Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cheer up! There's still science! (non-political)

In the latest issue of Discover Magazine, you’ll find an article - "Advice for the Next President" - that includes my own humble suggestions, alongside to those of Edward O. Wilson, Steven Weinberg, Jack Horner, C. Everett Koop, Danny Hillis, Peter Singer and other luminaries. Our combined proposals - to whoever wins the White House - are important, if we're to reclaim America's role as a dynamic leader in world science, education and technology.

Meanwhile, the ever-perspicacious Oliver Morton wrote in praise of my bro Kim Stanley Robinson, calling him one of Earth’s “Environmental Heroes,” in a special edition of Time Magazine.

And, of course, felicitations to Paul Krugman, winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics and not only a smart fellow, but also a longtime science fiction fan. If he wants signed copies of the Killer Bees’ SECOND FOUNDATION TRILOGY, that tied together Isaac Asimov’s famed universe (purportedly the inspiration for his career in economics), he has only to ask.

Regarding current events -- and bringing them close to home.

--- Let’s remember that some of our typical American attitude of total autonomy from our communities arose out of wealth and good times. Generally, humans have been far more tribal, because our ancestors’ lives depended on the goodwill and help and teamwork that we shared with others. In other words, this may be a good time to think about building up your neighborhood’s... well neighborliness... your community organization, your ad hoc street party group, your local potluck group, your nearby friends. There are many potential benefits:

* lots of ways to save money by exchanging barter services and possibly goods! Or exchange leads to good handymen etc.

* discussing how to share info on emergency readiness or neighborhood safety/resilience.

* gathering connections for mutual support.

I’ve lately helped the mighty philanthropy-thinker, Heather Wood-Ion, to come up with a list of possible things folks can do, to help enliven their neighborhoods and maybe make neighborliness a source of strength. Highly recommended! For those of you who live in neighborhoods that aren’t completely disfunctional... that is.

---> and now... science stuff!

== Potporri ==

--- Next week, industry experts will gather in London for the first Landfill Mining Conference. The idea is simple. Instead of disappearing under mountains of our own waste, while paying through the nose for diminishing commodities, why not dig up and recycle what we have already thrown away? Of course, this is a direct and explicit prediction from my novel Earth! (Somebody send them that scene?) Indeed, want irony? Who has the premium landfills? Americans, who were ridiculed as “wasteful” all those years. THAT’LL show em!

--- The Institute for the Future announces its revolutionary, new Massively Multiplayer Forcasting Game platform--a research platform that is open to the public, engages thousands of people around the globe in thinking about the future, and most importantly, helps us collectively shape a better world. the first game designed using this platform is SUPERSTRUCT, which is scheduled to launch on October 6 and runs until November 6, 2008. For a preview of the game, visit the Superstruct site today and watch videos for each of the five Superthreats or read the Global Extinction Awareness System (GEAS) report that sets the 2019 context. My friends and leading futurists Bob Johansen and Howard Rheingold are involved. Give it a try and report back! Such tools are needed.

--- Huh... fun. “Galaxiki is a wiki based online galaxy - each star, each planet and each moon is represented by one wiki page that can be edited by its site members.”

--- While I support the shift of the center-consensus toward a cautious resumption of nuclear power, I do hope the skeptics will play an important and useful role, by criticizing and applying “citokate” to the developing endeavor. Here is a great source of some educational and enlightening (if skeptical) insights, courtesy of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

--- Stefan Jones suggests you see this proof that not all aristocrats are uncool!

--- See about a very moving documentary about homeless vets, created by a neighbor of mine.

== Miscellany from Science! ==

(Some of these with thanks to Ray Kurzweil.)

Bucking the growing notion that human evolution has been accelerating, lately, a professor argues that there were three components to evolution – natural selection, mutation and random change. “Quite unexpectedly, we have dropped the human mutation rate because of a change in reproductive patterns.... Human social change often changes our genetic future,” he said, citing marriage patterns and contraception as examples. Although chemicals and radioactive pollution could alter genetics, one of the most important mutation triggers is advanced age in men....A drop in the number of older fathers will thus have a major effect on the rate of mutation.” (Okay, professor, so this is your line to use with a younger woman? “Hey, want to mate with an older guy in order to maximize mutations?”)

--- New research indicates that in situations in which a person is not in control, they're more likely to spot patterns where none exist, see illusions, and believe in conspiracy theories. This is actually kind of important!

--- UCSD researchers have designed a system to exploit that to test for any surface contamination on the surface of, well, anything. Their idea uses a thin layer of metal drilled with nanoscale holes, laid onto the surface being tested. When the perforated plate is zapped with laser light, the surface plasmons that form emit light with a frequency related to the materials touching the plate. A sensitive light detector is needed to measure the frequency of light given off. The team says devices using this approach can be small and portable, will work on very low power, and could detect everything from explosives to bacteria. Coming soon to your cell phone! And then my EARTH predictions registry wiki.

--- Earth may be trapped in an abnormal bubble of space-time that is particularly void of matter. Scientists say this condition could account for the apparent acceleration of the universe's expansion, for which “dark energy” currently is the leading explanation. (“Agh! this, from the same folks who blithely insisted there was NO external expanse of spacetime that we were “exploding into”! Has NOBODY else noticed how the physicists are sidestepping a central tenet, like republicans trying to claim they always believed the climate was changing!)

--- Could the 700,000 liters of superfluid helium bathed in the powerful magnetic fields of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) result in a major explosion by behaving as a supercold Bose Einstein Condensate (BEC), which have been found to explode when subjected to magnetic fields, resulting in a "Bose supernova"? (Calm down. They are just talking about blowing up a piece of CERN - not the planet.)

== Did I manage to stay non-political? ==


Only I am going to use the “comments section” (below) to dump a bunch of political riffs -- some of them variants on things I already already said -- different versions and drafts -- that have been clogging the pores, just to get them out there and off my desktop.

God love us.


Steve Gilham said...

"void of matter" -- this link is broken -- http://www.livescience.com/space/080930-st%20universe-void.html

Meanwhile, on that topic, as Keynes is reputed to have said

"When the facts change, I change my mind - what do you do, sir?"

which I thought is what scientists were supposed to do.

You let your political hobby horses get away again in the pursuit of a little bit of snideness (self righteous indignation? I wonder).

Rob Perkins said...

Off this topic, but still generally germane...

I was given a link to Chris Martenson's "crash course" at http://www.chrismartenson.com/crash-course

...where he purports to show why going off the gold standard and running deficits will put the U.S. in a Weimaresque inflationary spiral.

I suspect holes in the premises (but not in pointing out how stupid it is to run ever increasing deficits each year) but I can't suss it out.

Anyone care to spend the two hours and refute or support it?

David Brin said...

Steve, scientists are supposed to... um... admit when the paradigm has changed? Instead of pretending that the new thing is what they meant, all along?

Rob, we do not need gold mysticism. America was doing just fine and so was the world, under Clinton.

Rob Perkins said...

That's the problem: It doesn't look like mysticism. And frankly he's saying things which support the cases you made.

At the end, he recommends getting completely out of debt, investing in part in gold and silver and foreign currencies, and he sets a horizon of 10 years or so to get one's house in order.

So I don't know. I certainly don't agree that we were doing "just fine" during Clinton's years; the tail end of that was the beginning of the housing bubble. And, I do not lay all of the prosperity or foolishness of that time at his feet; the credit is not primarily the President's. (Bush bears greater blame than credit, in my opinion, because he has seemed incurious and inflexible.)

He has a rudder, not the command of the winds.

Anonymous said...

got here. first timer here

Anonymous said...

Gold standard is kinda idiotic. With the entire US Economy to steal at bargain prices, how long until someone decides to dump a trillion dollars so that they can get gold from seawater cheaply and effectively.

We don't know the flaws of the new system so well, but the flaws of the old system grow wider every day.

Rob Perkins said...

After a bit of reflection I agree. If the economy is going into Great Depression mode (which I don't agree it is) then the thing which will be scares will not be gold; nobody has gold anyway and it's more useful as a manufacturing component these days than as a store of value.

Rather, I'd be storing *food* and *goodwill* towards my neighbors, so that there is a self-gelling tribe to fall back on in times of the greatest uncertainty. You can't eat gold.

Banks have the greatest interest in staving off hyperinflation; their assets become instantly worthless if I'm paid a million dollars for a day's labor and can go hungry for that day, in order to pay off a $250,000 mortgage. That way lies madness, and I think our monetary policymakers know it.

Anonymous said...

You could probably get a copy of the Hari Seldon adventures to Krugman care of the NYTimes.

Anonymous said...

I can do "no-politics".

Although I do find myself watching the stock market saying "Bounce, kitty, bounce!".

Regards paternity at an older age, there was that Isreali study a year or two back linking older fathers with autism in their offspring. iirc, it was a well designed but small study. Hopefully somebody is looking at a larger series.

Blaming mercury in childhood immunizations is an appealing notion, but the science does not seem to be there, and the ramifications of ditching an immunized populace are, in a nonpartisan sense, frightening.


Fake_William_Shatner said...

Sound waves travel through water and air.

Radio and Magnetic waves are traveling through something, or are they expressed as particles? The whole Physics concept that we do not have an ether now runs into the "Dark Matter" -- a new particle fudging to explain stuff. It doesn't interact but has gravity -- to explain that gravity is not acting according to theory.

The ancients had man complex spheres to explain how all the planets could move correctly around the earth. Once could be excused for doing a lot of pivots around the sun.

So dammit, I'll say it; The earth revolves around the sun, and the missing link that allows all these energy fields to interact and act so very much like matter compression waves is an ether, or an aether. I'll also say that the various mini particles they find are just temporary stable forms of vortices and what they think are particles are pin-pricks into a higher dimension.

Hey, I wasn't published but I KNEW the Hubble Constant would be found to increase. MY EXPLANATION for the expansion of the Universe -- as if Gravity were running in reverse, has nothing to do with dark matter. Space enters into this universe from the higher dimensions. Thus, if you look at the geometry -- either there is more space or objects are getting smaller. Accelerate particles and where does the extra size come from? Slowing down time -- or the rate of shrinking for a particle.

As much as that may sound like gobbledy-gook, I think I've got a lot of predictions that will turn out to be true (quite a few have but who's counting?), unlike the Physicists inventing Gluons and particles that carry force and particles that just do the window cleaning.

The current theory holds that in the big bang, there was slightly more matter than anti-matter and we are the result. I'll say that there was exactly the same, and the antimatter is a higher-dimensional aspect of the matter we see -- the other end of the rabbit hole. When you create anti-matter, you switch the aspect of the same particle -- they swap dimensions. Position may be described in this higher dimension and this has important implications for future ways of travel. Perhaps the higher dimension is not picky about what it connects to in this Universe...

About 15 years ago, I played with the idea of "branes" various Universes and our expansion was caused by the approach of other Universes towards ours -- they are invisible because there isn't enough time for the light to get here. But the "time and space" situation has made me realize that outside of a Universe there is no distance. The branes would never reach or would have already collided immediately. If there were branes and multiverses -- they would be superimposed and that would give you many more dimensions -- the consensus of where MOST matter was, would give you perhaps some of the effects we are seeing with Dark Matter. This kind of collided with my ideas about electric energy -- which I think has more to do with actual time potential. Why are the charges discrete? So the multi-universe and causality ideas, are the same as the multi-brane and in some regards, by "kinetic time" model. There is only one Universe, and the potential states cancel each other out -- because the matter and anti-matter DID cancel each other out. The only existing remnant of all causality is the exact balance of forces in discrete charges. An electron is exactly negative of the proton, at any point in time, because the other states are annihilated. Perhaps even motion is the creation of a new state and annihilation of the "not stable" state.

So when you apply thrust -- you are not only pushing against the universe, and having an equal and opposite reaction of force -- you are creating an unstable state for the potential of particles to remain at rest. The resting state is destroyed, and all possible potentials but the one that moves you forward are destroyed. This is just kind of coming together as I write this -- I've had the various overlaps of competing theories bumping around. Again, however, there might be things you can do to effect higher dimensions, such that you manipulate stability for the remaining state -- or reality. I can foresee a future technology that resonates on anti-matter, and can provide both energy and motion without work. But this doesn't mean that you get something for nothing -- the entire model of "work" that we know of is incomplete and does not reflect the reality of how the Universe exists. If you look at "null space" or zero-point energy, you can see that the flow of "space" into the Universe -- which results in the effect that we call Gravity, is many times more magnitudes of WORK, than the simple little changes in position or nuclear forces we are aware of. Every time you go an order of magnitude smaller -- the energy levels are an order of magnitude higher. At the sub-quantum level, the constant annihilation of the Universe, means that in effect, what we see as MATTER, and ENERGY are more like the sunspots, or the shadows of blocked light. WE are surrounded by infinite energy and pressure -- we are flaws moving along that perfect chaos of total destruction. The Aether is infinitely dense and hot. It does not exist to us, because we are like the pressure differentials that allow for tectonic movements. The great forces are moving us, but are too random We are incredibly slow relative to the ether but what is time? The appearance of events following each other, at whatever rate you can distinguish them. If we thought faster, we would appear to move slower. If all things happened instantaneously -- unraveling that by connecting one event to the next would be making order out of chaos.

Anyway, I won't bore anyone more with this as I move into causality, unless anyone thinks that I've got a point to make and can track what I'm saying.

Cliff said...

The nerd library link Brin posted was:

The actual link is:

Fake_William_Shatner said...

Egads, my grammar was bad in that previous post. Sorry.

David Brin said...

But it was way fun, Shat!

We got the funnest bunch... ;-)

Oh Russ D has an excellent run-down on Krugman:

Tony Fisk said...

I mentioned superstruct a couple of times here, with no response whatsoever. That surprised me.

Oh well, three times a curse is done...

I've been playing for over a week with about three thousand others of varying levels of activity, with about four 'superstructs' to my credit (out of about 300, some of which you will recognise... like excess crop alcohol storage)

So far, I've been mainly concentrating on the power threat, which is actually a subtle blend of energy crunch and nationalist politics rather than getting alternate technologies going... Hell, in ten years time, they'd better be going already!

The site itself is seriously 'feature challenged' (a combination of lack of homework, or part of 'griefing' scenario that is part of the gameplay is a little unclear). A number of people are working around this...

After a week, some interesting trends are developing (in terms of play emphasis).

Is anyone else playing?

Anyway, it runs for another five weeks so, as the movie said at the end 'there is still time, brother!'

The facebook bulletin board is here (facebook account needed).
The superstuct game itself is here (free to browse).
A slightly less dysfunctional wiki has been set up here (free for all).
My profile is here.

(The Earthclan monkey tribe is needed! Plus, I could do with some raves and feedback ;-)

David Brin said...

Guys! Get your realism gamer friends to help Tony!

Unless the alternative is precinct work or helping solve our crisis in THIS world.

Griefing. Hadn't thought of it before. W is one of THOSE guys!

Anonymous said...

Re: Landfill mining: "Earth" has several scenes related to that topic, but the definitive story on that topic has got to be "Detritus Affected"

David Brin said...


Did I mention "Detritus" has had a movie option?

Still, that one's archaeology and spookiness. But the "garbage rush" scene from Earth is direct!

Tony Fisk said...

No, you didn't.

Wall-E II?? (really must catch that)

(Earth is an earlier story/reference, as well)

Tony Fisk said...

Those who prefer to superstruct in real time might consider this initiative.

(Trial by twitter: an embryonic form of 'rook parliament'. And, yes, HChat needs to be worked in there somewhere)

Anonymous said...

Escapist science fiction fun --

first photos from JJ Abrams' 2009 Star Trek released.

Anonymous said...

I know the lamp is out, I know....

But I can't help it!!! Just one picture from tonights debate!




It's not retouched or 'shooped. That's for real.

Goodnight, Senator McCain.

Acacia H. said...

You know, after reading Shatner's little article I'm getting tempted to post my unified theory of faith, magic, and chaos. Except of course that there's no method of proving it mathematically. ;)

Tesla Motors is going to push back its release of the Model-S electric sedan. In addition, there will be modest cuts in staff, partly due to an inability to get an extra $100,000,000 in investments. It makes me wish I'd won the Power Ball for $250 mil, I'd donate them that money gladly. ^^

On the plus side, it does mean that Tesla Motors is going to work to get into the black faster than they originally intended, which may make for a better business overall. And who knows, if Obama does get elected, then as part of his effort to wean America off of oil, maybe he'd give Tesla tax credits or even a grant to help get the company off the ground more rapidly.

I must admit, I'd love to own a decent electric car. I doubt I'm alone in this.

Robert A. Howard, Tangents Reviews

Rocky Persaud said...

Found this site today, Noble Ape, which seems to include cognitive and biological simulations of apes, along with ecological and geophysical simulations of the landscape. It's open source, and available for all platforms.

I've been wondering if there would be any socially useful function for a MMORPG where people were able to act out their primitive tribal instincts. The game would be simply to survive in a neolithic world, become an alpha male or alpha female if one could, live as a hunter or a gatherer, or seek an alternative career as a storyteller or a shaman. I'm sure a number of interesting questions could be looked at with this, and it might serve as a tool for modern day humans to get their primitive tribal instincts aired out so that their real world life can be free of it.

JuhnDonn said...

Robert Said... I must admit, I'd love to own a decent electric car. I doubt I'm alone in this.

I feel that distributing power for cars by electrical grid is the easiest way to change transportation infrastructure. All this talk about hydrogen fuel is pretty bogus, when you consider the difficulties with transportation and storage (metal fatigue/hardening). Eventually centralized power production (nuclear, solar, wind) will evolve to include local production for household/personal use. That will really open up some cool changes.

David Brin said...

Hydrogen was a pure scam. A way to divert funds from renewables. And when it eventually does arrive, guess who has the existing distribution hubs?

Jester! Yeow!

Folks do look at:

What IS it with McC's tongue!

Acacia H. said...

When you really think of it, hydrogen is a fool's game. The amount of power needed in order to get pure hydrogen is significant. The amount of power needed to store pure hydrogen is a bit more than storing gasoline or the like. Really, the main reason for a hydrogen-powered vehicle is because it sounds high-tech and is reminiscent of the hydrogen fuel cells used in the Apollo project.

Bio-fuels are useful but are also inefficient, especially as they use up land that could be used for food and forests. It is a useful stopgap measure in the meantime, but it shouldn't be the end-all and be-all of transit power, with the possible exception of powering our freight transportation systems (tractor trailer and trucks).

When you get down to it, battery-powered vehicles are the most efficient method of traveling. And with the improvements we're researching for nanotechnology, microstructured devices, and battery technology, we'll within a decade have vehicles that can operate for 300 miles between charging and still have a decent amount of space for storage and passengers.

The problem is, of course, how efficient is electric vehicles for freight transport? Perhaps the best way to figure on this is to look at electric locomotives and see how effective those are, compared to their fuel-driven counterparts. But with a revamped rail system to move freight for long distances, trucks and tractor trailers wouldn't need to travel for long distances and thus wouldn't clog up our highways and roads to the extent they currently do.

But I don't have the statistics or knowhow to figure out which would work for efficiently so I might be just whistling idly here.

Rob H.

David Smelser said...

Electrical vehicles do seem to be the most modular technology option. You should be able to swap out electrical generation, electrical storage, and drive train technologies relatively independently.

David Brin said...

I'm going to dump here a bunch of stored up political stuff, some of it repeating earlier rants or else earlier versions. Rather than just flushing it, I'll offer it below as a supply of material for whoever might be interested....

Get ready. It's big.

David Brin said...

For those of you who miss Zorgon... here's my effort to replace him with a massive inundation... some of it older drafts... Are you ready?

First, some links to people more influential than me. Here is a piece by the talented novelist Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Buckley:  “Sorry Dad, I’m Voting For Obama”:

 "Obama has in him—I think, despite his sometimes airy-fairy “We are the people we have been waiting for” silly rhetoric—the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. He is, it seems clear enough, what the historical moment seems to be calling for. So, I wish him all the best. We are all in this together. Necessity is the mother of bipartisanship. And so, for the first time in my life, I’ll be pulling the Democratic lever in November. As the saying goes, God save the United States of America."

Then a very well-written and insightful commentary by Frank Rich.
Barack predicted it all.


*** A way to answer the personal attacks:

"Look, we all see ourselves as patriots, today. Whoever is elected president, don't we want that person -- whether it's John McCain or me -- to succeed? If even just a quarter of the nation believes crazy, concocted rumors -- either about John McCain or about me -- how can we ever get down to honest problem-solving? Either of us would need respected colleagues on the other side, to negotiate with. Those who spread a poisonous mood may only make the presidency useless to both of us. Only fools burn their bridges!

"I will reach out to many Republicans like John McCain and ask for their help, for their earnest advice and - yes - their hard work... because I WILL put John to work, if he agrees. For example, I can think of no one better suited to go after earmarks and pork spending in Congress. He'll have my ear and my backing in that endeavor, when I'm president."

*** A riff about OTHER Republicanss:

"John McCain keeps distancing himself from the Republican Party, bragging that he's unpopular with his Republican colleagues, promising, if he's elected, he'll deal with their corruption and incompetence. He says "Washington," but since the Republicans controlled every branch of government for most of this century, who else could he be referring to?

"John seems to be saying that your standard Republican Senator or Representative is a big part of the problem! In fact, isn't he saying that voters should throw them out?

"Of course, if he's sincere, shouldn't he fire a couple of hundred close advisors and campaign staff, who came to him straight from K Street lobbying firms and the Bush Administration?

(Note, this is what Obama should do especially if he seems headed for a landslide. In that case, he has got to turn national attention toward Congressional Republicans.)

*** And skewering another hypocrisy, CONGRATULATE McCain, for:

"Reversing a decade of obstinate Republican denial that human actions drive climate change, Senator McCain now explicitly call for higher mileage standards and caps to return to 1995 levels of carbon emissions. Well, let's honor him for recognizing a reality that should transcend politics. Only, now, will he get specific about how we'll wean ourselves off foreign oil - and start by kick the oilco execs out of his inner circle?

"More to the point. Senator McCain has now completely reversed standard Republican policy! Great! But why haven't you got any of your fellow Republicans to join you in this reversal? Not even your running mate? Senator, you are the nominee of a political party. Can you get your fellow Republicans to agree with you, openly"

Note this shows another McCain flip-flop. It makes Obama's climate and CAFE positions safe, even in Michigan. It ties McC to the failure to wean us off foreign oil. It locks Palin into an embarassing contradiction with her ticket-leader. AND it pushes hard on the climate denier fanatics, making them angry at McCain. McCain lays all of this out in black and white, at: http://www.sciencedebate2008.com/www/index.php?id=42

*** And then there's a little matter of defending the nation...

"When Bill Clinton left office and the GOP took over, every brigade in the US Army was rated "combat-ready for war." Today, despite the hard work of thousands of skilled men and women -- the brilliant officers and noncoms who struggle every day to maintain high standards -- the Army itself rates none of our brigades fully combat ready. Not one. Despite huge signing bonuses and drastic lowering of standard, they can barely bring in enough recruits, and nobody can replace the highly trained sergeants and captains who have felt compelled to say goodbye to a service they loved. This is the worst way that we've been harmed by an endless, draining struggle in Iraq, (that has mostly benefited Iran.)

This is no longer the army that George Bush inherited, and hurled into battle, in 2003. There's been no large unit battle training in five years. If there were a new major crisis, anywhere in the world -- as we recently saw in Georgia -- where would we get the fully-equipped, fully trained troops, ready for war? Ready to defend us? And this doesn't even mention the reserves, which are frayed to the bone.

THIS is how our leaders prepare us for dangerous times? Oh... US Troops overseas donated 6x more to Obama; our troops prefer his Iraq plan by 30 pts

*** Other matters:

* Yes, I know Obama can't talk much about science. But he should keep dropping mentions of it. About "reclaiming our leadership in science and technology." Educated folks will notice! And there are some good digs to be had in John McCain’s answers to "14 questions about science & technology". http://www.sciencedebate2008.com/www/index.php?id=42

* The plight of the Civil Service and the deliberate diversion of law. One of the biggest "underplayed topic." Yes, I know it sounds like a dry "process issue." But please stop and ponder a bit. There are at least three million civil servants and officers in America who have suffered under the know-nothings that the neocons appointed over them. The more these folks feel Obama is for them, the more they'll speak out.

"How can McCain Palin be for "reform" when they've made it clear they will simply re-appoint most of the political hacks who have made life hell for our FBI agents and prosecutors, the inspectors who keep our dams and roads safe and our food clean? The scientists investigating climate change and the auditors keeping an eye on financial institutions? "Reformer" McCain has never mentioned any of these. Nor the inspectors general, who have been prevented from doing their jobs in every single agency. He doesn't, because he was part of the same culture, and he shows no sign of helping those REAL mavericks get back to work."

Seriously, if Obama even mentioned in passing the Civil Servants and the United States Officer Corps, as chief victims of the Bush years, there are about three million people who would HEAR that line. They would hear it and understand.

*** Then there's --
The dire condition of Mexico. Yes, it's hard to envision leveraging this. And yet, it is in the news, a lot. The breakdown of our neighbor, shattering under violence driven by drug money from America. In their fixation on one bogeyman at a time, the neocons have let one of their OLD bogeymen fester right next-door!

Helping Mexico not to fail ought to be a high priority! And if it is said just right, it might help a lot with hispanics.

*** Plus tidbits:

* Our shifting business priorities. Over the last three decades, financial services have expanded from 11% of America 's gross domestic product to a record 21%, (doubled) while manufacturing has declined from 25% to 13% (cut in half). Is this the America we want? Where our chief products are paper fantasies and our brightest "innovations" blow up in our faces?

* Laying mental seeds, in case there is either an "October Surprise" or massive cheating at the polls. Yes, it would be wrong to act pre-paranoid about these things. But there are ways to pre-position in case either of these things happen. For example, Obama could call upon good citizens "of both parties" to volunteer for poll-watching duties, on election day. It will sound nonpartisan and like a call to volunteerism. Yet, it would also tickle the imagination, that poll-watching is necessary this year.

* Likewise, Obama should say, openly, that "bad things will happen, someday, and we need to look to our readiness, our agility and resilience." (This is a theme I've touted before. Did you know that every single thing that worked - on 9/11 - was done by private citizens? The notion of Citizen Power would resonate powerfully.

* Another under-appreciated issue: The Pardon Tsunami --- will Bush issue a slew of them, after election day? I can't think of any way that the Obama campaign could leverage against this. But friends in Congress could. By planting the idea in peoples' minds. I have long argued that Congressional Democrats -- especially Rep. Waxman -- ought to open hearings at which they offer immunity to any and all whistleblowers. Especially those who might be counting on getting a pardon, after the election, during the last days in office of George W. Bush.


Notions to feed to friendly folks OUTSIDE of the campaign.

Yes, Obama-Biden have to stay the hell away from religion! Still, Palin cannot avoid the interview shows forever. And when she goes on Larry King or some such, there are a could of religion-related questions that would (if parsed right) be maximally devastating. Of course, she'd have pablum answers ready. Still, if parsed JUST right, these would be killers.

* Sarah Palin and her fellow Dominionists believe (or let’s demand that she disavow) that more than half of her fellow citizens are damned, either by nature or because of their beliefs, if not to Hell then to eternal exclusion from God’s grace.

Sure, holding to that tenet is her Constitutionally protected privilege. But since she declared that her decisions will be guided by those beliefs, we have a perfect right to see them in bare light. And people who she considers damned may legitimately ponder that, when deciding whether to vote for her.

* Sarah Palin and her fellow Dominionists crave, yearn-for and actively pray-for (or let’s demand that she disavow) the coming of a day, quite soon, when most of the world’s people will suffer torment, death and damnation, amid flame and other agonies, amid tumult that will include the end of the United States of America.

Strip away unctuous reassurances and we have someone asking to be trusted as potential master of America’s nuclear arsenal and defender of its Constitution, who openly avows to wanting - eagerly - the quick arrival of a day when fire will scorch the sky and flame sear land. When a majority of her fellow citizens will perish and tumble into torment, and when a closing curtain will fall for the nation and democracy she claims to love. No, the question should be simple. "Do you believe that those who oppose you and don't pray as you do are damned?" and do you pray for the imminent arrival of the events described in Revelations, including an end to all earthly nations and their replacement by a kingdom that you will help to rule?" I doubt most Americans would vote for a person who explicitly believes them to be damned and who prays for the end of the world and the US, as we know it. That is really fundamental. And the question ought to be asked.


Alas, all my cogency won't do the trick as much as this:
Feel free to viral any of this you feel might be useful! ===

Rob Perkins said...

Well I watched the scene in that picture from the debate. McCain was navigating his way around the table to shake the moderator's hand, whose cues were not enough to show which direction he was taking.

It was a moment of levity, not insanity. Use it for a bit of October demagoguery (the R's have been far far worse with the demagoguery this time), if you want, but after the election, please come to your senses about this sort of thing, David.

Meantime, wife and I are still on-the-fence. One side has the social agenda we want preserved. The other has more pragmatism. I don't believe that the next president will be able to move the legal needle on issues like abortion or marriage; there is too much opposition to movement.

Mostly the suspicion is that McCain's factions will not act, and Obama's will meddle too much.

Personally I think the pendulum needs to swing back towards the Dems for two years or so, in order to correct an imbalance. But that social agenda looms very, very large.

But, that swing will imperil members of my family, which is not the kind of dinner table conversation I'd like to have.

Perhaps in the end, the largest driver really is "tribe", especially when uncertainty looms.

Even after saying all that, I still think Obama will win the Presidency. But I hope that the Dems do not win 60 Senate seats. They should have no excuses to ignore and marginalize the minority. In addition to being appallingly hypocritical, it would be bad for the country.

David Brin said...

Rob, I see your perception. But it really is missing a couple of things.

* Your social agenda has NEVER been served by the GOP. When they utterly controlled all aspects of the nation, from corporate boardrooms to Congress to the media and the Courts and White House, they talked buzz words to you folks... ranted a bit... and then gave you zip, nada, nothing whatsoever...

...except rampant theft, corruption and - finally - the most massive acts of socialism ever, in our history.

Oh, while driving off all our allies and wrecking the US Army & reserves.

Look, if you can't get abortion banned, then why not start talking to the folks who seriously want to (and have) reduce the number of abortions toward zero?

Get pragmatic. The only way you'll get a GOP that's responsible and "conservative" again is if the crooks are thoroughly slapped down. If this is a total rout, then:

* the cultural warriors on your side may decide to start negotiating again, instead of waving red meat.

* the conservatives may re-evaluate and ditch the neocons in favor of Goldwater.

I sympathize that you feel torn between two attractor states. Unfortunately, one of them is entirely imaginary. You continue to self-hypnotize that there are redeeming properties to today's Republican Party.

Name one.

Anonymous said...


If you are going to Z-post perhaps we should encourage you by giving you the standard response.

A lot of good stuff there. Perhaps you should get a blog of your own for posting it.

adastra said...

David, in terms of ending the culture wars, the following video pieces that the Integral Life Website just posted may be of interest. (The integral political approach, which I've mentioned once before on this blog, also aims to end the culture wars, using a somewhat different approach than you do, but compatible with it, I think.) - Arthur "Hussein" Gillard



As the US Presidential election rapidly approaches, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and confused about what might be the most important electoral choice of our lifetimes. But how can we rise above the noise, stay engaged, and bring some much-needed sanity to our lives and to our world?

We would like to suggest the following Integral Life offerings, all of which can help revitalize our sense of hope, clarity, and stability in these trying times.



Tale of Four Americas takes a look at the political dynamics and cultural perspectives that influence every part of the Republican and Democratic parties. It explores the ideological divides that exist within each party, and offers a simple map to help make sense of these seemingly conflicting beliefs.



Obama and McCain: Seeing Through the Talking Points lets you watch the Integral political map emerge in real time in the acceptance speeches of Senators McCain and Obama. What is each candidate really saying, and to whom are they speaking?



Sleeping With Your So-Called Enemy is a practice that suggests a way to step outside of your own political views and into those of to your “other,” allowing you to expand your own perspective, be as inclusive as possible, and make the most compassionate decisions in your own life.


David Brin said...

I wholly approve of efforts to see your enemy's perspective. In fact, refusing to do so is the surest route to defeat.

See also my essays on "stipulation." STill, attempts to evenhandedly parse today's political landscape are futile. Whatever the surface rationalizations, ideology has nothing to do with our present situation. 5% of America has been raid-raping the other 95%, assisted by 20% neocon lunatics and 20% "social" conservatives who have talked themselves into a state of indignation addiction so deep that they cannot allow themselves to see how they have been betrayed.

Rob Perkins said...

I do not want abortion banned.

The fact that abortion procedures are on the one hand bandied about as a political bludgeon, only on the other hand to be included in rhetoric which voices a "reduce pregnancies" line, all the while winking and smiling at convenience abortion advocates...

...all that leaves me wondering if I'm ever going to get my life-and-health, two-doctor-concurring, counseling-required, family-involved-with-exceptions abortion law, and despairing.

Enough about abortion. I should take umbrage at your use of that strawman to mischaracterize my concerns, which are far wider than whether abortion is legal.

I *did* say who I thought would win, didn't I? Once Obama is elected I intend to say to every GOPper I meet who grumbles, "Do you remember 7 years ago how angry you were at Democrats who would not support the President in a time of war?"

David Brin said...

Actually, Rob, I could envision a sane, mature society taking the compromise position you offer. The extreme "no-impediment" radicals of the left are unreasonable. But they feel a very intense slippery slope.

Moreover, you don't represent the purist pro-life position, which must be purist as a matter of basic need. The mere fact that you are willing to negotiate a pragmatic solution...

Well, I won't belabor the point. I am hoping that some agglomeration of reasonable American conservatives calls a huge conference after the election, to appraise what went wrong and to re-invent their movement.

Anonymous said...

I knew Zorgon. Zorgon was a friend of mine. And you, sir, are no Zorgon.

Could be the last hurrah for much of that material David, a new political era is about to dawn. Golden Age or base metal. We shall see.


Rob Perkins said...


I have committed grammatical ambiguity!

Once Obama is elected I intend to say to every GOPper I meet who grumbles, "Do you remember 7 years ago how angry you were at Democrats who would not support the President in a time of war?"

In that sentence, I will say the stuff in quotes to grumbling GOPpers who don't wish to support President Obama in his tactical and strategic military decisions.

Anonymous said...

Since a few were discussing the future of cars, it may have just arrived.

Found by way of slashdot, Popular mechanics put out an article of their top ten innovations of 2008, one of which is the most impressively designed car I think I've seen. It's a radical departure from any previous car design I know of, more resembling airplanes than automobiles.

On the efficiency factor, it claims it "should get 300 mpg for the first 120 miles and never go less than 130 miles on a gallon of gas." Odd phrasing, but it's certainly an impressive construct.

And they're aiming for a marketing price of $30k. If everything stays stable for the next few years, I could see this sweeping the market.

Acacia H. said...

Here's a few other science-related articles for people to gnaw upon.

The classic rock song "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees may be of use in CPR. It appears that the beat of the music is very close to that which CPR compressions should be at. Rumors that "Another One Bites the Dust" is also effective, but it didn't quite seem appropriate to use it.

This one is on the NYT so I'm not sure how long the link will work for people: Vials from the Miller-Urey Experiment may provide added hints on the origin of life. I'll quote part of the article below:

"After Dr. Miller’s death in May 2007, Dr. Jeffrey L. Bada of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, who had been one of Dr. Miller’s graduate students, found boxes containing hundreds of vials of dried residues collected from the experiments conducted in 1953 and 1954.

Consulting Dr. Miller’s notebooks, Dr. Bada discovered that Dr. Miller had constructed two variations of the original apparatus. One simply used a different spark generator. The second injected steam onto the sparks.

That caught Dr. Bada’s attention, because the addition of steam seemed to replicate what might have existed in lagoons and tidal pools around volcanoes.

This spring, Adam P. Johnson, a graduate student at Indiana University who was visiting Dr. Bada’s laboratory on an internship, jumped on the opportunity to work on the vials, although the material did not look remarkable. “They were just brown residue at the bottom of old vials,” Mr. Johnson said.

In his 1953 paper, Dr. Miller had reported that he had detected five amino acids produced by the original apparatus. Mr. Johnson’s work, using modern techniques, revealed small amounts of nine additional amino acids in those samples. In the residues from the apparatus with the steam injector, the scientists detected 22 amino acids, including 10 that had never before been identified from the Miller-Urey experiment.

“It just opens our eyes,” Dr. Bada said. “It’s still revealing new things. What else is there that we haven’t found out from this experiment?”" (New York Times)

Greenland has been red-flagged in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Arctic Report Card. Atmospheric temperatures, sea ice, and Greenland were three of six Arctic areas red-flagged. The other three, biology, ocean, and land, were flagged yellow. It mentions that temperatures for the autumn were at a record 5 degrees Celsius above normal, a result of ice loss from previous years.

And on the technological front, iTunes may prove to be the Blu-ray killer, due to its lower costs, ease of use (no need for an expensive player), and ease of acquiring movies and TV series. The one current hiccup is that iTunes doesn't offer high definition movies. Yet. But considering it's offering HD television shows, HD movies are likely only weeks away.

Robert A. Howard, Tangents Reviews

Anonymous said...

you said "...all that leaves me wondering if I'm ever going to get my life-and-health, two-doctor-concurring, counseling-required, family-involved-with-exceptions abortion law, and despairing."

All I can say is: good, I hope you never get your abortion law. It is quite easy for you as a man (who will never get pregnant) to favor the government forcing women to carry fetuses to term, you will never bare the brunt of that decision. You will never get morning sickness, the cramps, the bloating, the weight gain, never experience the hormonal changes, the changes that pregnancies’ induce in the brain to say nothing of the pain of child birth. The decision to give birth is for the women who is pregnant alone, not yours, not mine, not your church and certainly not the government's decision.

Now you could say: sure my stance tramples on the right of women to control what happens to their own bodies but it saves a life, so I am willing to sacrifice women’s rights for the greater good. Would you also be willing to let the government FORCE you to be a bone marrow donor if someone needs your bone marrow? (sure it’s a painful operation, but it saves a life.) And then stick you or your insurance company with the bill? Would that be too much of a imposition on your rights to control what happens to your body?

Acacia H. said...

I've long been a believer that the only people who have a right to demand abortions be made illegal are those who are willing to spend their own money to take in a young expectant mother, pay for their medical bills and insurance costs, pay for the child's costs, and provide the woman with a stipend to help make ends meet. If someone is willing to do all of that... then they can insist abortions be made illegal.

Not a single one has risen to my challenge. =^-^=

And someone create a rescripting of the webcomic Megatokyo that pokes fun at the stock market crashes, explaining it as loss of profits from Sony and Sega due to the destructive habits of two of their employees. (The characters indulge in cyberpunk-level corporate warfare. Complete with artillery and plasma weaponry.)

Boot said...

Excellent example occam. However, robert took no action which which would result in him being put on the list of donors.

I don't believe we can mandate what happens until we find a way to deal with things like the fiscal burden of having a child.

I don't believe we can mandate what happens until we ensure that the woman has choice when it comes to the direction of her life after a child is born. Republicans aren't willing to take taxes for anything (including things like this).

I do believe that Rape, Injury, and Mutation are excellent examples of its use. However, I am against the use of Abortion in a more perfect world.

This addresses some of your issues, but not all. I don't think this forum is a good place to go further into it.

Rob Perkins said...

Augh! Too Many Roberts!

Occam. Your retort is appalling to me. It's as thought you actually didn't read what I wrote. Can you see that your stance is part of the problem bifurcating American society, by dint of simple unwillingness to acknowledge the other side's premises?

(There are at least *four* sides to the abortion debates, but our left *and* right extremists, and the patsies in the sensationalist press, never acknowledge more than their own polar opposites.)

I probably should have included rape and incest in my list, but I was typing informally and forgot to stick it in. So let's stick it in, because it's part of the list of conditions my church considers permissible.

So let me be very clear: I include all forms of sexual coercion, including date rape and statutory rape, and would even go so far as to extend the exception to young pregnant teens whose sweet-talking assailants might not be liable under the law.

Does this mollify you? Does it seem more sensible now?

Robert's reaction is partially appalling, since he riffs off of your inaccurate restatement. Well, hot-headed preachy screed, apparently geared toward winning my silence, is probably more accurate of a characterization.

His stipulation that those willing to ban abortion ought to care for women made helpless by pregnancies and single motherhood is actually very appealing to me. And, of course, it's precisely what LDS Adoption Services does for the women it serves, when it talks them into placing the unwanted child for adoption. My Church itself, using worldwide economies of scale, has a near perfectly effective welfare and voluntary wealth distribution system for caring for the ones who keep the child, if their families cannot step up.

Oh! The medical consequences of pregnancy... Well, all I can say is that I have five children who along with their mother I support completely, providing health care, shelter, income, education, and opportunity, freeing her and them from the risk of destitution unless I go down too.

And not to put too fine a point on it, but I have strech marks and weight gain, hormonal changes due to that, screaming upper and lower back pain, the risk of prostate cancers, and no chance to be naturally infertile after age 45 or so. Are we really all that different when it comes to medical risk?

So, put as politely as I can muster right now, (which I admit isn't very much, but I'm trying), I tell you that I, my ideologies, my church, and my family have no moral deficit in this matter whatsoever, and I will not accept an angry lecture from you on the subject.

Acacia H. said...

Perhaps I should go back to using my internet handle, Tangent. Heavens knows that I tend to go off on them often enough. ^^;;

But what can I say? Robert's a popular name, what with it meaning Bright Glory according to its saxon roots.

Rob H., aka Tangent

Anonymous said...

You are reading anger into my last post that just is not there. I was calmly and forcefully stating my position: it is the pregnant woman’s decision and only the pregnant woman’s decision on weather or not to carry a fetus to term. It is not your decision, not my decision, not your church’s decision, not the governments decision. The pregnancy is occurring inside a person who has rights. That is the fundamental difference between us. You want the government to make the decision for the pregnant woman, I want the woman to make the decision for herself.

But I would happily join with you to support governmental programs that reduced abortions by reducing unwanted pregnancies. On the other hand, I will fight tooth and nail against the government forcing women to carry fetuses to term against their wishes.

I guess our options are pragmatic compromise or culture war.

Anonymous said...


Chill man. You should talk to JCFleetguy over at StreetProphets. He's working on the whole "safe legal and rare" from a conservative Christian perspective.

I'll raise a glass to you, sir, for moderation! Anyone who can understand that ideally, we want the family invovled, but that there are MANY times when involving the family puts people at risk -- is a friend of mine!

In an ideal world, women would bear 1.5 kids before the age of thirty, without having to suffer any income loss for the priviledge of continuing our human race.

Anonymous said...

The only way the Government can have a legitimate interest in restricting abortion (beyond the restrictions placed on any similar medical procedure) is if a Fetus is a "person".

Sorry, but persons concieved by rape and/or incest have the same rights as anyone else in any consistant ethical framework.

If you oppose abortion because you believe it's the taking of a life, yet condone it in cases of rape or incest, you're a disgusting beast ascribing the sins of the father to the child and green-lighting a death penalty based only on an accident of paternity, not a "reasonable moderate".

If you don't believe abortion is the taking of a life, you have no legitimate interest in what a woman elects to do with her uterus.

I can respect the views of those who think that an embryo or a fetus is a "person", even if I disagree.

I cannot respect those who believe that the Government ought to be in the business of "enforcing consequences" for irresponsible sex acts between consenting adults - they might as well be arguing for outlawing the treatment of STDs.

Boot said...

Hi Jester, There are other ways to look at it besides Life or simply Choice. I for example pay attention to Quality of Life and Self Determination. Abortion is appropriate when the Quality of Life is likely to be poor for ether the Mother or Child (Think birth defects or massive trauma to the mother.)

Likewise if the parents are unable to reasonably take care of the child due to behavior or economic status, they lose Self Determination. Their freedom to seek life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is infringed. This is true for all parents, but in some cases is more extreme than others.

Lets talk solutions. Those who are generally not favor of Abortion collective come together to solve cost and raising issues of a child. This is simply taxes for government programs which will handle things.

The biological burden on the mother is significant. But why can't we use science to solve the problem? I'd be happy to harvest rather than abort children. Give them a lab womb to grow up in.

I'm not sure if we have the science for this yet, but I don't think we could be further than a few decades for it. Not if it was backed by all the money currently going towards Pro-Life causes.

It is wrong to say, I'm not willing to pay for beliefs. I'd rather mandate the behavior of others.

I am Pro Quality of Life. We need to be practical until we have better solutions I've mentioned.

sociotard said...

* Sarah Palin and her fellow Dominionists believe (or let’s demand that she disavow) that more than half of her fellow citizens are damned, either by nature or because of their beliefs, if not to Hell then to eternal exclusion from God’s grace.

Ouch! That struck uncomfortably close to home. Mormons hold that there are many degrees of afterlife, but the Celestial glory, the top one, requires baptism into our church. Even allowing for a very high rate of after-death conversion that means that maybe 90% would face some degree of "exclusion from God's grace"

Does it help if those excluded do not face total exclusion? The Telestial Glory (the one where most murderers and thieves go) is supposed to be pretty nice, and our understanding of Hell is that it is only temporary.

I guess what I'm saying is I don't mind so much if Sarah Palin thinks I'm to be excluded from God's grace, since I think that's where she's headed. Plus, she's probably annoyed by my doing proxy baptisms for her ancestors.

David Smelser said...

I'm less concerned about anyone's beliefs about where I end up after death and more concerned about how those beliefs affect how they treat me (and others) while we live.

I don't know much about Mormon beliefs (anyone care to provide a link?), but the individuals I know who happen to be be Mormon are a nice.

Joshua O'Madadhain said...


Can you please clearly state (or link to a statement of) the four sides to the abortion debate to which you refer? Getting those out there might help clear some of this up. At least then we'll know what we're disagreeing about! :)

Jester: about the rape/incest thing--you have a point...but I think that you're not taking into account the emotional consequences to the mother of bearing such a child. I'm not a woman and will presumably never know what it's like to bear a child at all, much less one from rape...but it seems like it could be soul-destroying to carry one's rapist's child, to some people and in some cases.

(One possible way of getting around that: include risks to the mental health of the mother as an 'escape clause' (as it were)...although that's too often a subjective determination for me to feel really comfortable with that, either.)

Rob Perkins said...

Sociotard... are you sure you've got Mormon doctrine completely surrounded, there?

There are light years of difference between the two-state afterlife posited by EC's and the Mormon idea of celestial glory, not the least of which is that the vast majority of eternal rewards contain no component of eternal suffering. You allude to that but you equivocate; LDS cosmology has no place of permanent involuntary suffering for the ignorant and/or innocent.

But I'd rather not count angels on pinheads in this forum, to be sure, but as a Mormon in good standing I see no congruity between our cosmology and Palins. The similarities end at certain existential points.

@kimmy, occam

Of course if we work to prevent unwanted pregnancy, the question of convenience abortion evaporates, which aligns me with Obama's ideas on that angle of the subject very readily.

@jester -- No one who holds my views will claim that the question is not very complicated, or that abortion is not very disheartening and disappointing when it must be done, or that at the very least, the potential of a person is lost.

Accordingly I don't see things at all in the black-and-white either/or way that you do.

Rob Perkins said...


I divide it into at least four groups. They are not corners of a 2-D plot, so don't go looking.

1 -- People who define human life as beginning at conception, when the gametes combine and scramble to make a unique DNA pattern.

2 -- People who define human life as beginning at implantation, that is, when the egg's mother's body begins to nourish it. Before that point it is an undifferentiated cell mass. I dimly recall that Orrin Hatch operates in this space.

3 -- People who define human life as beginning at the point of "quickening", or at foetus viability. Historically this was the line the Supreme Court drew in Roe v. Wade, as I recall.

4 -- People who define human life as beginning at the point a baby draws a breath, whether or not assisted.

There might be a "0" category, which would contain people who believe that no meddling should take place with any reproductive cell.

sociotard said...

@ Rob

I was mostly responding to Dr. Brin's post. True, our cosmology bears no resemblance to Palin's. That said, winding up in the Terestrial or Telestial glory could would seperate a person from God, which relates to Dr. Brin's statement "exclusion from God’s grace".

How exluded is a person in the Terrestrial or Telestial Kingdom? I mentioned earlier that the Telestial alone is supposed to be pretty nice. However, while it is in no way a lake of fire and pain, it does entail some degree of seperation. From the Church website:

The Celestial Kingdom
This is the place where our Father in Heaven and Jesus live. It is a place where people will be happy, and it will be more beautiful than we can imagine. The people who will live in this kingdom will love our Father in Heaven and Jesus and will choose to obey Them. They must have repented of all their sins and must have accepted Jesus as their Savior. They must have been baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. They must have a testimony from the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Savior.

To live in the highest part of the celestial kingdom is called exaltation* or eternal life. To be able to live in this part of the celestial kingdom, people must have been married in the temple and must have kept the sacred promises they made in the temple. They will receive everything our Father in Heaven has and will become like Him. They will even be able to have spirit children and make new worlds for them to live on, and do all the things our Father in Heaven has done. People who are not married in the temple may live in other parts of the celestial kingdom, but they will not be exalted.

The Terrestrial Kingdom
This kingdom is not as wonderful as the celestial kingdom. Even though Jesus will visit the terrestrial kingdom, those who live there will not live with our Father in Heaven, and they will not have all He has. Those who go to the terrestrial kingdom will be honorable people. Some of them will be members of the Church, and others will not. They will be those who did not accept Jesus on earth but later accepted Him in the spirit world. The people who will live there will not be part of an eternal family but will live separately, without families. Our Father in Heaven will give these people the happiness they are prepared to receive.

The Telestial Kingdom
This kingdom is not as wonderful as the celestial kingdom or the terrestrial kingdom. Neither our Father in Heaven nor Jesus will visit those who live here. Angels will visit these people, and they will have the influence of the Holy Ghost. The people who live in the telestial kingdom are those who did not accept either the gospel or a testimony of Jesus, either on earth or in the spirit world. They will suffer for their own sins in spirit prison until after the Millennium. Then they will finally be resurrected.

While on this earth, they were liars, thieves, murderers, false prophets, adulterers, and those who ridiculed sacred things. They were the people who accepted the beliefs of the world rather than the teachings of Jesus. Many people will live in this kingdom. Our Father in Heaven will give these people the happiness they are prepared to receive.

Outer Darkness
Outer darkness is where Satan and those who have followed him will live. These people will be those who chose to live with Satan. They will not be forgiven. These people will live forever in darkness, sorrow, and suffering with Satan and the spirits who followed him.

Again, I completely agree with you when you say, "There are light years of difference between the two-state afterlife posited by EC's and the Mormon idea of celestial glory, not the least of which is that the vast majority of eternal rewards contain no component of eternal suffering."

However, Dr. Brin specified not only damnation, but also "Exclusion". Even within the Church, there's an awful lot people who won't make it to the Celestial Kingdom, maybe even less than half.

My question is, at what point is it a problem for candidate to believe that a large percentage of the US population faces some degree of "exclusion".

David Smelser said...

Sociotard asked:
My question is, at what point is it a problem for candidate to believe that a large percentage of the US population faces some degree of "exclusion".

David S:
It isn't the belief. It is how that belief translates into actions by the candidate that is my concern.

A candidate should be using their power of office in ways that benefit the here and now. When a candidate asks me to follow a course of action and the only reason they can give is "the bible tells you to" or that "you will be rewarded in the afterlife", I think the candidate has crossed the line separating church and state. Such a candidate is asking me to follow the tenants of their faith.

Candidates should be able to persuade me in the appropriateness of their actions in secular terms.

Cliff said...

Plus, she's probably annoyed by my doing proxy baptisms for her ancestors.

Well, I already called no-backsies on my ancestors and if she's smart she'll have done the same.

Anonymous said...

"While on this earth, they were liars, thieves, murderers, false prophets, adulterers, and those who ridiculed sacred things. They were the people who accepted the beliefs of the world rather than the teachings of Jesus."

The Dalai Lama and Pol Pot in the same equivalence class! Wow!

David McCabe said...

Occam, men and women support and oppose abortion in equal numbers. Thus, your theory that Robert doesn't grok abortion because he's a man is counterfactual and false.

People with a smidgin of empathy, or any concept of justice and equity, don't need to be in personal danger to oppose the use of coercive force. Only the most self-centered and short-sighted would be indifferent to an ethical issue which happens not to apply to them.

Please correct me if I've misunderstood you. Or examine closely your apparent misandry.

Rob Perkins said...

Oy. OK time for some apologetics.

That text was written in the 70's, back when the Mormon Church was far, far more provincial than it is today, and is intended to describe a rubric which is more complex than Sociotard's excerpt.

So, put simply, NO, The Dalai Lama and Pol Pot are not in the same Mormon category.

sociotard said...

The text was pulled off the church's website today. I just followed the links on LDS.org.

And no, the Dalai Lama is not in the same bin as Pol Pot. When it says "False Prophet" I think it refers to people who are false and know it. The Dalai Lama believes his religion and follows it as best he can, trying to help people.

I say this because of a 1978 First Presidency message (from back when the church was more provencial, apparently).
The great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed, Confucius, and the Reformers, as well as philosophers including Socrates, Plato, and others, received a portion of God's light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals

Anonymous said...

wow. brin here, checking in from Montreal. no time except to say the Mormon eschatology was fascinating!

I included "excluded from God's presence" because the angry-fundies try to weasel out of relishing the prospect of Revelations style damnation for all who aren't "them."

1) by claiming they "pray for us" while believing the scenario in Revelations cannot be averted.

2) by claiming that Hell is not fire and boiling lead, but permanent writhing loneliness because you chose not to come near God. (And unlike Mormons, there's no "Now I get it!" take-backs after death.)

That's plain despicable hypocricy. Especially since it insists NOT only that the Lord is a vengeful lunatic who would do ANY of the psychotic shit in Revelations...

...but also that he cannot change his mind. But go read one of the best books of the Bible -- Jonah. Just read it, and see if He is unwilling to change his mind... the way He did when He started letting us begin our True Apprenticeship as Junior co-creators, with science.

Oh, He also said NEVER to human sacrifice. But that's another story.

gotta go. GREAT conversation. keep it going.


Anonymous said...

The only thing that concerned me about the stuff printed from the LDS website was that it looks as if it necessary to be married to get to the best part of heaven.

To live in the highest part of the celestial kingdom is called exaltation* or eternal life. To be able to live in this part of the celestial kingdom, people must have been married in the temple and must have kept the sacred promises they made in the temple.

I pity the unwed and children who die and can only go to the second best heaven(Reminds me of why it used to be important to have children baptised in the Catholic church).

Rob Perkins said...


Your concern would be valid if it were actually a problem in Mormon eschatology. The difficulty with Sociotard's excerpt is its audience: people who have accepted baptism into the Church and intend to live all of its tenets.

Yeah, sure, the language is very general, but so are the categorizations. It's easy to say, "OK, here are some broad categories," but quite another thing to say, "OK, here is were *YOU* will end up, ya sinner."

We Mormons have been strenuously taught to avoid the latter judgment. It doesn't always take in every Mormon's heart, but then again, what religious tenet ever does for any large group of federated believers?

Rob Perkins said...

It's late, so I forgot to add the thing that's missing. The excerpt was a distillation of part of "Section 76" of "The Doctrine and Covenants", which is a collection of organizational and doctrinal pronouncements made during the founding years of the LDS Church.

Sections 137 and 138 of that book widen the concept further, and point out that the ignorant and innocent are consigned to no such "second-best heaven".

The best conclusion I have been able to make is that this eschatological sorting-out will basically be according to what each person actually wants, as witnessed by the things he or she did with his life, and that those who had no opportunity for a say in the matter would be fully informed, before deciding further.

Anonymous said...

One of my friends from college is a fundamentalist Christian who had an interesting stance on abortion. Naturally he was against it, but when I pressed him on it, he recognized that there needed to be much more support for the mothers and the children if abortions were banned.

I don't remember the possibilities he mentioned, but I'm sure an improved adoption system was a part of it. Probably a lot of financial support for the mother-to-be, and other things as well. Essentially, everything that could be done to alleviate the pain of taking choice away ought to be done. Ethically it's a better position than just wanting to ban abortion, and I'm glad to see the effort to find/create a center ground, but I'm still pro-choice even with that option.

I find it interesting because, even with a softened position on abortion, the emphasis is on banning abortion now. And then, later, when they get around to it, maybe they'll put out the effort (and the money) to support the responsible ameliorations. It kind of reminds me of our credit problems, actually...

"Let's be responsible, save up, and make our big purchase when we can afford it."
"Let's just buy it now, and pay for it... never."

Personally, I think everyone could recognize that the practice of abortion is not something that can be stopped. It was done more than 3000 years ago when it was far from safe and it will continue to happen when people feel trapped by a pregnancy. I believe the best we can do is minimize the need for it, ensure the safety of it, and enhance the alternatives to it - but there could never be a perfected system that would forever eliminate the need for it.

Rob Perkins said...


The ancient practice of abortion was measured by the standard at #3 in my rubric, if Roe v. Wade is to be believed. Fundamentalists haven't got a historical justification for their position, rather, they have what turns out to be a modern-era interpretation of the surface meanings of some words in those ancient documents, combined with what is, in my opinion, an appallingly limiting secular philosophy.

I'd be careful to condemn them altogether; I'm sure I have my own myopias. One Fundamentalist I know is fond of telling Mormons just how very much they need to get out more, when he hears comments alleging that his people don't try to be the best kind of people.

Measure it this way: If that putatively "pro-life" church has a ministry which reaches out to single moms and pregnant teens, and if it effective in the main, then it's unfair to say that it has a "ban now pay later" approach.

David Smelser said...

While I admit that there appear to be religious individuals that are "pro-life" and reach out towards single moms and pregnant teens, it is my observation that many of these same individuals are inconsistent with respect to government action on this issue.

While they advocate abortion bans and litmus tests on judicial appointments, they oppose measures that reduce unwanted pregnancies (sex education that includes birth control, distribution of birth control) and welfare programs that assist single mothers.

Steve said...

"New research indicates that in situations in which a person is not in control, they're more likely to spot patterns where none exist, see illusions, and believe in conspiracy theories. This is actually kind of important!"

Yes it is, and Bronislaw Malinowski thought so too when he noticed this sometime around WWI during his research in the Trobriand Islands.

The way he put it was, magical beliefs (and beliefs about "luck") abound about things we have no control over.

thinkahol said...

I think Mr. Brin, that you probably have some good ideas.
I apologize for the last minute nature of my suggestion for you to visit: http://www.project10tothe100.com/how_it_works.html
as the last day for submissions is 10/20/08.

Rob Perkins said...

@David (not Brin)

They aren't looking for government action on the issue of assistance. Their expectation is that their vibrant (to them) Christian communities will provide that assistance, that the government provides that care poorly and with too much fraud, waste, and abuse, and that small communities are better able to provide care for the whole person than large bureaucratic governments.

Much of that has been refuted, but the lingering belief explains the inconsistency.

Fake_William_Shatner said...

"New research indicates that in situations in which a person is not in control, they're more likely to spot patterns where none exist, see illusions, and believe in conspiracy theories. This is actually kind of important!"

Not that everything is about me... but it seems like someone is thinking about me. LOL.

I think most of us here would be in the boat with "conspiracy theorist" because we spot patterns. One mans evidence is another's conspiracy today, because we all get to have our own facts -- just buy the magazine that fits your world view!

>> And I'd also say that I'd expect a little more careful look at what I was saying in physics. Yes, my terms are jumbled, and I'm condensing about 50 pages to 5 paragraphs, but physics today, does not explain the things I'm hinting at. I could refer to a number of phenomena and say; "this is why it works this way." But I'd first want to be in a crowd that can look beyond the "parlor speak." Anyway, I actually have a few totally origional thoughts -- and current theory is very much in line with ideas I was kicking around at 14. I can look at a steamer trunk of old ideas and see a lot of products that are on the market today. This just adds to a frustration for my inability to put algorithms and "shop vocabulary" behind the ideas. If you don't say; "Broncitis" for instance, you can't charge someone a lot of money for a Doctor's visit to tell them they ave irritated lungs.

>> That's why the above quote is appropriate. Yes, I totally agree that people who feel powerless look for more patterns. I was videotaping a group of ladies who believe in seeing Angels and Fairies. Not that I'm going to say that we can rule anything out... to someone who has never seen or heard a cell phone, or a radio, the air waves only cary sound, but if you have the right device, and someone calls you number -- you are all of a sudden aware of another reality.

But most of these ladies have a story about a domineering husband they'd like to please and are well-to-do. Idle.

I'll just say; "not in my experience..." and let it got. There are plenty of folks who believe in UFOs, and while I think there is 99.9995% chance that we will one day meet an advanced race -- the blurred photos so far mean that nobody has met them with the ability to take a photo. While there are a lot of releases from official channels these days, documenting UFO sightings by the military and such,... I suspect that a lot of people NEED the idea of some advanced fathter figure, Santa Claus, or Jesus to bail them out. Well, we don't have a tenth of the suffering as people in Darfur -- and WE could be bailing them out but we sit on our duffs -- why do we think we are special or more deserving?

>> The other side of the coin, however, from being powerless and seeing patterns is to be VESTED in the status quo, and see what you KNOW TO BE TRUE. You may be a stock broker, and the idea that your great financial leaders are steering the company into a Greater Depression, and are doing it with all the championed ideas of "free market" goes against the concepts that helped pay for your kids getting through college.

In some regards, I'm successful, but I never feel like I've accomplished enough -- so I'm not very Vested in what I'm doing. If I'm doing art -- I want to do science, and vise-versa. I suppose I stand on both sides of the fence.

The pattern I'd like people to see now, is that ships are sitting in port around China are idle and empty, and the ones coming to the USA are about half full. So that we are not out of the woods. Maybe one or two more months. It is really hard to predict the short term, but the long term looks inevitable --- but I'm still trying to hope for the best. It just looks like our CorpGov and Wall Street regulators (thieves), are repeating the mistakes of the first Great Depression either through ignorance or malice. I just don't think Paulson can make $900 Million and be an idiot -- I just don't believe in the Forest Gump phenomenon -- so that's a pattern I DON'T SEE. LINK .

The say that;
• The recent upward trend of the US Dollar is a direct and temporary consequence of the collapse of stock markets

• Thanks to its recent « political baptism », the Euro becomes a credible « safe haven » value and therefore provides a « crisis » alternative to the US dollar

• The US public debt is now swelling uncontrollably

• The ongoing collapse of US real economy prevents from finding an alternative solution to the country's defaulting

• « Strong inflation or hyper-inflation in the US in 2009? », that is the only question.

>> I really want to have good news, but I think it's important that I get the word out. So at least some of the Have-nots don't get blindsided. Note that they CORRECTLY report our inflation rate at about 14% right now -- instead of that farce that Washington puts it at. But hey, this is only one publication. It also seems to have more than one doom and gloom prediction in its past.

In my experience, however, the Main Stream Media in the US only puts up bad news when even your dog knows it.

David Brin said...

Back from Montreal, where my French wasn't quite as rusty as I thought! Oh, and Air Canada is a GREAT airline! Coach is almost as good as business class.)

More soon, but some tidbits to share:

Here are the links to tune in and watch streaming video of the Innovation 2008 conference this Monday and Tuesday:

The link for Monday is:

The link for Tuesday is:

Oh, and th humanity...

Prophet Predicts Spaceships Will Appear in Support of Obama

"Prophet Yahweh, Seer of Yahweh, Master UFO Caller says that on October 31, 2008, superhuman black men, from other planets, will appear in their
spaceships and hover over his UFO Summoning School for three days as a sign that all Americans should vote for Obama as President."

David Brin said...

Oh, I think I'll wait to dive into stocks again till after the Xmas sales figures come out...

Fake_William_Shatner said...

"Prophet Yahweh, Seer of Yahweh, Master UFO Caller says that on October 31, 2008, superhuman black men, from other planets, will appear in their
spaceships and hover over his UFO Summoning School for three days as a sign that all Americans should vote for Obama as President."

LOL. I think there are many on the planet who could handle purple three-eyed, toads better than superhuman black men. I for one, welcome our new overlords.

>> I would recommend Gold, over the stock market after Christmas. You will see it bounce up and down for some time -- but trying to time that stuff is scary, and the trend will be downward. I really wish I had good news -- but hey, in a few months, land will be a buying opportunity. No telling when the dollar, the economy or any of this will take a steep nose dive. Do you think they had a lot of warning, or any inkling their economy wasn't booming in Iceland?

I suppose if they've been hiding aliens, saving it for a rainy day like an economic crash sounds like a good idea; "I know you've come 300 billion miles, and have great knowledge to share with us, but do you think you could spot me a few mortgage payments?"

Welcome back by the way. You sound like you had a lot of fun. I'm wondering how much different the view of things is over there than it is over here. Is it kind of like the US is asleep, or about the same, what?

Acacia H. said...

They got it wrong. It's going to be super-intelligent hive-minded kittens with telekinesis, flying in massive spheres of yarn. =^-^=

David Brin said...

Reason Magazine asked 100 authors a set of questions about this election.
They'll certainly cull the length of my answers, so I will post the full version here:

> > 1. Who are you voting for in November and why?

I'm going to answer strictly in "conservative" terms and reach a devastatingly clear conclusion.

Let's see. Those who argue against socialism used to tend to call the GOP the lesser of evils. Um, well, okay, scratch that.

Those who like free markets, fiscal responsibility, lower deficits, small business startups, stock market booms, technological innovation and general economic growth now have a fifty year record in which all of these metrics - and many more - favor the Democrats by huge margins. Civil liberties? Well, that one's easy. Anything else?

I will grant that Republicans rank higher in a couple of categories, e.g. vastly increasing secrecy and favoring crony-monopolies (precisely the scenario that Adam Smith called the worst enemy of free markets - far more dangerous than socialism.)

Um, have we entered no-brainer territory? Certainly every supposedly "pro-business"catechism or mantra that's been used against the democrats has been proved to be about as real as Hogwarts.

So far I've couched this entirely in "conservative" terms. But what about the fixation of the neocons, upon enhancing a powerfully assertive Pax Americana? I happen to mildly agree that the unipolar, America-led world of 1999 was better than today's chaos. But there are no metrics under which the neocons have not destroyed the thing they claimed to love! Military readiness is at an all-time low (after an all-time high under Clinton) The reserves are a shambles. Recruitment standards are in the toilet. We have no allies. (Though world polls show a readiness to embrace us again, the moment Obama is President.)

Need I also mention that the GOP is taken-over by zealots who openly avow that you and I are "damned" and who pray daily for events described in the Book of Revelations to unfold? Leading to "fire in the sky" and an end to the United States of America?

And so, for not a single "liberal" reason, I am voting not only for Obama, but for the GOP to be utterly spanked and sent into exile, where, perhaps, sincere men and women may remember Barry Goldwater and resurrect some kind of healthy, libertarian Conservatism.

> > 2. Who did you vote for in 2004? Who did you vote for
> in 2000?

I could tell that the neocons were mad in 2000 and that their allies were fanatics or thieves. It was blatant in 2004. Those who act shocked (shocked!) and betrayed today were fools then and are likely fools now.

> > 3. Is this in fact the most important election in your> lifetime, as > > many observers have claimed?

Without any doubt.
But the reason that I'll give may surprise you.It is not "political"!

The most important issues at stake today have nothing to do with "left-vs-right" (and those who think so are reflex troglodytes.) No, the issue is light-vs-dark, in the sense that we have been subjected to a kleptocratic raid that depended upon one thing -- quashing every possible system of accountability. Especially the US Civil Service.

Yes, kneejerk libertarians can think of no greater band of villains than bureaucrats. They forget Adam Smith's warning that crony-monopolies and creeping aristocratism are far more dangerous to free markets. In fact, the bureaucracy was supposedly invented to help control that historically ruinous trend. YES, bureaucracies can also stifle. Some should be cut away. God save us from an over-reaction toward EU-style meddling!

But when laws and regulators and inspectors are there, enacted by sovereign law after open deliberation, then they should at least function well. And the top priority of the Bushites was to appoint 10,000 monomaniacal klepto-enablers atop every agency, with the sole aim of preventing those agencies from working.

If obama does nothing else -- passes no new laws or initiatives -- he will save us simply by expelling those 10,000 enemies of accountability and promoting from within the Civil Service. Only then can we properly argue which civil servants are useful and which aren't

> > 4. What will you miss about the Bush administration?

Their perfect purity of purpose. I have looked for a single example of their acting in the best interests of the American people, the republic, or even decent conservatism. There are no examples, whatsoever. Such perfection belies the "Standard Model" that they were merely venal morons. Such uniformity of accomplishment smacks of deliberate intelligence.

> > 5. Leaving George W. Bush out of consideration, what> former U.S. > > president would you most like to have waterboarded?

I find this question offensive. I will swallow my anger when Bush pardons thousands... and then lets Cheney pardon him. I am too busy for vengeance.

But knowing that many of your readers will cite Clinton and call him "almost as bad," let me say this. After a billion dollar, fourteen year witch hunt, that included hundreds of FBI agents re-assigned from normal duties to look for a "smoking gun," during the six months before 9/11 (an act of outright treason), the sum total of Clinton era officials to be convicted - or even indicted - for crimes having anything to do with the performance of their official duties, would up being ZERO.

You cannot perfectly prove a negative. But when a relentless search, turning over every stone, fails to come up with a single positive, then only complete monomaniacs would clutch an emotion-drenched and biliously-irrational hatred for what is now proved to have been the most honest and open administration in all of US - or human - history. Combine that with excellent metrics in every aspect of management, economics, market health, stimulating business startups, etc. ad infinitum... and the case is closed.

Hold your nose if you must. And watch them warily. But put the dems back in charge. Across the $$%#%$! board.

PS... where is the LP this year? Was there ever a time when it SHOULD have seen a surge of refugees from the GOP? The absolute and fantastic repulsiveness of their nominee only explains part of it. This election is proof, positive, that the goggle-eyed lapel-grabbing randroids have got to grow up. Americans will listen to pragmatic incrementalists. Dogmatic fanatics won't budge even 2%.

David Brin said...

Daggat's latest is a must-read:


Fake_William_Shatner said...

Hey, some good news!

New material seems to get close to 100% absorption of solar radiation. Seems to use multiple materials that capture both florescence and phosphorescence -- the last bit being the key. The ingredients are a bit pricey, but I think this accidental discovery will put a lot of scientists onto the right path; LINK

Anonymous said...

@David: Your post to Reason magazine is an excellent explanation of why you're voting the way you are. You're voting *against* a party for president, plain and simple. And you have good reasons for it - I accept those.

*I*, on the other hand, am voting for the individual I believe will do the least long term damage to this country in the job. I no longer have any hope that either candidate will do *no* damage -- I'm simply minimizing the damage I expect. McCain will do less long term damage by his nature, and will find it difficult to do short term damage in a Democrat-controlled congress, IMHO.

Now, that may be a stress-induced delusion as you implied in a previous response to one of my comments. Maybe you're right. Am I stressed about this election? Sure. Frustration is a significant cause of stress.

See, It's very frustrating to clearly see the economic train wreck that will arise from electing a particular individual. It's frustrating trying to convince your friends that the particular individual is *not* what they claim to be, and that they're only really voting for that person in a knee-jerk reaction against the previous individual to hold the office. It's frustrating knowing that the individual isn't even remotely a good representative of their own party, and will drive that party further to the edges of insanity. And it's frustrating seeing that individual manipulate the press and public perception such that it's single-mindedly focused on the bad side of their opponent, while they get a free ride. Yeah, the Bush campaign in 2000 was extraordinarily frustrating to me. :P

Alas, repeating it in 2008 with Obama, for nearly the same exact reasons, is just as frustrating, if not moreso. His flaws seem clear to me, just as clear as Bush's flaws were obvious in 2000. And yet, it appears we're doomed to make the same mistake. (And will likely repeat it in 2012 because Obama will *still* be able to blame Bush for his failings...)

From where I sit now, it seems very likely you'll get your wish, David. I don't expect any October Surprise (or if there is one, it will likely backfire). I sincerely and fervently hope your view of Obama is more accurate than mine, because if mine is even half accurate, he's going to make Bush seem reasonable by comparison. (And if it turns out I'm right, I reserve the right to say "I warned you - but did you listen? Nooooo..." I've had to say that a lot about Bush in the last few years, so I've got practice.)

I also hope you're right that spanking the GOP will cause them to become better. But I seriously doubt it. *I* believe the bad elements are going to start calling McCain a RINO again the day after election day, blame their loss on the moderates in the party, and spend the next 8 years purging them. So when the pendulum inevitably swings back after 8 years of Obama, what we get will be *far* worse than Bush. IMHO. So I *really* hope you're right about this and I'm totally wrong. Keep an eye on the conservative blogs the day after election day and we'll know...

Until then, I think I'll take a break from blogging and commenting -- I don't think I can stand any more Kos-like rants directed my way. (As I expect this post to generate...) Maybe after the election the blogosphere will calm down and reasonable discourse can resume.

Oh, and @Rob: Regarding your comment about supporting the President in times of war? I *didn't* support Bush back then -- I thought the invasion of Iraq was the stupidest thing he could do. All things considered, I reserve my right to protest.

Unknown said...

>> I sincerely and fervently hope your view of Obama is more accurate than mine, because if mine is even half accurate, he's going to make Bush seem reasonable by comparison. (And if it turns out I'm right, I reserve the right to say "I warned you - but did you listen?

Your reservation of that right is null and void unless you elaborate on this!

Tony Fisk said...

Atomicsmith got in before me Steve.

Please tell us what your impression of Obama is and why it makes him so unpalatable to you. Not doing so makes you sound like a simple troll.

(Hey, your's is an opinion. We don't hang you for those... yet)

David Brin said...

Steve, you are welcome to your opinion. Though I can't even begin to see any evidence to support your suppositions about Barack Obama. They seem to be "gut" impressions. And thus, similar to how "gut" Bush has ruled...

...and diametrically opposite to what Obama is about, which is evidence-based argument and consensus building.

No, I did not give a complete list of my reasons for opposing McCain and the GOPs, I gave a short, partial list of "conservative" reasons to oppose them. Those reasons are huge enough to put a steep and overwhelming burden of proof on anyone who contends that "Mr. 905 Bush supporter" McCain will be different. Especially since he has made ZERO effort to banish any Bushites or lobbyists from his inner circle.

None at all.

As for personal character, please do this one thing. Read this article by conservative columnist David Brooks, of all people: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/17/opinion/17brooks.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin

I mean, dang! McCain is known for his rages. He reacts emotionally. He blinks like mad and sticks out his tongue.... and what do you have on Obama? His one trait that stands out above all others is a perpetual, Vulcan-logical calm.

Please read that one piece.

Tony Fisk said...

wrt Rob's observations on Mormonism.

The 'Telestrial Kingdom' certainly sounds like a more civilised alternative to dealing with wrongdoers than the control freakery implicit in the 'repent or *else*' crowd. (is the FSM civilised, d'you think?) It reminds me of the closing stanzas of a medieval poem 'Piers the Plowman' (actually, a discussion of it in a book of English history) which hints at the same thing: of sinners being released and eventually redeemed beyond the grave.

Anonymous said...

RE: Abortion

I look at abortion as a problem of trespass. So, here is an analogy.

You live in a cabin in the woods. It is deep winter and certain death to stay outside. You own the only refuge around for miles.

Someone knocks on your door. You can invite him in and save his life - or not. It is your house and you are not obligated to help. If he barges in or steals from you, then kicking him out is self defense. Otherwise, I think it is murder to actively force your guest back out into the cold to die after you’ve asked him in.

My solution, at least partially, is to allow mothers (and fathers?) to sell their parental rights. Right now, a pregnant woman who does not want to be a mother has only two choices: abort, or go through nine months of inconvenience (at best) to then give her child away for free. Let her profit from her pregnancy and she might just see it through.

Anonymous said...

There are far more extreme Ethical Arguments that have been made about how old a child can be before he/she is human (six months is something that I've heard...).

Personally, I prefer to believe that a woman has more ethical RIGHTS than an unborn child, but along with those rights comes responsibility.

A woman who has behaved responsibly, and through fluke or attack is pregnant, I believe should be allowed to use abortion as birth control.

But I say to any who would ban abortion entirely -- If I was forced to bear a baby that would be blind by the age of five, and dead by the age of ten, I'd kill it immediately after it was born. Murder or not, that is the responsible thing to do. Why have someone bear ten babies that all die, when they could save the money, and possible bear one that might survive?

It's an extreme example, but it does exist in this world.