PZ Meyers

@consciousness razor
“I don’t think we need to be in any hurry to hand over even more power to them… you should probably think a little harder about the costs you’re actually willing to pay for that.”

Free speech and the open exchange of ideas is built on a cultural substrate. You are right to be skeptical of the assumption that there is some immutable proviso that uniquely determines it. What is the extent to which free speech is useful and to whom? In what sense, for whom will it exist?
An apt analogy is the absolute Monarch of the Commonwealth. Any other agency claiming complete authority is illegitimate – since our acknowledged seat of complete political authority has ostentatiously little hold on our daily affiars. You could change circumstances so the law could persist while effective depotism reigned. This is uncannily like what has happened to tolerance.

I found these essays quite interesting in the context: https://web.archive.org/web/20170808013732/http://quillette.com/2017/08/07/google-memo-four-scientists-respond/

J.S. Mill: “…unmeasured vituperation employed on the side of the prevailing opinion, really does deter people from professing contrary opinions, and from listening to those who profess them.”

J. Haidt: “If you think that moral reasoning is something we do to figure out the truth, you’ll be constantly frustrated by how foolish, biased, and illogical people become when they disagree with you.”

The human brain is rather limited in respect to the activity in which it evolves. Illusory completeness and coherence is a persistent feature of our experience. Our culture, our brains, our culture is filled with reminders that we forget what we knew. In effect, the operations we call consciousness extent into artefacts of prior events. Incongruity among representations is never fully reconciled.

From Google’s VP of Diversity, Integrity & Governance [Pretty telling job title], “whether one can speak freely of these things at Google”
( like many of you, I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender… it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages)”

I presume gender something to do with reproduction. And as we have ever reason to expect some neutral evolution and conflict is absolutely ruthless. And efforts to be honest met with outsized readiness to sieze upon one sees as defects. (Does romance anything to do with gender anymore? I honestly don’t know what the eternal doctrine is this week.)

It’s a psychologically predictable outcome that hostilities suprise us with the force of their own inertia once locked into the encounter. It’s like hurtling along in a car, one happy little family, until the driver belatedly discovers their trajectory is not the only one on the road. By then there’s no avoiding the purges and counter-purges.

Look at it from my eyes. A stupid person. I try to be nice, give the consideration people deserve, but I can’t be expected to understand every nicety. The best intentions occasionally stumble into a deadly ambush. Little misunderstandings https://soundcloud.com/rahma-ben-abdesslem/nina-simone-dont-let-me-be and faux pas have many times been the beginning of a bit of a romance. (Apparently the Lyrics were written by Horace Ott while he and wife-to-be had a falling out.)

Various purported objectives act in tension, even stark intractable opposition within even the “agency” operating in a single man. (The malevolent metonym strikes again!) Which ones benign and which malignant?

“Extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds”. As our minds acquire resourcefulness, why would we fail to expect the resourcefulness of delusion? Haven’t you observed it around you? If you have removed it, you’re fooled. You just caught it leading you around by the nose.

When I was younger (is that ageism, I’m sorry, I just can’t keep up) I had observed the propagation of confusion in groups of students, which confusion annealed into decision. The effective memory of the principles guiding the crowd’s agitation appeared we not only unconscious in acting independently of notice, but also as being very transiatory, unreliably anticipated and unreliably remembered. The principle that was agreed as the animating force of it’s authority varied, but the pattern stereotyped.

So I will not expect that everything I say is relatable in the same way among different people. And you know what, we make those allowances in the context in our daily life. Much of it is handled by convention, by shared habits or turns of phrase.

As people discuss the esoteric secret, all I have really gleaned is that it is a basic human right for others to behave “correctly”. I am damned whoever specifies that requirement. Our Hell includes other people, and it is such who’d bring hell to me..

Opinions we agree with, find insightful lend a measure of social cachet. We are also more readily to make allowances when tied otherwise by bonds of affection. This is a lovely little process that can be inverted diabolically. The rate of exchange between reputation and candor is a multiuse instrument. What to one might be unobjectable error, to another seem a mean spirited defence of wickedness and bigotry.

I find it easier easier to get along than to go along to get along – because there are more degrees of freedom. In the latter case, it is for the most part not a decision on epistemological merits.

Parameters of correctness is patterned on their explanatory adequacy, (I see you scholars citing learned papers, far above my head and) it’s hard to overlook transparently mean spirit of controversy. The rules have been changed too fast to predend it’s aherence to pre-set principle. It is social reflex, it has happened before and it will happen again.

The standard of evidence is rather labile, however rigorous the scholarship. (it’s purported source or validation). In these conditions, by objective oriented calculation overcome impediments by forgoing certain calculations. The smug outrage, the name calling, the predictable lines of contention formed precisely because they are predictable not because they accurately delineate what is at stake.

Citizens and subjects of google recoil in fabricated horror at the indecency of a person who complains of intolerance (Awesome, a day off). The extent hypocrisy is loathsome I attribute to it’s noble designs. Hypocrisy is a badge of nobility.

  • Nobility, that brings us to authority.

Authority can do many things for us. It offers many things. It can provide reference points, reminders, stores of information and guidance for our priorities. Reference authority may serve the part by over-stating it’s role. It becomes a force of agency, acting in the capacity of the stork given to frogs who wished for a king.

Bigotry and reliance on an authority or convention is necessary and useful. Fear’s usefulness as an indicator can be rendered ancillary for a time, but the authority of fear is indubitable.

The usefulness of being open to ideas is associated with proclivity to malignancy. Will google degenerate into a pitiless mire of sexism due to patriarchal misgendering? No, here the resistance is far worse than the disease.

James Damore’s critics are really widely attributing character traits which bear little resemblance to the man or his memo.

Apparently your opinions indicate who you’d rather see fired. That he was so frank helped make this more obvious. That’s a great merit of free speech, no matter who subsequently gets voted off the island.


Real estate agent for the Caliphate

Calgarians invited Bill, so why didn’t the border service let him in? Who’s he going to harm? No one. He disagrees with dogmas that make people run for their adult coloring books. If he blew up US soliders instead of being a cop, Canada would welcome him in with 10 million dollars.

Oh we’re going after the cheerleaders bro, don’t you worry about muslims. Muslims I can deal with. Islamophiles are degraded.

These people don’t give a hot egg about Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Earth – my home. And for all the good intentions, Islam is designed to be to be malignent in situations very much like our conditions. Making concessions, subsidising them, giving their ideas breathing space. We’re literally creating the problem we’re pretending we’re overcoming by paying it away. Calgary Muslim associations have excreted a number of men who joined ISIS fighters to Syria.

The truth hurts. Only in that sense will he be hurtful. The rest in annoyance. “Canada is a land united, nobody is annoying” says our annoying prime minister..

“Canada’s Border” a regulatory “pore” that is already letting in a steady stream of haphazardly criteria’d immigrants. The taxonomies by which people are judged are inherently incoherent. They disregard lightly bonds of kinship, they suppose religion doesn’t matter, or is just a bit of color and ritual. I’m not going to let the organization that virtually serving as real estate agent for the caliphate decide who I choose to make my guest. That’s not longer theirs to decide.

The border guards reading text files – It all reeks of a pretext, because these people have never grappled with the magnitude of the problem they’re merrily inviting in. I don’t lie to you, it is like a zoo where all the other animals look at each-other separate by glass and parallel lives. Do I think Nenshi (the Muslim Mayor of our city) was involved? On the background, not particularly likely, and there’s no evidence of it. In connection to the Mosque with a fecundity for ISIS fighters, he did give a video-taped message to the big “One Ummah” organized by international muslim groups. A Ted talk for the greater Jihad more or less.

Though I liked the fake bacon served at the Muslim Stampede breakfast here in town, I’d even do without the ethnic food, but now that we’ve got the recipe… I don’t believe hate laws are laws. It’s like passing a law that it is always the day time. You can only generate lies to mask it. It’s time to end this game of bad cop, didnt do nuffin cop. On this officer Wild Bill is bang on.

We know for a fact that Islamic inflammation has already created dire fanatics within our cities. These people are not meeting an evangelical an getting into a debate then thinking “By Allah! I need to go to butcher civilians in Syria.”

The Irrelevance of Human Design

Our plans are not the unifying principle of human behaviour. The bible tells us that our creator made us from dust. Progressive thinking was obligated to substitute man for God.  Thus they would plan families and seek global governance in accordance with their own sense of benevolence.  The other, believing their brain is made in the image of God’s, think of the character his motives, plan and acts in terms of their own.

Islam subordinates all plans to the deity’s command. Events occur, choices are made not as determined by the order of nature, but by the will of it’s creator.  This philosophy has a practical side: is a religion which obeyed is quite capable of abrogating the motives of it’s adherents. The political and juridical precepts entail extreme violence, though it is sincerely embraced by many a gentle and innocent man. By law, Muslims must teach their children to obey the Koran. The tragic result of this instruction is that ocassionally this is exactly what their children do:  They follow the Koran, hadiths, tasfir, fatwas and historical activity of Islam – authorities which broadly define Islam as such.

This abrogation brings me to the issue raised by Anonymous Conservative here:  http://www.anonymousconservative.com/blog/times-square-drunk-driver-now-has-emotional-problems/
The notion that “true” religiosity requires sobriety and mental stability is absurd. (as a sober true Scotsman) Islam becomes dangerous merely by obeying it. It requires no particular malice – just do what it tells you to and BOOM.

In this case, the individual was running people down with his vehicle yelling Allah AloHackbar. The police avoided the obvious connection with Islam. When the story emerged, they tried to change the subject: The Jihadi was too demented to form criminal intent. If the police and politicians truly believed rationality was the standard of culpability, it would be the government that had to answer for this atrocity.

The administrative classes, even law enforcement ignore what even mental defectives can easily explain: an existential conflict is underway.

Among the threats to our survival are the behaviours acting in accordance with Mohammed’s command. Whether rational, complicit or negligent, so long as it facilitates jihad (particularly nonviolent Jihad) it advances their cause. In the case cited, the public service is extending it’s protection to Islam’s reputation and giving leniency for the Jihadi. In so doing, it has implicitly carried out Islamic edicts.  Rather than evidence of the Jihadi’s misguidance, it is perceived an impressure of Allahs authorization.

The problem before us is how to create evolutionary conditions incompatible with the persistence of such behavior. This not a problem of psychology. Bribes produce perverse incentives and threats are welcomed by Jihadis as the pathway to paradise.

If we are to survive, institutions that offer their services to our enemies must go extinct. Our lands should be barren to those Those who pray in the morning and the evening for our destruction.

Those nations are kindest to Muslims who are deaf to their entreaties for unfettered entry, fearful of their reassurance and contemptuous of their project.  It is not hate speech, quite the contrary. Such apparently hostility provisions is the most stable means of extending our coexistence.

Some peace loving people would no doubt take offence. As they tuck snakes into bed with their children, they decide to make it their mission to call the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Please, go ahead, report a hate crime. I don’t mind being arrested, because I know that a dawn will soon rise. On that day you shall forget your noble intentions and discover the irrelevance of human design.


CIRCA 2014
I am looking at the San Francisco skyline over the water. There is an unfamiliar smell of some pungent flowers. I suppose they share my habit of nocturnal awakening.

For five or six hours, my ears have strained involuntarily, hearing every sound as garbled voices. But minutes ago, I heard a real voice.: “AHHH! What do you want from me?” Followed by a ugly, drawn out shriek.

It’s not my affair. I’ll leave it to someone else. It’s not my city anyway, not even my country – it’s cold beside. With a sort of fury, I realized I was likely not the only one luxuriating in this cozy thought. I bolted up growling and burst out of doors into this darkness, stumbling hand and foot down the hill.

Each time I stopped to listen, there was nothing. Only engines and the sound of wind though trees.

I’ve hung my head in shame, teeth still bared in a rictus and slowly walked home. Now wide awake, I hear no voices. I’m pacing in the garden, Sniffing like an animal at this strange aroma and listening for another lonely scream.

PS.  I love my home town and I love my family.  This message isn’t for those who read my blog.

death wish charles bronson.jpg

The Children of Intellectual Incest

It is a time of rampant intellectual incest.  The majority of publications aim to reinforce the opinions of their audience. This habit has strongly reinforced political self-segregation.  I read a survey suggesting significantly greater aversion to romantic partnerships with those who disagree about politics than one who practise a different religion – a fact which does not speak to the health of either.

Almost everyone holds that a large portion of the population is deluded. Everyone agrees that there is no possibility they are among them.  Since this implication is carried by any disagreement, people are incredulous when their ideas are disputed.  Many people are eager to avoid any such discussion and are ready to shun those don’t.  Our culture is thus deficient in practical experience in handling sincere disagreement.

Consensus is emerging from localizing alternatives. This serves illusion the argument was won when it never happened, that the conflict is decided when it has only begun.

When public debates are held, it is assumed neither side will be persuaded.  The results are parallel narratives contesting for attention, not comparison. Unfavourable associations, minor errors and moot points become the primary interface between the debaters.  When one disentangles polite applause from visceral reaction, the impression of parallel discourse is only amplified.

Our economic and political leadership is taught about political opponents in a manner specifically designed to discredit them. I would venture two main reasons. First, the cosmopolitan strata of western culture is disproportionately liberal. Speaking about dissidents is more likely to serve the interests of those hostile to them.  The other is more basic: We would rather disputes happen on our own terms.

Even careful effort to accurately depict opponents tends to be somewhat mechanical, rapidly occluded by political imperatives, engrained prejudice and methodical misrepresentation.  There is also, of course, the possibility of becoming typecast as one who sympathises with the enemy.

It is true that conflicts of interest underlie intractable political disputes.  Disputes over resources, survival, dominance and time preferences are inevitable. If an advantage can be achieved by engaging in conflict, the feedback loop of isolation and hostility should be actively managed from the outset. Preparations for conflict are far less costly before social collapse than than after.

Our cultural segregation is not being well managed.  If our populations is to become culturally and ethnically segmented, internationalization of conflicts becomes more likely as we see in Syria.  People are becoming acclimatized to the assumption that argument is intractable.  this is preparing the ground for a very rapid transition from civil order to violence.