateral service is of no consequence.

It is an existential question of identity.

What the EU does not like to accept that its citizens are Germans or French or Swedes first and only Europeans second.


 

Boundaries of inexplicability

November 22, 2018

It is not difficult to imagine a time some 500,000 years ago when the first god was invented by one of our hominid ancestors. I have little doubt that the first god was the God of the Sun. It could be argued that a god of day and a god of night might have come first, but while the distinction between day and night was surely fundamental, the understanding that it is the Sun which causes night and day would have been evident even to most animals (as it is even now). The invention of a god requires an unanswerable question to be posed. Even a modicum of intelligence would find an explanation for day and night in the Sun. It is only when the question of why night would invariably follow day could be posed, that an inexplicable question arose. And the answer was found by invoking the Sun God.

Gods came long before religions. And every god that has ever been invented has been as an answer for an otherwise inexplicable question. Soon after the Sun God was invented came the inexplicable questions which created the need for a Moon God and a Rain God and a Wind God and a God of Thunder. Then came the gods of the seas and the rivers and the plains and the mountains and of earthquakes and of volcanoes. The gods were needed to explain all the easily and often observed, physical realities which surrounded our ancestors and controlled their survival but could not be predicted or explained. Gods were labels for magic. Somewhere along the way came the idea that the gods had discretion to act in a manner favourable or inimical to humans. And then came the giant leap of thought to the idea that human actions could induce the gods to intercede favourably. And so came the invention of prayer and of rain dances and of sacrifices and other ways of attracting first the attention, and then the intercession, of enormously powerful gods. It was then only a little step to praying for the intercession of the gods in matters inimical to enemies. Rationality plays no part, and can play no part, in invoking the irrational.

We need to distinguish between gods and religions. Whereas gods are a product of individual minds and are labels representing explanations for imponderable questions, religions are a societal construct for organising people. Irrational gods were invented by rational minds when faced with inexplicable questions. Religions merely organised these various irrational answers into structures of irrational belief for the “good of the society”. Religions provided lubrication for harnessing the actions of increasingly complex groupings of humans towards the pursuit of desired (sometimes perceived as common) goals. By definition, gods (and religions) operate – and can only operate – in the region of the inexplicable.

As knowledge has grown, some inexplicable questions have found rational explanations but new questions and new boundaries of inexplicability have always been found. In every field of thought humans came across – and continue to come across – boundaries of inexplicability. Knowledge has pushed back these boundaries, but every field of knowledge and thought is constrained within its boundaries of inexplicability. As the perimeter enclosing knowledge has expanded so has the length of the boundary of inexplicability and the volume of the unknown. In fact, every field of thought began  – and still begins – with an initial boundary of inexplicability; its initial fundamental assumptions. While the field of operation of the gods (the inexplicable) has receded, it has, paradoxically, grown in volume.

Gödel’s incompleteness theorems show that one cannot use the laws of arithmetic to prove the fundamental axioms that arithmetic is built upon. Hilbert’s attempts to try and show that all the branches of mathematics can be reduced to a single set of consistent (if unprovable) axioms have so far failed and some believe that Gödel’s theorems show that Hilbert’s program is unattainable. Our intuition suggests that no rational system of logic can be used to prove the very assumptions that the logic system is built upon. Equally the assumptions and rules of one system of logic cannot be used to prove the assumptions of a different system of logic. This applies as much to all branches of science as well as to mathematics and philosophy and to all rational thought. There is no branch of the sciences or mathematics or philosophy which can avoid – or will ever be able to avoid – the use of fundamental assumptions. Note that even assumptions which are taken to be self-evident are never proven and cannot be proved. They just are. When things are – without explanation and without being self-explanatory – they represent a boundary of inexplicability. The more we know, the more we know that we don’t know. Fitch’s Paradox of Knowability is sufficient to convince me that the Unknowable exists. The known, the unknown and the unknowable. What lies beyond a boundary of inexplicability may be unknown but knowable, or it may be unknowable.

The gods are irrational because they lie at or beyond the boundaries of inexplicability and all rational thought is bounded to lie within the bounds of inexplicability. No discipline of rational thought has the means with which to illuminate the regions beyond the boundaries of that system of rational thought. The process of science can push back the boundaries of inexplicability, but cannot illuminate the regions beyond. Science can push back the region where the gods operate but science cannot illuminate the operations of its own, or any other, irrational gods. The fundamental assumptions of all rational thought are invocations of “self-evident truths” which are no different to our ancestors invoking the Sun God as a self-evident truth. I dismiss atheism since it attacks the answers of others as being irrational, without ever addressing the questions. Atheism cannot cope with the unknowable.

The known and the unknown are realms that are self-apparent. Science is the process at the interface of these regions which leads to the growth of the region of the known. All beliefs by definition lie in the region of the unknown. Any statement and its negation ( X and not-X) must both either lie in the region of knowledge, or both in the region of the unknown. It is not possible for one to live in the realm of knowledge and its negation to live in the region of the unknown. A belief in gods lies in the unknown. A lack of belief in gods (which is atheism) is not in itself a commentary on that belief. A denial of the belief in gods cannot then be anything other than belief and cannot shift into the realm of knowledge. A denial of a belief – which by definition lies in the unknown – is to claim knowledge of an unknown thing which is self-contradictory.

The God of the Big Bang and the gods of magnetism and gravitation and the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force lie at the edge of current inexplicability. The Religion of Science is replacing the old religions as a social construct for the supposed “common good”. The new gods of science and political correctness have replaced the gods of the sun and the moon and the waves and the wind. Instead of irrational animal gods we have the irrational gods of biodiversity and sustainability. The weather gods have been replaced by the gods of climate in the man-made global warming religion. But they too will be replaced by new gods with new labels when new boundaries of inexplicability are drawn.


 

Diwali break

November 3, 2018

This year Diwali falls on 7th November.

 


 

Why is there an ethical problem with capital punishment?

October 31, 2018

There is no problem of ethics involved in destroying cancerous cells in our bodies.

There is no ethical problem in destroying viruses and microbes which threaten disease.

There is no ethical problem in wiping out entire populations of plants and animals which we consider invasive, or threatening to other “native”plants or wildlife, even if humans are not directly threatened.

There is no ethical problem in killing any animal for food.

There is no ethical problem in culling animals – of any non-human species – if we believe their numbers are excessive.

There is no ethical problem in putting down domesticated but unwanted pets.

There is no ethical problem in police forces killing in performance of their duties.- as a last resort – perpetrators of crime.

There is – apparently – no ethical problem any longer in killing, or helping to kill, those elderly who are suffering great pain and have no quality of life remaining.

There is no longer an ethical problem – so the consensus goes – in the on-demand killing of unborn fetuses less than about 20 weeks old.

There is no ethical problem in soldiers of your own country killing soldiers of the enemy in times of conflict.

Why then, should there be any ethical problem in executing a German nurse who has confessed to killing over 100 patients while they were in intensive care? Or in executing an Anders Behring Breivik who glories in the 77 people he killed? Or executing Robert Bowers who killed 11 at a Pittsburgh synagogue?

The real point of capital punishment is not as a deterrent or as revenge or as redemption, but just the simple excision of a cancerous individual from the body politic.


 

Why the false god of liberalism is failing

October 29, 2018

Brazil has turned sharply right.

There is now a global move away from the sanctimonious form of “liberalism” which has prevailed since the late 60s. After more than half a century of pursuing a mirage a correction is taking place.  In the Philippines and Brazil it is a “law and order” label. In the US it is in addition the “illegal immigration” issue. For EU countries such as Austria and Poland and Hungary and the Czech Republic it is also the “sovereignty” battle. Brexit and the unholy alliance in Italy are further examples. While it is being manifested in different countries under different labels, the shift is actually about values.

Long before humans had speech, we had established the concepts of good and bad. It is not difficult to see how these fundamental values developed. Anything which helped survival was good and all that didn’t was bad. Every system of values starts here, with the distinction between good and bad. Every other value gets categorised into good and bad. With speech and language came the ability to describe the past and the future and more abstract concepts. But every concept carries with it a valuation of good and bad. Every individual has a fundamental and unique understanding of the difference between good and bad. It is part of his identity. What I consider good is what distinguishes me from others. Every collection of individuals develops a common understanding of the difference. An attack on an individual’s basic understanding of good and bad is an existential attack. It attacks his core identity.

The liberalism mirage is one where the most fundamental value of distinguishing between good and bad is ignored or has been forgotten. The most corrosive and corrupting notion of this liberalism has been the labeling of privileges as “human rights” and where such privileges are decoupled from behaviour. There is no “human right” which is not actually a privilege. It is inherent in the liberalism mirage that behaviour not be a qualifying factor for the privilege, yet there is no individual who does not moderate the privileges he grants to others based on their behaviour. Ther is no State or society which does not withhold privileges based on behaviour. To decouple privileges (rights) from behaviour tries to establish and legitimise a fantasy. The supposed “rights” to life and free speech and religion (which are all privileges) are severely curtailed everywhere. But it is perfectly logical and moral and correct that they be so restricted based on behaviour. It is the propagation of the fantasy that behaviour can be decoupled which is so corrosive. It is the fantasy that an individual’s core judgement of what is good and what is bad can be overridden by diktat which makes “liberalism” a mirage. There is now a reaction to the arrogance of the liberalism elite trying to force people to reverse their own judgements of good and bad.

This mirage is now becoming unsustainable in many parts of the world. That is not so surprising since it attacks the core identity of many people and of their notion of what is good and what is bad.


 

Mental diabetes

October 28, 2018

A surfeit of politically correct thinking can lead to a sort of mental diabetes. The brain gets clogged with sweet and sticky thoughts. Rational thinking stops. Self-righteousness and sanctimony prevail. Mental enuresis follows. A regular dose of astringent cynicism is needed to control the brain-sugar levels from becoming debilitating.

I cringe as I observe that it has become fashionable to apologise for the actions of distant ancestors. Last week I heard a Canadian politician apologise for what his ancestors had done some 200 years ago. Of course, he couldn’t name them, and he had no inkling about the lives they led, but he apologised for them anyway. No German politician can survive in the present without regularly apologising for Hitler and the Nazis. Indian nationalists expect the British to apologise for 1857. The British always expect the French to apologise for the Norman Conquest (and for being French). Swedish and Australian politicians self-righteously proclaim their own goodness by apologising for what their ancestors did to the Sami and the Aboriginals. A Danish apology for Christian the Tyrant and the Stockholm bloodbath would be welcomed by Southern Swedes. The current Italian government is expected to apologise for the actions of Mussolini. The Japanese are expected to remain apologetic for the next few centuries. Macedonia expects the Greeks to apologise for Alexander. There must be some who are waiting for apologies from someone for Genghis Khan. It is a regular occurrence for politicians to apologise for the actions of their distant ancestors. But all these apologies are actually not about the past. Every such apology is someone trying to proclaim their own goodness in the present.

Parents clearly bear some responsibility for their children. It is not wrong to say that there will always be some trace of us in our distant descendants to come. But it is ludicrous to pretend that anybody can bear any responsibility, singly or collectively, for distant ancestors. Applying the values of today to the actions of those who came long before is, at best, meaningless and, at worst, self-serving, self-righteous, sanctimony. There is no feedback loop to the past. Every apology is a statement in the present about the present. Almost always, every apology about the past is someone blowing their own goodness trumpet in the now.

A far more logical question is whether any of our ancestors would be ashamed of the actions of their descendants in the present. Every time I hear a politician apologise about the past, I ask myself whether that ancestor would have been proud or ashamed of his descendant. Inevitably I come to the conclusion that the ancestor would have been ashamed of the descendant wringing his hands and “wetting the bed”.

My grandmother’s grandfather


 


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