All posts by Alvin Plummer

About Alvin Plummer

I'm working to build a better world, a world that blesses Christ and is blessed by Him. I hope that you're doing the same!

Politicized Science

Since we’re here anyway, some thoughts from me (O’Leary for News):

The SciAm crew are now spending the moral capital built up over 175 years lavishly.

In an odd way, ID might benefit.

Once they identify with a political party, not only do they become bound to its fortunes, but their pronouncements must be sifted in relation to the interests of that party and its supporters.

How does that pan out? It’s one thing to put up with the dramatic contradictory pronouncements and diktats around COVID-19 if we assume that the authors are non-partisans who are simply at sea themselves. But what if they must be seen as partisans and everything must be sifted by who benefits from the contradictory uproars?

When I explain to people why ID is a reasonable idea despite SciAm trashing it, I am greatly assisted by the fact that its editors are now, among other things, formal political partisans. I have no idea how much of what they say is motivated by that fact, nor does anyone else – and they may not know themselves. So, I will say, let us just look at the evidence for ourselves and not be put off by claims that they represent some sort of pure “science.” They’re now making clear that things aren’t that simple.

There were many crises in the previous 175 years. Some of us remember the Cold War. SciAm kept its trap shut in order to save a certain public perception of science. One that protected Darwinism, for sure. Now maybe, not so much. We shall see.

See also: Scientific American breaks with 175-year tradition, endorses Joe Biden for US President. They can break with tradition in this way if they want, of course. But then they will no longer be able to say that their science is not tainted with (drenched in?) politics. Which is why, no matter what the crisis, no one did it in the past. The outcome, no matter who wins the U.S. election, will be reduced public trust in science. Scientific American could well find itself down there with “media” generally, in terms of public trust.

Rob Sheldon on Scientific American’s foray into politics, backing Joe Biden from Uncommon Descent

…and…

New editor H. Holden Thorp told Wired in an interview on why he has “had it” with Donald Trump:

[Wired:] But one of the arguments those Fox News people, as you say, will make is that when scientists voice political opinions, they call into question the motivations behind the research they’re touting. Do you worry that becoming so outspoken makes you even more vulnerable to that criticism? Now you’re just in the political fray, right?

[Thorp:] No. I believe we’ve been overly deferential to the idea that we should stay out of it. Look at what that’s gotten us. It’s gotten us climate denial. It’s gotten us creationism. It’s gotten us prohibited from doing stem cell research. These are all costs of scientists saying, “Oh, we’re just going to sit over here in our white coats and let people conclude what they want to.” You know, there is no apolitical science. Science is done by human beings in political environments funded by the federal government. The notion of apolitical science has never been real to begin with.

Adam Rogers, “America’s Top Science Journal Has Had It With Trump” at Wired

Okay, he said it: “there is no apolitical science.” We are not now dealing in the world of accusations but of admissions. He is admitting that opposition to “creationism,” however they define it is political. Fine. We all knew that but we did not have it in writing before. Getting things put in writing is a genuine help.

He makes clear in the rest of the interview that he hopes to find Big Media partners to spread his message: “Ben Shapiro’s getting 50 million people to look at his Facebook posts. We don’t have the kind of reach into the public consciousness on our own. So we’re going to have to partner.”

Hmmm. A bigger foghorn comes at a price. Ben Shapiro isn’t a scientist. Pretty soon many of these people won’t sound like scientists either. It’s easier to lose a reputation than gain one.

Science Magazine gets pitched headlong into the political mud wrestle, along with Scientific American from Uncommon Descent

No doubt, these magazines think that their unspent capital will secure the field for the Progressives.

Tie yourself with a party, and you sink or swim with the party… and not with the power of your cause. “People who are in the party’s hip pocket exist only to pay the bills and to be sat on.”

Christians should know this already.

Now, it’s time for the Darwinians to discover this, now that they don’t set the agenda – and are long past the era of the Victorian Vicars who did so much for science as a discipline – but are just another player in the mud, fighting for more government funding.

“Sit, boy! Kneel, boy!”

“Now, roll over…”

“That’s a good boy!”

“Here’s your treat.”

Treasonous Priests, Contemptible Bureaucrats

And Jehoash said to the priests, All the money of the dedicated things that is brought into the house of the LORD, even the money of every one that passeth the account, the money that every man is set at, and all the money that cometh into any man’s heart to bring into the house of the LORD, Let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance: and let them repair the breaches of the house, wheresoever any breach shall be found. But it was so, that in the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house (II Kings 12:46).

Gary North, Disobedience and Defeat, page 170

For 23 years, the priests of the Kingdom of Judah collected money to repair the temple… and for 23 years, nothing was done. “No tellin’ were the money went!”

God’s money, by the way.

The king had threatened no sanctions against the priests. This was not coercion. He waited 23 years (v. 6) before again suggesting strongly that the priests repair the temple. The priests were in effect stealing from God and also the people. Then the king gave money to get the work done (II Kings 12:11). This also was not coercion. Judah was not a state-run theocracy.

King Solomon, a very smart and well-read man, broke God’s direct commands regarding kings:

  • no multiple wives (Solomon had 700),
  • no chariots or horses (Solomon had a business making chariots, the tanks of the ancient world),
  • no heaps of gold (Solomon couldn’t get enough of it.)

And here, under a (fairly) righteous king, the priests demonstrated that they were far more interested in comfortable lifestyles than actually tending the House of God.

The decline into sin began with the priesthood. These men for years used money brought to the temple by the people to fund projects other than the repair of God’s house. The king recognized that this was wrong. It placed the nation in jeopardy. God might bring negative sanctions against Judah. So, he ordered the priests to repair God’s house. It had taken years for the king to recognize what was going on. This is indicative of how every bureaucracy works. If there are no negative sanctions threatening them, bureaucrats will continue to pursue their own agenda at the expense of the public.

“Oh, but we are the scientific, evidence-based medical bureaucracy! There’s no way we would abuse our power, or hype up a particularly tough flu, in order to gain power for ourselves and boss people around for as long as the meek and compliant public will let us!”

The white-smock priesthood are no different than the military or the corporations or the banks or the Cultural Progressives: they merely happen to have found a novel way to get those nice, fat budgets and extra powers they dream of.

The novelty will wear off, soon enough. But not the additional power or budgets, if they have their way.

At least, not until the Great Default.

This passage does not tell us what the priests did with the money they held back from temple repairs. They deferred maintenance until the deterioration was visible to the king. They short-changed God. Then God short-changed them. He did so by bringing the Syrians against them. He allowed the king to strip the temple of its gold and silver. God cared about ethics more than gold and silver. He cared more about imposing negative sanctions on rebellious servants than he did about the adornment of His temple.

People pursue their own interests when they are granted monopolistic authority to pursue the public’s interest. Beginning in the 1960s, a group of economists called public choice economists began to develop theories of how government employees work. People work for agencies that were set up to protect the public interest. The members nevertheless pursue their own economic self-interest, just as individuals do in non-governmental agencies. By assuming that employees pursue their own interests at the expense of the public’s interest, in whose name they act, economists make better predictions about how government agencies operate than if they assume that the employees pursue the public’s interest.

Victorian Vicars and Scientific American

I was a devoted SciAm fan growing up. I collected other people’s old copies and had a collection going back to the 60’s. Then SciAm was bought out by some big publishing firm. And my favorite column, the Amateur Scientist by Forrest M. Mims III , was cancelled because Mims was a Christian. I think it was his uncle that taught me physics in high school. Given the dedication in his book, I think Jonathan Bartlett knows the story best, but for me, the magazine was forever corrupted.

Just like Bret Weinstein at Evergreen State, the game is up when Christians get cancelled, because we’ve set a precedent. It is worse than that, because I exaggerate only a little to say that science itself was an invention of Victorian vicars, so sawing off the branch you are sitting on has very predictable consequences.

Rob Sheldon on Scientific American’s foray into politics, backing Joe Biden from Uncommon Descent

Sacrilege!

“While the word sacrilege has been left out of the modern vocabulary, the idea still remains, in a statist version. The more humanistic the modern state, the more clearly it presents itself as man’s lord and savior, and the more serious it regards any crime against itself. Crimes against God are no longer seen as crimes by most modern states; crimes against person’s have almost ceased to be capital offenses, although God’s Word requires capital punishment; crimes against the state, however, have become progressively more important in the eyes of the law and often require death.”R.J. Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law, p. 41.

This explains why modern church-goers and “conservatives” can justify thousands of brutal murders, rapes, robberies committed by cops, but make even the slightest offense against police deserving of immediate execution on the street, without a trial. Because they have become practical pagans, the state is their real god, and therefore only crimes against government agents are real crimes. Crimes committed by the state are not considered crimes. It’s a religious devotion to the state as God that defines both American evangelicalism and so-called “conservatism.”

Bojidar Marinov

Driven by fear on the one hand, and an utter refusal to accept their own responsibility on the other, Conservative Americans invite their rulers to keep “them people” down.

And by oppressing them, conservatives lay the groundwork for their own oppression. Just as Samuel warned in I Samuel 8, their religion is not rooted in righteousness nor justice, but might and power.

Sacrilege, indeed! Stealing the fear that God deserves, and giving it to the Authorities, be they politicians, the military, the police, or someone else with a badge and a gun.

God demands an end to this sacrilege, and end it will. Whether the Conservatives openly abandon Christ, or there is a crippling punishment for their idolatry.

Wolves, Dogs and Sheep

(Repost from my other blog.)

Quora: Did spiked collars have a work-related purpose for dogs?

Sean Kernan, Son of Quora

It was to help them when they needed to fight wolves.

Larger dogs would often be raised with packs of sheep and other livestock, effectively making them think they were part of that pack.

Dogs were fantastic at protecting this group because they barked, alerting everyone to the presence of predators.

But they’d also stand their ground and fight. The spiked collars would help when wolves would go for their neck.

The blood on that dog is not the dogs blood.

It’s hard, to

  • know your own weak point
  • discover what can protect it
  • create and use the protection

Outside help is usually needed for all three points.

Without outside help, successfully challenging a pack of wolves becomes impossible. But with another set of friendly eyes and skilled hands, something can be arranged. Courage is still needed to fight, but it is the the added support that is the deciding factor.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Christian Leadership Brings an End to Terror

From Americas Quarterly, Rio’s Beaches Are Proof: Bolsonaro Is Winning the Narrative on COVID-19 by Thomas Traumann

RJ – CLIMA/RIO/PRAIA – CIDADES – Banhistas lotam a Praia de Ipanema, na zona sul da cidade do Rio de Janeiro, neste domingo. O decreto municipal liberou os ambulantes e o banho de mar — mas n„o a permanÍncia na areia. Mesmo assim muitos banhistas ignoraram a determinaÁ„o das autoridades e ocuparam as faixas de areia nas praias da cidade. 30/08/2020 – Foto: WILTON JUNIOR/ESTAD√O CONTE⁄DO

(Brazilian beaches, August 2020
“Sunbathers swarmed Rio de Janeiro’s Ipanema beach on Aug. 30.”)

RIO DE JANEIRO – It was a perfect Sunday in Rio de Janeiro: sunny and hot, with temperatures above 95 F. On Ipanema Beach, you couldn’t walk straight without bumping into volleyball players, or children building sandcastles. Hardly anyone was wearing a mask, or much of anything at all. It almost felt as if the pandemic was over.

It’s not, of course – far from it. Brazil’s national daily death rate has averaged over 900 people in the past seven days, down only slightly from the more than 1,000 a day average since June. More than 120,000 have perished since the outbreak began, a catastrophe second only to the United States. But elsewhere, too, you see signs that many Brazilians have moved on – psychologically, and in their actions. In bars, family WhatsApp groups and on the radio, discussions have shifted from quarantine habits and hand sanitizers back to soccer matches, which resumed in June. In the Aterro do Flamengo Park, across the street from my apartment, joggers are back to their usual numbers – and in contrast with two months ago, hardly anyone now wears a mask.  

Even Jornal Nacional, the venerable nightly newscast seen by some 30 million Brazilians, which covered COVID-19 with great intensity during the initial months of the pandemic, has shifted its focus. On Aug. 4, for the first time in 164 days, the program did not mention the virus among its initial headlines. Since then, much of the coverage has shifted to a possible vaccine – as well as the latest corruption scheme involving Brazilian politicians. 

How to explain this shift in the national conversation? And in Brazilians’ everyday behavior? 

In two words: Jair Bolsonaro.

Secular Sweden remains the world champ in ditching the media mania of the Evil, Dangerous Coronavirus, which kills fewer people per capita than car accidents, and is only a bit more dangerous than a nasty flu.

But it’s good to see a Christian believer also walk away. A bit of “me too”, I admit, but Brazil is bigger than Sweden, liberty is liberty, and the ability to work and eat is not to be sneezed at.

His citizens should thank him for not being a frightened and easily intimidated child, bur rather a man who can count the cost, avoid unnecessary losses, and make his own decisions.

Regardless of the will of the White Smock Priesthood (see: the Imperial College) or the media noise machine.

Hiding Low Infection Rates

From ZeroHedge:


Nashville Officials Concealed Low COVID-19 Numbers Coming From Bars And Restaurants: Leaked Emails

Leaked emails between the senior adviser to Nashville’s Mayor and a health department official reveal a disturbing effort to conceal extremely low coronavirus cases emanating from bars and restaurants, while the lion’s share of infections occurred in nursing homes and construction workers, according to WZTV Nashville.

On June 30th, contact tracing was giving a small view of coronavirus clusters. Construction and nursing homes causing problems more than a thousand cases traced to each category, but bars and restaurants reported just 22 cases.

Leslie Waller from the health department asks “This isn’t going to be publicly released, right? Just info for Mayor’s Office?

Correct, not for public consumption.” Writes senior advisor Benjamin Eagles. –WZTV

Four weeks later, Tennessean reporter Nate Rau asked the health department: “the figure you gave of “more than 80” does lead to a natural question: If there have been over 20,000 positive cases of COVID-19 in Davidson and only 80 or so are traced to restaurants and bars, doesn’t that mean restaurants and bars aren’t a very big problem?

To which health department official Brian Todd scrambled for an answer – asking five health department officials: “Please advise how you respond. BT.”

The response – from an official whose name was omitted from the leaked email: “My two cents. We have certainly refused to give counts per bar because those numbers are low per site,” adding “We could still release the total though, and then a response to the over 80 could be “because that number is increasing all the time and we don’t want to say a specific number.””

According to a metro staff attorney asked by city councilmember Steve Glover to verify the authenticity of the emails, “I was able to get verification from the Mayor’s Office and the Department of Health that these emails are real.”

Glover told WZTV: “They are fabricating information. They’ve blown there entire credibility Dennis. Its gone i don’t trust a thing they say going forward …nothing.”

Glover says he has been contacted by an endless stream of downtown bartenders, waitresses, and restaurant owners. Why would they not release these numbers?

We raised taxes 34 percent and put hundreds literally thousands of people out of work that are now worried about losing their homes their apartments etcetera and we did it on bogus data. That should be illegal!” he says.

Again, we weren’t told by the mayor’s office this wasn’t true. We were told to file a freedom of information act request. –WZTV


Sure the Beast — as a true son of our old Enemy, the Dragon — is comfortable with lying if it gathers more power in Trustworthy Hands.

But it’s safer to lie by omission, rather than by commission. To mysteriously not mention certain unfortunate truths, in order to keep the money and the power, and keep the population terrorized, fearful, and dependent on the Leadership.

Rocks Don’t Care if They Break

From Uncommon Descent’s Why do cells care if they break when rocks don’t?

—<Quote begins>—

A look at the intricacies of cell proofreading and repair reveals a stark fact:

Rocks don’t care if they break. The very concepts of proofreading and repair imply accuracy for a purpose. In cells, complex multi-part machines find errors and fix them. Is this not evidence of intentionality and programming? As these new research papers show, the machines involved show exquisite craftsmanship and efficient action to keep other parts — machines outside their own structural needs — humming along.

How can they do that? How do they know? They bear an uncanny resemblance to surgeons or linemen that are trained as first responders to potentially catastrophic situations, and yet they work robotically in the dark without eyes or brains. Such things do not just appear by blind material processes. Proofreading and repair systems had to be operational from the beginning of life, because considering the lethal consequences without them, it’s hard to conceive of any primitive organism surviving, let alone progressing up an evolutionary ladder. Now, behold in wonder what is going on in our cells. Evolution News,

In Cells, Proofreading and Repair Testify to Intelligent Design and Foresight” at Evolution News and Science Today

How does life come to want to keep on existing—whether it succeeds or not? If a drive to survive is “programmed” into life, how did that come to be? Most of nature has no such drive.

—<Quote ends>—

But of course, only superstitious, mystically-driven Christian morons would ask those kind of questions.

I’m with those guys, who ask the kind of questions the Consensus has ruled out of order. What else can I say?

I’m interested in the Power of the Truth.

And not the Power of the Consensus.

The Leaders Cries Out, “More Lockdowns!”

Whether through fear manufactured by the news media, or through outright threats of punishment, business owners shuttered their shops and offices, churches closed down, and schools abandoned their students.

Over time, most governments lessened their restrictions, largely out of fear that tax revenues would collapse and out of fear that the public would become unwilling to obey lockdown edicts indefinitely.

Those fears—not scientific objectivity—have been guiding the gradual loosening of lockdowns and lockdown-related restrictions in recent weeks. After all, in many jurisidictions—both in the USA and in Europe—cases and case growth are far above what they were back in March and April when we were told that high case totals absolutely required strict lockdowns. If case numbers are higher now than during the previous peak, why no new lockdowns?

Make no mistake, many politicians would love to impose lockdowns again, and indefinitely. After all, the power to micromanage the behavior of every business and household in the manner of Covid lockdowns is a power undreamed up by even the most despotic emperor of old. It’s not a power a regime would abandon lightly.

[…]

As Robert Higgs has shown in his book Crisis and Leviathan, using wars and other crises to permanently expand state power is just standard operating procedure for countless regimes. It’s what governments do.

Governments Are Limited Only by the Public’s Resistance

On the other hand, governments are limited by how much the public is willing to tolerate. As Étienne de La Boétie has shown, all regimes—even authoritarian ones—are ultimately limited by public approval and obedience. Without public opinion on its side, regimes become constrained, even in a police state.

Ludwig von Mises built on this notion when he noted in his book Liberalism:

“there has never been a political power that voluntarily desisted from impeding the free development and operation of the institution of private ownership of the means of production. Governments tolerate private property when they are compelled to do so, but they do not acknowledge it voluntarily in recognition of its necessity. Even liberal politicians, on gaining power, have usually relegated their liberal principles more or less to the background. The tendency to impose oppressive restraints on private property, to abuse political power, and to refuse to respect or recognize any free sphere outside or beyond the dominion of the state is too deeply ingrained in the mentality of those who control the governmental apparatus of compulsion and coercion for them ever to be able to resist it voluntarily. A liberal government is a contradictio in adjecto. Governments must be forced into adopting liberalism by the power of the unanimous opinion of the people; that they could voluntarily become liberal is not to be expected.”

In other words, governments don’t refrain from exercising ever more power unless they are prevented from doing so. But what did he mean by a government being “forced into adopting liberalism by the power of the unanimous opinion of the people”? Mises was very much a man who understood how states work in the real world. So it’s a safe bet he didn’t think that the public’s “unanimous opinion” was somehow magically transformed into a government limiting itself.

Rather, Mises understood that governments are limited by pressures applied from groups external to the state apparatus itself. These could take the form of widespread noncompliance, peaceful protests, or even armed resistance. But to think that governments will limit themselves without at least the fear of some form of resistance would be fanciful, to say the least.

And this is likely what is limiting governments in their dreams of ever-harsher lockdowns right now. We’ve already seen this dynamic in action in Serbia, for example, where the regime attempted to reimpose a nationwide lockdown. This proposal was greeted with both peaceful and violent protests. The state partially retreated and opted instead for much weaker regional lockdowns. Protests also continue to grow in Germany, and protests have even cropped up in London.

Governments Will Impose New Lockdowns If they Think they Can Get Away with It by Ryan McMaken

The Right Sort would prefer to have you enslaved, forever.

Make sure it doesn’t happen.

Abusing the Weak… and the Wrath of Their Protector

If you are voting for the same Donald Trump who hosted “beauty pageants” with almost naked 14-year-olds . . . . . . you have no business condemning Netflix.You are part of the problem. And accomplice in the very crime you condemn.So quit your sanctimonious posturing, please.

Bojidar Marinov

It would be infinitely better, if the energy Christians spend supporting Donald Trump was instead spent in ending sex trafficking of women and minors in their own towns, counties and neighbourhoods.

As I listen to Human Trafficking: Advancing Justice through Regeneration and Reconstruction – some ugly stuff here, but it must be faced and defeated – I am saddened by the complicity of not only pastors and churchmen in one of America’s most Conservative-Christian regions, but also police, FBI, and CIA corruption – even Child Protection Services are getting in on the “profitable business”!

God’s wrath builds.

Who shall repent?

Who shall escape?

I just read that the LA Sheriff wanted celebrities to donate money to catch the killer of those cops. I say that cops have stolen enough money from Americans: $6-8 billion in asset forfeiture for last year only. They can use that money. Thieves don’t deserve donations.

Bojidar Marinov

Small evils like theft grow into big evils like massive, sustained, legalized theft.

And then branches out to even more sick evils.

And the wrath of God just builds.

And increasingly breaks out, against liberals and conservatives alike, progressives and reactionaries.

And there is no repentance.

And even more Divine wrath and punishment builds, to break upon – perhaps to break open! – our heads.

We need to repent, and renounce our evil, while there is still time.