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On line porn blamed for sex addiction

So says the infallible Daily Mail.

The easy supply of porn is feeding a sex addiction in some people.

I have another idea. What if the easy supply of food is feeding a food addiction? What if the easy supply of breathable air on this planet is feeding an oxygen addiction?

What if we just labelled every natural desire to be an “addiction”?

At any given time, some people would rather wank than work or study. If they get their work or studying done, what  business is it of anyone that they masturbate rather than go running? or shopping?

More important, why is every pleasurable impulse of man and woman treated as an addiction? This is just Calvinism dressed up in psychobabble.

We have not yet defeated spiritual Calvinism, and its parallel spiritual impulse, Islam. The struggle against the superego is a struggle unto death. The struggle against the ideologies of anti-pleasure is never-ending. Talk of “addiction” is just secularized Calvinism at work.

John_Calvin_by_Holbein

 

Calvinism is a theological system of Christian interpretation initiated by John Calvin. It emphasizes predestination and salvation. The five points of Calvinism were developed in response to the Arminian position (See Arminianism). Calvinism teaches: 1) Total depravity: that man is touched by sin in all parts of his being: body, soul, mind, and emotions; 2) Unconditional Election: that God’s favor to Man is completely by God’s free choice and has nothing to do with Man. It is completely undeserved by Man and is not based on anything God sees in man (Eph. 1:1-11); 3) Limited atonement: that Christ did not bear the sins of every individual who ever lived but instead only bore the sins of those who were elected into salvation (John 10:11, 15); 4) Irresistible grace: that God’s call to someone for salvation cannot be resisted; 5) Perseverance of the saints: that it is not possible to lose one’s salvation (John 10:27-28).

 

Decadence 2

An interesting article in Spiked! by Frank Furedi, called “Teaching Consent, Teaching Intimacy” is valid and worth reading on how colleges are screwing up the idea of consent to make males look like rapists. I commend it for that alone.

But down in the weeds of commentary is this gem from a JDsHandsome Son:

When a species becomes sick, lame, lazy, stupid and just too anemic to carry on, Mother Nature sends in a predator to take it out. She does this for the benefit of all the other species who might be better able to use Her valuable resources.

Western civilization has become such a collection of weak, inbred hemophiliacs, bubble boys, and snowflakes that Mother Nature is fed up with it. Her predator of choice is Islam and its legions of rabid murderous hordes taking over Europe and eventually America, both of which have shown their weariness of life and liberty. She also is staging Russia and China to provide some assistance if necessary.

Europe is being colonized with military aged men streaming across the continent and who will soon be slaughtering its fragile native born eunuchs, geldings and neurotic females too pathetic to any longer even manage their intimate lives without being told by others how to act. As soon as the invaders are settled in government provided housing and the benefits checks start to roll in to their accounts, they will begin to protest their treatment. After that, they’ll start thinning out the European herd by murdering their hosts.

We in America can only hope enough brain dead citizens here can wake up and overthrow the progressive stupidity, such as this ridiculous “consent” nonsense, that has seized this once proud nation. Perhaps more images of UK citizens beheaded on London streets in broad daylight as other citizens saunter around the bodies like farm animals sniffing the carcasses before being nudged to their slop buckets will open those sleepy eyes.

Eat meat, ape! (if you want to grow a big brain)

It is always a happy occasion when the newspapers report something both true and, by reason of its truth, annoying to progressives. Thus the article in the Washington Post about the benefits of eating meat for man’s evolution.

 

EARLY-man-using-fire

The brain absorbs 20% of our food energy. To feed the brain you have find an efficient way to harvest energy. A gorilla chews leaves for 12 hours a day, and to gain the extra calories to feed a brain our size he would have to chew for another 2 hours a day (study shows). Accordingly, the path to getting out of the jungle and reaching all parts of the globe is to start eating meat. Otherwise we would be stuck chewing leaves for 14 hours a day in isolated pockets of African forest.

Which is obviously what happened. During the last ice age, which only ended about 11,000 years ago (9,000 if you live in Canada, and it still is not over in Greenland) the African continent dessicated, opening up savanna grasslands and forcing forests into retreat. Some apes got down out of the trees and ventured into open, dangerous country.

Since our evolutionary path has travelled through hunting in groups and fire making, it can be safely observed that we made it through the evolution-forcing changes. When did we actually begin to cook with fire? Opinion is divided.

But the researchers could not determine when daily cooking began. Was it about 250,000 years ago, when humans were nearly fully evolved with big brains, which is supported by archaeological findings? Or was it about 800,000 years ago, when prehumans began their most dramatic brain-growth spurt, an era for which there is little archaeological evidence of controlled fires for cooking?

 

Cooking food has been integral to extracting more food value out of roots and tubers, and in shortening our guts, since cooking both alters the food we eat for the better, and allows more speedy digestion as cooking is, in effect, a form of digestion exterior to the body.

A book called Catching Fire, by the British primatologist Richard Wrangham, makes this point. Wrangham’s book is modest, slim, factual and utterly persuasive.

So, what have we learned today?

1) eating meat helped mankind evolve big brains,

2) big brains, meat eating and fire co-evolved

3) eating raw vegetables reduces you to the state of a gorilla.

Don’t eat raw vegetables!

Okay,  maybe conclusion 3 is unwarranted, but why risk it?

 

Lascaux Cave Paintings
Lascaux Cave Paintings

 

 

RIP: The great cholesterol scam (1955 – 2015)

Your doctor still probably believes that cholesterol in the diet translates into cholesterol in the bloodstream, that there is “good” and “bad” cholesterol, and that “bad” cholesterol bears a statistically significant relationship to heart disease. Every one of these propositions is false.

I refer you to an excellent article by Matt Ridley “cholesterol is not bad for you”, who  writes:

 

Cholesterol is not some vile poison but an essential ingredient of life, which makes animal cell membranes flexible and is the raw material for making hormones, like testosterone and oestrogen. Your liver manufactures most of the cholesterol found in your blood from scratch, and adjusts for what you ingest, which is why diet does not determine blood cholesterol levels. Lowering blood cholesterol by changing diet is all but impossible.

Nor is there any good evidence that high blood cholesterol causes atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease or shorter life. It is not even a risk factor in people who have already had heart attacks. In elderly people — ie, those who have the most heart attacks — the lower your blood cholesterol, the greater your risk of death. Likewise in children.

From the very first, the studies that linked the ingestion of cholesterol and saturated animal fats to cardiovascular disease were not just flawed, but tinged with scandal.

It is well worth reading the rest. What I have to say here  reflects upon the course of this great fallacy. The cholesterol scam bears a strong relationship to the anthropogenic global warming scam.

1) it is propagated by scientists on a non-scientific mission.

2) it is believed because it plausibly explains an observation (increasing global temperature [for a time], increasing heart attacks from smoking in the 1950s and 60s). It taps into large anxieties about too much wealth, too much happiness, in western societies. There must be sin somewhere, and the public is ready to flog itself in the cause of a secularized idea of God, uh, I mean Good.

3) the causal relationship is weaker than first supposed; the research is found to be sloppy, the facts have been fudged, subsequent studies do not fully support the original claims, nevertheless the orthodoxy is promulgated all the more harshly for being doubted.

4) by now, powerful economic and ideological interests have taken hold. They supply an ongoing source of funds and opinion to ensure the perpetuation of the alarm: in the case of cholesterol, the margarine industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the medical establishment, and in the case of AGW, the tribe of bureaucrats and leftists who seek to control markets, whose god of Marxism had failed, and who needed a new god (Gaia) to justify their rule.

5) The skeptics who have patiently argued on the basis of facts that the science of each phenomenon was weak, are ostracized by the opinion establishments of medicine and global warming. Cranks, but the cranks are right and the orthodox priests and Levites are wrong.

6) Eventually, after fifty or sixty years, the subject of discussion just changes. In the case of cholesterol, the evidence gets weaker and weaker, and the problems caused by too much sugar consumption (obesity, diabetes), caused in part by people not eating enough fats and meats, reaches a stage where it can no longer be ignored.

7) the retreat of the orthodoxy is covered by a smokescreen of fresh concerns for some other catastrophe. No admissions of error or apologies for wrecked careers and following bad science are ever issued. Time flows on, bringing neither knowledge nor greater understanding of the role of folly in human affairs.

8) stages 6 and 7 have been reached in the cholesterol cycle; they are beginning in the anthropogenic global warming scam. Fifty years from now, there will still be clanking windmills in the North Sea, but whether they will be still linked to a power grid is less likely, and whether anyone will pay attention is doubtful. The lobbies that keep them there, however, will still exist.

 

These long term fashions in intolerant error should cause all people to question the intelligence and wisdom of the human species. I call these schools of thought and action “phologiston”,  after a disproven but thousand-year-old Greek theory of what fire was.

There are two major sources of metaphorical phlogiston in modern society: the climate people and the medical profession.

Phlogiston is the ancient term for a substance that was imputed to exist in all things  that prevented combustion. Phlogiston was necessary in a Greek idea of a universe. Without phlogiston, everything would burn, because it was in the nature of all things to seek to rise from the four sub-lunary elements below (earth, air, fire , water) to the empyrean , the zone beyond fire, outside the orbits of the five planets around the earth. This was the hidden metaphysical postulate, which they never questioned. (All summaries of obsolete world views make them look ridiculous; they were not, they were merely in error).

If all things naturally wanted to burn up, then something must prevent combustion, and this substance was called “phlogiston”. From premise to assumed force. No one questioned the premise for more than a thousand years.

So when Priestly and Lavoisier said that combustion was a process of  oxygenation, and proved it by showing that certain things gained weight when burned, phlogiston lost credibility to a newer, chemical idea of burning.

Note that phlogiston is an idea predicated on a larger world view, and is  introduced to explain the operations of that world view. That things do not normally burn is something that needs explanation in the Greek world view.

Correspondingly, in the modern world view in North America and Europe, the fact that needs explaining – I propose for your consideration –  is “why are we so rich?” and the answer we get out of post-Christian secularized guilt is: “We must have done something wrong.”

The assumption of a secularized guilt is the underlying assumption. Heart attacks are  punishment for overindulgence in highly nutritious food; global warming is punishment for our thoughtless depredations upon Gaia. A future perspective may laugh at the modern human propensity to consider prosperity and health as occasions for guilt, just as we denigrate the Greeks for assuming all things want to burn their way to the empyrean sphere of a geocentric universe.

I tell you folks, the longer I live, the more truth I see in Chesterton’s remark – attributed to him – that when people cease to believe in God, the more likely they are to believe any nonsense that comes their way. Save your beliefs for absurdities like the Christian religion, and keep your mind clear to detect the bullshit constantly propagated in the material world.  It will not lack for targets, I assure you.

 

 

 

The Professor tells us what we (should) like

The Daily Telegraph reports:

Men value intelligence in women far above large breasts and long legs, a Cambridge evolutionary biologist has claimed.

Although having a large bust and never-ending pins are deemed by western culture as the epitome of femininity, when choosing a mother for their children, men look for brains first,

Professor David Bainbridge, of the University of Cambridge said that intelligence is by far the most attractive quality for men looking for a long term partner because it demonstrates that his chosen partner is likely to be a responsible parent.

My theory is that the human brain is the largest sex organ in the body, and good brains means adventurous sex. Intellectual or smart girls make better bed partners. That’s my well-tested theory and I am sticking to it.

 

More seriously, while I agree that good brains indicate good genes, you do not marry only a body, you marry a mind. You will be living with that mind long after the peak period of sex and fertility has passed, if you are so lucky.

Temperament and character matter hugely, more even than beauty, though beauty is its own reward.

While I do not disagree with the evolutionary views of Professor Bainbridge (who could?), I find them incomplete. We mate with the whole woman. As a friend used to say: “It is not how you [women] look, it is how you make us feel’. If more women understood this fact, they would worry less about their looks and more about their manners.

This is a subject on which everyone is qualified to have an opinion.

 

beauty

 

The Non-Human Rights Project

I do not know quite what to think about the Non-Human Riughts Project, which won a significant case in New York recently when two chimpanzees were granted writs of habeas corpus. This follows a case late last year when an orangutan was granted legal rights in Argentina.

The Non-Human Rights Project describes itself as

the only organization working through the common law to achieve actual LEGAL rights for members of species other than our own.
Our mission is to change the common law status of at least some nonhuman animals from mere “things,” which lack the capacity to possess any legal right, to “persons,” who possess such fundamental rights as bodily integrity and bodily liberty, and those other legal rights to which evolving standards of morality, scientific discovery, and human experience entitle them.

 

Of course, the legal rights of animals may only be advanced through courts by humans. Some humans. Specific humans. Humans paid by a fund of money to do this. So then, is this similar to a hypothetical 19th century case where a lawyer advocated the rights of a slave who is obviously human but legally (at the time) deprived of his right to property in his own labour and self?

I can see Catholic theologians advancing well-considered arguments that this is the thin edge of the wedge, in a process of degrading man to the level of animal. Maybe.

But for sure the Non-Human Rights Project has already had influence. Ringling Brothers announced on March 4, 2015 that its elephants will no longer perform in zoos, and that its existing herd will be retired to a preserve in Florida.

I can easily foresee that the Non-Human Rights Project will argue that pipelines aggress upon caribou herds: that the cases will shift from animals in captivity to animals in the wild, and then we will have yet another anti-development interest arguing before the courts that industrialization should be hampered and cease.

 

 

The colonization of Britain

A most surprizing entry today in the Guardian, about the genetic origins of people in the United Kingdom. Surprizing because the great unmentionable in PC circles is genetics, and surprizing – to me – in that the article says that most people in the United Kingdom are of germanic origin.

This finding contradicts those of Bryan Sykes, in his Saxons, Vikings and Celts, who says that most people of Great Britain are, with limited exceptions, “aboriginal”, that is, they have been there since the end of the last ice age (13,000-11,000 years ago), and that scandinavian and germanic  admixtures were relatively rare and confined to the eastern shores.

Take your pick.

 

 

The latest DNA research from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, in Oxford, claims “astonishing results”. According to its author, Peter Donnelly, there was no specific Celtic people before the Romans arrived, or after: only genetic clusters. There was no Anglo-Saxon genocide after the Romans left but a steady westward movement of Germanic peoples, intermarrying with the pre-existing Britons.

The Oxford team has studied the genes of 2,000 Britons who can trace their parentage back to the late 19th century. The results mostly confirm conventional wisdom. The Celtic scholar Barry Cunliffe has long argued that after the last ice age the British Isles were repopulated by waves of migrants returning from warmer climes. With his emphasis on “mobility, connectivity and the sea”, he separates the “west side story”, of Atlantic colonisation, from the “east side story”: of Germanic and other northern Europeans’ migration across the North Sea. We already knew that by the sixth century Frankish-German tribes occupied most of what is now England.

What we do not know is when they came, how they settled and who, if anyone, was there before them. Donnelly claims that his gene map shows a Saxon migration “moving into what is now eastern England from AD450-600 after the collapse of the Roman empire”. It shows 20-40% of the study’s English gene pool to be north European, spread across what is now considered England.
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This migration was apparently so potent that in just a few centuries it eliminated almost all trace of indigenous language and archaeological remains in its newly settled lands. Donnelly’s co-author, the geneticist Sir Walter Bodmer, adds that “Britain hasn’t changed much since 600AD”.

(As long as you ignore recent immigration from former parts of the Empire and a massive influx of Eastern Europeans in the EU).

The original Guardian article from which the Simon Jenkyns article is drawn is found here.

ukgeneticmarkermap

Hold the gene splicing, please

Nicholas Wade, the British-American science writer, reports that scientists do not feel confident enough in their wisdom or skills to engage in permanent modifications of the human genome by means of new genetic technologies. This must be the first time in recent memory that scientists have not claimed triumphant infallibility.

A group of leading biologists on Thursday called for a worldwide moratorium on use of a new genome-editing technique that would alter human DNA in a way that can be inherited.

The biologists fear that the new technique is so effective and easy to use that some physicians may push ahead before its safety can be assessed. They also want the public to understand the ethical issues surrounding the technique, which could be used to cure genetic diseases, but also to enhance qualities like beauty or intelligence. The latter is a path that many ethicists believe should never be taken.

“You could exert control over human heredity with this technique, and that is why we are raising the issue,” said David Baltimore, a former president of the California Institute of Technology and a member of the group whose paper on the topic was published in the journal Science.

The concern arises from improvements in the accuracy of techniques for genomic editing:

The new genome-editing approach was invented by Jennifer A. Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley, and Emmanuelle Charpentier of Umea University in Sweden.

Their method, known by the acronym Crispr-Cas9, co-opts the natural immune system with which bacteria remember the DNA of the viruses that attack them so they are ready the next time those same invaders appear. Researchers can simply prime the defense system with a guide sequence of their choice and it will then destroy the matching DNA sequence in any genome presented to it. Dr. Doudna is the lead author of the Science article calling for control of the technique and organized the meeting at which the statement was developed.

Though highly efficient, the technique occasionally cuts the genome at unintended sites. The issue of how much mistargeting could be tolerated in a clinical setting is one that Dr. Doudna’s group wants to see thoroughly explored before any human genome is edited.

Scientists also say that replacing a defective gene with a normal one may seem entirely harmless but perhaps would not be.

Apart from uncharacteristic outbreak of humility in scientists, the article is also welcome evidence of Nicholas Wade’s return to science writing. He was in trouble with the Thought Police for his most recent book, A Troublesome Inheritance, (the hyperlink is to a review by the New York Times) which exposed the public to what we know for certain about the genetic basis of human races, and for speculations – always dangerous – on what those racial  characteristics might mean. The book itself is a must read for all people who wish to be informed, and may be bought here.

Thus while we might soon expect hangover-free wines, the possibility of stupidity-free humans must, alas, await further developments.

Are people becoming more clever?

A BBC Report shows that people are certainly becoming better at cognitive tests, Average  IQ scores are only prevented from rising by resetting the score, so that the Caucasian score is made to average around 100. In fact the tests are getting harder, and people are doing better at them. This gradual upward creep of IQ results is what I understand the Flynn effect to be. Every generation, people get better at doing the cognitive problems that underlie IQ scores.

_81297297_iq_chart_1_624-01

This effect is experienced across the world, and Third World countries are showing proportionately greater increases in IQ results than  in the developed world.

Attempts to explain these results abound: better education, better nutrition, better lighting (seriously) and continuous shift of our work towards cognitively demanding tasks. Whether people are actually becoming more intelligent is not yet clear.

But if the principal task of human existence was to be a good hunter, then tracking, aiming and throwing, and the team cooperation that keeps meat in the pot, would be favoured. It would hardly surprize anyone that, if we had to, overweight bureaucrats  and salesmen would get better at hunting than people have to be when food is found in supermarkets.Or those same people get better at war-making when they have been winnowed by three years of combat, as happened in World War 2.

Where I live, Inuit immigrants to Ottawa scavenge liquor and beer bottles  for the cash available on bottle returns. These are useful people who might otherwise be beggars. Their grandfathers hunted. The grandsons of the bottle scavengers will live in cities and hold low-level salaried jobs. 10,000 years in five generations. The IQs of the descendants will be higher too. Yet whether the neolithic grandfathers were more or less intelligent than their urban grandsons depends more on the nature of the  life-test, than a change in cognitive capacities.

That’s my guess and I am sticking to it.

Neurotwaddle

An important funding source for neuro-imaging via MRIs will no longer fund studies concerned with showing which parts of the brain light up when certain activities are engaged. The funding source is the James S. McDonnell Foundation.  The reason why it will not longer do so was given thus:

“Proposals proposing to use functional imaging to identify the ‘neural correlates’ of cognitive or behavioral tasks (for example, mapping the parts of the brain that ‘light up’ when different groups of subjects play chess, solve physics problems, or choose apples over oranges) are not funded through this program. In general, JSMF and its expert advisors have taken an unfavorable view of .  .  . functional imaging studies using poorly characterized tasks as proxies for complex behavioral issues involving empathy, moral judgments, or social decision-making.”

The heartland of neuroimaging has decided that areas of the brain lighting up tell us nothing about empathy, judgments, and decision-making. Bravo! Another blow against neurotwaddle.

The most significant critic of neurotwaddle, a man who is himself a physician and an atheist, is Raymond Tallis. Tallis has written several important critiques of materialist reductionism – the “we are nothing but a bunch of neurons” school, in which  Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, Crick and their useful idiot Hitchens are to be found.

I found an article of Tallis’ on the same subject in the New Humanist magazine of January 2010. It is worth reading. Tallis finds all talk of neuroimaging techniques identifying “God-spots” in the brain as utter rubbish.

At first sight, it might seem that a humanist atheist like me should welcome the reduction of religious belief to tingles in parts of the brain. It will be evident now why I do not. The idea of God is the greatest, though possibly the most destructive, idea that mankind has ever entertained. The notion that all there is originated from and is controlled by a Maker is a profound and distinctively human response to the amazing fact that the world makes sense. This response is more, not less, extraordinary for the fact that it has no foundation in truth and, indeed, God is a logically impossible object.

How mighty are the works of man and how much more impressive when they are founded on an idea to which nothing corresponds! Cutting this idea down to size, by neurologising and Darwinising it, is to deal not only religion but also humanity a terrible blow. It undermines our uniqueness and denies our ability, shared by no other creature, to distance ourselves from nature. In defending religious belief against neuro-evolutionary reductionism, atheist humanists and theists have a common cause, and in reductive naturalism, a common adversary.

Readers will know I am not an atheist; I find greater truth in belief, and I find works like David Bentley Hart’s The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness  Bliss more persuasive than Tallis’ non-materialist humanism. For me, Tallis is on a narrow ledge between materialist reductionsim, which he rightly rejects, and belief in a supernatural ordering Creator, in whom we move and have our being. But that is possibly a matter of taste, and is certainly not a matter for compulsion. His attacks on neurotwaddle are more welcome because he is an atheist.

Here is David Bentley Hart on the issue of reductionism – the school of thought that asserts “we are nothing but _________ neurons, genes, dancing atoms (pick one)”.

 Once more, the physicalist reduction of any phenomenon to purely material forces explains nothing if one cannot then reconstruct the phenomenon from its material basis without invoking any higher causes; but this no computation picture of human thought can ever do. Symbols exist only from above, as it were, in the consciousness looking downward along that path of descent, acting always as a higher cause upon material reality. Looking up from the opposite direction, from below to above, one finds only an intraversible abyss, separating the intentional nullity of matter from the intentional plenitude of mind. It is an absolute error to imagine that the electrical activity in a computer is itself a computation….All computation is ontologically dependent on consciousness.” (p.223)

Ontologically” means “having to do with being itself”, an idea more easily rendered in Greek than English.

A parting shot from Hart:

The mechanical picture of reality, which is the metaphysical frame within which we pursue or conquest of nature, is one that forecloses, arbitrarily and peremptorily , a great number of questions that a rational culture should leave open”.

There are vast questions that should be left open. Raise a ragged cheer for a rational culture!