1. Big Bang or Let There Be?
  2. ¿Que es lo mas macho? Hillary
  3. Scientific devolution
  4. 2016 Forecast from JHK
  5. Liberalnormativity
  6. The Evil of Small Terror

Happy Theophany, a day in which, once more and vividly, Christians affirm the good of creation.


The Modern era is frequently explained as the move from a geo-centric to a helio-centric model of the Universe. “The Earth moves around the Sun,” we teach schoolchildren through books, maps and animation. But what we teach them without words is the more important lesson, and unfortunately the move away from geocentrism hasn’t ended with a Solar System. It has ended with no system at all. We are Nihil-centrists now; this is what we believe without explaining it to our children or to ourselves. A Nihil-centrist believes in no center, or more accurately, believes in Nothing at the center.The only possible center of the Universe for the current model is the site of a Big Bang—a self-destroyed place, a place of escape. Matter rushes away from the emptiness of its birth to fill the universe with empty forms in blind obedience to empty laws.

Contrast the Big Bang with Let There Be. In one case, a great noise; in the other, a voice of reasoning command. In one case, we are classed by sheer statistical probability as another instance of chance material arrangement. Even if we “live” in some sense, our simple lives are meaningless in comparison with the size of non-being. However, if the Universe still echoes with Let There Be, the thoughts of God confer meaning and purpose. The size, location or time of the Earth is no longer random or meaningless. Wherever God is watching is the center of the Universe. Where God is present, time and motion cease. Where God breathes is Life and Truth.

(Joshua Sturgill)


John at Notes from a Common-place Book waxes uncommonly political. After surveying the GOP Presidential field:

But what is my alternative?  Hillary Clinton???  The rest are just chicken hawks.  She’s the real thing.  Anyone who believes she is not the most hawkish candidate in the field simply hasn’t been paying attention.  So, if I followed my former logic, I would be supporting either Trump or Cruz, who are the least bombastic when it comes to military action in the Middle East.  That is how crazy things are this year.  I’m so confused.

I hadn’t thought of Hillary as unacceptable for her hawkishness, since there are other ways in which I find her unacceptable. But I had noticed that the two GOP guys with the most offensive personalities, by orders of magnitude, are the least hawkish, and felt the same consternation John expresses.

Coincidentally, though, something arrived in my RSS feeder yesterday, confirming the devious hawkishness of Hillary (which I use not in sexist pseudo-familiarity, but to distinguish her from William Jefferson Kathleen Willey Gennifer Flowers Paula Jones Monica Lewinsky Bimbos-in-General Clinton).


So much for the theory of scientific evolution — that science is intrinsically humble, tentative, and open to “change over time”:

How best to deal with [prepubescent children who identify with the opposite sex] has become so politicized that sexologists, who presumably would be able to determine the healthiest approach, are extremely reluctant to get involved. They have seen what happens when they deviate from orthodoxy.

In 2003 a sex researcher and psychology professor at Northwestern University named J. Michael Bailey published “The Man Who Would Be Queen,” a book that countered the idea that male-to-female transgenderism is innately tied to gender identity. For some, he said, the attraction is related to a sexual fantasy of being a woman. Dr. Bailey was quickly accused of transphobia and sustained several years of vicious public attacks. The episode left a lasting impression on sexology: Science that doesn’t align with prevailing attitudes can be dangerous.

Witness the recent experience of Kenneth Zucker, a psychologist in Toronto (who has conducted research with Dr. Bailey). A few weeks ago, the city’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health announced that it would close its Gender Identity Clinic, which Dr. Zucker had led for 35 years. The news came after months of public allegations that Dr. Zucker, an international expert on gender variance in children, had been practicing conversion therapy, which aims to change patients’ sexual orientation.

But he had not been trying to dissuade anyone from being transgender. Instead his therapy facilitated exploration of gender identity. For example, in addition to thinking about transitioning, gender-atypical males could consider being boys who simply liked female-typical things. One doesn’t necessarily need to be a girl to enjoy nail polish or bedtime stories about fairy princesses.

Pointing that out to a gender-dysphoric child isn’t the same as practicing conversion therapy ….

(Debra W. Soh)


James Howard Kunstler has issued his Forecast(s) for 2016.

Would you believe he’s upbeat and cheerful about our prospects? Neither would I.


Subtle, but pervasive, is liberalnormativity:

The accompanying chart, adapted from their 2009 paper “Liberals and Conservatives Rely on Different Sets of Moral Foundations,” shows how this works: for the most conservative voters, the emphasis on the importance of the values of authority and purity increases while the stress placed on fairness and the avoidance of harm declines.

Note how the liberal mix of values is assumed as normal and the emphasis is on how conservative values deviate from normalcy. The following describes the same phenomenon but as if conservatism were normal:

The accompanying chart, adapted from their 2009 paper “Conservatives and Liberals Rely on Different Sets of Moral Foundations,” shows how this works: for the most liberal voters, the emphasis on the importance of the values of fairness and the avoidance of harm increases while the stress placed on authority and purity declines.

Don’t get me wrong. Donald Trump is weird as the article from which the first block quote comes explains, liberalnormatively.

(For what it’s worth, I test on Jonathan Haidt’s measures as a pretty improbable conservative. The test is available in here somewhere)


I’ve quipped repeatedly that “if there’s no solution, there’s no problem.” Problems are things with solutions. Socially, problems are bad things with solutions. But there’s a category of bad things without solutions, some of which a properly called evils.

Terrorism is an evil. Some policies may reduce its occurrence, but none will fully solve it. And some policies to reduce its occurrence (maybe falsely promoted as solutions) and authoritarian or totalitarian.

David Brooks make this point in his own way January 5, concluding:

The anxiety caused by small terror can produce nasty mental habits. Mental resilience becomes as important as physical resilience. That means remaking the case for open society, open cultures and a basic commitment to moral pluralism. Openness is worth the occasional horror fanatics cause.

The unaccountable bureaucratic totalitarianism of the drug war increasingly looks to me like too high a price to pay for the evil of people doping themselves up and may yet turn me from Independent to officially Libertarian, flawed as Libertarianism is.

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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.