It Isn’t Exactly An Abuse of Authority

Most of the Wuhan Virus mandates announced today by Joe Xiden are being denounced as abuses of authority. However, one cannot abuse authority one does not have.

Usurping authority one does not have is arrogance.

Xiden has set himself—and the country—up for another failure.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

Over the past decade, there were times when there were nearly two dozen Kimberlin-related web domains in operation. While The Dread Deadbeat Publisher Kimberlin still has a few going, most have failed. The TKPOTD from two years ago today announce one of those failures.

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One of the wacko moonbat causes Brett Kimberlin has tried to promote on the Internet is the campaign against GMO food. He had a website called citizensagainstgmo dot com. I say “had” because he allowed the registration to lapse earlier this summer after not having posted anything new on the site for several years.

The domain has been reregistered by a Chinese company. Don’t go there even if you have extremely robust antivirus protection. The thumb drive containing the OS I used to take this screenshot has been destroyed rather than risk using again.Another one bites the dust.

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That wasn’t my only post about citizensagainstgmo dot com. The first was Brett Kimberlin and Vitamin A Deficiency.

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One of the most promising genetically engineered crops that has become available over the past decade or so is golden rice. It has been modified to produce beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. This is an important innovation for the third world where where vitamin A deficiency kills upwards of 600,000 children under 5 each year.

It is also a major bête noire of the anti-GMO food crowd.

Take a look at this:citizensagainstgmoThis is a page from the website citizensagainstgmo dot com. It lists golden rice as number 5 among the top 10 GMO food products.

This site is hosted on the same server as the sites for Justice Through Music Project, Velvet Revolution US, Breitbart Unmasked, NRAWatch, Pussy Riot Defense Fund, and other Kimberlin-related sites.

Hmmmmm.

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Why does these people hate poor children living in the third world?

On the Effectiveness of Masks

City Journal has a post by Jeffrey H. Anderson that examines the actual published medical literature on the effectiveness of face masks in preventing the spread of viral infections. Here’s the TL/DR—

In sum, of the 14 RCTs {randomized controlled trials] that have tested the effectiveness of masks in preventing the transmission of respiratory viruses, three suggest, but do not provide any statistically significant evidence in intention-to-treat analysis, that masks might be useful. The other eleven suggest that masks are either useless—whether compared with no masks or because they appear not to add to good hand hygiene alone—or actually counterproductive.

That appears to be consistent with the basic physics of how filters work.

Math is Hard—Logic is Harder—and Facts are Stubborn

Today, Joe Xiden said that 350,000,000 Americans have now been vaccinated against the Wuhan virus. Here’s a snapshot of the U.S. Census Bureau’s online population clock taken at 12:18:39 ET this afternoon—His Fraudulency is also encouraging those Americans who haven’t yet been vaccinated to get their shots.

I was going to write a longer post about vaccination records possibly being processed by the people who counted votes last November, but I’ve got real work to do.

Is it 2025 yet?

The Physics of Filtering

When I was small child, our family lived in house without air-conditioning. We had screens on all the windows and an attic fan to cool the house. The gaps in the screens were small enough to prevent flies and mosquitos from entering the house. It would have been foolish to replace the screens with chain link fencing and expect that the bugs would still be kept out. A housefly has a wing span around 1/2 lnch, and the wires in chain link fencing are a couple of inches apart. The gap is about four times the size of a fly. A fly can easily pass through.

The gap between fibers in a typical cloth face mask is on the order of 2 to 3 micrometers. The coronavirus is on the oder of 0.3 micrometers.

The mathematics of the filtering is left to the Gentle Reader as an exercise.

Math and Science Are Hard

I was puzzled by the CDC’s recent claim that the Wuhan Virus Pandemic had cased a one year drop in life expectance in the U. S. It turns out that their claim is so screwed up it isn’t even wrong. If life expectancy has dropped because of Covid, the decline is probably less than a week, an amount so small that it’s inside the roundoff error of the statistics. Eugene Volokh has a post up with details from a report by Dr. Peter Bach.

Analysts estimate that, on average, a death from Covid-19 robs its victim of around 12 years of life. Approximately 400,000 Americans died Covid-19 in 2020, meaning about 4.8 million years of life collectively vanished. Spread that ghastly number across the U.S. population of 330 million and it comes out to 0.014 years of life lost per person. That’s 5.3 days. There were other excess deaths in 2020, so maybe the answer is seven days lost per person.

No matter how you look at it, the result is a far cry from what the CDC announced.

It’s not that the agency made a math mistake. I checked the calculations myself, and even went over them with one of the CDC analysts. The error was more problematic in my view: The CDC relied on an assumption it had to know was wrong….

Apparently, 2 + 2 equals whatever the public health establishment needs it to be.

Mechanics: Terrestrial, Celestial, and Political

The Gentle Reader may remember the pointage, laughery, and mockification that resulted for Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) asking an admiral if the Navy might cause the island of Guam to capsize if too many personnel were stationed there. Earlier this week, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) asked the associate deputy chief of the Forest Service a question about climate change.

I understand, from what’s been testified to the Forest Service and the BLM, you want very much to work on the issue of climate change.

I was informed by the immediate past director of NASA that they’ve found that the moon’s orbit is changing slightly and so is the Earth’s orbit around the sun. We know there’s been significant solar flare activity. And so, is there anything that the National Forest Service or BLM can do to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the sun? Obviously, that would have profound effects on our climate.

The usual suspects saw what they thought was an opportunity, and they pounced.

However, there is a significant difference between the two incidents. Johnson was asking his question in all seriousness. Gohmert’s question was framed to make the rhetorical point that the Sun probably has a greater effect on the Earth’s climate than anything the Forest Service might do.

Remind me. Which is the party of Science?

Some New Words

One of the advantages of a proper education in Western Civilization that included ancient languages is the ability to coin new technical and scientific words without having to resort to Newspeak. Take the word hoplophobia for example. Jeff Cooper created the term by combining the Greek words όπλο (weapon) and φοβία (fearfulness) to describe the irrational fear of weapons. It succinctly describes an attitude held by many who favor suppression of Second Amendment rights. BTW, it is more on point than the misuse of the -phobia suffix in the words homophobia and Islamophobia which seems to mean the hatred of homosexual and muslims rather than the fear of them. A proper Greek-derived suffix for hatred would be -echtra.

I see a need for a couple of new phobia-suffix words to describe attitudes that are becoming prevalent in our public discourse. They are epistimiphobia and altitheiaphobia.

The first is based on επιστήμη which means science, so it means an irrational fear of science. I believe it will be useful in describing the sort of person who clings to a particular hypothesis long after it has been falsified repeatably because of an emotional investment a false belief.

The second is based on αλήθεια which meant truth or reality. It means an irrational fear of the truth. I believe it will be useful in describing  the sort of person who is even further along in his denial than an epistimiphobe.

The guy who is still wearing two masks in the park may be an epistimiphobe, but if believes that he is a woman, he’s probably an alitheiaphobe.

Doing Science in the Laboratories of Democracy

Different states have taken different approaches in dealing with the Wuhan Virus Pandemic. Some states have operated based on a working hypothesis that said extensive lockdowns, prolonged masking, and the like would provide better outcomes than states which began returning to normal life more quickly.

The various experiments have been run, the differing hypotheses tested.

Texas began reopening fairly early and reported no deaths from Covid-19 on Sunday.

Maryland, a smaller state which has followed a middle course, reported 3 Covid deaths for Sunday.

New York, which has taken one of the most restrictive approaches, reported 35 Covid deaths for Sunday.

The Gentle Reader may form his own conclusions as to which, if any, hypothesis has been shown false.

Updating An Earlier Post

On Monday, I put up a post about getting The Right Answer from the Wrong Argument. I received this comment in a email from one of the Gentle Readers named Mary Pat Campbell, and I believe it’s worth sharing:

I am happy that you address what Stacy wrote. I have the same perspective as you, being a run-of-the-mill Catholic. My own degrees are in math & physics, and I loved quantum mechanics… and some asked me how I could reconcile that with being a believing Catholic. My response: who am I to tell God how to order the universe?

We were given reason to figure out how God has ordered creation, not to make aesthetic critiques of those choices.

Separately, I do find it grimly amusing that those who take the (translated) words of Genesis literally usually don’t do the same thing when considering Jesus saying “This is my body”.

Ms. Campbell and I most likely have different understandings of what Jesus meant when He said, “This is my body,” but I bet we both are thankful that God is doing something wonderful for us in ways we can’t completely understand.

More Reporting on Rebekah Jones

Charles C. W. Cooke has a good summary post up at NRO that explains why the conspiracy theories being spun by Rebekah Jones are bunk. More people are starting to catch on to her scam.

Eventually, though, her luck is going to run out. And when it does, no amount of flailing or distraction is going to prevent the bills from coming due.

Yep. It may take a while, but everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.

 

The Right Answer from the Wrong Argument

My podcasting partner Stacy McCain has a post up at The Other McCain titled
Of Course, Evolution Is Racist. I believe his concluding paragraph is absolutely correct.

God rules the universe, all men will be judged by Him, and “there is no respect of persons with God.” The high and the low, the rich and the poor, men of every race and tongue — all shall acknowledge God’s authority at the final day. Never doubt that for a minute. Selah.

However, much of his post is simply wrong, based on a lack of understanding of Darwin, Nietzsche, and Genesis, compounded by a century-and-a-half of pseudoscientific and pseudotheological spin.

Properly understood, evolutionary biology does not address the existence or non-existence of God. As I show in the essays found under the Science and the Bible tab in the Menu above, nothing in the Hebrew text of Genesis limits how God exercised his power creating the Universe. Moreover, what we know from Science is fully compatible with what is revealed in the Bible. There’s no reason to be drawn into a false contest between two strawmen, one created to attack religious faith and the other created to defend a particular limited understanding of the Bible.

Indeed, being wrong about the commonly understood facts of the natural world tarnishes one’s credibility. As Augustine wrote,

If they hear a Christian embracing error in a thing that they know well, and hear him defend in the same way our Scriptures, how will they believe those books concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of life eternal, and the kingdom of heaven, when they believe they are full of lies about facts they themselves have learned from experience and the light of reason?

Here are some snippets from those essays.

I’m not a scientist or a theologian.  I’m an engineer.  In practicing my profession, I’m often presented with a problem that is too complex to be solved all at once.  When this happens, my usual approach is to try to break the problem in to smaller chunks and to go after each simpler piece using what I know about the basic laws of Physics.  These first principles include such things as Newton’s Laws of Motion or the Laws of Thermodynamics.  It should not be surprising that I would take a similar approach to my understanding of how what we know of God from the Bible squares with what we know of God from the fingerprints He has left on His handiwork in creation.

What are the first principles that apply to this inquiry?

The very first principle is a belief in the existence of God and an understanding that He tells the truth.  I’ll take that as a given for this work.  If I’ve lost you at this point, let me suggest that you leave this post now and pick up a copy of a book such as C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity instead.

If you’re still with me, the next of these first principles is that, if God is who He says He is, then we ought to pay close attention to what He tells us—both the explicit things He tells us in the Bible and the implicit things we learn from our knowledge of the natural world.

The third of these first principles is that we will ask questions only where we can expect valid answers.  When we want answers concerning the general history of the universe or the laws of its mundane behavior, we will go to Science, but there are things for which Science cannot have an answer.  In A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking asks

What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?  The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the question of why there should be a universe for the model to describe.  Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?

Science is about how; religion is about why.  Thus, if we wish to know about God’s governance of the universe or His relationship with man, we will look first to the explicit statements of the Scriptures.

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The scientific evidence for common descent is quite strong.  Indeed, over the last century or so, no other hypothesis has been able to account scientifically for the unity and diversity of life on earth. Common descent has been verified so extensively that it is the currently accepted scientific “fact.” The common descent hypothesis makes predictions that have been confirmed not only in genomics and molecular biology but also in other areas such as paleontology and anthropology. No significant contradictory physical evidence has been found. Competing proposals either have been contradicted by the evidence or are not testable using the scientific method. No other scientific explanation competes with common descent.

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No serious biologist doubts the theory of evolution is the best explanation we have thus far for the complexity and diversity of life on earth. Given the genetic relatedness of all known organisms, it is hard to imagine how one would go about understanding biology without the foundation that evolution provides. Oh, one could do what was once called natural history and classify living things in various ways, but one could not engage in modern biology.

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Notice also that God commanded that the earth and the waters “bring forth” the living things He created. The text doesn’t say how, it just says that God commanded and that it was so. Thus, when I look at what Scripture really says and the evidence of God’s handiwork in creation, I am led to believe that He was wise enough to create a universe that would use the natural processes He provided from the beginning to work its way toward producing the creatures God wanted. Of course, God may have created each species or group of species separately, but there is nothing in Genesis that requires us to say that God used any particular means other than His commands for the universe to be as He willed. But His fingerprints seem to be on one particular method—evolution through natural selection.

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I wrote in the Introduction that Science and Theology are both attempts to learn true things, but they usually use very different methods. As we’ve gone down the Science-side of the street, we’ve looked at what Science and the Bible have to say of about the origin of space and time. We’ve considered the spectrum of beliefs about the origins of the universe, the Earth, life, and man, and the nature of time and its relationship to God. We examined what our own DNA and the Bible reveal about the origin and nature of man, and at what physics, geology, chemistry, biology, and Genesis tell us about how the earth got to be like it is today. We looked at how astronomy reinforces the New Testament’s record of the life of Christ.

On the Bible-side we’ve seen how the truth of the Scriptures can inform our interpretation of Science. Science and the Bible are not to opposing ways of looking at the world. They are complementary ways of understanding different slices of God’s truth.

A God Who can say “Let there be …” and have things of unimaginable complexity happen is an awesome God. I hope that you leave this series of posts with a deeper sense of awe of the Almighty.

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Selah.

One more thing … Evolution isn’t racist, but many so-called Social Darwinists used it as a false foundation for their racism just as some religious folks tried to use various misinterpretations of the Bible to support their racism.

UPDATE—There really isn’t a philosophical connection between Darwin and Nietzsche. In fact, Nietzsche was dismissive of Darwin. He wrote this in Beyond Good and Evil

There are truths best perceived by mediocre minds, because they are most suited to them; there are truths that have charms and seductive powers only for mediocre spirits: we are being forced just now to embrace this perhaps unpleasant tenet, ever since the spirit of respectable, but mediocre Englishmen (I am thinking of Darwin, John Stuart Mill, and Herbert Spencer) has begun to gain the upper hand in the middle region of European taste.

Nietzsche’s posthumous Writings from the Late Notebooks contains this—

What surprises me most when surveying the great destinies of man is always seeing before me the opposite of what Darwin and his school see or want to see today: selection in favor of the stronger, in favor of those who have come off better, the progress of the species. The very opposite is quite palpably the case: the elimination of the strokes of luck, the uselessness of the better-constituted types, the inevitable domination achieved by the average, even below-average types.

Nietzsche didn’t see how Darwin’s views lead to the Übernensch. The imagined connection between Darwin and Nietzsche comes from the writings of late 19th- and early 20th-century pundits who had no real understanding of either the Englishman’s or the German’s work.

Solving the Problem of Woke Math

There’s an excellent review of woke math over at Legal Insurrection. Go read it; it does a better job of summarizing the danger to our society.

However, I have a suggestion about how to shutdown woke math education in the schools. Simply calculate the pay of any teacher or education bureaucrat using or promoting woke math on the basis of 2 + 2 = 3.

TANSTAAFL

Science Alert reports that accurate testing of the so-called EM reactionless drive showed that it does not produce any thrust. A previous test at NASA Eagleworks lab claimed to have detected thrust, but at a statistically insignificant level.

The latest attempt to replicate the shocking results has resulted in a simple answer: the Eagleworks measurement was from heating of the engine mount, not any new physics.

The Conservation of Momentum is a bedrock principle of Physics, so no one should be surprised when a real world apparatus conserves momentum. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.