Monday, December 28, 2015


My idea of enviable success is being able to buy what you need without much thought, buy a few luxuries, have a pool of supportive, intelligent friends, and have a few children in the same condition or headed that way. If you are a manager have all your associates in the same condition. As Henry Ford is alleged to have said if all of my employees can't afford to buy my product I have failed.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

On Hate.

“A meditation on hate.
Ian Welsh.

Hate, and its brother, anger, can supply energy and motivation, but they are like shots of adrenaline. Over time they damage  the body and poison the mind. If used at all, they should be used in moderation, lest you hurt yourself more than the person you hate or at whom you angry.

Friday, December 25, 2015

In any useful ontology, Santa Claus is real

 Miniver Cheevy: Yes, Virginia

Title stolen as a universal truth from Jonathan Korman on Facebook introducing this thoughtful blog post. Do not be confused by the allusion to the editorial by F.P.Church.  

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Character Assination of Thomas Jefferson.

The current Internet discussion rule among liberals and conservatives alike is that any mention of Jefferson must point out the hypocrisy of his owning slaves, and choosing a black woman to mother his late life children. Er, excuse me, I have that meme wrong, he fucked a slave woman.

Never mind that politically, culturally and economically it would have been impossible and possibly immoral to free his slaves, according to present day standards he was a hypocrite.

Not the least of his problems was that he inherited via his first wife, 135 slaves and a large debt ridden estate. The sensible thing to do would be to sell off the slaves and the land separately, as the package without a resident manager would not have paid the debt.  So as an honorable, socially responsible slave owner he had to pay off the debts and maintain the business as a slave employing plantation.

Even the usually thoughtful and liberal The Weekly Sift devotes a short paragraph in an otherwise excellent post to trashing the founding fathers for owning slaves and includes the "Fact" that a sizeable chunk of Jefferson's surviving children were "fathered on a slave." 

Any person serving in the public sphere as a politician, entertainer, author, or even a blogger deserves the respect of not being trashed on some aspect of herm private life that you disagree with.  Herm public service actions and publications should stand alone as herm public reputation.  Private actions should be dealt with in the private sector, and kept there even if private actions become public through public records as in criminal convictions.  Many public servants have private indescretions resulting in a legal record, that are largely ignored.  Gossip about private activities are even less deserving of public airing to besmirch the reputation of our public figures. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Belief Quotes

I have no beliefs.  Belief gets in the way of learning.
Lazarus Long - Time Enough For Love, Robert A Heinlein, 1973 p20.

My own opinion is that belief is the death of intelligence. As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence.  
 soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence.
Read more at:
As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence.
Read more at:
As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence.
Read more at:

Robert Anton Wilson - Cosmic Trigger Volume I: Final Secret of the Illuminati,Preface to the Falcon Press Edition, 1986

In any useful ontology, Santa Claus is real.
Jonathan Korman 

AciraZade 2/2/2004 12:44 PM3 out of 26


In regards to BS, this needs to be credited to Robert Anton Wilson, who was the first I ever read use it in regards to Belief Systems. It's SUPPOSED to register in your mind as bullsh**... :P

Actually, I could go on and on for many posts explaining the mindset and perspective behind BS and why RAW uses that acronym, and why I happily adopted it, but it would be easier to just refer you to any RAW works. If you're interested, let me know, and I'll get you a title.

It strikes me as a bit funny that Rauch so happily adopted this habit of mine to use BS in place of Belief System... I think it's beneficial to the believer because it typically reminds the person, wait, this is what I think, but it's prolly BS to a lot of other people...

Anyway, now I'm REALLY off-topic. 

Note the above is copyrighted material.  Mirrored here as the link maintenance is iffy. 


The Null Hypothesis and Pattern Illusions.

Meredith L. Patterson
I build things with language. Some of them are even in words.
The null hypothesis is science’s first and last line of defense against one of the most terrifying properties of the human mind: the capacity to find patterns. Our pattern-matching ability is innate. We are the species whose niche is anything we can adapt to ourselves, and that facility for adaptation is built in part on our capacity to recognize patterns such as “when food sits in fire, its texture changes and it becomes easier to eat, until it burns.”
Like Philip K. Dick said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
 Jonathan Korman:
Of course, as a modern Hermeticist I am cultivating specific pattern illusions which I find help me live the life that suits me
Warning: JK is a synthesist so that anything you read about modern Hermeticism probably does not apply.  As usual for most mentioned on this blog johnbigbootie's One person Religion is about the best you can do. 

Creating beliefs is a necessary activity of a sapient, and probably any rational brain to stay alive.  As Shermer notes in The Believing Brain believing that the dark stripes in the waving tall grass calls for evasive action is a survival tactic.  The cost/benefit equation says don’t think just do.  Create a safe space from the grass, and then you can apply the null hypothesis that it is waving grass and not a tiger.  Otherwise the null hypothesis is likely to kill you.  

At almost any level of living beliefs allow us to function in common situations without having to really think about how we will react.  If a young woman sees a man leering at her her belief that he is a rapist is quite functional and she can take appropriate actions to eliminate the danger to her person.  Once she is safe it might be useful to examine her belief that the particular instance might have some prejudicial component and the null hypothesis that not all X are rapists could be useful in managing her prejudice.  But at some point the law of diminishing returns becomes important and the belief that all strange men are rapists may be functional.  

When I was learning to drive my instructor taught me to believe that all other drivers on the road were either drunk or crazy and my job as a driver was to make sure none of them could get close enough to my car to cause damage.  The null hypothesis that not all drivers on the road are drunk or crazy is a waste of time as keeping a safe space is reasonable in any case.  

Where beliefs become dysfunctional and should be tested against a null hypothesis are the "Everyone knows" or "It is just common sense" to believe Y.   Even then if "Everyone" in "Everyone knows" is the tribe, sect, or gang one is a member of, challenging Y against the null hypothesis may be hazardous to ones mental health at least.  But for those with an intelligent support group like a university or STEM community the null hypothesis is the path to intellectual growth and learning.