Friday assorted links

1. The implicit theology of Jordan Peterson: “No one has come to save you; you will have to save yourself.”

2. Comedy complaints about Facebook.

3. Not a very satisfying abstract, but what was I expecting?

4. A claim that Irish border solutions are possible.

5. Will the UK simply stop building museums?  If so, what does this say about us?

6. Can the Catholic Church become Silicon Valley once again?  “That the Catholic Church should put Silicon Valley—or any other institution or culture—to shame when it comes to world-changing innovation is not some tantalizing yet naïve prospect. It should be the baseline expectation for any educated Catholic.”  And indeed that once was the case.


I hope Peterson is able to reach the large chunks of people who need this advice. The amount of despair I see in some young people is truly concerning. Also, what does Peterson say about Canada? I think it's pretty clear that he only emerged because PC in Canada is pretty much out of control, but at the same time, Canada is still a place where a Peterson can exist. Cup half full or half empty, I guess.

He seems to be very proud of Canada and being Canadian. To the extent that he keeps saying it is quite proper that people initially assumed that he was crazy -- because Canada (and by extension western civilisation) is so great that it is a fair heuristic to assume that anyone calling it it out is the crazy one.

It's not clear to me that PC has gone further in Canada than in the US. I'd say in fact that the US is the spiritual centre of the the thing, but that Canadian governments are more willing and able to impose such spiritual values. I.e. politics follows culture, but in the US the gap is wider.

'It’s not clear to me that PC has gone further in Canada than in the US.'

Canada has no 1st Amendment guaranteeing freedom of expression. Until the American Constitution is changed, PC will never go as far in the U.S. as in other countries that allow a government to punish speech (for whatever reason that polity feels justified).

'I’d say in fact that the US is the spiritual centre of the the thing'

Which certainly explains President Trump, right?

Hillary is the only explanation for President Trump. Once you learn that, your Trump anxiety will plateau.

Why worry about Trump? He is simply one president among many, and quite honestly, has a long way to go before he even approaches Nixonian levels of anxiety creation.

Besides, Trump's entertainment value is off the scale compared to any other president in my lifetime.

Canada has a constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression (s. 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms). It is true that neither Canada nor any other country in the world has interpreted this as broadly as the US courts have interpreted the First Amendment, but (a) the First Amendment was not interpreted so broadly until relatively recently, (b) the main judicial skeptic of this interpretation is Justice Samuel Alito, hardly a politically correct man, and -- most importantly -- (c) "political correctness" is not a question of government censorship, but of a culture of intolerance of ideological disagreement in people you associate with in business or personal life. This is where the US is truly out of control. There is almost nothing that you can say that can lead to government bans, but people are constantly calling for people to be fired or shunned for sentiments that would not raise an eyebrow in Europe. This is true for people who say things that are considered insufficiently respectful of the military or of disadvantaged groups. So in Europe, you can be prosecuted for being a Holocaust denier, but everyone would think you were crazy if you tried to get a sportscaster fired for stating some controversial political opinion. Canada is, as so often, somewhere in between. Judge not that ye be not judged.

'the First Amendment was not interpreted so broadly until relatively recently'

Compared to every other government in existence in 1800, the interpretation of the 1st Amendment has always been much broader than in other countries.

'“political correctness” is not a question of government censorship, but of a culture of intolerance of ideological disagreement in people you associate with in business or personal life'

If you say so - somehow, the fact that the 1st Amendment entitles every American to hold any opinion they wish without fear of government punishment means that every American can decide, on their own, whether to scorn anyone else for any reason at all. Strangely, this freedom to tell someone else that their views are worthless is now considered a problem by many of the same people that decry political correctness.

'This is where the US is truly out of control.'

Well, that just might be a case in point.

'but people are constantly calling for people to be fired or shunned for sentiments that would not raise an eyebrow in Europe'

I live in Europe, and that is not accurate, at least for this region in Germany. What is true is that American at will employment pretty much allows any American employer to fire anyone they want any time they want for no reason at all.

Canadians have an overwhelming need to compare themselves favorably to the US. When a Canadian talks about being proud of Canada, you can be sure that he's not comparing Canada to Saudi Arabia, he's comparing it favorably to the US. Since Canadians can't beat the US on military strength, technological advancement or economics (usually), they focus on being morally superior.

We focus on having a better hockey team and avoiding a dysfunctional Madisonian separation of powers that leads to crazy budge impasses.

"dysfunctional Madisonian separation of powers that leads to crazy budge impasses"

Well, you really don't understand separation of powers at all. Legislative impasses are a good thing, it's called checks and balances around here.

Good one FYI; I laughed

Micah hit the nail on the head I think. JP is CKL less the beauty of grace.

FYI :...."checks and balances."

Just seems to be a case of (larger) checks and (deficit) balances. Can't be very thrilled about that.

"Canada is still a place where a Peterson can exist"
As opposed to America, where they are promptly sent to death camps... That is why FOX and the right wing think tanks had to close.

Not sure what you are saying here. My bar for Canada is a lot lower than my bar for America. Which by the way, is where Peterson not only can exist but can become a celebrity ;-)

Brazil's Representative Bolsonaro says the same things Peterson does. But American racists will never respect a Brazilian.

No one has come to save you; you will have to save yourself.

I don't know about this. Doesn't it also tell people not to help others in distress because they need to get out of their funk themselves, and if prove not to be capable of doing that, they are losers beyond redemption?


Ya that's not really implied.

You shouldn't personally rely on anyone else to make your life what you want it, then you are not free and you won't be happy. But that doesn't mean you can't help others and that doesn't mean you shouldn't have some compassion for others that are lost. But, I personally think, if your compassion causes you to allow others chaos to harm your life, you are making a mistake.

That would require ignoring the fact that the speaker of the statement is spending a good deal of time and effort trying to help people, including with this message.

If any church could actually help people to live more disciplined lives, it could do a great deal of good, because increasing knowledge of the consequences to our health of our choices in what we eat and drink and how much we exercise increases the value of discipline in these areas (nor do I believe that possible improvements are limited to health, diet, and exercise). But I do not believe that any church is willing to stake its reputation on its ability to make measurable changes in people's lives, and I don't believe that any church is willing to measure the fruits of the messages it is sending to people and change those messages to bear more and better fruits.

The Mormon church seems to be able to help its converts live more disciplined lives.

Cowen loves to plug for how great the LDS Church is. Why he doesn't move to SLC (which should have a pretty good ethnic dining scene given all of the foreign missionary work that Mormons do) is the big unanswered question of Cowen's life.

No it isn't - the best location to influence government policy making is centered in Washington metro region. There is a reason why so many disparate, though well financed, public policy institutes can be found nestled in the bosom of the GMU Arlington campus, where they pay rent to the taxpayers of the Commonwealth of Virginia for their office space.

Sorry, I ran afoul of Poe's law there. It might have been clearer that I was making a joke if I mentioned cheap chalupas.

I used to live in Northern VA like prof. Cowen and now live in Utah. It is great, and a huge part of it is indeed because of the LDS church.

The church doesn't do it, the community does. It works for the Amish, too, but when most people consider the Amish, they understand that coercive undertones of shaming and shunning. It's less obvious among the mormons, to outsiders at least, but still quite there.

The LDS church is far more engaged with its members than any other I can name. My sister and her family are all Mormons, and I should ask her how many hours a week they spend there. I know they're there at least twice a week.

"choices in what we eat and drink"

We have literally thousands of people, organizations and governments telling us what to eat. Are any of them right? And if they were that means all the others are wrong. There isn't any "right" way to eat, no correct or best diet. Didn't Michelle Obama prove this with her disastrous school lunch fiasco?

Some advice has been spectacularly wrong, but the general trend is to accumulate information and to increase the reliability of what is believed by e.g. professional nutritionists and doctors. The reliability of non-specialist individuals on the subject increases more slowly, if it increases at all. What I have heard of some of the problems of Michelle Obama's school lunch program, and healthy eating attempts in UK schools, is that one tricky bit is persuading children to take the consequences of their diet into account when choosing what to eat. This choice between current gratification and future consequences - with the right answer varying between people according to their tastes and needs - is exactly the sort of thing churches might optimistically be presumed to have some experience with.

#6 - fake news by Bill Gates. Both screen scrapes below are from Bill and Melinda Gates Anti-Malaria in Africa stories (both stats given by the Gates foundation) but they cannot both be right.

Oct 12, 2016 - In the past 15 years, the rate of malaria deaths has dropped 57%, according to a Bill and Melinda Gates-backed study published Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine

Sep. 17, 2015 - It was calculated that new malaria cases have dropped by 37% in 15 years, and more countries are on the verge of eliminating the mosquito-borne disease. In 2014, 13 countries reported no cases, and six more reported fewer than 10, with the fastest decreases in the Caucasus and central and eastern Asia.

Bonus trivia: I was surprised--are you?--that recently only one million people died of malaria in a year but over 200M people had the disease, that's a 0.5% fatality rate, not that high.

Re-reading the above, it's either a typo (57, 37), or deaths (few people die of malaria, it's mostly small children) vs cases (cases are harder to eradicate than deaths, which can be prevented with the proper drugs). Fake science news and publicity seeking by the Gates foundation.

Pathetic, Ray

Re 4 - the site you've linked is recycling a paper written in December by a nice man who used be Deputy Head of Swedish customs. He's expert in his own field, and it was helpful of him to have put together a list of customs control technologies, but neither he nor his paper were making the argument that customs borders are yet able to be smooth. The border for which he was responsible often has two hour delays. No offence, but the content doesn't justify your headline.

Commissioned and published by the European Parliament's Committee for Constitutional Affairs (for all that "The opinions expressed in this document are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament").

1. It seems that Peterson's new book is being read by girls rather than boys based on the mostly feminine response to the book. Did he miss his target audience, or did he hit it? If one accepts the premise that boys are visual and girls are verbal, then a book is more likely to affect girls than boys. Peterson must be aware of this difference between boys and girls because he claims our education system (with its emphasis on learning by listening rather than by doing) has failed boys. Peterson contrasts order and chaos and boys and girls, the implication being that boys are responsible for order while girls are responsible for chaos. That is counter-intuitive, as girls are usually the ones who promote order (family, selflessness, etc.) while boys promote chaos (brutality, selfishness, etc.). Is Peterson trying to get boys to act more or less like girls? Or is Peterson trying to get girls to act more like boys?

Where have you gotten the impression that it is mostly girls reading the book? (Genuine question).

Boys respond to his lectures, videos, etc., while mostly girls have responded (negatively) to his book. Google his book and you will see that most of the criticism (the strident criticism that gets repeated) is coming mostly from girls.

Probably because the guys that read the book don't have as many negative things to say?

I do not think "the most prominent individual responses to his book have come from women" should be confused with "it is mostly girls reading the book." The target audience is not likely to be blogging about their experience.

Order and chaos generally seems a bad framework to contrast males and females. Rule based male typed autism is chaotic, female typed flexible intuitive thought is orderly? And the converse is as bad (the focus on violence and such things). Though I suspect this distinction is more yours than Peterson's (without having read it), unless he really is that bad.

He absolutely does not say girls create chaos.

He absolutely does say that Chaos is a more feminine force and Order is a more masculine force. That's nuance, but it is being ignored by people trying to find an excuse to be offended.

I haven't read the 12 rules book, nor made it very far into Maps of Meaning. Is there a pedagogical reason to say that Chaos is more feminine forces and Order a more masculine force? That sounds a lot like rehashed "Birth of Tragedy" type stuff, and at least Nietzsche had the benefit of being inspired and original (and possibly crazy). When you can write like Nietzsche, that kind of use of language is a good thing. When you can't, then it seems too vague and inexact, a way to hide imprecise and lazy thinking.

"Is Peterson trying to get boys to act more or less like girls?"

One fascinating interpretation of Peterson that I have read is that his vision of a more constructive masculinity for our modern era is in many ways a reframing of traditionally "feminine" virtues as masculine ones. For example, isn't it interesting that so many of his rules seem to literally be about housekeeping? Clean your room!

He should write his books in pairs, one for girls and another for boys. They should have pink and blue covers, so nobody accidently buys the wrong one.

"If one accepts the premise that boys are visual and girls are verbal, then a book is more likely to affect girls than boys."

That may not be valid in academic environment, which selects for strong verbal skills. And Peterson is very popular among students.

"5. Will the UK simply stop building museums? If so, what does this say about us?"

Presumably, there is some optimal and finite number of UK museums

"It is estimated that there are about 2,500 museums in the UK, depending on what you include. Over 1,800 museums have been accredited."That's an "accredited" museum for everyone 36k people. The first sentence is "A recent government report says that Britain should stop building new museums and ***focus on the ones it already has***."

Re:2 This is becoming more than a snarky comment. It is ironic that Facebook supports "net neutrality."

3. Joseph Polchinski's obituary:

6. The Catholic Church and Catholic Dogma are today's version of Israel and the Jewish Law. Think about that: the antisemitic Catholic Church has assumed the role of Israel. Does the Church even realize what has happened? I don't know, but my very devoted Roman Catholic friend agrees with my observation.

The HRCC needs a moonshot program. I don't know what it would do, but "moonshot" sounds cool. Maybe they could prove that God exists.

Do you mean something like a crusade? Maybe the evangelisation of China is a suitable goal, as it may soon be the most powerful and influential nation on earth. Capturing the holy land is of course always a good plan b. Or how about a reconquista for North Africa or Turkey?

A general comment: the NYSE should consider closing at noon. What’s with the afternoon sell-offs? I’m a morning person and do my best work in the AM, but I don’t fall into a depression in the afternoon.

Ergo sell in the AM. Buy in the PM.

Now (2:37) the Dow is up 45 after being down earlier by 500. This must be involuntary trading.

The day you find yourself getting your investment advice from rayward, have yourself looked at by a psychiatric professional.

#3. No, not a satisfying abstract in 2018.

A year has passed since the Univ. of Hawai'i's Institute for Astronomy announced the discovery of the Dipole Repeller (as big a nothing as any cosmic void yet discovered, from all appearances).

Why do cosmologists not forget their "either-or" construct finally and forever? To wit: why do Something and Nothing inhabit the same universe? (--which, even discounting the Dipole Repeller and other cosmic voids, dark matter and dark energy are still said to be the chief constituents of existence, baryonic matter accounting for no more than 5% of what we baryonic creatures can readily detect.)

2. So unless I'm totally misunderstanding the former Funny or Die employee, he seems rather upset that they built their business on someone else's property and don't like how the property owner is treating them now.

"I um, hate capitalism, because you can't do whatever you want however you want to. Like especially if you do something and it works, then the government should make it so it works forever and ever. Or else it's not fair."

"And with funny or die, it really shows you that the core problem of capitalism is that consumers don't bookmark your website because they prefer Facebook's content delivery system"

No, you're right.

Facebook announced a month ago they won't support anymore producers of original videos. Facebook offered for a couple years more money to video producers. It was called the "pivot to video". Even news where put on 1 min videos of photos with large subtitles. Many producers of original content profited from this money until Facebook decided the composition of content presented would reduce videos and show more friend's photos, comments, etc.

This has happened before. When Steve Jobs was alive he sold the ipad as the next best thing. Newspapers and magazine editors invested a lot of money in ipad editions of their content. 7 years passed and all the money invested on ipad versions is practically a loss.

the lesson is the same. if the fate of your business is at stake, don't listen to Jobs or Zuckerberg. Be responsible and save yourself. Now i see the link between Peterson and the comedy guy complaining.

#2: Zuckerberg has become "the man"!

It is unbelievable that people put up with facebook's shenanigans, why would I ever knowingly accept a man in the middle attack, where the URLs I share get converted to indirect links to a facebook URL?

Also, facebook missed a great marketing campaign:

"Hillary spent $1 Billion+, but $100K on facebook adds threw the election!"

"Top Democrat Wants To Be Sure Lower-Profile Industries Are Dealing With Sexual Misconduct Too"

Underlying assumption: Top Democrats do not believe sexual harassment/assault is a crime. Seek out entities outside the CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM to "deal with sexual misconduct".

Forgot link. Got to give credit where credit is due...

Similar topic. Sitting US Senator wishes security would not have stopped the father that attempted to attack Larry Nassar in a court room. Wonder if she'd be ok with security failing to stop an assailant from punching any sitting POTUS? Bonus question, does the party (religion) of the sitting POTUS change her answer?

Re Peterson: however helpful it may be to pet cats, this stuff isn't going to save you either. There is no such thing as salvation. This is all there is. Then you die.

I haven't got a full set of 12 rules yet, (or even a full set of 12 rules) but Rule 5 provides, "harden the eff* up." It is about the riding your bicycle in foul weather, from the velominati. It applies more generally.

Parentheses should read full set of 5 rules. Typed with thumbs.

#2: Is it just me, or does It sound like the former writer for Funny or Die is just bitter that his readers consume his (and others) content from a site other than his?

Well, that and the fact that the other site grabs all the revenue without producing any content.

The Free Beacon article is good. It's main concern though is to say that while JBP is pretty good for being as Christian as possible while accepting scientific rationality, that he would be better if only he believed Christian mythology more literally.

But that way lies stupidity. I admire C. S. Lewis, but but he was also, quite literally, a magical-thinking fantasist who only paid lip service to accepting scientific truth, about things like evolution.

I scanned the review and I did not see any quotes from Peterson, which leads me to believe that the reviewer put words in Peterson’s mouth. Christians do not believe that you can save yourself, but rather that salvation is based on God’s grace.

Protestants believe in justification by faith. Catholics, and Jews, believe it takes more than faith. Jesus was an observant Jew, as were his disciples and closest apostles. Protestants can believe what they want to believe, and can create the faith they want to create.

6. The Catholic Church is too caught up in charity work. This is a result of various socialist ideologies that have overrun the world and continue to create poor, ignorant and violent people not to mention oppressive and thuggish regimes which steal the fruits of the workers' labor. In the past, the Church could unleash their own or other armies against such gangsters. Now, the Church tries to clean up the mess and beg Christian nations to attack the evil doers. But Christians no longer feel the need to oppose evil. They prefer to sit around and exchange leftist slogans and blame the United States for all the problems in the world. Jesus gave a command, "Go and sin no more..." Unfortunately, that sounds quaint and old fashioned. People are too busy feeling like victims and hanging on their own crosses of self-pity. There is nobody left to face down the lords of evil empires. By the way, there is a cure for malaria; it's called DDT.

6. Can the Catholic Church become Silicon Valley once again? “That the Catholic Church should put Silicon Valley—or any other institution or culture—to shame when it comes to world-changing innovation is not some tantalizing yet naïve prospect. It should be the baseline expectation for any educated Catholic.” And indeed that once was the case.

He must have had a snootful when he wrote that article. The business of the Church is to teach, sanctify, and govern, not tasks which require much innovation. (And the last thing we need is for the remnant of Catholic schooling to embrace pedagogic fads).

Yeah get 'em! Get them jooz! And the spooks and fags too!

Wow, AD! You should see a nice Jewish psychiatrist.

Is it just me or do you leave the same comment on every JP post?

#3 I read the linked article and found it very interesting. But in the end the conclusion seemed as arbitrary as it appears in the abstract. It's just that now I have some idea how he believes he got there.

Maybe we aren't smart enough to understand the implications of your brilliant analysis, but so what?

You think he is "spiritually feminine". How does that effect whether he is right or wrong about anything. It seems like his mere presence irritates you somehow. You might want to see a psychologist about that. If you are in Canada, there is a Dr. Peterson I'd recommend. Not sure if the good Dr. is a man or woman, since I am not as skilled at divining true gender essences as others.

Re Sean Carroll.

Everything that is possible has an inherent potential for being. Those "things" that have the greatest potential for being are the things that ultimately come to "be". The universe, the world, everything there is, that is, has greater potential for being than the alternative, which is nothing. Nothing has a low potential for being relative to something. That's why there is something rather than nothing.

Bonus trivium: Leibniz thought of it first.

Loved the article from the Jesuits on how the Church needs to lift its game in the world of innovation. Many thanks for posting

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