Swedish Academy is proving to be a bunch of skunks

April 17, 2018


 

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Extinction is normal

April 17, 2018

Living things evolve, dead things can be remembered but extinction is normal.

I have no objection to expressions of regret, but I find the hand-wringing and sanctimonious claptrap about the extinction of species, languages and cultures illogical and without thought. I don’t miss the dodo or any of the dinosaurs. I don’t miss Latin or Sanskrit (even though I had to sit through boring lessons in both). It is only a natural course of development that isolated Amazonian tribes have disappeared as their members have joined the rest of the world. I don’t miss the cannibalistic cultures which have disappeared. The recent splurge of nonsense about the “death of the last known male, northern white rhino” was a case in point. It may be a matter of some regret that this particular individual died a natural death, but the end of an unfit sub-species of rhino is not an event requiring the mawkish sentimentality that flooded the media.

Extinction is normal.

Species evolve to survive or they go extinct. Languages evolve and they die when they are of no use to anyone anymore. Cultures evolve and merge with other cultures or they try to remain separate as a distinct, (often racial) identity by isolation and inevitably they die out. The cultures that disappear don’t survive because they are not viable in the world they live in. Regret is one thing, but trying to artificially protect non-viable species, languages or cultures or peoples by putting them in a “zoo” is mawkish and irrational and, ultimately, unethical. Keeping backward tribes isolated to “preserve” their cultures and freezing them into backwardness (by preventing them from merging or being absorbed by the world) is immoral. Freezing individuals from unfit species in a zoo, and neither helping them to evolve nor allowing the species to go extinct, is immoral. Preserving dead languages is of academic interest and does not prevent the extinction of languages which no longer serve a useful purpose.

To the best of our knowledge there are about 7,000 languages recognised today. Depending upon when language began (between 50,000 and 200,000 years ago) between 90 and 99% of all languages are now extinct. Written languages are much younger of course. An extinct language is a matter of history. Some languages evolved and produced versions still in use today. Others did not. We know about some of these because they developed writing and left some records which have survived. Languages die a natural death when they stop being used. Of course there is nothing wrong in speakers of dying languages trying to revitalise them. Governments have sometimes tried to promote particular languages (French, Hindi), and sometimes to suppress some (Welsh, Sami). Languages have been invented (Esperanto or Klingon). Most of these attempts of artificially creating, protecting or suppressing language are futile. The ultimate arbiter of language (and of grammar and of spelling) is usage.  The real question should not be whether a language is “endangered” and should be protected but whether a language serves any useful purpose. If it does, it will survive. If it does not, it should not survive. Endangered languages should be recorded for history and allowed to die in peace.

We don’t know how many species are alive today. Estimates have ranged from 10 million to 14 million, of which over 86 percent have not yet been described. A 2016 study even concludes that Earth currently has 1 trillion species. Whatever the actual number, what is known is that over 99% of all species that ever existed are now extinct. By the time a failing species is formally considered to be endangered, it is almost irrelevant to the ecological system it is embedded in. Tigers, as an example, are restricted only to areas of captivity (whether zoos or reserves). Even in some reserves where they are nominally free, the species is of no great significance to the bio-system. A species may well be going extinct because it is losing habitat to humans, but that in itself is a failure of that species. Some species are adapting to man, but where conservationists intervene to “protect” species they always do so by freezing the species into some form of captivity. They never try to help that species to adapt genetically to survive in its new environment. This form of conservation may be emotionally satisfying for humans but is of little consequence in the sustainable survival of the endangered species. Evolution produces far more failed species than successful ones. The detritus of evolution needs to be cleaned out from time to time. A mass extinction is one way to muck out the evolutionary stables. Currently there are too many species surviving and around 30% probably need to be washed away into extinction.

As with language and species there is much energy and misguided thinking expended in the protection of “indigenous peoples” and outdated, non-viable cultures. Much of this “protection” is about “freezing” these humans and their cultures into unsustainable conditions in what are effectively human zoos or reserves.

There are approximately 370 million Indigenous people in the world, belonging to 5,000 different groups, in 90 countries worldwide. Indigenous people live in every region of the world, but about 70% of them live in Asia.

The long term survival of tribes and indigenous peoples is by them joining or being absorbed by the mainstream or of reaching a critical mass such that they can have an autonomous survival. Genetic isolation (or genetic purity as practiced by some groups) is not sustainable in the long term. The Sentinelese are still apparently in the “stone-age” and both isolated and captive. Is it better (for whom?) to allow them to remain isolated and doomed or to bring them into the mainstream which would effectively eliminate them as a separate but backward culture?

Extinction is normal for peoples, languages, cultures and for species. To struggle against extinction is just a part of survival and also normal. But when extinction does occur, it may be a matter of regret and even of sorrow, but it is normal and morally neutral. But “conservation” by freezing language or culture or species or peoples into a “failed” condition is immoral.


Related:

Evolution is indifferent to species survival

Conservation denies tigers a future as a species

There was no biodiversity to begin with


 

Eight years

April 16, 2018

I started this blog 8 years ago today as a means of curing writer’s block.

In that objective it has functioned very well. It’s been my relief valve and my therapy whenever I get stuck. Rather than engage in acrimonious comments and discussions when something is not to my liking on other sites, I find my solace in putting my own view down here.

3,862 posts in 8 years is a little over one post per day.

The reality is that I don’t actually post for anyone other than for myself.

Visitors to the site and readers are welcome bonuses, but the primary audience to be satisfied for any author is the author.


 

The Nobel Brand needs to distance itself from the fecal brand of the Swedish Academy

April 14, 2018

Of course a few public executions of reputation are in order.

In any event, the remaining members need to be dismissed with great publicity and extreme prejudice.


 

“In triplicate” is being forgotten

April 14, 2018

More than half the world now does not know what a “carbon copy” means.

“Cut and paste” has been used for a very long time with manuscripts but really took off after the advent of the photo-copier.

Seven years ago I posted about the origins of “in triplicate”. At that time a Google search for “triplicate forms” generated over 3.5 million hits. This morning it generated less than 2 million.

Why “in triplicate”? – one for me, one for you and one for Rome

I have a vague recollection that I was once told that it was connected to the use of “carbon paper”  where the quality of the writing was insufficient after the second carbon (third copy). The word “triplicate” is said to have a 15th century origin in Middle English and comes from Latin (triplicatus). There is also a suggestion that pharmacists and their predecessors required 3 copies of everything but I am not clear as to why.

But my preferred story is that the Romans are responsible. It is not inconceivable that Roman administrators in their far-flung empire outposts first started doing things in triplicate.

 “One for me, one for you and one for Rome”.

Or it could just be the mystic, magical power of the number 3!!


 

Arnaultgate: The Swedish Academy is revelling in its own excrement

April 12, 2018

Not that a body which awards a Literature Nobel to Dylan has any credibility left, but they are currently excelling in covering themselves with excrement.

Alfred Nobel would be spinning in his grave.

The Nobel brand is being soiled by a bunch of privileged, self-admiring brats.


Of Interest.

How Sohlman and 3 white Russian stallions ensured the establishment of the Nobel prizes


 

The imbalance at the core of time, the universe and everything

April 11, 2018

Without imbalance there is no change.

When all forces and energies are in equilibrium, nothing happens. Nothing can happen. At equilibrium there can be no motion, no waves no vibrations, no change. If the origin of our universe (or the universe) was in the Big Bang, then that must have been in response to some great, prevailing non-equilibrium, the Great Imbalance which caused the Big Bang. (It always seems to me a little unsatisfactory that a Big Bang can be postulated without also having to postulate why a Big Bang would need to occur). All change is always in the direction of eliminating the imbalance which caused the change. If the universe is expanding then it must be in response to an imbalance and the expansion must work towards eliminating that imbalance. The physical world is driven by imbalances. Fluid flows and heat flows and electricity flows are achieved by creating imbalances which force the flow. Human and animal behaviour is driven by imbalances. In fact all life is driven by imbalance.

All motion and even the vibrations of the most fundamental particles (whatever they are) can only be in response to some imbalance. The earth spins and the planets move because gravitational forces are not in balance. Geology happens in response to imbalances. Imbalance always causes change in the direction of eliminating the causal imbalance. Change can only therefore be a response to an imbalance. One change may cause another imbalance to come into being, leading to further change and so on ad infinitum. Though a change may be in the direction of eliminating the initial imbalance, the chain of change may not necessarily converge to stasis. All change needs time to flow. We do experience that time flows – even if we cannot define or experience what time itself is. But then the flow of time must itself be due to an imbalance which the flow of time seeks to eliminate. We do not – can not – experience any lapse of time without change or observe any change without the lapse of time.

Chemistry (which is just applied physics) causes material to combine and merge and split but always as a consequence of some initiating imbalance. Sometimes this chemistry produces living cells which then maintain not only a cyclical chemistry (now biochemistry) but also a code for maintaining the particular, cyclical biochemistry in a changing environment.  The state we call “life” is a state of change. All life and its evolution must therefore be in response to some causal imbalances. Furthermore the direction of life or evolution must therefore be to eliminate the initiating imbalance. But here too there is no certainty that the chain of life will converge to stasis.

If any change – including the state of change we call life – can be said to have a purpose, it is to eliminate the imbalance which caused the change or life in the first place. It would seem then that the ultimate purpose of all change must be to return to a state of complete equilibrium where even time does not have to flow. A state of stasis.

Our universe and everything within it is then a “state of change”, moving from one equilibrium state of stasis to another.

Time and change and states of stasis

The very concept of Change carries within it the concept of No change – which I call a state of stasis. Without a state of Change there is no framework within which Time can – or needs to – exist. It is this state of No change – changeless and timeless – which defines stasis. The concept of Time and duration would seem to emerge simultaneously with or after the commencement of change. But can there be Change without a concept of Time? Stasis was/ is /will be where Change is not. There may be many different states of stasis. Whether states of stasis can precede or follow periods of change is indeterminate since without change – and therefore without Time – there is no before and there is no after.

In stasis there can be no change of any kind, no material, no energy or even dark energy.

Stasis will be reached again when time runs out.


 

 

 

Without Hitler, Israel would probably not exist

April 8, 2018

History is causal.

Above all, it is existential.

“What would have been if …..?” can never be more than a thought experiment. Wishing away horrific events in the past is not just pointless, it is a form of denial of “what is”.  Being proud of past generations or apologising for their actions are both equally inane.

  • Without prophets, gods would not exist
  • Without the rise of the Roman Empire, we wouldn’t have highways
  • Without the fall of the Roman Empire, we wouldn’t have Ferraris today
  • Without the European colonisation of the Americas, native Americans would still be primitive hunter gatherers
  • Without the European colonisation of the Americas, Asian cuisine (horror of horrors) would not include chillies
  • Without the colonisation of Australia, the aborigines would be either extinct or speaking Chinese,
  • Without British colonisation, the Indian sub-continent would be a mishmash of little warring kingdoms,
  • Without Hitler, Israel would probably not exist today.

Apologising for what previous generations or your ancestors may have done makes no sense.

If you must apologise, apologise for what your children and your descendants may do.


 

Europe is on its way to widespread euthanasia for the elderly

April 5, 2018

Legalising voluntary and “semi-voluntary” euthanasia is increasingly being seen as a way to alleviate the increasing cost of caring for the elderly.

Even if active euthanasia has only been legalised in a few countries, I suspect it is only a matter of time before most of Europe introduces some form of legal euthanasia for the critically ill and for the aged and the senile. It is already the accepted norm that children have no special or moral or economic obligation for the care of their aged parents. That obligation has already passed to the state. For millennials the care of the aged is entirely a matter for the state. There is a growing sense among the younger in Europe that the elderly and infirm have outstayed their time and are primarily a burden on society. For the state, the elderly are an unwelcome but unavoidable demographic. The compassionate society requires them to be assisted to take care of themselves in their own homes for as long as the costs are not unacceptable. Thereafter they are placed in “homes” for  the elderly where they are largely out of sight and where they are expected to “go quietly”. State run homes always have budget constraints and the level of care gradually deteriorates. Where homes operated by care companies but financed by the state, there is an incentive for the care companies to maximise “turnover”. And “turnover” means exactly what it sounds like. Completely private care apartments or homes probably provide the best care to those who can afford it.

I can see no moral objection to voluntary euthanasia. In the case of dementia, “voluntary” may not be entirely feasible. But what all states and all care homes know very well is that Euthanasia is both profitable and cost effective

In Sweden there have been many articles recently about the increasing cost of caring for the elderly with dementia. It is all just part of the campaign to get a wide moral and political acceptance for euthanasia being introduced  across the EU. The risk is that it will not be just voluntary euthanasia but will also include involuntary euthanasia of the unwanted. The introduction of legalised euthanasia in Belgium has not been without its problems.

Belgian Euthanasia Corruption Exposed

Euthanasia in Belgium has gone completely out of the control — including as just two examples —doctors killing the mentally ill and conjoining the death procedure with voluntary organ harvesting, as well as joint euthanasia deaths of elderly couples who ask to die for fear of future widowhood.

Now, a death bureaucrat named Dr. Ludo Vanopdenbosch has turned whistleblower as he resigned from the euthanasia-review commission. Vanopdenbosch charges his former colleagues with covering up violations of the euthanasia law that, he worries, could discredit euthanasia and reduce its support among the public.

He describes a doctor euthanizing a dementia patient who had not asked to be killed at the request of her family. ……

 ……… people have accepted the premise that killing is an acceptable answer to human suffering. 

Two of my friends have utilised the services of Dignitas. So, for whatever reasons it may come, I do hope that voluntary euthanasia is available to me when my time comes.


 

Even atheists and agnostics (and scientists) believe in Magic

April 3, 2018

I find religions unsatisfactory because they take the easy way out and answer all the fundamental questions by inventing the label of Gods and Divinity and Divine Properties. I find organised religions even less satisfactory since they try and indoctrinate and coerce others into their own invented beliefs. I find atheism and agnosticism unsatisfactory in that they are merely reactions which deny the isms of religion and beliefs in gods. To the question “Is there a god?”, atheism denies the existence of any deities while agnosticism merely claims not to know. A “No” or a ” I don’t know”.

Atheism only denies already existing beliefs and has no philosophy to offer in its own right. The only thought required is in constructing arguments to negate other existing beliefs. Agnosticism can be a little more thoughtful in that it claims a lack of knowledge or that such knowledge is unknowable. But as I have posted earlier, some things are unknowable and the answers to the fundamental questions are outside our ken. They are just Magic. All religions and theologians also believe in Magic though they use different labels.

For the atheist, what time is, or how the universe was created, or how life started all remain unaddressed. For the agnostic the answers to these questions lie in the field of the unknowable. But what is inexplicable, but always is, is just Magic. There is time magic and universe creation magic and spark of life magic. Just labels of course for the inexplicable. But time always flows – by magic – and the universe exists – by magic – and life exists – by magic.

God and The Big Bang are both just labels for Magic

Religion relies on the “inexplicable” to justify the invocation of Gods. God-magic. Atheism relies on the “power of reason” giving the lie to the existence of Gods.  But atheism is merely a rejection of one set of labels and explains nothing. Religions vest their Gods with sufficient attributes to explain away what cannot be explained. Atheism merely ignores the inexplicable or claims the inexplicable to be a consequence of random events. Theologians and physicists alike merely give labels to what they cannot explain – as if the label is in itself an explanation. Anything inexplicable is what Magic is. Of course, Magic itself is just a label. ………. The universe was created by a magical event and dances to magical tunes played by magical instruments. Life was magically created by other magical music within this universe. Atheists and priests and physicists and theologians all actually believe in Magic. God-magic is no different to Big-Bang-magic or origin-of-life-magic. A belief in a God is just as much a belief in Magic as a belief in the Big Bang is.

“Scientists” often disclaim any such beliefs but they fool themselves. All science relies on, and is built upon, foundations of Magic. Why time exists and why time flows is just Magic. Why space exists and space expands is also some other Magic. Scientists may not like the use of the label Magic, but

We can, through the process of science and reason, discover the laws applying to the universe we perceive but, at every step of increased knowledge, we find new “whys” we cannot address. We now believe there are four fundamental forces of nature (gravitation, electromagnetism, strong nuclear, weak nuclear) but have no idea why they should be just four and not five or a thousand. Depending on how you classify them there are 12 or 57 fundamental particles. Why 12 or why 57 is just as much magic as when the universe was considered to consist of just fire, earth, water and air. Gravity and electromagnetism are just as magical now as they ever were. You could as well have a gravity-god or space-time magic. “Why time” is the essence of magic. The Origin of Life is also just a label for a Creation Event. There are weird and wonderful theories about this, ranging from a random event in the primordial soup to extra-terrestrial intervention.

Like it or not, every atheist, agnostic, scientist, philosopher, pope or theologian believes in Magic.


 


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