Monday, 30 November 2009

Dodgy Uncle

“[Rajendra] Pachauri said the large number of contributors and rigorous peer review mechanism adopted by the IPCC meant that any bias would be rapidly uncovered.” [1] Or that bias would be amplified and dissent from it smothered. It is odd, but I am quite sure that Mother Nature used to get a say on the validation of scientific hypotheses. Maybe she has been voted off the panel. Uncle Peer-Review, on the other hand, seems to be doing all right for himself, not that I’d trust him, mind you, especially when he’s feeling rigorous.

[1] James Randerson, “Leaked emails won't harm UN climate body, says chairman”,, 29th November 2009. (H/T: Dennis Mangan, “Global Warmers Won’t Give Up Easily”, Mangan’s (weblog), 30th November 2009.) On zombie-science and the baleful influence of peer-review, see Bruce G. Charlton, “Zombie Science — Dead but Won’t Lie Down”, Medical Hypotheses, 2008, Vol.71; reproduced online at Medical Hypotheses (weblog), 26th July 2008; id., “Peer Usage versus Peer Review”, British Medical Journal, September 2007, Vol.335:451; reproduced ibid., 1st September 2007; id., “Truthfulness in Science Should be an Iron Law”, Medical Hypotheses, 2009, Vol.73; reproduced ibid., 13th October 2009; and Alexander A. Berezin, “Hampering the progress of science by peer review and by the ‘selective’ funding system”, Science Tribune, December 1996. (Note: Mr Mangan’s fine blog has been deleted for some reason.)

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Schwein’sche Weltansicht: Pig Propositions Nos.1-10

As received and written down in the year 1850 by “Sauerteig”, aka Thomas Carlyle:—

1. The Universe, so far as sane conjecture can go, is an immeasurable Swine’s-trough, consisting of solid and liquid, and of other contrasts and kinds;—especially consisting of attainable and unattainable, the latter in immensely greater quantities for most pigs.
2. Moral evil is unattainability of Pig’s-wash; moral good, attainability of ditto.
3. “What is Paradise, or the State of Innocence?” Paradise, called also State of Innocence, Age of Gold, and other names, was (according to Pigs of weak judgment) unlimited attainability of Pig’s-wash; perfect fulfilment of one’s wishes, so that the Pig’s imagination could not outrun reality: a fable and an impossibility, as Pigs of sense now see.
4. “Define the Whole Duty of Pigs.” It is the mission of universal Pighood, and the duty of all Pigs, at all times, to diminish the quantity of unattainable and increase that of attainable. All knowledge and device and effort ought to be directed thither and thither only; Pig Science, Pig Enthusiasm and Devotion have this one aim. It is the Whole Duty of Pigs.
5. Pig Poetry ought to consist of universal recognition of the excellence of Pig’s-wash and ground barley, and the felicity of Pigs whose trough is in order, and who have had enough: Hrumph!
6. The Pig knows the weather; he ought to look out what kind of weather it will be.
7. “Who made the Pig?” Unknown ;—perhaps the Pork-butcher?
8. “Have you Law and Justice in Pigdom?” Pigs of observation have discerned that there is, or was once supposed to be, a thing called justice. Undeniably at least there is a sentiment in Pig-nature called indignation, revenge, &c., which, if one Pig provoke another, comes out in a more or less destructive manner: hence laws are necessary, amazing quantities of laws. For quarrelling is attended with loss of blood, of life, at any rate with frightful effusion of the general stock of Hog’s-wash, and ruin (temporary ruin) to large sections of the universal Swine’s-trough: wherefore let justice be observed, that so quarrelling be avoided.
9. “What is justice?” Your own share of the general Swine’s-trough, not any portion of my share.
10. “But what is ‘my’ share?” Ah! there in fact lies the grand difficulty; upon which Pig science, meditating this long while, can settle absolutely nothing. My share—hrumph!—my share is, on the whole, whatever I can contrive to get without being hanged or sent to the hulks. For there are gibbets, treadmills, I need not tell you, and rules which Lawyers have prescribed.

Latter-Day Pamphlets, No. VIII: August 1850: Jesuitism (London: Chapman & Hall, 1850), pp.269-70. (Sus exsaturatus grunnit: “We’ve clearly cracked all the important things and are now left with the minor trivia of life.” Tim Worstall, “What Joy It Is”, Tim Worstall (weblog), 25th November 2009.)

Sissyfuss in Vain

Apparently there has been much screeching by feminists in opposition to the establishment of so-called men’s societies at English universities. The founder of one of these societies pleads for acceptance:
“The mens [Masculinity Exploring Networking and Support] society is no threat to women’s rights or their welfare, and we certainly aren’t a reaction to them. We are the only (as far as I am aware) society at Manchester to have a code of conduct for members. We are being trained by Nightline, the excellent listening and counselling service, with a view to establishing a drop-in centre. We hope to work closely with the lgbt and women’s rights collectives. Together, not as men or women or trans, but as human beings, we can make a better community, a better world.” [1]
I am not sure why feminists are so angry in this particular case, unless it is just another instance of the general and mechanical reaction arising from the potent and unpredictable mix of liberated hormones and political visions, whereof it is senseless to ask for reasons. This society will be “running workshops” regardless of “gender identity” and “gender categories”, and “holding lectures and screening documentaries exploring the historical perceptions of masculinity”. [2] It sounds like a society for the neutered who will labour in vain to please their foul harridan-mistresses. Feminists ought to be cackling with glee.
.....Although not much given to envisaging the establishment of societies, I can see the need for an Anti-Harridan Society, yearly awarding the Matthew Hopkins Prize for Outstanding Contributions to Hag-Offending. Yet it fails my powers to imagine the need for it to work closely with lgbt and women’s rights collectives. Maybe there are “workshops” that can help me with my disability.

[1] Ben Wild, “My men’s group isn’t anti-feminist”, Comment is Free (The Guardian’s weblog), 25th November 2009.
[2] Ibid.

Monday, 23 November 2009

In the Same Fume

“We are no gods, but shortsighted men and must be content with finding out a little bit of truth in wading through a sea of errors,” wrote the chemist Christian Friedrich Schönbein. [1] Sad to say that governmental policy-setters, political interest-groups, and image-impressed masses demand great and all-at-once truths to bolster their swift-rising needs and desires, or, failing such truths, great and unanimous falsehoods vouchsafed by the authority of self-reviewing idols, who are fancied to reside at a lofty remove, but who breathe the same poisonous fume of ideology amidst the thin air of expedience as do their all-too-corrupted demand-makers. Junk-philosophy, junk-literature, junk-art, junk-scholarship, junk-music, junk-religion, junk-statecraft, and junk-science: we can expect little else from the liberal disorder of modernism, except that it will continue to be vigorously defended as progress by junk-humanity.

[1] Letter to Michael Faraday, 17th September 1857, The letters of Faraday and Schoenbein, 1836-1862, ed. G.W.A. Kahlbaum & F.V. Darbishire (London: Williams & Norgate, 1899), p.289. (For an understanding of the present state of science, philosophers and sociologists of science will of course find more illumination, if less edification, in the emails of modern climate-scientists than in the old letters of long-dead gentlemen-scientists.)

Warm Diplomacy

“Central American nations will demand $US105 billion . . . from industrialised countries for damages caused by global warming, the region’s representatives say.” [1]

The proper response, of course, is to send the equivalent value in warships and gunboats.

[1]Nations to seek billions in ‘climate debt’”, Adelaide Now, 21st November 2009. (H/T: Dennis Mangan, “Global Warming Exposed as the Greatest Scandal in Modern Science”, Mangan’s (weblog), 22nd November 2009.)

Saturday, 7 November 2009

A Question

“Is Society become wholly a bag of wind, then, ballasted by guineas?”

Thomas Carlyle, Latter-Day Pamphlets, No. V: May 1850: Stump-Orator (London: Chapman & Hall, 1850), p.163.

By Three-Thirds

“You cannot play fast and loose with England”, says Lord Hattersley, in a paean of new patriotism [1], whereat Mr Laban Tall wonders whether hanging is too good for him. [2] I am inclined to say that it is, although, if we added drawing and quartering, the matter could be settled rightly and in a manner fit for a latter-day lord of misrule.

[1] Roy Hattersley, “My search for God’s own country and why I wouldn’t swap England for anywhere else”, Mail Online, 6th November 2009.
[2] Laban Tall, “Sparkbrook”, UK Commentators (weblog), 7th November 2009.