Kejriwal – Fasting unto death?

February 23, 2019

When I was around 10 or 11 and was being punished by my parents for some wrongdoing (usually by the withdrawal of some privilege), I remember I used to “threaten them” that I wouldn’t eat. I remember actually carrying out my threat and missing dinner on two occasions.

My parents were sensible enough not to give in.

There was never a third occasion.

The Chief Minister of the National Capital Region of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, is now going on indefinite hunger strike from 1st March to get full statehood for Delhi (and thereby get a salary increase). He says he is prepared to “face death”. Wow!

How brave! How simply frightful! How delightful!

I expect he will face death from a great distance and then turn away.

NDTV:

NEW DELHI: 

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday announced that he would start an indefinite hunger strike demanding complete statehood for Delhi next month. “From 1st March I will begin a hunger strike. I am going to fast till we get statehood. I am ready to face death,” Mr Kejriwal said in the assembly.

Gautam Gambhir had the right response to Kejriwal’s histrionics.

Just another manic narcissist.


 

Advertisements

The unholy trinity causing the growth of antisemitism in Europe

February 21, 2019
  1. Socialists generally see all Jews as part of the Capitalist Enemy. That history goes back to the very beginnings of the Socialist movements in Europe. (It is not to be forgotten that the National Socialists – Nazis – had their socialist connections. They were primarily triggered by their form of anti-communistic socialism where personal interests were to be subordinated to the common good). Radical socialists are so eager to be seen to be pro-Palestine and pro-Hezbollah that they are rabid in their hatred of Israel. With both Jews and Israel being on their hate list it is a simple step to antisemitism.
  2. All Muslims are intrinsically anti-Israel (even if not necessarily anti-Jews). For the not insignificant proportion of radical Muslims, antisemitism is their own article of faith and can be manifested either against Jews or Israel or both. With the increase of Muslims of all sorts in Europe – including the radical kind – it is inevitable that the level of antisemitism is on the rise.
  3. The neo-Nazi descendants of the Nazis. now find themselves on the far right of the political spectrum. They cannot forget their antisemitic roots which lie deep in their souls. However, they are now energised primarily by their opposition to the immigration of “lesser” races and religions (blacks and Muslims). The growth of  these parties as a backlash against Europe’s rather stupidly naive “multiculturalism” carries the strain of antisemitism along with it.

Socialists, neo-Nazis and Muslims make up the unholy trinity now fueling the growth of antisemitism whether in France or Germany or Sweden or in the UK. For the more extreme socialists or Muslims or neo-Nazis, to be antisemitic is a badge of membership. But it is not really very surprising.


 

Physics cannot deal with nothingness

February 19, 2019

Physics (and all science) is about describing what can be observed and elucidating the causal relationships between observations. The process of science presupposes causality.  If causality is not always a fundamental and pervasive truth, the scientific method cannot elucidate anything. No system of reasoning can prove the assumptions the system itself is built upon. Science cannot, therefore, prove the existence of what it presupposes already exists.  Causality also implies the existence and the flow of time. Effect, it is assumed, can never precede cause. The process of science is necessarily blind to whatever may lie outside its suppositions. Which is why physics cannot deal with the non-existence of time (or space-time) where all the elucidated natural laws must be suspended.

Similarly, physics cannot allow of, or deal with, the unknowable. Many physicists merely deny the unknowable with the proposition that all things that have been, that are or that can be, are knowable and can – in principle – be explained by causality. But denying the unknowable leads to a deterministic world which, in turn, leads to the certainty of omniscience. It does not have to be human omniscience, but omniscience or any omniscient being becomes indistinguishable from a god. Determinism’s omniscience is nothing but divinity through the back door.

The unknowable lies outside the realm of science in general and of physics in particular. Unknowability applies not only to the existence of causality and time but also to the non-existence of nothingness. Clearly “empty” space which has dimensions and which allows the operation of natural laws is not nothing. Space which allows the passage of radiation or gravity waves cannot be nothing. Anything which has, or is attributed, any kind of property cannot be nothing. Our universe is expanding, it is said. It is also said that it is expanding into nothingness; where space and time emerge as the universe expands. But if the surroundings of the universe allow the expansion of the universe then such surroundings have a describable property and cannot be nothing. Nothingness is – and must be – unknowable.

Physics and philosophy both find defining nothingness a slippery business – but so they should, as they must for any unknowable thing.

What Is Nothing? Physicists Debate

…… The first, most basic idea of nothing — empty space with nothing in it — was quickly agreed not to be nothing. In our universe, even a dark, empty void of space, absent of all particles, is still something. “It has a topology, it has a shape, it’s a physical object,” philosopher Jim Holt said during the museum’s annual Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate, which this year was focused on the topic of “The Existence of Nothing.”

As moderator Neil deGrasse Tyson, ….. said, “If laws of physics still apply, the laws of physics are not nothing.”  …… But there is a deeper kind of nothing, argued theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss of Arizona State University, which consists of no space at all, and no time, no particles, no fields, no laws of nature. “That to me is as close to nothing as you can get,” Krauss said.

Holt disagreed. “Is that really nothing?” he asked.”There’s no space and there’s no time. But what about physical laws, what about mathematical entities? What about consciousness? All the things that are non-spatial and non-temporal.”

Other speakers offered different ideas for nothing, such as a mathematical concept of nothing put forward by science journalist Charles Seife, author of “Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea” (Penguin Books, 2000). He proposed starting with a set of numbers that included only the number zero, and then removing zero, leaving what’s called a null set. “It’s almost a Platonic nothing,” Seife said. The theoretical physicist Eva Silverstein of Stanford University suggested a highly technical nothing based on quantum field theory that involved a quantum system lacking degrees of freedom (dimensions). “The ground state of a gapped quantum system is my best answer,” she said.

Holt suggested another idea of nothing. “The only even remotely persuasive defintition of nothing I’ve heard form a physicist came from Alex Vilenkin,” a physicist at Tufts University, Holt said.”Imagine the surface of a ball. It’s a finite space but with no boundary. Then imagine it shrinking down to a point.” That would create a closed space-time with zero radius.

Every creation myth is about something appearing from nothingness. Even articulated by a physicist every theory about how things came to be, is just another creation myth. The Big Bang singularity is unknowable. I find many of the origin theories unconvincing where nothingness at the macro-level is allowed to produce somethings at the micro level, provided that not-somethings are also produced. Matter begets anti-matter and gravity (negative energy) begets positive energy, and the sum is zero. It is all very conveniently contrived except that why a particular something (and its negation) come to be, rather than some other something remains in the unknowable.

The Creation Hymn in the Rig Veda begins:

Then even nothingness was not, nor existence,
There was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it.
What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping?

Nothingness is perhaps just where consciousness comes from – and where it goes.


Related:

First nothingness was not, then came the Big Bang and the Gods came later

If space is not empty, what is? The ultimate void?

Knowledge is not finite and some of it is unknowable

On the matter of matter (or how something came from nothing)


 

Purpose is a consequence only of individual consciousness

February 16, 2019

There seems to be a revival of the 70s concept of Gaia (Mother Earth). The concept, in a haze of hallucinogenic visions, endowed the Earth with consciousness and purpose. It made a new God of the Earth’s biosphere and attained a form of cult status – especially among the mindless and the great unwashed. It seems the millennials too are searching for meaning and purpose and some have revived some of the virtuous and self-righteous cults of 40 -50 years ago.

It brings back the classic dilemma of group versus individual. There can often be conflict between a “group purpose” and an individual. Invoking the “common good” is often used to suppress the individual. Democracy is all about suppressing the minority. Is a group purpose (perceived by who? defined by who?) superior to that of an individual? This is just another manifestation of the same kind of conflict interface which appears between local/global, national/international, bilateral/multilateral and centralised/distributed.

A few months ago I observed:

No Higher Purpose

Consider the characteristics of purpose.

  1. Purpose is not confined only to conscious minds or only to all living things. Purpose, as an objective or a direction, can be attributed to anything. But the attribution and its articulation seems confined to the existence of a conscious mind.
  2. Having (or being attributed with) purpose implies the flow of time. It implies a current state and actions to reach some other desired state at a later time. A purpose can not and does not address a past state.
  3. A purpose as an objective may describe a future state outside the space of perceived causality (and therefore of an imaginary state). But observe that even an imaginary future state can provide a real direction for current actions.
  4. A consciousness does not need to have a purpose and all its actions may be merely reactive. It also follows that if a conscious mind perceives no desired direction (no purpose), then its actions are reactive and merely respond to the prevailing imbalances it experiences.
  5. When more than one conscious mind is involved, individual purposes and the actions they engender, are additive and combine as vectors giving a “net” purpose.

The purpose of purposes is to give direction to actions. If an individual perceives no “higher” group purpose, that individual’s actions are then directed by that individual’s own purposes (or lack of purpose). Even where a group purpose is discernible, it can only be effected by the actions of individuals who subordinate their own purposes to that of the group. “Higher” purpose is irrelevant unless – and until – it is adopted by the entity carrying out the action. A “higher” purpose is ineffective except as disseminated and adopted by the actors.

Ultimately there is no higher purpose than that set or adopted by an individual for himself or herself.

When a group purpose suppresses or overrules an individual purpose, a feedback loop from the individual to the group (registering protest or dissent) is possible. A pseudo group consciousness comes into play (even if that can only be effected through other individuals).

But no form of group consciousness can be ascribed in any way to any species or to life in general or to Evolution or to the Earth or to the Sun.

Ultimately there is no higher purpose than that set or adopted by an individual for himself or herself.

And Mother Earth does not care what humans do or don’t do.


 

Islamic terror attack probably secures Modi a second term

February 15, 2019

The Indian General Election is due in April/May 2019.

Indian politics are never straightforward.

Whereas the Indian National Congress has lost its clout as a truly national party, the concept of the INC allying itself with different regional parties seemed to be a pragmatic way for them to begin to challenge the BJP and PM Modi. Of course the ideological convolutions of allying with a variety of regional parties, ranging from communists in some states and muslim fanatics to the parochially nationalistic in others, were more than a little intellectually challenging for Rahul Gandhi. Which has, of course, led to a sort of Egyptian solution, where his sister, Priyanka Gandhi, has been brought to stand beside/before/behind him.

The idea of Priyanka & Rahul Gandhi ensuring the security of India does not fly.

There are still 3 months to go but if security is a matter of concern at the time of the election, the Priyanka effect will not compensate for the INC’s perceived policy of appeasement of Muslims.  Security will override any other issues of the time and PM Modi would then be returned with some ease.


 

A cluster of low sunspot cycles could be a factor ending the current interglacial

February 14, 2019

The 24th Solar Sunspot Cycle since 1755 is coming to an end. These cycles are nominally of 11 years and this cycle started in December 2008. While the Sun is spotless today, trough conditions will likely extend into at least next year. The designated “start” of Cycle 25 will not be determined for a few years yet but is likely to be in 2020 or 2021.

Dr. David Hathaway retired from NASA’s Ames Research Center in 2016 but now runs a Solar site of his own. He writes

Solar Cycle 25 Prediction. We find that the polar fields indicate that Cycle 25 will be similar in size to (or slightly smaller than) the current small cycle, Cycle 24. Small cycles, like Cycle 24, start late and leave behind long cycles with deep extended minima. Therefore, we expect a similar deep, extended minimum for the Cycle 24/25 minimum in 2020.

Hathaway – cycle 25 prediction

Actual sunspot numbers for cycle 24 are shown here

Cycle 24 actual

Cycles 24 and 25 will show very low values. Whether something similar to the Maunder Minimum actually results remains to be seen. Nevertheless, sunspot number values are going to be low till at least 2033 when Cycle 26 enters its growth phase. If Cycle 26 also turns out to be a low sunspot number cycle, it may well portend not just a little ice age but even be an indicator that this interglacial period is coming to an end.

We don’t know what triggers the change of conditions to and from an interglacial. The transition time is likely at least a few decades and more probably a few hundred years. There are probably many “triggers” needed simultaneously to end an interglacial, but a a few very low sunspot cycles clustered together could well be one of the important ingredients. The current interglacial has lasted longer than usual. A glacial period within the next 1,000 years is almost a certainty.


 

In praise of walls

February 9, 2019

There is much rhetoric about walls these days. Usually about walls at the boundaries of nations.

But the concept of walls (along with fire and the wheel and all that they enabled) was one of the critical developments which enabled humans to differentiate themselves from all other species and enabled human civilisation to develop. It would not be an exaggeration to claim that without walls –  first around shelters and then around dwellings, settlements, places of work, and eventually around whole cities and at nation boundaries – civilisation itself would not have been possible. Human civilisation would have been still-born without the ability to create safe, protected enclosures within which to live (and work) defying the elements and any external threats. In fact, walls are integral and necessary to our lives today. We could not live without walls.

Humans control the environment they live and work in. This ability is what allows us to live anywhere in the world irrespective of the prevailing environment. From blistering deserts to the frigid reaches of Antarctica, it is walls which enable roofs and which together allow us to create volumes of controlled environments for ourselves. We not only live within walls, we travel in walled containers which provide enclosed volumes of controlled environments. Our carts, our cars our trains and boats and planes all rely on walls to create our enclosures. The walls in my home are what give me my controlled environment and my security and my sense of security.

It was always thought that cave dwelling probably preceded the building of huts and dwellings. But modern humans appeared first in areas where caves were not so numerous and primitive walls probably appeared to protect small groups spending the night on open ground. There is some suggestion that some kind of walled shelters were used by homo erectus – perhaps 500,000 years ago. (Homo erectus had the controlled use of fire as early as 1.5 million years ago). It is not implausible that the earliest walls were fences built to protect an area around a camp-fire.

BBC: Japanese archaeologists have uncovered the remains of what is believed to be the world’s oldest artificial structure, on a hillside at Chichibu, north of Tokyo. 
The shelter would have been built by an ancient ancestor of humans, Homo erectus, who is known to have used stone tools. The site has been dated to half a million years ago, according to a report in New Scientist. It consists of what appear to be 10 post holes, forming two irregular pentagons which may be the remains of two huts. Thirty stone tools were also found scattered around the site. …… Before the discovery, the oldest remains of a structure were those at Terra Amata in France, from around 200,000 to 400,000 years ago. ……. 

John Rick, an anthropologist at Stanford University, says that if the find is confirmed it will be interesting because it shows that hominids could conceive of using technology to organise things. “They had the idea of actually making a structure, a place where you might sleep. It represents a conceptual division between inside and outside.” 

There is little doubt that while city walls are at most 15-20,000 years old, even hunter gatherers from 100,000 years ago were no strangers to walls. Even those who used caves in temperate zones probably only used caves as winter quarters. In summers they would have used lightweight, temporary walls.

Aerial view of part of the Great Wall

The idea of a safe, protected, enclosure lies deep in the human psyche. Walls are existential. What would we be without our houses, buildings, dams, sea-walls, siege walls, curtain walls, walls around fields, walled enclosures, prisons or walls at nation boundaries? Walls between nations are at least 5,000 years old and probably predate even the definition of nation sates.

The EU has built 1,000km of border walls since fall of Berlin Wall

European Union states have built over 1,000km of border walls since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, a new study into Fortress Europe has found.  ……  the EU has gone from just two walls in the 1990s to 15 by 2017. ……. Despite celebrations this year that the Berlin Wall had now been down for longer than it was ever up, Europe has now completed the equivalent length of six Berlin walls during the same period. 

  1. Walls work.
  2. Humans need walls.

 

In Sweden, abortion has become just another form of contraception

February 7, 2019

I am still old-fashioned enough to believe that abortion is a necessary, last-resort procedure to be used only if the life of the mother is at risk or if the fetus is nonviable. But it seems to be becoming just another form of contraception, and in a few cases, the method of preferred contraception.

Just a quirk of the numbers but the proportion being aborted today are about the same proportion as infant mortality claimed some 300 years ago. Globally the number of abortions is about 25-30% of the number of live births. In Sweden it is just over 30%.

  • In the 1700s infant mortality killed about 20% of children under 1 year old.
  • Today the infant mortality rate is less than 0.3%
  • Today around 30/130 = 23% are aborted.

Swedish Radio (Ekot) carried this report today:

Better counseling can reduce repeated abortions

Repeated abortions can be prevented if abortion clinics improve their contraceptive counseling, according to a new study.

Siri, who has gone through several abortions, thinks that counseling in connection with abortion is important. “You feel immediate shame and guilt because your pregnancy is unplanned. Then it is about being treated with empathy and respect in a longer meeting. Perhaps the contraceptive advice should not be just 15 -20 minutes.”The mother of two, Siri, has undergone unplanned pregnancy several times, and has found it difficult to find a suitable contraceptive..

This is a recurring theme in the doctoral thesis that midwife Helena Kilander from the Höglandssjukhuset in Eksjö has completed at Linköping University.

She followed 987 women who had abortions in 2009. A quarter of the women came back to make a new abortion within a couple of years. Many of them had received birth control pills, but did not take the tablets.

…………. Every day, almost 100 women in Sweden have abortions. And it is more common here, than in the other Nordic countries, that women have repeated abortions. “Although there are few negative long-term effects of undergoing abortion, it is common for this to be a stressful event in women’s life”.

………

By the numbers:

  • SCB: 110 – 115,000 babies are born in Sweden every year. (In 2016 it was higher than usual at about 117,000).
  • Around 36,000 abortions are carried out every year.
  • 25% of those surveyed had repeat abortions.
  • Some women have multiple (4 – 5) abortions.

Paradoxically, what used to be the duty to use abortion as a last resort to preserve the life of the mother has been “liberalized” into a woman’s absolute “right” to kill her own unborn children.


 

Where murderers can’t be executed but new born babies can ….

February 1, 2019

In New York, capital punishment is not allowed and murderers cannot be executed. But new born babies can be killed after-birth whenever an abortion could have been justified. And to have an abortion is apparently always justified.

It would seem that the moral justification of abortion on demand and for convenience, is now being extended to include infanticide by rebranding it as “after-birth abortions”.

In New York hospitals, you can find premature newborn babies surrounded by dedicated doctors and nurses fighting to save their lives. Next door, you now might find physicians and non-physicians alike giving lethal injections to babies the same age, thanks to the state’s new so-called Reproductive Health Act.

Over a decade ago, New York abolished the death penalty for convicted criminals, but as of last week, babies in the seventh, eighth and ninth month of their mother’s pregnancy — old enough to live outside their mother’s wombs — can now be given lethal injections.

Abortions at that stage are committed by piercing the baby’s brain or heart with a large needle and injecting her with enough digoxin to cause cardiac arrest. Labor is then induced, and the mother delivers her dead child into the hands of an abortionist.

Abortion-rights advocates say that late-term abortions are only performed in cases where a mother’s life or health is at risk or the child suffers from a life-threatening condition.

But this is false. According to research published by the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights, abortions for fetal abnormalities “make up a small minority” of late-term abortions; those for saving the mother’s life are an even smaller number. The majority of late-term abortions aren’t done for so-called “medical reasons” at all.

The academic community started the use of the euphemistic “after birth abortion”. The moral justification for infanticide that is now being developed by the “progressive” community is remarkably similar to the moral justification for race based eugenics developed in the 1930s. And – irony of ironies – such arguments are actually developed and disseminated in a journal calling itself The Journal of Medical Ethics. (a main stream, peer reviewed Springer publication)

“After birth abortion”


 

“Dangerous lack of academic qualifications in top Swedish politicians”

January 25, 2019

The “knowledge society” is the catchphrase. But in Sweden it is administered by career politicians without academic qualifications of any significance.

As an opinion piece in the SvD points out:

Even the new Löfven government  thinks that politically groomed ministers without any special academic background or insight into the conditions of research should lead Sweden into the “knowledge society”. One can no longer imagine a Swedish prime minister with a doctoral degree or an education minister with a professorship ……

Science is and remains the largest and most important knowledge generator in society. One might therefore think that the ministers and other politicians who will lead us into the “knowledge society” – a mantra repeated by the new Löfven government – would themselves possess especially high academic competence and particular insight into the conditions of the search for scientific knowledge.

However, nothing could be more wrong.

Nor is the new government Löfven more familiar with knowledge acquisition than other groupings. One may be glad that the newly appointed Minister for Higher Education and Research has read more than a few extra courses and that the Minister of Justice, who is also responsible for migration issues, has at least a Bachelor’s degree. In law? No, in political science.

We can compare this with the German government, where Merkel himself is a PhD physicist and the former Minister of Education was a professor of mathematics. Almost all ministers in the new German government have an academic degree, of which six are PhDs.

………..Unfortunately, there are no clear signs that the new  Löfven government will be able to even identify the underlying system errors, let alone take measures and steps to actually fix them.

The talk about Sweden as a knowledge nation will therefore also in the future be in ironic contrast to the political reality.


 


%d bloggers like this: