Natura non facit saltus
Debunking the Paradigm Shifters
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Monday, Sep 29, 2008
Foreign policy experience
It is funny to see people continue to complain about Sarah Palin's foreign experience, and claim that she is unfit because of the way she explained herself to Katie Couric.
Obama's foreign policy experience argument is far more ridiculous. A few months ago, Obama bragged that "foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident" and then cited "having lived in Indonesia for four years, having family that is impoverished in small villages in Africa".
If this election gets decided based on foreign policy experience, then it should be an easy win for McCain-Palin. To the limited extent that Obama and Biden have such experience, it is all bad.
Sunday, Sep 28, 2008
Curvature of Constitutional Space
Tulane astrophysicist Frank J. Tipler writes:
The Obama-Tribe 'Curvature of Constitutional Space' Paper is Crackpot PhysicsThis article appears to be as funny as Tribe's original article. I am not sure how much Barack Obama had todo with the article, but it seems to be his only academic credit. He has no scholarly article published under his own name.
Meanwhile, 61 Nobel prizewinners have endorsed Obama:
The country urgently needs a visionary leader ... During the administration of George W. Bush, vital parts of our country's scientific enterprise have been damaged by stagnant or declining federal support. ... We have watched Senator Obama's approach to these issues with admiration.There are no specifics. I guess they expect Obama to pump more money into their pet projects. Apparently Obama is doing very well among the elitist snobs, along with his core constituency of people who do not pay taxes. He is not doing so well among middle class white married people.
One prizewinner, Phil Anderson, gave this explanation:
There are too many obvious reasons to pick one. Let me name three. 1. Torture; 2. Tax cuts for the rich; 3. A [running mate, Sarah Palin] who believes in the Apocalypse and not in evolution.This is what happened when experts give opinions outside their expertise -- they say idiotic things. McCain has done more to abolish torture than anyone. And McCain voted against the Bush tax cuts.
Friday, Sep 26, 2008
Obama lies again about his Iraq War positions
In tonight's Presidential debate Obama said:
Now six years ago, I stood up and opposed this war at a time when it was politically risky to do so because I said that not only did we not know how much it was going to cost, what our exit strategy might be, how it would affect our relationships around the world, and whether our intelligence was sound, but also because we hadn't finished the job in Afghanistan.Not exactly. Here is what he opposed in that speech six years ago:
What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.I also commented on this speech here and here.
As you can see, Obama did not oppose the war. He did not take a political risk, because everyone is against a dumb war. If the war turned out to be popular, he would just say that he expressed some reservations about it.
He did not say that the Iraq War would be a distraction from the hunt for bin Laden, or anything like that. He did mention the uncertain costs of war, but he said nothing about whether our intelligence was sound or how the war might affect our relationships around the world.
I wish McCain or someone would confront Obama with his deception. Obama falls back on his 2002 speech as his chief qualification to be president, just as John Kerry liked to cite his Vietnam record. It was a lame and stupid speech, and it should not qualify Obama for anything.
That speech was very anti-war. Obama gave it at an anti-war rally. He said that Iraq was not an imminent threat. He attacked Karl Rove. He supported hunting bin Laden. He said that he is opposed to dumb wars. He supported UN inspections. He said that we ought not to follow a path to war blindly.And what part of that was politically risky? That is just a recitation of conventional wisdom that most people agreed with. Even Pres. Bush said that Iraq was not an imminent threat in his 2003 SOTU speech. In his 2004 Democrat Convention speech, Obama said that he did not know how he would have voted on the Iraq War.
I think that a fair summary of Obama's 2002 speech would be has some reservations about the Iraq War because he disagrees with the ideological agendas of the Bush administration, because an invasion would be risky, and because Iraq might be contained by other means. He does not want to rush into war blindly. Okay, those are fair points, but Obama did not take the gutsy and prescient political stand that he now pretends that he did.
I am not the only pointing out Obama's inconsistencies in his Iraq War stance. In January, Reuters reported:
"Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen," Clinton had said in accusing Obama of distorting his stance on the war.The Obama supporters claimed that this Bill Clinton comment was racist, but Clinton was exactly correct. Obama's story about his Iraq War opposition is a big fairy tale.
Wednesday, Sep 24, 2008
Supporting comprehensive sex education
Movie critic Roger Ebert defends writing a creationist article, and writes:
Many political ads are an insult to the intelligence. Here I am not discussing politics. I am discussing credulity. If you were to see a TV ad charging that a politician supported "comprehensive sex education" for kindergarten children, would you (1) believe it, or (2) very much doubt it? The authors of the ad spent big money in a bet on the credulity and unquestioning thinking of the viewership. Ask yourself what such an ad believes about us.Huhh? Barack Obama certainly did support a bill for "comprehensive sex education" for kindergarten children, and he defended his vote in a political debate.
The error in the McCain ad was that it describe the bill as Obama's only legislative accomplishment. In fact the bill did not pass, and Obama had no legislative accomplishments.
Tuesday, Sep 23, 2008
From our idiotic VP candidate
Here is the latest gaffe from Joe Biden:
"Part of what being a leader does is to instill confidence is to demonstrate what he or she knows what they are talking about and to communicating to people ... this is how we can fix this," Biden said. "When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the princes of greed. He said, 'look, here's what happened.'"The 1929 crash was before FDR was even elected President. FDR was famous for his fireside chats on the radio, not TV. Biden is not instilling confidence in anyone.
We got our brains from Neanderthals
There is more and more evidence that Neanderthals were smart:
Paleontologists digging in sediments at two large caves on a Gibraltar beach have found clear evidence that more than 30,000 years ago, Neanderthals ate mussels and other mollusks, fish and even marine mammals like seals and dolphins. And it was not that this bounty just fell into their lap: there are other signs that they actively hunted some of their seafood, just as they did with land animals.According to recent research, human African ancestors were separated from European Neanderthals for 500K years, but it takes 2M years of separation for mammals to split into species that cannot interbreed. They are sequencing the Neanderthal genome, and finding genes that were previously thought to be unique to human intelligence.
Evolutionists have said for decades that Neanderthals were a separate species that did not interbreed with human ancestors. They refused to accept that Neanderthal big brains could have anythtng to do with intelligence, and pretended that it was just concidence that Neanderthals vaguely resembled modern Europeans.
Maybe in the next couple of years they'll get more DNA from Neanderthal fossils and figure out whether we descended from Neanderthals.
Monday, Sep 22, 2008
Don't believe the financial doomsayers
I don't believe that we are in such a financial crisis. I think that the proposed bailout is a terrible idea, and if it passes, it will be one of the biggest boondoggles in history.
If we really had a serious problem deserving of such a bailout, then the bailout proponents would be able to give us some specifics of just exactly what the problem is, and exactly why the bailout is the best way of addressing that problem. They cannot do that. I hope that Congress refuses to give them a dime.
Saturday, Sep 20, 2008
What is the shape and color of a Yield sign?
About 30 years ago, when nobody was paying attention, an army of govt agents changed all the yield signs in the USA from yellow to red and white. Everyone was hypnotized into not noticing. Don't believe me? Try asking your friends. They will adamantly claim that yield signs are yellow. Even when you show them a yield sign, they will claim that it must be a recent change.
Wednesday, Sep 17, 2008
Britannica on Einstein
Encyclopædia Britannica Online writes:
Other scientists, especially Henri Poincaré and Hendrik Lorentz, had pieces of the theory of special relativity, but Einstein was the first to assemble the whole theory together and to realize that it was a universal law of nature, not a curious figment of motion in the ether, as Poincaré and Lorentz had thought.That is crazy. Poincare had published arguments that the ether was unobservable, and Einstein had read them three years publishing his own ideas about special relativity.
Britannica also says this about Poincare:
This paper, and others of his at this time, came close to anticipating Albert Einstein’s discovery of the theory of special relativity. But Poincaré never took the decisive step of reformulating traditional concepts of space and time into space-time, which was Einstein’s most profound achievement. Attempts were made to obtain a Nobel Prize in physics for Poincaré, but his work was too theoretical and insufficiently experimental for some tastes.No, it was Einstein who resisted combining space and time into spacetime. He rejected it until a couple of years after Poincare and Minkowski published it. Einstein even ridiculed the concept, until he was eventually persuaded.
I have edited the Conservapedia page on Einstein to describe his original work more accurately, and to list various false attributions.
I wonder whether Einstein even deserves any credit for the photoelectric effect, for which he got the 1921 Nobel Prize. It was Max Planck who discovered that light was quantized in 1900, with the photon having an energy proportional to the frequency, and got the Nobel Prize for it in 1918. It was Philipp Lenard who did the experimental verification of Planck's ideas by measuring the photoelectric effect in 1902, and got the 1905 Nobel Prize. Einstein wrote a paper on the subject in 1905, and got a prize in 1921 after he became an international celebrity.
In 1905, independently of Planck’s work, Einstein argued that under certain circumstances radiant energy itself seemed to consist of quanta (light quanta, later called photons), ... The discussions there stimulated Henri Poincaré to provide a mathematical proof that Planck’s radiation law necessarily required the introduction of quanta -- a proof that converted James (later Sir James) Jeans and others into supporters of the quantum theory.No, Einstein's work was not independent of Planck's. Einstein's 1905 paper cites Planck's 1900 paper in the second footnote. The term "quanta" is Planck's term. Planck said that the energy of a photon is equal to hf, where f is the frequency and h is now known as Planck's constant. Planck is considered one of the founders of quantum mechanics. I am not sure yet what was Einstein's original contribution, but it was certainly not the idea that light is quantized. My guess is that Einstein's defenders will say that he deserves the credit anyway, because he was the only one who truly understood what he was saying. It seems unlikely to me. Einstein got the prize because of his celebrity status more than anything else.
Monday, Sep 15, 2008
Searching for a theory of everything
Physicist Michio Kaku writes:
At the very least, physicists hope to find a new particle, called the Higgs boson, the last piece of the Standard Model of particles. But some physicists hope to do even better. The LHC might shed light on the "theory of everything," a single theory which can explain all fundamental forces of the universe, a theory which eluded Albert Einstein for the last 30 years of his life. This is the Holy Grail of physics. Einstein hoped it would allow us to "read the Mind of God."No, not really. The Standard Model is a single theory that explains all known particle physics. It is a theory of everything. String theory is no longer a candidate for any real world explanations.
I expect the LHC to find the Higgs, but no other new particles.
Friday, Sep 12, 2008
Obama on the WTC attack
Here is what Barack Obama published, shortly after 9-11-2001, in a Chicago newspaper:
We must also engage, however, in the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness. The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others. Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion, or ethnicity. It may find expression in a particular brand of violence, and may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics. Most often, though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.No, he was wrong on every point. The suicide terrorists are not poor, or ignorant, or lacking in empathy. They are Mohammedans from the Middle East.
We need a President who recognizes evil when he sees it.
Thursday, Sep 11, 2008
ABC News tries to sandbag Palin
Charlie Gibson of ABC News tried to trick Sarah Palin:
GIBSON: The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?No, that is not the Bush Doctrine. VP Dick Cheney said in 2003:
The Bush Doctrine asserts that states supporting terrorists, or providing sanctuary for terrorists, will be deemed just as guilty of crimes as the terrorists themselves.There is a big difference.
Charles Krauthammer says that there are four Bush doctrines.
Gibson also misquoted Palin. Palin suggested praying that the Iraq War is a task from God, not that she was declaring it to be a task from God.
You are ignoring the fact that Bush has been widely criticized for ordering a preemptive strike on Iraq. He has talked about actions against other hostile countries. That is what the news media attributes to Bush.We did not just act preemptively against Iraq. We acted to enforce post-Kuwait-War agreements and UN weapons inspections. Preemption is not a good description of what happened. We have not attacked Iran or N. Korea preemptively.
Preemption is not a Bush doctrine. A White House National Security Strategy did say, in September 2002:
The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction— and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.That was just a restatement ofIt is longstanding policy. Even John Kerry said, in the 2004 Presidential Debate:
KERRY: The president always has the right, and always has had the right, for preemptive strike. That was a great doctrine throughout the Cold War. And it was always one of the things we argued about with respect to arms control.Gibson's description of the Bush Doctrine was wrong.
Here is another version of the Bush Doctrine:
In an interview, Bush press secretary Dana Perino said that "the Bush doctrine is commonly used to describe key elements of the president's overall strategy for dealing with threats from terrorists." She laid out three elements:
CAIR spokesman Saqib A. Zuberi writes:
Last week, former presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani stated: "For four days in Denver, the Democrats were afraid to use the term 'Islamic terrorism.' I imagine they believe it is politically incorrect to say it. I think they believe they will insult someone. Please tell me who they are insulting if they say, 'Islamic terrorism.' They are insulting terrorists!"No. Islam is opposed to American religious freedom. CAIR has repeatedly been shown to support terrorism, as has been shown here.
Tuesday, Sep 09, 2008
Only Republicans believe in the US Constitution
Here is aRasmussen poll:
Should the Supreme Court make decisions based on what's written in the Constitution and legal precedents or should it be guided mostly by a sense of fairness and justice?This is a striking difference. I think that the burden should really be on Barack Obama to explain his legal philosophy. He has said that he disapproves of Justices Roberts, Alito, and Thomas, but he hasn't really explained how his appointments would decide cases, if not according to the US Constitution.
Saturday, Sep 06, 2008
Susskind exaggerates String Theory
In a Lenny Susskind interview broadcast on C-SPAN2 today, he said:
Let me say waht the current state of play is. ... String Theory is a mathematical theory, it's a highly consistent -- nobody doubts its internal consistency, mathematical internal consistency -- having nothing to do with whether its a theory of the real world. It is a mathematically internally consistent theory that has quantum mechanics in it, and it has gravity. And in it we can prove that black holes do not lose information.No, this is just not right. No one has shown that String Theory is a mathematical internally consistent theory. It does not have quantum mechanics in it, and it does not have gravity in it.
If someone disputes these points, just ask to see the research papers that prove the points. They do not exist.
Friday, Sep 05, 2008
Obama admits the surge succeeded
Here is how Obama defended his opposition to the Iraq surge:
Barack Obama made his long-anticipated debut on Fox News' "O'Reilly Factor" Thursday night, where he talked about the Iraq war and national security.No, it has succeeded as John McCain anticipated. More than anything else, the Iraq surge is the defining issue of this presidential campaign. McCain bet his career on the surge, and did everything he could to support it. Most political observers believed that it would end his presidential chances, because they did not believe it would work. Obama opposed the surge at every chance. Obama voted in favor of Iraq War funding until the surge, at which point he opposed the war and the funding for the surge.
Obama's admission is stunning. He refused to admit that he was wrong about the surge, showing a stubbornness that exceeds Pres. Bush's. But he plainly was wrong, and continues to be wrong.
Thursday, Sep 04, 2008
Want change, Democrats? Stop nominating lawyers
Victor Davis Hanson writes:
The Democrats could have not nominated another lawyer. ...He's right. Lawyers are trained to give legal advice. A lawyer might be an excellent trusted advisor, but is rarely put in any position of real responsibility.
The Democrats have nominated two clueless elitists with no real world experience. Barrack Obama has never done anything of consequence. Joe Biden has cast some votes on some important issues, but he has been wrong most of the time. They do not even seem to have any opinions about reforming our legal system, or be able to tell us what kind of judges they will appoint. No one at the Democrat Convention even mentioned judges. And when you get off the subject of law, they know even less.
Tuesday, Sep 02, 2008
Obama never made a tough decision
From the Aug. 16 TV interview:
Rick Warren: What's the most significant -- let me ask it this way. What's the most gut-wrenching decision you ever had to make and how did you process that to come to that decision?
Barrack Obama: Well, you know, I think the opposition to the war in Iraq was as tough a decision as I've had to make. Not only because there were political consequences, but also because Saddam Hussein was a real bad person, and there was no doubt that he meant America ill. But I was firmly convinced at the time that we did not have strong evidence of weapons of mass destruction, and there were a lot of questions that, as I spoke to experts, kept on coming up. Do we know how the Shia and the Sunni and the Kurds are going to get along in a post-Saddam situation? What's our assessment as to how this will affect the battle against terrorists like al Qaeda? Have we finished the job in Afghanistan?
So I agonized over that. And I think that questions of war and peace generally are so profound. . . .This is pathetic and dishonest. It is pathetic because Obama was just an Illinois politician who did not have to vote on whether to goto war or not. And he did not take a firm stand. He cowardly recited some of the arguments for and against the war, without taking a side.
Obama is dishonest because he never doubted the WND evidence, or gave any of those other arguments against the Iraq War. If you don't believe it, read his famous Oct. 2002 speech on the subject. He said:
I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He's a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.These are mostly statements that Pres. Bush would have agreed with. Bush explicitly said that Saddam was not an imminent threat, but he defied UN resolutions and did those other things.
We had a vigorous war debate back in 2002. The way some people tell the story today, you would get the impression that it was a debate between those who believed the WMD evidence and those who did not, with the believers winning because Pres. Bush lied about the evidence.
But that was not the debate. Yes, the intelligence was imperfect, but better intelligence would not have changed many votes. Everyone agreed that Iraq was defying UN resolutions and not complying with weapons inspections. The main issue was whether to give Iraq an ultimatum, or to give Iraq more time to comply.
Congress had to actually vote on whether or not to declare war. Obama was not in Congress and just mouthed some generalities that he could defend whether the war turned out well or not. And now he lies about it.
Addiction Doesn’t Discriminate? Wrong
Psychiatrist Sally Patel writes in the NY Times:
We’ve heard it before. “Drug abuse is an equal opportunity destroyer.” “Drug addiction is a bipartisan illness.” “Addiction does not discriminate; it doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, famous or unknown, a man or woman, or even a child.”The article also debunks the idea that addicts will always be addicts. It is common to say that alcoholics are still alcoholics, even if they have not consumed alcohol in years.
Monday, Sep 01, 2008
Vaccine policy still flawed
There have been a lot of attacks on vaccine skeptics in the news because of a trivial measles outbreak.
It is still the case that national vaccine policy is determined by drug industry lobbyists. There are no independent watchdogs on the FDA or CDC expert panels. Their meetings are not open to the public. They do not do any risk-benefit or cost-benefit analyses. They promote vaccine mandates instead of explaining the advantages of vaccination. They have a history of foolish and irresponsible vaccine recommendations, including several that have had to be resinded in just the last ten years.
I think that we'd be better off if more people refused the vaccines until we have a more open and scientific procedures for setting vaccine policy.
Here is some new research on the flu vaccine:
The influenza vaccine, which has been strongly recommended for people over 65 for more than four decades, is losing its reputation as an effective way to ward off the virus in the elderly.In other words, the scientific studies show that the flu vaccine is ineffective in the elderly, but the vaccine promoters want to tell the public that the vaccines are effective anyway.