Blog Archives

You Can Google Yourself Into Staying Current. You Cannot Google Yourself Into Expertise.

The Internet is such a fucked up thing, a true paradox. It is the largest repository of information on the planet. You would think this a good thing…yet the people who use it seem to be getting dumber.

Let’s talk a little bit about people who think that when they look for information on the Internet, they are performing “research”.

You know these people. They are legion. They are all around you, believing some of the most insane shit you can dream up. Not knowing much about how the real world works, they construct fantasy worlds based on ignorant, paranoid biases they have. They have consumed so much information confirming them, that they actually see themselves as authorities on a matter. And they’re not, because they aren’t trained to be one. Yet every fucking person these days always has something to say about everything. It’s tiring. I’m sorry, but rare is the true polymath.

Let’s be clear: Experts are the only people who should be conducting any sort of “research”. And many of them constrain their expertise to one subject, as any knowledge base can be ridiculously complicated and is in constant evolution.

Most of us drones can read a book and maybe really digest a fourth of it. Even less will be able to spit out the contents of what they read to a fellow human. Shit, sometimes I can’t say anything about a TV show I just watched. Hardly any of us commoners are doing any structured “learning”. The best of us can merely familiarize ourselves with a subject. So it is with the Internet. We can read all we like and still not know a whole lot. But then we get super offended when all of our “research” gets questioned.

That’s not the way to wisdom. Having your beliefs challenged is really the only way to actually “learn”. In other words, looking for what might be wrong about what you think you know is the key to possibly knowing anything at all. That requires a bit of humility most people do not possess, though, especially if you are dealing with someone who thinks that just because they have access to the biggest journal/encyclopedia in existence it makes them somehow learned.

I have a bachelor’s degree in sociology. The theory is painful to comb through, and that is a lot of what you have to get through to make it past your sophomore year. A favorite professor of mine gave up the goods on why we needed to dig up fossils like Emile Durkheim. “It’s really just to torture you the way we were tortured.” I believed her. You also get introduced to the world of statistics, which I actually found fun. Some of my fellow classmates were fucking insufferable, though; like I had this one class in stats where the textbook was filled end to end with studies. Now, this book’s purpose, from what I could tell was to help us learn how studies are structured, to immerse us in the world of what we can learn from surveys and data. Yet for some reason, the class devolved into “how can we pick apart this study and declare it invalid?” Students got hung up on dumb shit like sample size. If it was deemed not high enough (it was always an arbitrary number that varied from student to student), it was a bad study. That’s not how this works, though. You can sample or plot 20 points and get a mean that suggests a correlation in one direction or another. Yes, you can sample 40 and be more accurate, but it’s really the difference between say, 90% certainty and 95%. There’s tests you can perform that give you confidence values. What I’m getting at is that the picture is the same, it’s just slightly blurrier when you work with less data.

Anyway, four years is what I survived. Did that mean I was well-educated? Was I a sociologist, or one in training? Looking back, I’d have to say no. Nowadays, bachelor degrees are not held in high esteem by employers. Everyone wants the grinders who stick with shit for eight to twelve years. I wasn’t able to do that for several reasons, but one was that I don’t think I could have bullshitted my way through graduate level work. I didn’t want to anyway. Sociology could be fun and fascinating, but I was never destined to be an expert in it.

I’m getting a little sidetracked, but the point was is that real education takes place in educational institutions, and real expertise gets conducted by experts. Reading the Internet for the average schmo should be like reading the morning paper-oh, here’s some interesting news, hey that’s a cool subject, hm, I didn’t know that, let me find out more, wow, they did what? Basically, keep the fuck up. Be active when it is necessary. That is your civic responsibility, nothing more. Now it’s a little rough out there, because major media gatekeeps for or is outright owned or manipulated by the moneyed and the powerful. But there’s a lot of people doing journalism for journalism’s sake. Good stories and portals are out there, and real journalists have been telling inconvenient truths. Did what you read make you mad? Excellent. Did it change your mind? Awesome. Did it add perspective to something you are interested in? I’m all for it.

This “research” epidemic, however, is for fools. It’s just ducky to Google or Wikipedia a subject you just encountered, I encourage that behavior. What is not sensible is consuming a lot of information/bullshit on a topic you aren’t an expert in. You can easily be misinformed, for one thing, if you don’t know how to check your sources. That is something that typically an expert would know how to do. And confirmation bias, as far as I can tell, is habitual in this fucking species. Starting with a conclusion is absurdly common. I think X is happening, and since I have a giant library at my fingertips, there’s a good chance I can definitely find evidence for X being true. Even science itself is guilty of this.

I dunno. Maybe some people are just raised berserk, and it’s best to leave them be if we are creatures of mercy. But I grow weary of it. For me, everything I “know” is in a state of flux. Does that bother me? Honestly, no, it doesn’t. There are things about this objective reality we will never figure out. (Then again, I haven’t tried DMT). It’s cool, that’s what it means to live, especially as a human. Uncertainty is part of the package of survival. “Research” and “figuring things out” isn’t going to make me feel existentially better.

They say everyone needs something to believe in. Maybe. And I suppose in our virtual world of connectivity, that’s easier than ever to find. In that sense, the Internet peddles millions of faiths. We want so badly to be special, we want to know we are part of the Correct, that we are In. Maybe in our atomized society this is all we can do anymore to remain cohesive, share our ridiculous faiths through an invisible ether. I’m out of answers.

Perhaps know yourself first before you go knowing anything else. I think some wise weirdo advised this a long, long time ago. I think he was killed for giving it to people.

Let’s Talk A Little About Steve Bannon, Putin and The Future of Global Fascism

Sometimes I feel pretty fucking clever when I’ve sussed out that America is about to enter into its second dalliance with fascism and its characteristics. It will be Christian, white, and male-centric. Like Jello Biafra said once, it’s bedtime for democracy and there is no telling when it will wake up.

Now it’s awfully hard to believe that Steve Bannon, who looks like some weird mixture of Baron Harkonnen from Lynch’s Dune and a wino, is of any particular threat to American democracy. It’s almost hilarious that he has Mike Lindell on his “War Room” on the regular. He’s probably facing jail time soon, depending on how much he pisses a judge off by turning his contempt trial into a media circus.

However, as far as the right wing goes, he’s the daddy-o of American neo-fascism, or populism, or nationalism, whatever you want to call it. And when he fell out with Trump, he moved on to bigger and better things. After the White House, he went abroad to spread the populist word, powwowing with right wing parties, dictators and autocrats around the globe. He’s a Putinist, and I guess now is a great time to introduce a notorious living Russian fascist, often referred to as “Putin’s Brain”, Aleksandr Dugin. (More on the Dugin-Putin relationship here). The guy appears to be completely insane, a mad monk advocating for a Russian empire that stretches all the way to Ireland. I am sure that Putin, while a little touched in the head himself, listens to Alex’s counsel, smiles in his mind, takes the good parts and leaves out the absurd. He did come up with the idea of annexing Crimea, and thinks Russia should treat Ukraine as theirs, which they have done de facto by invading and robbing Ukraine of its ability to trade freely. I’m not going to get into an argument with any of you chuckleheads out there who seem to have no clue about military tactics and realpolitik, the end game of this invasion is that Russia gets good cream and lots of political leverage over the rest of the world from Ukraine’s food and energy markets. And there isn’t shit the West can or will do about it. (UPDATE 4/2: Zelenskyy isn’t giving up territory for peace, and NATO is now sending deadlier assets. He’s either going down with the ship, or this is going to be Afghanistan II: The Return Of The Bear Trap.)

Anyway, back to this character Dugin for a minute. He is quoted as saying, “We, conservatives, want a strong, solid State, want order and healthy family, positive values, the reinforcing of the importance of religion and the Church in society”. Sound familiar? That’s word for word what the Republican Party in America has come to stand for. Coming from the mouth of a Russian fascist. A “traditionalist”. Democracy, liberalism, and individualism are all anathema to his thinking, a refutation of the principles of America’s revolutionary ideas. He said of Putin as early as 2007: “There are no more opponents of Putin’s course and, if there are, they are mentally ill and need to be sent off for clinical examination. Putin is everywhere, Putin is everything, Putin is absolute, and Putin is indispensable.” It’s not dissimilar to the cult of personality that surrounds Trump, or any other “strongman” who can control people. The main difference between Putin and Dugin, is that one is pragmatic and one is a romantic. He wanted Putin to take Georgia as well as Ukraine. Putin took the chunks he could hold, probably knowing from Hitler at Stalingrad that when you spread yourself too thin, you will get your ass kicked. He believes that COVID is a “kind of divine reprimand, a divine decree against humanity.” and “It is a kind of punishment for globalization.” Dugin attacks the arts and the schools for their decadent thoughts (again, sound familiar?), even finding physics and chemistry to be “demonic”. The man is a mystic, looking for signs of the apocalypse.

So let’s circle back to Bannon: what’s the connection between him and Dugin? Well, they met once, in 2018, in Rome. While they agreed philosophically, the meeting did not go well, as Dugin was focused on the United States as the great evil, and Bannon felt it was China. I guess we should be glad they did not agree or join forces, but the idea that America is engorged with “evil” is becoming chapter and verse for more and more Republicans, no doubt to Putin and Dugin’s glee. We will be rid of Steve Bannon soon enough. But if we continue to share a traditionalist fascist destiny with Russia, then I am afraid the world over will become a dark place to practice freedom.

Aspersions On The Asparagus

Time to check up on Louie Gohmert. Louie has some fierce competition these days as to who can be America’s dumbest elected official, but he’s the O.G. of the modern Know-Nothings. He can still be reliably counted on to have the most absurd takes on any subject. Louie had a few things to say about green energy on wingnut OAN recently:

I don’t quite see how dead birds will bring down our country, but that’s Gohmert logic for you. Now as with anything Louie says, you have to go check and see how untrue it is. So I did the simplest of Google searches, and learned that solar is hardly causing mass bird casualties, and certainly not in the numbers that Gohmert claims. In fact, our current energy setup is far more lethal to birds than solar panel farms. For example, there are approximately 3,500 “flamers” per year due to mirrors, but we lose 25 million birds to power lines yearly. There’s the real bird holocaust that Gohmert should be concerned about if he cares about the birds, which of course he doesn’t.

I can’t believe this creature used to be a judge.

Group Groyper

I think I have found the right-wing id. I have traced it down to Nicholas Fuentes.

Nick’s just hit my radar, as well as puberty. I seem to be a bit late to the party, but the kid is making a name for himself by out-outraging the outraged right. He’s even started fights between Charlie Kirk’s adherents and his, that’s how right-wing he is. His little fascist army calls themselves Groypers, which apparently is what this fella is:

Oh boy, another Pepe meme.

Hilarious. Anyway, he’s so over the top that I wonder if he is left-wing performance art. It can barely be taken seriously, but thanks largely to Donald Trump we’ve reached a juncture in political discourse that the Overton Window is open just enough for a Nick Fuentes to slither through. Here’s Nick rhapsodizing outside of CPAC (not invited, again, amazing considering what they talk about there) about an era far removed from his Gen Z ass:

Bless his little pointed head. He’s very much into America First rhetoric too, which as you probably know was one of the slogans of 1930s American proto-fascist nationalism.

This is the baby-faced enemy, folks. This is the terminus, the end result of right wing thought in America, where “owning the libs” (or in Nick’s case, owning everyone he can) is the only initiative that matters. If it’s offensive and outrageous, they want in on it. Then they bitch about being canceled when someone objects, of course. What good this game is is anyone’s guess. It certainly is making a mockery of the first amendment, that is for sure.

Make-Believe

Donald Trump is going to die by his own hand. I think we’ve known this for a while.

Word is out that the Tomahawk strikes didn’t damage the runways of Al-Shayrat. Planes are still leaving from the base.

It’s turning out to be a rather expensive shot across the bow rather than a show of force.

But you wouldn’t know that by listening to President Numbnuts. He is satisfied with what was accomplished. A president wears many hats, and Trump has a construction helmet, complete with reflective vest, work boots and a spade in his collection. Check it-he’s an expert at public works:

“The reason you don’t generally hit runways is that they are easy and inexpensive to quickly fix (fill in and top)!”

When did you find that out- the last time you bombed a runway?

Donald, let me stop you at the word “reason”. I’ve been watching you for a bit now, and reasons and explanations are not your strong suit. I am no public works expert either, nor am I versed well in the destructive capabilities of our armaments. But I am pretty sure a thousand pound warhead makes a crater somewhat bigger than the ones you and I occasionally run over when we drive. Furthermore, a jet takes off at a rather high speed and I’m guessing that “filling and topping” is not something that can be done quickly or haphazardly. If I remember right, it took a few months, and a lot of concentrated resources and people to fix Baghdad International after we strafed it in 2003.

To wit: Tomahawks don’t make potholes. And a plane is not a car. Trump seems to think that a few shovelfuls of hot gravel is all it takes. Perhaps he has seen a hole in a road being repaired in Manhattan getting “filled and topped” from his limousine and drew an analogy. Adorable.

The Near-President needs to shut the fuck up. Desperate to spin the narrative of this story, he’s made a jackass out of himself yet again by injecting his moronic Twitter commentary into a very serious situation.

Surprise!

 

The New Pollution

I haven’t posted since the inauguration. I am trying to keep my cool, but it’s getting harder every day. My wife has a conniption at least once a day over something he’s signed or something he’s decreed, and I’m still in “wait and see” mode. She doesn’t understand why I’m not more upset or distressed about the new shit coming from the White House.

I’m probably having the wrong reaction. I didn’t panic on election night, until 2:30AM when the blue wall in the north fell and Pennsylvania went to Trump. She knew something was wrong when Virginia was too close to call-a race which stayed that way for about four hours.

So I have decided that I may be suffering a crisis in my ability to judge. Trump’s victory has broken me, in a way; I still can’t believe it happened. He was even less qualified to lead than Ben Carson, and those of you who have been with me a minute surely understand how unqualified I thought Donald Trump was when I say that. It never occurred to me that the old bozo fraud would somehow distinguish himself as a leader. He never did, and still has not and never will, to be truthful-but Republicans will buy anything, especially when Donald became the physical manifestation of the id of every racist, sexist, homophobic flag worshipping pasty-white Christian dominionist shitheel across this once great land. We were truly at our worst when we brought this monstrosity to power. Oh sure, Donald’s hate and imbecilic patriotic posturing did not win him the election. The October Surprise Of October Surprises from the FBI, the drip-drip-drip of Julian Assange’s Russian-backed email leaks, and a new generation already weary of half-measure Democratic party policy even though it was their first election certainly did much to ensure that a soup and sandwich combo from Panera might be President rather than the hopelessly compromised Hillary Clinton.

And Hillary Clinton was a damn good candidate. Fuck each and every one of you who left her high and dry. I’m not interested in your reasons. You allowed this…this thing, whatever it turns out to be, into high office because you couldn’t have all the marbles, so you chose none. You folded your arms in front of your chest and decided to let it burn, in the hopes that if voters would see how bad it got under a Trump, they’d choose the left-wing savior they dreamt of next time around. Well, I have less faith in the American public than that. George W.Bush got two terms, and he racked up 60, 000 some-odd casualties in a war of attrition in the Middle East. So who the fuck knows what America’s mindset will be come 2018 and 2020, really. You breath-holding lefties don’t have a clue what comes next. And I’m one of you assholes too. You shit the bed and I know you won’t take responsibility for it, anymore than semi-sane Republicans will admit that they elected a fascist.

I had plans to write something else, but this must have had to come first. I’ll be around soon. Peace, kiddies.

 

 

 

OK, Let’s Stop Using This Phrase

“Fake news”.

Culture, you’ve lost your right to use these words together.

We used to call this stuff “misinformation”, “tabloid journalism”, “hoaxes”, or just “lies”. Then 2016 happened, and the old-time press started calling internet bullshit “fake news”.

They didn’t realize it, but they birthed a monster, one that attacked its parents.

Perhaps you all remember a guy named Karl Rove. He is best known for helping the  soon-to-be second biggest fucking idiot ever to claim the title President get elected, George W. Bush. One of his trade secrets was how to deflect charges of weakness in his candidate. In Rove’s political parlance, the dictum was:

“Accuse your opponent of what they are going to accuse you of.”

It’s a peculiar form of what psychologists have called projection. And it is hard to combat.

It wasn’t too long ago when the term “low-information voter” entered the lexicon, brought into use by liberals.

Rush Limbaugh, who is smarter than I give him credit for, understood the power of those words together and since conservatives usually don’t have anything original to add to a conversation, used the HELL out of it until you only heard it in right-wing circles to describe liberals.

That’s about where we are with the words “fake news”. Maybe it isn’t liberals’ fault that the concept boomeranged on them, but we started overusing it, often in internecine warfare between the newest wave of left-wing political bloggers who often employ sensationalism to steal clicks from what is now the internet establishment. I’m not gonna name names here, because I believe that calling out lefty blog sites, however misleading they are, is part of what allowed the concept of “fake news” to slip the leash and become a weapon for conservatives.

The situation right now? Well, you all know. The President-the-fuck-Elect thinks that the august and, to be sure, often fatally flawed CNN is “fake news”. Low poll numbers are now fake news.

Fake news is now defined as something you don’t want to hear about irrespective of its veracity.

Its misuse is spreading like typhoid. Bill Donohue, who is a truly repugnant religious fuckwad, wants to help spread this redefinition of “fake news”. A gay man was fired from teaching at a Catholic school because he posted about his marriage on Facebook. Nobody asked him, but Donohue, ever the moral scold, couldn’t help inserting himself into the issue. He refuses to admit that men can get married because…because…oh, screw it, I’ll let him tell you:

“I know that the Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriage,” says Billard, “but I don’t think my commitment to my husband [sic] has any bearing on my work in the classroom.” [Note: husbands are men and wives are women, so if Billard’s partner is his husband, that would make him his wife, and no one really believes that to be true. The Catholic League does not tolerate fake news.]

The phrase has been reduced to meaninglessness. And it’s only going to get worse-it will prove to be an impossible box to close now that the titular leader of the country thinks anything disagreeable written about him is fake. We’re going to lose this war, liberals, because they are better at projecting than we are. We need to be more careful in the future how we use shorthand like this. We need to deal in facts more than we need to glibly call out lies. There’s probably enough people listening to win the next election.

 

Putting The “Con” In Conway

I thought Kellyanne Conway was going to need close 24-hour supervision after the presidential campaign, especially if the Trumpers lost the election. Oh sure, you have your Scottie Nell Hugheses, your Sean Spicers, but no one did more heavy lifting to dissemble, lie and distort the things that Donald Trump said than Kellyanne Conway. Her hair and living-dead countenance was all one needed to see that she was the hardest working flack in America.

Her stalwart performance has been rewarded, as she is now joining Trump’s inner circle. But she’s still out there taking damage for her chickenshit boss who tweets instead of talking because the press will eat his lunch in a conference.

We’re about to revisit for the umpteenth million time the day that Donald Trump made fun of  journalist Serge Kovaleski’s arthrogryposis because he called bullshit on Donald Trump’s claims that Muslims were dancing on their rooftops when the Towers got hit. Meryl Streep, after accepting a Golden Globe yesterday, lit into Trump, highlighting this slug-low attack. Trump of course, hid behind his Twitter and called Streep overrated(the projection level here staggers the mind), etc.- and denied, as he has done in the past, that he was making fun of the reporter’s impediments.

Here’s Serge Kovaleski:

serge

 

Here’s Donald Trump talking about Serge Kovaleski:

 

Let’s stop the video and show a side by side:

serge2

Now, people are out there helping Donald deny that he is a piece of rancid garbage, by showing cuts of Trump making fun of non-disabled people in a similar manner. It’s not quite the same, but you can go look for yourself. It seems clear to me that in the case of Kovaleski he was imitating him physically and using speech affectations of the disabled as well, or more specifically whatever Trump thinks mentally challenged people sound like. He is, after all, twelve years old.

But anyway, Trump must have sent Kellyanne to do damage control on the air:

CNN “New Day” host Chris Cuomo called out Trump for mocking a disabled New York Times reporter during a 2015 rally. But Conway insisted that’s not what he was doing.

“That is not what he did and he has said that 1,000 times,” she said Monday morning. “Why can’t you give him the benefit of the doubt?”

Cuomo shot back, “He can say it a million times but look at the video… he’s making a disgusting gesture on video.”

Had Barack Obama, in some alternate universe, done this to someone he would have said he was sorry about the gestures if it looked for a second like that’s what he was doing. But Trump doesn’t do apology. Instead, we get this from Conway:

“Why is everything taken at face value?” she asked. “You can’t give him the benefit of the doubt on this and he’s telling you what was in his heart, you always want to go with what’s come out of his mouth rather than look at what’s in his heart.”

I really don’t know what to do with this. Maybe repeating the part that hurts will help.

 you always want to go with what’s come out of his mouth rather than look at what’s in his heart

Pure. Fucking. Desperation. She has no recourse to “Well, Clinton did this” and now she’s reached the end of her rope trying to explain away her employer’s incurable foot in mouth disease. She wants us to not listen to what Donald Trump says anymore, because it means nothing-nothing compared to the man’s hidden speech… that speaks of nothing but love and poetry and compassion. The real Donald Trump, not @realdonaldtrump.

She overheated like a dry car radiator and I’m surprised the interviewer didn’t chuckle.

Kellyanne Conway, you are a twit and a liar and a shameless, witless shill and you are going to hell for trying to humanize this dickhead whose coattails you rode to what I hope for your sake is a fat payday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fly, Blackburn, Fly

Marsha-Marsha-Marsha Blackburn, representative of Tennessee, is a favorite here at the seminary. We love and simultaneously revile her for being one of the stupidest fucking congresspeople in the capitol. She’s puzzled a number of talking heads with her slightly retarded homespun conservatism, and this week her victim was CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, who ought to know what Blackburn is all about from being a Fox fox back in the O.G. days of that channel. Since we are now living in the novel 1984, Blackburn thinks that getting rid of the extra House oversight Democrats put in place 7 years ago will…wait for it…eh, I’ll let Marsha take it away:

“Any time you can provide more accountability and more transparency to any process that is in place, then you’re going to take another step toward draining the swamp,” Blackburn said, echoing a campaign promise by Donald Trump. “I am all for draining the swamp. I think that anyone who knows me knows that I’ve spent much of my career on reducing the size, the scope and the cost of the federal government, and in its place putting transparency and accountability.”

Got that?

Less oversight=more accountability.

Don’t think about it too much. This is Marsha Blackburn we are talking about.

But it was poor Camerota who needed to soldier on, and parried with a good rejoinder:

CNN’s Alisyn Camerota said, if she’s worried about transparency, that Blackburn should understand why Democrats were concerned that the measure was passed without their input during a nighttime, closed-door meeting.

Blackburn didn’t blink:

“Most people would say 5 o’clock in the afternoon is not at night,” Blackburn said, shrugging. “We could discuss that. It does start getting dark outside.”

It’s after business hours, dipshit. But semantics is often all these morons are good for. So anyway, she finishes with her own awkward false equivalence, the standard go-to when Republicans are cornered:

Blackburn suggested congressional Democrats were hypocrites for holding a private strategy session with President Barack Obama.

“The Democrats have their meeting behind closed doors also, and on Wednesday, when the president comes to talk to them about how to fight against the repeal of Obamacare, they’re going to do that one behind closed doors,” Blackburn said, punctuating her attack with a wink.

What fucking adult WINKS in the middle of a serious conversation? Sarah Palin and Marsha Blackburn do, I guess. But that’s beside the point. A secret vote was held without Democrats about disbanding oversight mechanisms. That is not the same as discussing strategies to resist the destruction of Obamacare. Rules changes are fucking important-and shutting out the minority party from voting is real cloak and dagger bullshit.

Fortunately, they will not be getting away with it. Good old people power and a bizarre rebuke from The Don saved the day. My hope for this country’s future is stronger knowing that even House Republicans can feel shame.

Here’s a link to the clip, so you can watch Camerota’s pain trying to get a handle on a very slippery politician. I haven’t figured out how to embed Twitter video, sorry.

No School Like Homeschool

I could have been homeschooled, if it were legal in my childhood. My mother was very protective of me and if I didn’t feel comfortable with the public schooling I got, she made a stink until I was exempt from the curriculum. And so it was that I missed 6th grade sex education, and got out of reading “Rabbit, Run” in 9th. My little fragile eggshell mind couldn’t deal with the topic of sex and sensuality. I was afraid of it, and my mother allowed me to fear it, because her Christianity taught that it was fornication outside of marriage. When I became born again myself, I felt that too. And even when I left the church and faith behind, the problems I had with sex and the sex act remained.

I didn’t fuck my first girlfriend at all and we went out for 3 years.

I’m still having sexual issues today.

There may be no continuum that links these happenings. Yet, I feel that I was grossly unprepared to be a sexual being and do attribute some of my problems today with the ones I had.

Alright. That’s enough of the personal. I’m going to talk a little about the twin phenomena of homeschooling and Christianity.

Teaching is a tough job. That’s why it should be done by teachers. But zealous Christian parents are afraid that their children will learn about sex and evolution. So they are somehow allowed to teach at home without biology and other sciences being properly presented. Add copious doses of biblical teaching, and voila, you have an uncurious, neurotic youngster who’s ill-prepared to meet the world as it really exists. And I guess that is the point, since for Christians there is much concern about “the world” and how full of evil and temptation it is.

I’m sorry, but I don’t think you should be teaching if you refer to the Bible as the authority on everything. You are going to fuck your kid up and make them believe stupid things instead of know smart things, smart things that public schools could have introduced them to.

Moving right along, let’s talk about math. Math is critical to understanding how the universe works. I am very bad at math, and so I am limited in my understanding of the damn thing. There seems to be a sort of precision to the way things are ordered. Superclusters of galaxies are distributed evenly throughout the universe. Nothing travels faster than light, which always travels at the same speed. General relativity explains the relation of gravity, mass and energy. Why, if you look at the world around you, some things are arranged by a recurring fractal pattern.

Small wonder that St. Paul thought everything was arranged perfectly, and proved to him the existence of a being, a designer who made that perfection for us. But that vision breaks down even at observable levels-climate is changing because the earth is getting hotter, storms are more destructive than ever.Volcanoes and earthquakes and floods and droughts and wars kill millions. In the theoretical world, our math is beginning to hit barriers as physicists try to grapple with quantum mechanics and strange unseen matter that has to be there because the numbers say so. Nothing is chock full of something. It’s all up in the air-it is a bewildering time to be a scientist, and yet so exciting too. But the bottom line is, the more we know, the less we understand and that is the current cycle of science. That’s a feature, not a bug.

But if you want to be an ignoramus, just claim that Jesus created math. That is not only an affront to history, it’s based on the mistaken idea that it is perfect as only a creator could be. So anyway, this dildock  who homeschools is postulating exactly that. He spins a parable:

Good morning class! It’s time for us to study mathematics.” The second-grade students all open their textbooks and pick up their pencils. “Let’s review first. Who can answer this question? What is 2 + 4?”

Seven-year-old Johnny raises his hand and offers an answer. “Six?”

“Very good, Johnny!” responds his government school teacher. “That’s correct.”

Fully expecting to go on to the next question, the teacher looks back at her teacher’s manual. Her thoughts are interrupted by a raised hand out of the corner of her eye. It is Johnny. He is such a precocious and inquisitive young man.

But his question catches her off guard.

“Why?”

“Why what, Johnny?”

“Why does 2+4 = 6? Does it always equal six?”

“Of course it does, Johnny. Why do you ask?”

“Well, can it ever be something different? Like, seven on Monday, and eleven on Christmas, and thirty-nine on my birthday?”

“No, of course not.”

“Why not?”

At this point, the teacher, who was not homeschooled, would have chosen something countable in the room, and proceeded to put 4 in one pile and 2 in another. She could then combine the piles and count the total. Unless Johnny wants to argue the identity of numbers themselves, he would have shut the fuck up. But that’s not the way our homeschooler looked at this supposedly intractable problem of how to explain to Johnny how math works. He thinks the teacher is in a real bind:

With this question, the teacher has just found herself in a tight spot. Like it or not, she is facing a question that, by state law, she is not permitted to answer honestly. She quickly thinks through her list of options.

Finally, she decides to answer according to the metanarrative (the big overstory) of the government school system. What most teachers spread out over 10,800 hours of K–12 instruction, she decides to truncate into one short soliloquy.

Then he has this theoretical teacher recite the “government(???)” history of the universe to get Johnny to understand. And it’s all for no reason at all, the teacher says. Sorry, Johnny. It’s all accidental.

This is considered a sad way to go through life by Christians. They’re always existentially worried that their lives have no meaning and so they’ve invented a benevolent creator who loves them and their ultimate goal is to love him back. I’m not going to bore you with why that is pathetic and wrongheaded, because fellow atheists already know.

But anyway, our homeschooler pivots away from the why of math. He wants to know the who:

If you were to ask a teacher who is committed to the official narrative of government education, “Who is the author of mathematics?”, they would respond that it was evolution, or time plus matter plus chance.

Um, no, I don’t think they would say that at all. They would point you in the direction of the ancient Egyptians and Pythagoras, or tell you to Wikipedia it like I did and fuck off. Christians think they know the nonbeliever(or the government educated) mind so well. But they’re only projecting their anxieties on you. They need people to feel as bad as they do about things, otherwise the purposeless life they thought they escaped creeps back in again.

But anyway, 2+4=6 because….

Jesus is the Author of Math

And the evidence for this? Scripture!

[He] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (Colossians 1:15–17)

That’s all. That mystical gobbledygook is all he needs for proof. QED. No need for pesky science because this holy book has it covered. The miniscule scraps of some letters to a church from a bedazzled monk are far more reliable than anything man has ever postulated. Fuck me running. Who’s crazier, the guy who discovered virtual particles or this homsechool Jesus freak who thinks the government is trying to indoctrinate your kids into…learning? To be honest, it’s getting harder to tell but just because it’s a wiggly world, it doesn’t mean I’m going to lose my mind over it.

I need music. Here.

 

%d bloggers like this: