Multiculturalism is isolationism

Roissy brings the atomized wedges to our attention:

i was on transit today and it seems like white people are getting less and less common. just disappearing. transit is like a microcosm of multiculturalism. dead eyed somalians sitting awkwardly next to old chinese ladies. nothing in common. acknowledging each other as mere objects. no sign of life. riding by ugly buildings with grey skies above.

That reminds me of the last time I was in London. There was not a single white person on the train that evening, as I was the only individual of even partial English descent. No one was speaking, everyone was simply sitting there in stolid silence, tolerating the presence of the others with no sense of community whatsoever.

This is to be celebrated?  I don’t think so. This is indefinitely sustainable? I doubt it. I very much doubt it.

Don’t forget, post-racialists, your ideal outcome is ME. You dream of a world where various races are all blended together so you can’t even tell what someone is by looking at them?  Then look at a picture of me. I am that future. I am that nightmare you cannot guilt or browbeat into submission by crying raciss because racial identity and racial guilt mean absolutely nothing to me.

Man up and read chick-lit

It’s always fascinating to watch a gamma male attempt to utilize female shaming tactics on other men. It’s not only that it can’t possibly work, but that it’s done so ineptly:

Last week I suggested it may be time to disband Britain’s Orange Prize, which is restricted to female authors, on the grounds that since only women buy and read books nowadays all literature is by definition “women’s literature” and the need for the prize is therefore obsolete.

I was kidding (sort of), but my larger point — men do not read — is not disputed by anyone. Study after study proves that men account for less than 20 percent of the book market in England, the U.S. and Canada. This fact no longer in dispute, the only question becomes why don’t men read? Why do they choose to forego Twain’s “advantage?”

It turns out that the whole problem is — you guessed it! — women’s fault. At least that’s the answer if you ask the few guys who actually do read books, especially if they happen to be writers themselves, or worked at some point in the publishing industry.

Take Jason Pinter, for example, writing at the Huffington Post. A thriller writer who used to work in publishing, he argues that men actually do read. The notion they don’t is a self-fulfilling prophecy: “[P]ublishers rarely publish for men and don’t market towards men,” he writes.

“Nobody can deny the fact that most editorial meetings tend to be dominated by women,” Pinder writes. “Saying the ratio is 75/25 is not overstating things. So needless to say when a male editor pitches a book aimed at men, there are perilously few men to read it and give their opinions.”

Will Weaver, who writes young adult books, goes further, blaming not only publishing but our entire culture. Also at the Huffington Post, his indictment is much the same as Pinder’s, though. He describes going to Manhattan bookstore, where the Teen Section, all flowery and fem, contained 275 books for girls and a handful of fantasy titles for boys.

“The bias against boy books in publishing has gotten so bad nowadays that my editor now reads manuscripts, he confessed, with an eye toward ‘re-gendering,’” Weaver writes. “That is, ‘I sort of like this novel but what if the main character were a girl instead of a boy?’”

I’ll grant Weaver has a point about the need for more effort to attract boys to reading, and I’ll give Pinder props for writing respectfully of women in publishing. His critique is institutional.

Still, these writers (and others before them, like Stephen King or Chris Goldberg), however sensitive and reasonable they may be, come down ultimately to this: Publishing has been feminized, nothing is marketed to men. In other words, it’s no our fault if we don’t read. It’s the women. Again.

As a man who has read all his life, I find this faintly patronizing and more than a little insulting. I have to be marketed to before I can turn off the TV or the video game and read a book? Geez, Mom, is my bottle warm yet? I’m hungry.

These arguments ignore that women not only read all the chicklit — female readers dominate the categories I would consider male-centric, like espionage/thriller (69 percent), mystery/detective (86 percent), science fiction (52 percent). That’s according to a 2000 study — the figures may be worse today.

Given the surprising note of whining in these masculine essays, I’ve come to the conclusion that men don’t read because — well, because they aren’t men. They’re spoiled little crybabies,  and adolescents who refuse to grow up.

How, one wonders, does a disinclination to read what women like to read – which is to say books like The Hunger Games, Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey, and the current NYT bestseller, Dear Life, by Alice Munro, which features stories such as this one: “A young woman ventures to a remote area to assume teaching duties in a
TB sanitarium, soon entering into a dismal relationship with the head
doctor” – somehow translate into being a spoiled little crybaby or an adolescent?

Then again, what Real Man wouldn’t want to read about a young woman having a relationship with the head doctor!  Spicy! As for Just One Evil Act, by Elizabeth George, we are informed that it is a “riveting tale of love, passion, and betrayal” concerning the disappearance of a nine-year-old girl named Hadiyyah. Riveting! Only a child-man could possibly fail to be fascinated by the prospect of such heart-pounding suspense!

Now, I read a lot more than most men or women do. A few of my favorite authors happen to be women. I think rather well of Murasaki Shikibu, Dorothy Sayers, Susan Cooper, Tanith Lee, and Teresa Edgerton. But the thing is, those female authors don’t write conventional romance crap, and if they do happen to exhibit the female tendency to insert some sort of a romantic angle into everything, at least they don’t permit it to dominate the story.

I now have zero – ZERO – interest in the vast majority of what presently passes for science fiction and mystery. Not because I dislike the genres, but because I dislike what the women who undeniably dominate the publishing industry insist on publishing as “science fiction” and “mystery”. And as a writer, I can say from direct personal influence that no matter how good the book is, or how significant its potential, if the book doesn’t “speak to me”, as one editor said, it’s simply not going to be published.

And guess what sort of books don’t speak to the sort of women who work in publishing? The very sort of books that men most prefer to read, which is books that reflect masculine perspectives and honor masculine virtues.

So who is to blame for the fact that most men have quit reading? The answer is obvious: whoever is responsible for refusing to publish the sort of books that men used to read.

Dark matter is still dark vapor

It proved impossible not to laugh at Bad Astronomy in light of the fact that actual scientific experiments are proving the science skeptic, and not the so-called astronomer, correct.  Back in 2008, the intrepid space expert wrote: 

“I happened to notice I was getting some traffic sent my way from Voxday,
an ultraconservative blogger who has a history of saying ridiculous
things — sometimes so ridiculous it’s indistinguishable from satire.
Unfortunately, of course, willful ignorance has quite an audience these
days, and just in case it’s not satire, I decided to reply….

“Your conclusions are way off the mark, for two reasons: you
misinterpreted/misunderstood what scientists did, and then you
misapplied it.

“First, 5% of the Universe is normal matter and energy. About 23% or
so is dark matter. While we don’t know precisely what it’s made of, its
existence has been conclusively proven, and it was using scientific
methods that proved it (its existence was speculated due to odd motions
of galaxies, its impact on observations predicted and then confirmed).”

Needless to say, I was unintimidated by the conventional “you just don’t understand sicence” response to which insecure scientists usually retreat when those they consider to be outside the secular priesthood dare to approach the sacred mysteries they reserve for themselves. How dare anyone point out the lack of evidence for their assumptions! After all, the consensus is settled and the matter is therefore conclusively proven!

At the time I wrote: “I do so enjoy seeing their unmitigated faith in scientific snapshots
landing the stupidly arrogant scientific faithful on their asses yet
again. What passes for science these days is beginning to sound like a
Monty Python skit:

“Dark Matter and Dark Energy…Dark Matter
and Dark Energy…. Our two explanations are Dark Matter and Dark
Energy…and Dark Vapor…. Our three explanations are Dark Matter, and
Dark Energy, and Dark Vapor…and an almost fanatical devotion to Karl
Popper…. Our four…no… Amongst our explanations are such elements
as Dark Matter, Dark Energy…. I’ll come in again.”

But it gets better, thanks to science:

A US team that claims to have built the world’s most sensitive dark matter detector has completed its first data run without seeing any sign of the stuff.

In a webcast presentation today at the Sanford Underground Laboratory in Lead, South Dakota, physicists working on the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment said they had seen nothing statistically compelling in 110 days of data-taking. “We find absolutely no events consistent with any kind of dark matter,” says LUX co-spokesman Rick Gaitskell, a physicist at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Physicists know from astronomical observations that 85% of the Universe’s matter is dark, making itself known only through its gravitational pull on conventional matter. Some think it may also engage in weak but detectable collisions with ordinary matter, and several direct detection experiments have reported tantalizing hints of these candidate dark matter particles, known as WIMPs (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles). Gaitskell says that it is now overwhelmingly likely that earlier sightings were statistical fluctuations.

Now, with whose hypothesis are the results of this experiment consistent? The astronomer who knows, he just knows, that dark matter exists? Or the skeptic who, while open to the possibility that said material exists, understands the probability is that dark matter is nothing more than a mathematical fudge factor that allows the equations required by the current physics paradigm to balance properly?

Nor is this the first time the hunt for dark matter has failed since 2008. “In 2011, XENON-100 also saw no evidence for dark matter,
but had been criticized for not being sensitive enough to very low-mass
dark matter particles tentatively reported by other experiments. LUX
has five times the sensitivity of XENON-100 in the low-mass realm, which
should allay those concerns, says Gaitskell.”

Bad Astronomy has made a fundamental logical error that is increasingly common in scientistry, which is to adopt a scientific paradigm, accept a theory that is supported by mathematical models rather than by actual scientody, and then assume that the material evidence will eventually be found to support the model. But there are three potential problems there. If there are any flaws in the paradigm, the theory, or the model, then the evidence will not be found.

I don’t know if any of those three things are flawed, as I have neither the training nor the level of interest to delve into the matter in sufficient detail. But logic, combined with a knowledge of scientific history, is sufficient to conclude that if the predictive model repeatedly fails, there is, at the very least, a possibility that there is a mistake in the assumptions somewhere between the overall paradigm and the specific predictive model upon which the experiment is based.

Bad Astronomy’s unseemly scientific arrogance not only invites public humiliation, but indicates an inability to learn from the mistakes of past scientists. After all, it wasn’t all that long ago that scientists were certain about the existence of luminiferous aether. It hardly seems impossible that one day, future Bad Astronomy types will attempt to disavow the notion that real scientists ever believed in anything so obviously nonsensical as “dark matter”.

A wiser professional cosmologist wrote the following on Slashdot:

“Any of this could be down to a modification of gravity. We know the
nature of gravity roughly up to the position of the Voyager craft —
call it 300AU to be generous. We are extrapolating that a thousand times
to get to galactic scales, a million times to get to cluster scales,
and a thousand million times to get to cosmological scales, all without
evidence. Of course, without a better theory to replace relativity, it’s
the best we can do, so we do it – but don’t try and claim that
instruments have detected that it is matter (they haven’t), nor that we
are wedded to particulate dark matter.”

UPDATE: A physicist bitch-slaps Phil Plait aka Bad Astronomy in the comments:

“Most scientists do not believe the current model of the universe or anything about it is proven.
That’s Plait’s opinion, and it’s frankly astonishing that anyone with a
PhD from a respectable university would make such a plainly stupid and
irresponsible statement. Plait is grossly misstating the situation, and
his statements do not represent the views of most particle
physicists / cosmologists, who willingly distinguish between that for
which there is ample evidence, that for which there are problems, and
that for which there is proof (nothing).”

Yeah, that’s what she said….

The nonexistent magic of geographical relocation

Republicans are beginning to wake up to the fact that Karl Rove was an inobservant fool and George Bush the Younger’s “Hispanics are natural conservatives” strategy was political suicide from the start:

Most of the millions of immigrants we have welcomed came from countries
where the only government they knew was one that made all decisions
about economic and social policy. The current level of legal immigration
to America adds thousands of people every day whose views and
experience are contrary to the conservative value of limited government.

The influx of these new voters will reduce or eliminate Republicans’
ability to offer an alternative to big government, increased government
spending, and favorite liberal policies such as Obamacare and gun
control. New voters will lean on our hard-pressed health care system and
overcrowded public schools to demand more government services….

An enormous body of survey research shows that large majorities of
recent immigrants, who are mostly Hispanic and Asian, hold liberal views
on most policy issues and therefore vote Democratic two-to-one.

Considering that the German, Scandinavian, Irish, Italian, and Jewish immigrants have never quite managed to master the historically unusual concepts of limited government and the sovereign rights of Englishmen, I’ve never understood the idea that Hispanics, Asians, and Africans, whose political traditions are even further from the American revolutionary concepts, could reasonably be expected to adopt them faithfully en masse.

When one considers that two of the three major political parties in Mexico are both members of the Socialist International, can it really be surprising to anyone that the 30 million+ Mexicans in the USA tend to lean left? Geographical location does not tend to change either ideology or political identities.

Published may not mean printed

It should be fascinating to learn how the forward-thinkers at the SFWA, whose two most recent presidents have staunchly and repeatedly denied that there was any need for authors to be concerned about imminent changes in the publishing industry related to ebooks, deal with the news that the major publishers appear to be moving away from contractually obligating themselves to release print versions of the books they publish:

The idea that any standard deal from a major
publisher guarantees a print format release—which was previously a
foregone conclusion—is something agents no longer take for granted, with
some expressing concern that the big houses are starting to hedge on
print editions in contracts.

While e-book-only
agreements are nothing new—all large publishers have imprints that are
exclusively dedicated to digital titles—a handful of agents, all of whom
spoke to PW on the condition of anonymity, said they’re worried that
contracts from print-first imprints will increasingly come with clauses
indicating that the publisher makes no guarantee on format. The agents
say this is a new twist to the standard way of doing business….

One of the difficulties with reporting on changes
to book publishing contracts is that all new contracts, as Applebaum
rightly noted, are open to negotiation. However, there are standards of
doing business, and the agents speaking out said they feared that if
vague language about format begins to crop up on a regular basis, they
will need to start advocating for a format they were universally
guaranteed in the past.

Despite their dismay,
agents and other insiders who spoke to PW said they were not necessarily
surprised by the move, given the current marketplace. There is growing
pressure on publishers to release books quickly, and to do so in the
formats that will bring in the most revenue. Because so many book deals
are made well in advance of the titles’ release dates, publishers have
always had to gauge the future relevancy of topics and authors. Now
publishers also have to attempt to anticipate the future
bricks-and-mortar landscape when signing contracts. As some insiders
explained, it’s a very different situation when the question goes from,
“How many copies will Barnes & Noble take?” to “Will Barnes &
Noble be around?”

Considering how McRapey had a complete meltdown when Random House established its digital-only imprints, it should be deeply amusing to see his reaction when this starts happening, to say nothing of the rampant panic amidst the less successful SF/F authors, as they will not only be limited to trivial advances, they won’t even be able to point to their print books to differentiate themselves from the self-published ebook authors anymore.

The fact is that print books don’t really make much economic sense anymore. There is too much risk attached to them given the rules of the distribution system. I think this will most affect paperbacks, particularly trade paperbacks. There will always be a small percentage of book lovers who demand hardbacks, but if I’m a publisher who faces the possibility of eating some 5,000 paperback returns, why take that risk?

Take ATOB, for example. I’ve sold 15x more ebooks than hardcovers, and that is to a group of unusually book-friendly readers who are disproportionately inclined to buy my books. I’ll continue making the hardcovers available, (because, let’s face it, the monsters do look well on the shelf), but they are a sideshow, they are not the primary product.

Perhaps more importantly, as the authors of the article noted, once Barnes & Noble goes down, there won’t be a large enough retail market to make it worth their while producing print books for it. It may be another year or two before the publishers make the leap, but don’t be surprised if they do so sooner than that, given the growing financial, competitive, and distribution-related pressures on them.

Women Ruin Everything: schoolboy edition

Fred Reed explains why women need to be removed from the business of publicly schooling boys and education should be segregated on the basis of sex:

The thrust of current social propaganda is that the sexes are identical in all important respects. They are not. The differences are great. It is time we stopped pretending otherwise.

First: By their nature, females are far more interested in social relationships than in academic substance. If you are a man, ask yourself how often you have serious intellectual discussions of politics, science, history, or society with women as compared to men. Seldom. Degrees and exceptions, yes. Still, seldom.

Second: Women are totalitarian. Men are happy to let boys be boys and girls be girls. Women want all children to be girls. In school this means emphasizing diligence—neat homework done on time, no matter how silly or academically vacuous—over performance, meaning material learned. Women favor docility, orderliness, cooperation in groups, not making waves, niceness and comity. For boys this is asphyxiating.

Third: Women prefer security to freedom, males freedom to security. In politics, this has ominous implications for civil liberties. In the schools this means that wrestling and dodge ball are violence, that tag might lead to a fall and scraped knees, that a little boy who draws a soldier with a rifle is a dangerous psychopath in the making. This is hysteria.

Fourth: “Therapy.” This disguised witchcraft is very much a subset of the female fascination with emotional relations. It allows them to talk endlessly about their feelings. Men would rather be crucified. Thus everything becomes a “disorder.” Among these absurdities are things ilke Intermittent Explosive Disorder (appropriately, IED), and Temper Irregulation Disorder. These disorders have only been discovered since women took over the schools….

Fifth: In the United States, women simply dislike men. Saying this causes eruptions of denials. If you believe these, I´d like you to meet my friend Daisy Lou the Tooth Fairy. Check the ranting of feminists, the endless portrayal on television of men as fools and swine, the punitive political correctness and the silly anti-rape fantasies on campus.

In the schools this hostility takes the form of the passive aggression behind the predatory niceness. “We´re boring him to death, keeping him miseable, and sending him for psychiatric reprogramming because we care so much about him.” Uh, yeah.

Now, I do believe women can effectively educate boys in one particular circumstance, which is homeschooling. A mother has a very different relationship with her son than a random 30 year-old woman who wants nothing more than for him to sit there in silence not disturbing her for 6 hours every day. I would personally favor a Federal ban on public education and tearing down the school buildings. But in the meantime, Fred’s recommendation is a rational step in the right direction.

The soft tyranny of the feminized public schools will come to an end sooner or later. And the sooner, the better. As for the lack of male teachers, men would be a lot more interested in teaching boys if they didn’t have to put up with a bureaucratic system that is built around union benefits, teaching credentials and insane theories of education that can’t match the results of methods that were used more than 2,400 years ago.

Mailvox: the Fed imbalance

JD asks about the Fed’s balance sheet:

Fed balance sheet may not return to normal until 2019?  What does this mean to lay people?  Would you enlighten The Dread Ilk, please?

The short version is that quantitative easing, which is the Federal Reserve’s euphemism for “printing money” under the current monetary regime, is not working in terms of returning the economy to full employment or stimulating economic growth. However, the Fed doesn’t dare stop QEn because doing so would almost instantly crash the stock market and hurl the global financial system into crisis, if not collapse. So, the program is going to continue indefinitely, which we already know due to the appointment of Janet Yellen, who is even more expansionary-minded than the man named Helicopter Ben.

Wikipedia has a good definition of quantitative easing: “Quantitative easing (QE) is an unconventional monetary policy used by central banks to prevent the money supply falling when standard monetary policy has become ineffective. A central bank implements quantitative easing by buying specified amounts of financial assets from commercial banks and other private institutions, thus increasing the monetary base. This is distinguished from the more usual policy of buying or selling government bonds in order to keep market interest rates at a specified target value.

“Expansionary monetary policy typically involves the central bank buying short-term government bonds in order to lower short-term market interest rates. However, when short-term interest rates are at or close to zero, normal monetary policy can no longer lower interest rates. Quantitative easing may then be used by monetary authorities to further stimulate the economy by purchasing assets of longer maturity than short-term government bonds, and thereby lowering longer-term interest rates further out on the yield curve. Quantitative easing raises the prices of the financial assets bought, which lowers their yield.”

This is why the stock market is up considerably since early 2009 and why corporate borrowing is up when the other private borrowing sectors are down. The reason that the QE program has continued for nearly five years now is that it hasn’t had the triggering effect that it was supposed to have in 2009 or any subsequent year. This is exactly what I have been talking about for years, in pointing out that the Fed cannot expand the money supply in the same way that was done in Weimar Germany and in Zimbabwe, because there are material and significant differences in the way the Fed “prints” money and the way past governments have printed money.

The Fed won’t simply print money in the traditional manner because the coterie of investment institutions they serve can’t profit that way; it is all inflationary downside without a leveraging upside. The US government could certainly do it, of course, and all it would have to do is completely shake off the chains of Wall Street first. So, needless to say, printing trillions of dollars and distributing them to the citizenry is not going to happen.

Given that they STILL haven’t taken the simple step of forgiving mortgage debt to free up disposable income, it should be obvious that they’re not going to indiscriminately hand out cash to everyone either.

My case for debt-deflation doesn’t rest on the physical impossibility of money printing, but on the improbability of Wall Street voluntarily giving up the goose that has laid so many dollar-filled eggs for 100 years. I think they will kill the economy before they give up control, especially since widespread bankruptcies and foreclosures taking place under the present regime would put huge swaths of U.S. property in their hands. It is very much a heads they win, tails you lose situation.

As for 2019, they might as reasonably have given a date of fiver. If you look at L1, it is very clear that all QE has done for the last five years is prevent the bottom from falling out completely while encouraging an astonishing amount of malinvestment via the corporate and federal sectors. So, I anticipate more of the same until the household sector defaults begin, which should set off the third, and more serious, stage of the financial crisis.

Timing? I don’t do timing. How will the crisis be resolved? I don’t know. These things cannot be known until they happen. All we can know for certain is that the present course of credit disinflation and substitution of private debt for public debt is not going to continue indefinitely, since it would result in the complete socialization of the national economy by 2030.

A Magic Broken in audiobook

I am very, very pleased to announce that A MAGIC BROKEN is finally available in audiobook. Narrated by Nick Afka Thomas, it is one hour and 45 minutes long and Amazon is selling it for $6.08. If you would like to hear a sample of it, you can do so at Amazon or download a sample.

Nick is already hard at work recording THE WARDOG’S COIN, and if there proves to be sufficient interest in the audiobooks, afterwards he will begin the yeoman’s task of narrating A THRONE OF BONES.

I’m quite happy with Nick’s work and I was surprised to find that I even prefer his voice to Roy Dotrice’s, the highly regarded narrator of George R.R. Martin’s work. It’s a very different approach, and a more subtle one that I find both less jarring and easier to understand.

If you’re an Audible member, I think you may even be able to download it for free.

In defense of Intelligent Design

While I am an evolutionary skeptic rather than an Intelligent Design advocate, (by which I mean that I am skeptical that the Theorum of Evolution by Natural Selection as per the current Neo-Darwinian Synthesis is the correct factual explanation for the way in which one species is transformed into another), one thing that has always struck me as strange about the attempts of evolutionists to criticize the advocates of Intelligent Design as an alternative is that their criticisms were consistently irrelevant.

The various proposals of ID never struck me as markedly less falsifiable than those of TENS, considering how many tenets of TENS have been historically falsified and subsequently “revised”, to be polite. But not until I read Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was I able to articulate what was bothering me about the common evolutionist criticisms of ID, which tend to revolve around ID not being a science because it is untestable and does not involve research, experimentation, and observation.

For example, the Union of Concerned Scientists explains why Intelligent Design is not science and attempts to refute what it describes as ID’s primary claims:

There is scientific controversy over evolution: There is no debate about evolution among the vast majority of scientists, and no credible alternative scientific theory exists. Debates within the community are about specific mechanisms within evolution, not whether evolution occurred.

Structures found in nature are too complex to have evolved step-by-step through natural selection [the concept of “irreducible complexity”]:  Natural selection does not require that all structures have the same function or even need to be functional at each step in the development of an organism.

Intelligent design is a scientific theory: A scientific theory is supported by extensive research and repeated experimentation and observation in the natural world. Unlike a true scientific theory, the existence of an “intelligent” agent can not be tested, nor is it falsifiable.

Intelligent design is based on the scientific method: Intelligent design might base its ideas on observations in the natural world, but it does not test them in the natural world, or attempt to develop mechanisms (such as natural selection) to explain their observations.

Setting aside the very arguable point of whether one can reasonably consider TENS a science under these parameters, when one reads how Kuhn describes the way in which one scientific paradigm gives way to another, it should be more than obvious that even if ID is complete and hopelessly incorrect, such criticisms are wholly misplaced and betray a basic failure to understand the philosophical foundations upon which all science rests.

In XII. The Resolution of Revolutions, Kuhn writes:

“Any new interpretation of nature, whether a discovery or a theory, emerges first in the mind of one or a few individuals. It is they who first learn to see science and the world differently, and their ability to make the transition is facilitated by two circumstances that are not common to most other members of their profession. Invariably their attention has been intensely concentrated upon the crisis-provoking problems; usually, in addition, they are men so young or so new to the crisis-ridden field that practice has committed them less deeply than most of their contemporaries to the world view and rules determined by the old paradigm. How are they able, what must they do, to convert the entire profession or the relevant professional subgroup to their way of seeing science and the world? What causes the group to abandon one tradition of normal research in favor of another?

“To see the urgency of those questions, remember that they are the only reconstructions the historian can supply for the philosopher’s inquiry about the testing, verification, or falsification of established scientific theories. In so far as he is engaged in normal science, the research worker is a solver of puzzles, not a tester of paradigms. Though he may, during the search for a particular puzzle’s solution, try out a number of alternative approaches, rejecting those that fail to yield the desired result, he is not testing the paradigm when he does so. Instead he is like the chess player who, with a problem stated and the board physically or mentally before him, tries out various alternative moves in the search for a solution. These trial attempts, whether by the chess player or by the scientist, are trials only of themselves, not of the rules of the game. They are possible only so long as the paradigm itself is taken for granted. Therefore, paradigm-testing occurs only after persistent failure to solve a noteworthy puzzle has given rise to crisis. And even then it occurs only after the sense of crisis has evoked an alternate candidate for paradigm. In the sciences the testing situation never consists, aspuzzle-solving does, simply in the comparison of a single paradigm with nature. Instead, testing occurs as part of the competition between two rival paradigms for the allegiance of the scientific community.”

As puzzle solvers wholly engrossed in the existing paradigm, biologists and evolutionists are the very last people that we should expect to either have a reasonable perspective on the limits of their consensus paradigm or to be able to appreciate the potential superiority of the new one.

Intelligent design represents a potential new paradigm, not a better way of solving the existing puzzles under the current paradigm. To expect it to do so is irrational. And while it may be true that biologists are not yet cognizant of the second crisis of Darwin, the fact is that TENS is observably awful at the sort of puzzle-solving that most more reputable sciences reliably deliver.  As per Kuhn, if ID ever begins to show a superior ability to solve the puzzles that TENS can’t, then and only then should we expect to see its advocates begin to abandon the old paradigm in favor of the new one.

None of this should be taken as a statement that I am an advocate of Intelligent Design. I am not; I have not considered the matter in any significant detail and I see little reason to do so unless and until it can solve some of the problems that TENS cannot. But anyone with even a reasonable amount of intellectual honesty should resist the urge to dismiss a proposed new paradigm for reasons that cannot possibly be considered relevant to the matter.

Mailvox: the wages of public school

MY writes about the problems her family is having with her niece:

I’m writing this on behalf of my sister, whom I’m very close to.  I have a niece who is giving her parents a great deal of grief lately. I debated writing this but I don’t think we could get a perspective like yours from anywhere else, if you would be so kind. X is 13 and on a fast track to making some very bad choices. She is very dependent on her friends and bends to peer pressure to a ridiculous degree. She does not socialize with her siblings unless forced to and is rude and distant.

A few weeks ago her dad asked to look through her iPad, something they randomly do from time to time. X refused and ran out of the room with it. When they finally got it from her my sister says she couldn’t figure out why X wanted to hide it as there was nothing incriminating on it. I told her I thought she erased things. We know this to be true now.

As punishment her parents took the iPad away. They caught X sneaking into their room at 3am, stealing it back. She is now indefinitely banned from her iPad.

A few nights ago my sister noticed her phone missing. On a hunch she decided to check X’s room after X fell asleep. She found the phone and a series of texts from a instant messenger site on it. The texts were to a couple people. One was a boy and of course, the text had a vulgar sexual nature to them. The boy was asking her if she twerked and X was flirting back with him. The other texts were to a girl, making plans to hang, and X noted that she had to make sure to call the friend on a land line so her parents wouldn’t get suspicious about her texting.  Another text was from a high school boy. I’m not sure what he said to her but this particular boy is known to have fathered a child by another middle school girl. So my sister puts the phone on her night stand and waits. X sneaks back in and takes the phone again back to her room. At this point mom and dad both get up to confront her. They go take the phone back and find not only has X erased the texts but she also took the app off the phone.

-My sister substitutes at the school X attends. Another mom who works there, mother of one of X’s friends, showed my sister a series of texts on her daughter’s phone from X. The texts were loaded with crude song lyrics, f-bombs, and the word “bitch” in all its uses.  The girlfriend did not use the vulgarities that X used.

-X has, obviously not taken any responsibility for her behavior. She claims the texts to the middle school boy about twerking were just jokes and she has never met the high school boy, etc. She can’t explain how the high school boy knows who she is. She is sulky, short-tempered, self-obsessed, entitled, and generally lazy at home.

My sister and her husband have gone through some major financial upheavals in the last 5 years. My brother-in-law now works for my dad but is not making enough yet for my sister to quit her job again. My sister is thinking of pulling them all out of school next year. I note this because my first response was to suggest pulling X out of school among other things. They have removed all the electronic toys from the house and store them at my dad’s office. They also took the door completely off her room.

They are a traditional family that regularly attends Latin mass and my sis is just stunned by this behavior. I am too honestly. None of the other three kids are like this. Her behavior is very self-destructive for her age. Short of pulling her out of school, how to you change a 13 year old’s character? How can they provide consequences in a way that will get a positive response instead of this nasty, passive aggressive sulking? How do you get a child this self-obsessed to stop focusing on herself and show empathy and affection for her family? What resources would you recommend?

It’s important to note that this sort of thing is always a possible consequence when children are abandoned to a public school environment. It’s not an inevitable consequence, to be sure, but there are always going to be those children who are, by character, more susceptible to it than others, regardless of their upbringing. I strongly favor homeschooling for all children, but especially for those with weak, easily-influenced characters.

My recommendation would be to pull X out of school immediately. The nature of the problem exhibited is serious enough to justify drastic action, especially in light of her blatant lying, stealing, and other Machiavellian actions. The other children can probably wait until next year if they are not showing any signs of similar behavior. But the school year has barely begun and there is a very good chance that X will get herself into trouble of one sort or another in the next eight months.

As SB pointed out, these problems aren’t something that started overnight. They are character problems, they are firmly implanted, and they will require a long period of boot camp-style attitude readjustment.So, in addition to pulling her out of school and the solid steps the parents have taken to deny her communications and privacy, they should rely upon the method proven to work by various militaries throughout the world. For the next six weeks, they should put her to work until she is too exhausted to find trouble.

By Christmastime, X should be an expert in grouting, deep-cleaning, and every surface in the house should be sparkling. And then there is a credible threat hanging over her head when the strictures are gradually relaxed; every time she is tempted, she’ll be weighing whether it is worth another six weeks of hard manual labor.

All socialization outside the house and parental supervision should be barred until further notice. X is a child, she is a dependent, and as long as her parents are legally liable for her actions, they have the right and the responsibility to prevent her from indulging in her short-sighted, self-destructive tendencies.

There are no guarantees, of course. Despite her parents’ best efforts, X may become an overweight mudshark with a meth habit and two abortions under her belt by the time she is 18. Or she may turn it around completely. Regardless, the probability is that if her parents don’t directly and forthrightly address the situation with consistency and resolve, she will destroy her life in one way or another. Unfortunately, some people are just naturally self-destructive.

One of the hardest things to accept as a parent is that we cannot make our children’s choices for them. What we can do is decide upon the primary influences upon them. In the case of the child who is greatly susceptible to peer pressure, the answer is straightforward: take care to ensure that her peers are positive influences rather than negative ones.