Author Archives: Denyse O'Leary

Reflecting on the March for Science after the death of reason

When Reason Goes on Holiday: Philosophers in Politics by [Sesardic, Neven]  From Denyse O’Leary (O’Leary for News) at MercatorNet:

Croatian philosopher of science and politics Neven Sesardic (b. 1949) retired from Lingnan University, Hong Kong, in 2015. He wrote a book shortly thereafter, When Reason Goes on Holiday: Philosophers in Politics (Encounter Books, 2016). He was wise to wait till he had his pension…

He chronicles the way in which 20th Century luminaries in science, philosophy, and their mutual colleagues excused and aided totalitarian rule. As a survivor of totalitarian rule himself, Sesardic does not focus on acknowledged racists or Nazi Party members in science, the ones that we are all taught to reject by popular science journalism. He spotlights brilliant thinkers we are encouraged to look up to as enlightened and humane, such as Einstein, Godel, and Lakatos.

First, Einstein. His cautious sympathy for Stalin comes as a surprise. Einstein seemed over-anxious to discount the obvious, as when, for example, 48 scientists were shot within a couple of days without even a show trial. He ended his friendship with Don Levine over the latter’s insistence that the mass starvation of the Ukraine (the Holodomor) was real. Einstein regretted his silence later but, Sesardiç notes, he never publicized his regret. He clashed with anti-totalitarian secularist Sidney Hook over similar issues. Arthur Miller called that pattern of behaviour, which he shared, “a special kind of obtuseness.” Saul Bellow called it a “deep and perverse stupidity.”

It was no different in biology. The journal Philosophy of Science largely supported the cranky, state-enforced theories of Stalin’s favourite, Lysenko, and downplayed the murders of dissenting biologists. But then editor Malisoff was a KGB agent. More.

Like we said, march for science if you want. Your problems are back at the desk, not out in the streets.

See also: The war on intellectual freedom: How political correctness morphed into a monster.

Marchin’, marchin’ for Science

and

These vids certainly show a different side to Bill Nye… Someone asks, does Nye has a future as the ”Pee Wee Herman of popular science”? Maybe that’s what’s left now.

Wikipedia founder wades into the fake war on fake news

File:Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg

Creative Commons

From Alex Hern at the Guardian:

Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, is launching a new online publication which will aim to fight fake news by pairing professional journalists with an army of volunteer community contributors.

Wikitribune plans to pay for the reporters by raising money from a crowdfunding campaign.

Wales intends to cover general issues, such as US and UK politics, through to specialist science and technology.

Those who donate will become supporters, who in turn will have a say in which subjects and story threads the site focuses on. And Wales intends that the community of readers will fact-check and subedit published articles.More.

The process described is elsewhere called propaganda. Translation:

Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, is launching a new online publication which will aim to [put out information that we want people to accept and believe] by pairing [paid oppo research writers] with an army of [people who support the cause and thus have an influence on its direction].

Wikitribune plans to pay for the [cause’s oppo research writers] by raising money from [the faithful].

Possible new wrinkle:

And Wales intends that the [faithful, best known for zeal rather than expertise] will fact-check and subedit published articles.

What could possibly go wrong with that last bit?  Well, at least it will sound like Wikipedia

(For a small snippet of list of reasons not to trust Wikipedia, go here, also appended below).

This recent obsession with “fake news” seems part of a long-term trend toward reputation management for censorship. Media streams have always been full of fake news. It gets noticed when establishments are losing control because their beliefs and interests diverge widely from those of the readers.

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These vids certainly show a different side to Bill Nye…

And won’t likely help his reputation: My Sex Junk is a message to the world about sexuality. We can probably miss the one where ice cream cones discover sex.

Pop science is no match for identity politics, as we might have guessed.

Someone asks, does Nye has a future as the ”Pee Wee Herman of popular science”? Maybe that’s what’s left now.

See also: March for Science, Bill Nye, and constitutional government

New French Revolution?

Marine Le Pen (L), French National Front (FN) political party leader and candidate for French 2017 presidential election, leaves a polling booth as she votes in the first round of 2017 French presidential election at a polling station in Henin-Beaumont, northern France, April 23, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau – RTS13INJ

From the Times:

Marine Le Pen stormed into the final straight of the French presidential election last night as mutinous voters humiliated the country’s two established parties.

The historic result, on a turnout close to 80 per cent, pitched the National Front leader into a run-off against Emmanuel Macron, the 39-year-old centrist and political novice, who launched his political movement a year ago. With all the votes counted from last night’s first round, Mr Macron took 23.74 percent with Ms Le Pen on 21.53 per cent.More.

Reality check: The French elite made clear that French voters did not matter much except as virtue signals broadcast to foreign elites. What on earth could possibly have gone wrong?

See also: Has everyone forgotten that the Obama campaign decided to desert white working class voters in 2012?

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How did “populism” become such a dirty word? A left-wing journalist offers some thoughts

People Magazine promoting Dan Rather comeback

From Tim Graham at Newsbusters:

People magazine is no stranger to being used to rehabilitate liberals — even when it sounds hopeless. (Case in point: repeated boosts of Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Weiner). In the May 1 People they try to rehabilitate disgraced CBS anchorman Dan Rather, now hailed by liberals as an anti-Trump crusader. Online, the headline oozed: “Inside Dan Rather’s Unexpected Comeback 11 Years After CBS Exit: ‘I Was Aching to Do Something’.”

Lanford Beard, the magazine’s deputy TV editor, emptied an entire jar of marshmallow Fluff in text form…

PS: Beard was born in the 1980s, so maybe she doesn’t know she’s fact-mangling when she sloppily repeated the Rather legend on the day JFK was assassinated: “He was famously the first to report that John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.” Not only was he not the first reporter — print or broadcast — he wasn’t the first to report the news on CBS. More.

Reality check: The more Rather can get away with, the more People can get away with. That’s why the folk there help him.

See also: Dan Rather to teach a course on truth in news It makes perfect sense if we keep in mind that the progressive view of truth is unrelated to evidence or accuracy. It is about narrative and spin.

Did you know that there is Wrongthink science fiction?

From Bad Novelist:

The Wrongthink Sci-Fi Giveaway is about showcasing authors who have been marginalized by the gatekeepers of the sci-fi publishing industry for the sin of not complying with progressive social justice dogma. From Sarah Hoyt, who was accused of racism and ”internalized misogyny” for her association with the Sad Puppies campaign to reform the Hugo Awards, to Nick Cole, who lost a publishing contract for daring to write a story about an artificially intelligent computer who is troubled by abortion, these authors have faced smear campaigns, boycotts and blacklisting for failing to toe the progressive line. More.

Reality check: Bad novelist! Bad! You deserve plenty of readers.

Politically correct novels are an environmentally unfriendly form of litterbox liner.

See also: Marvel! Readers tire of partisan comics

and

Progressives go after art eventually too

A China in the Bull Shop

From Christian Toto at Hollywood in Toto:

And yet you rarely, if ever, hear celebrities critique the Chinese government or specific policies. The industry craves the money Chinese audiences can bring to a project. The nation is the second leading movie market … and rising.

So studios will tweak its films to appease Chinese censors, cast Chinese actors in meaningless roles (see “Kong: Skull Island”) hoping to charm Chinese officials who determine which films can be played in the country.

Which has had the expected effect on the career of critic of China’s human rights record, Richard Gere:

“There are definitely movies that I can’t be in because the Chinese will say, ‘Not with him,’ ” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I recently had an episode where someone said they could not finance a film with me because it would upset the Chinese.” More.

Reality check: The diminishing attention paid to the Oscar rants against American policies/politicians may track growing awareness that Hollywood is becoming a foreign propaganda spout that one can turn off with no further impact.

See also: Oscar wrong-envelope debacle correlates with declining public interest check: Some back office dweebs have been fired. But, as a general rule, declining systems tend to be top heavy with dweebs, resulting in goofups. The extra publicity gained from the resulting uproar will probably not turn out to be an asset. Too many people will start wondering why they ever cared at all.

Gere now in indie films:

Studying the faces of SJWs…

From Dystopic (“developer, amateur historian, would-be pundit, and general pain in the ass”) at Declination:

Folks, I don’t know how much of your thinking has been wasted on the matter of social justice and progressivism. A good man might ask himself if, perhaps, he really ought to carry these chains, if you are Jacob Marley to their Ebenezer Scrooge. But the question is moot to begin with. You can’t carry these chains, whether you wanted to or not. They are too big for you. They will destroy you. When you look into the face of an SJW, you are seeing someone who was already destroyed by this weight. Their psyches cracked under the pressure. They are no longer sane, or even themselves. It is almost like they are all possessed.

You see this sort of smug, superior grin in the face of an SJW. But behind it is utter madness. These are broken people, whose actions are no longer rational in any sense. Some can only gain satisfaction from submission, from emotional and intellectual (and sometimes physical) masochism and self-flagellation. Some can’t even gain it from that, anymore. Some have surrendered completely to animus possession. These people are no longer free-thinking individuals, capable of making decisions. They are, rather, individuals who have completely lost touch with reality. Unable to cope with the weight of the world, they seek to unload it on others. It’s your fault, not theirs. Nothing is their fault, they are perfect, you are to blame for everything.More.

Reality check: Their faces show how much time they have spent hating others.

See also: Mizzou, a five-star political correctness U, unaccountably faces empty dorms Maybe the next progressive administration in the US will give them millions to study the problem prove it doesn’t exist, and turn the dorms into homeless shelters, under a new program for making education accessible.

SNL couldn’t really joke re Obama

He is their Jesus. And those are Big Shoes to Fill.

From Christian Toto at Hollywood in Toto:

Comedian Jay Pharoah’s impression of President Barack Obama was spot on. Too bad so few people noticed.

Pharoah opened up about his time on the venerable sketch series during an April 13 chat on Hot 97’s “Ebro in the Morning” show. The comedian got fired from “SNL” in August, but his Obama character got his pink slip much earlier.

“For the last year and a half they did no Obama sketches at all. They just were like, ‘oh, we don’t know what to do…’ I said, ‘just let me do my characters and we’ll be fine.’ They didn’t wanna do that,” Pharoah said.

“SNL” became increasingly progressive during the Obama years. Few sketches skewered the first black president. The show’s writers ignored Obama’s considerable ego, his lofty pronouncements nor the fallout from the 2013 PolitiFact Lie of the Year – “If you like your health care plan you can keep it.” More.

Pharaoh’d hoped his 30 million views on YouTube would save him. They didn’t. One does not mock SJW Jesus.

Reality check: The inability to mock their own will be their undoing unless they can shut down alternative forms of entertainment. Watch for purse-lipped concern about “vicious, bitter” sendups of SJWs, virtue signallers, and other poseurs that “diminish our fragile national discourse.”

See also: Marvel! Readers tire of partisan comics

and

Progressives go after art eventually too

We should treat a history of campus SJW as the social equivalent of a criminal record.

From Alex Southwell (pseudonym of a prof at a top-ranking U) at Quillette,

In the fall of 2005, I began working as a full-time faculty member in the General Studies program at Hudson University. I was promoted to full Professor last year. Thus, the tale I tell does not represent sour grapes.

No, it represents something more like immunity from prosecution. The quest for “diversity” has landed standards in the septic tank because nothing is more diverse than quality under siege by ulterior motives. For example,

In a more recent election for writing curricular chair, my competitor accused me in his mission statement of writing books and publishing essays. He treated these as blemishes or sins that somehow disqualified me for the position. “I haven’t written any textbooks. I don’t like textbooks. I don’t have a Ph.D. or scores of academic, scholarly publications to my name,” he wrote. These comments were made as part of a diatribe that diminished the importance of academic credentials and accomplishments, representing the Ph.D. and scholarly publications as pedantic, fuddy-duddy detriments rather than qualifications. As things go in my program, he won the election.

Among the writing faculty, most of whom hold M.F.A. degrees, a disdain for scholarship, and in particular for Ph.Ds. in English, is palpable. This attitude is likely owing to the fact that many of the faculty with M.F.As. are frustrated with having to teach first-year writing and other lower-level writing courses, apparently believing that they are soon-to-be-discovered literary authors who deserve sinecures within elite M.F.A. programs. More.

Reality check: The prof is too kind. The M.F.As of who he writes sound like over-promoted mediocrities whose true source of frustration is tnis: They cannot yet force everyone to listen to their intellectual Garbage Day pickup 24/7, while real talent hides, in fear of anti-free speech laws.

Anyway, “Southwell” should be glad he can even talk about the problem without ending up in the hospital like some. Meanwhile, cowardly colleagues snicker and hide, adminicrats fuss, alumni pay genteel shakedown, and campus brownshirts boast.

And campuses become indistinguishable from prison yards. And to study the faces of so many SJWs, that’s a natural setting. And why fight it? As for the tax expense, we have to pay for prison yards too, right?

But for our own safety we must sideline the grads of U programs from any social power. We should treat involvement in campus SJW as the unofficial equivalent of a criminal record.

The intellectual life will eventually need to be re-established apart from the university.

See also: Why free speech infringes on “liberty” It is easy for the naturalist prof to dispense with liberty of the mind because she does not accept the existence of the mind.

and

The war on intellectual freedom: How political correctness morphed into a monster.

Atlantic: March for Science misunderstands politics

From Harvard sociologist Andrew Jowett at the Atlantic:

The movement’s rhetoric suggests that if governments simply fund and heed scientific research, the world will march steadily toward peace and prosperity. Applying science to politics will create “an unbroken chain of inquiry, knowledge, and public benefit for all.” This is, dare I say, an unscientific conception of human action. A huge body of social-scientific literature—or just a good, hard look at the political scene—shows that conflict, uncertainty, and collective self-interest would remain central features of democratic politics even if all of the disputants took scientific findings as their starting point for policy recommendations.

In a 2004 essay, Daniel Sarewitz, a professor at Arizona State University, challenged the longstanding expectation that bringing science to bear on political questions will reduce or eliminate disputation. In fact, he noted that “scientized” political issues—most notably, the climate debate—generate particularly sharp controversies precisely because the participants can focus exclusively on questions of scientific validity while obscuring the values and interests that shape their positions. Coal producers seeking to throw off environmental regulations, for example, will tend to highlight uncertainties in the scientific understanding of carbon dioxide’s atmospheric effects, rather than making an explicit case for choosing policies that benefit their industry over policies aimed at climate remediation. More.

This sounds like just another riff on: The public can’t make good decisions. One expects to hear that often now.

Again one wonders, would Dr. Jowett like to comment on recent trends in which post-normal,“post-truth,” and post-fact science seem normal now and objectivity is seen as sexist or worse?

See also: Jonathan Wells offers some context for the March for Science. Money walks. Notes: Science journalist Paul Voosen wrote in 2015 that “science today is riven with perverse incentives,” most of them financial.

March for Science: Neil DeGrasse Tyson thinks science denial dismantles democracy Poseur. Democracy gets dismantled mainly when not believing the government of the day becomes a crime.

and

New Scientist: We need more censorship because free speech is censorship

Target CEO “would not have approved” cave-in to LGBT lobby?

But was told he couldn’t back out. From Tyler O’Neil at PJMedia:

On Wednesday morning, The Wall Street Journal dropped a bombshell. Almost exactly one year after Target’s original pro-transgender announcement which caused a huge backlash and helped tank the company’s profits over the past 12 months, the Journal reported that Target’s CEO did not approve of the statement — and would not have approved it, if asked.

In early March of this year, the company suffered the largest one-day stock drop since the 2008 economic crisis. In dollar terms, the drop was the company’s largest hit ever. This also followed a report of fourth-quarter profits that fell below expectations, and a pessimistic full-year outlook. To make matters worse, Target’s disappointing results contrasted with better-than-expected earnings reported by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Home Depot Inc. More.

Reality check: Isn’t the guy fired already? He can’t expect his customers to pay for a war on their basic habits and values. He should have got rid of the people who told him he couldn’t back out. One can’t help wondering how much WalMart paid them… 😉 😉 😉

See also: Marvel! Readers tire of partisan comics

March for Science: Neil DeGrasse Tyson thinks science denial dismantles democracy

Article Image From Tracy Staedler at LiveScience:

Renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson urges Americans to become more scientifically literate in a short video he posted yesterday (April 19) on his Facebook page.

In the video he titled “Science in America,” Tyson comments on 21st-century attitudes toward science, explaining the importance of the scientific method and making the case that science denial could erode democracy.

“Dear Facebook Universe,” he wrote. “I offer this four-minute video on ‘Science in America’ containing what may be the most important words I have ever spoken. As always, but especially these days, keep looking up.”

Poseur. Democracy gets dismantled mainly when not believing the government of the day becomes a crime.

In about 30 seconds, Tyson explains how hypothesis and experimentation, fundamental ingredients of the scientific method, lead to emergent truths. “The scientific method does it better than anything else we have ever done as human beings,” he said. More.

One wonders, would Dr. Tyson like to comment on recent trends in which post-normal “post-truth,” and post-fact are finding a place in science, that objectivity is seen as  sexist or worse?

Don’t be surprised if some grievance-inspired Marchers hold those very views. They pose a more serious threat to science than anyone who just doesn’t believe current dogmas (but thinks that right answers do exist in principle.)

See also: Texas: The icons of evolution are STILL on welfare after all these years? Maybe the honor of mathematics is to get things right, as Prof Marks suggests, but the honor of the Darwin lobby is to shove in the world’s face the fact that it can compel a download of tax money by unleashing an End-of-Science! rent-a-protest at every meeting on the subject.

Marchin’, marchin’ for Science (Hint: the problems are back at your desk, not out in the streets)

and

How did “populism” become a dirty word? A left-wing journalist offers some thoughts

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Mizzou, a five-star political correctness U, unaccountably faces empty dorms

From Tom Knighton at PJMedia:

Perhaps nothing better foretold what was ahead for American college campuses like the November 2015 protests at the University of Missouri. The prolonged protests featured professor Melissa Click calling for “some muscle” to evict a student journalist from a public space, giving us a pretty good glimpse of how the left is again embracing violence and intimidation over debate.

The fervent embrace of Correctness resulted in three dorms being shuttered due to a 23% decline in enrollment. Knighton adds,

As the parent of a high school student, I watched the events in Missouri and knew I wouldn’t support my child being anywhere near such an environment. Despite taking place around the same time as the shrieking Yale student, that seemed to be an isolated event, and not representative of the administration’s competence or the student body’s makeup. Missouri, however, boasted faculty assaulting a student on video and another lashing out against journalists, and a large portion of the student body whipping up race tensions. More.

Reality check: It’s sad when people who just happened to be there are affected. But the obvious solution is: Don’t be one of the people who just happen to be there! Take action against Correctness first.

Alternatively Mizzou could enthusiastically embrace its mission to train Orwell’s Outer Party and turn those empty dorms into recruitment and training centres. The next truly progressive US government will offer free tuition.

See also: Campus thought police: Even silence can be violence

Marvel! Readers tire of partisan comics

From Christian Toto at Hollywood in Toto:

The Marvel universe has embraced diversity with a passion. And it doesn’t simply mean a glut of new characters who better represent the culture’s ethnic and gender diversity. The comic book company radically transformed its most beloved stars.

Iron Man is now a black teenage girl. Thor is a woman. Captain America is black. Ms. Marvel is a Muslim teenage girl.

And then there’s the company’s partisan storytelling, Last year, Marvel tweaked the classic villain Modok to look and sound like Donald Trump. A recent “Captain America” story cast anti-immigration foes as the villains. More.

It was a huge hit with everyone but the readers.  As Marvel’s VP of Sales David Gabriel recently whiffled,

What we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity. They didn’t want female characters out there. That’s what we heard, whether we believe that or not. I don’t know that that’s really true, but that’s what we saw in sales.

Reality check: We believe it even if he doesn’t. Readers’ tastes hadn’t changed at all. The company was being pressured by Correctness thugs, and the thugs are not the market.

This helps us see why political correctness eventually requires government control even of trivial media. Just think, lots of jobs for junior jackboots once they graduate from assaulting the profs with whom they disagree.

Note: Comment of the week, below: Wonder Woman and Rogue were actual characters, not props for Social Justice. If the clowns running Marvel can’t tell the difference, there’s no hope for them.

See also: Progressives go after art eventually too