I knew nothing about enneagrams until yesterday

I’d heard of them, of course, but I was in a state of blessed ignorance so the term just sailed right over my head. Now I’ve received a couple of emails from the persistent Richard Colter (never heard of him, either), so I looked ’em up.

Jesus.

It’s some kind of personality profile system, based on numerology and Christian mysticism, with this magical figure used to diagram your personality traits. It has about as much validity as Myers-Briggs personality tests, that is, none at all, but sucks believers in with its pseudo-scientific/pseudo-mathematical posing.

An enneagram is, literally, a drawing with nine lines. Figuratively, however, the enneagram is a New Age mandala, a mystical gateway to personality typing. The drawing is based upon a belief in the mystical properties of the numbers 7 and 3.* It consists of a circle with nine equidistant points on the circumference. The points are connected by two figures: one connects the number 1 to 4 to 2 to 8 to 5 to 7 and back to 1; the other connects 3, 6 and 9. The 142857 sequence is based on the fact that dividing 7 into 1 yields an infinite repetition of the sequence 142857. In fact, dividing 7 into any whole number not a multiple of 7 will yield the infinite repetition of the sequence 142857. Also, 142857 x 7 = 999999. And of course 1 divided by 3 yields an infinite sequence of threes. The triangle joining points 3, 6 and 9 links all the numbers on the circle divisible by 3. To ascribe metaphysical or mystical significance to the properties of numbers is mere superstition and a throwback to an earlier time in human history when ignorance was considered a point of view.

I’d just throw it in the bin with astrology and dianetics and The Bell Curve and every attempt to reduce humanity to a couple of numbers, but Richard Colter has a book he thinks I should read: UNDERSTANDING HUMAN EVOLUTION: AND THE NINE HUMAN ENDEAVORS – REVEALS THE PURPOSE AND MEANING OF LIFE. I am almost tempted to order it.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to read this book is that it reveals the Nine Human Endeavors (NHE), which are the highly sophisticated behaviors that separate modern humans from early human species such as Neanderthals. The constructive use of this knowledge is the key to unleashing the untapped potential of individuals, organizations, and countries. Thus, the knowledge contained in this book will prove to be indispensable to people of all walks of life.
This book will be of interest to Anthropologists because it provides a comprehensive theory of human evolution that answers the unassailable questions of how and why humans evolved. As the story of human evolution unfolds, new concepts fill the gaps existing in the anthropological sciences, along with critical details such as the key psychological and physiological differentiators between modern humans and early humans. And a basic timeline of evolutionary events provides the context necessary for those without a background in anthropology.

It’s 341 pages of this egotistical argle-bargle. I’m sure, given how the Ennealogical Brigade thinks, that it ought to be full of bizarre mystical diagrams that represent the “evidence” that this view of purposeful evolution is true, but a quick glimpse inside reveals that the author has instead substituted page after page of word salad. Maybe the diagrams are in an appendix.

Mr Colter himself is active on Quora, where he writes about two things, and only two things: how to get out of paying speeding tickets, and spreading misinformation about evolution, which always includes a plug for his book. I’d look deeper, but I think I’ve had enough nonsense for the day.

Symbolism is not evidence

Those QAnon weirdos clearly think it is, though, which is probably a big part of their delusional worldview. Did you know that red shoes are significant and symbolic to the occult because they make leather red shoes out of babies’ skin? And that because Tom Hanks made a movie called The Man with One Red Shoe, Hanks must be a big time pedophile? Q says so! The movie also stars Carrie Fisher, Dabney Coleman, and Charles Durning, all major leaders in a child sex trafficking ring, apparently, or they wouldn’t have worked in such a flagrantly evil film.

Look on this page and imagine all the dead babies, sacrificed for their occult powers!

By the way, QAnon has to be the most deranged of all the modern cults. Name one that is worse.

I get email

I get the impression that Phillip Jones is not a fan.

Pz Myers how dare you trivialize the inhuman and insidious horrors of Nazi concentration camps by comparing them to ICE facilities! Yes the conditions in those places are unsanitary and unacceptable, but they are nothing like concentration camps which were specifically intended for genocide. Stop pretending you oppose concentration camps PZ! Communists and Socialists like you always lock people who don’t agree with collectivist ideology up when you get into power! You always torture and murder them too, because you know that people won’t abandon their individual rights, freedoms, concerns, sovereignty, and independence for your pipe-dream, hammer-and sickle utopia! The discovery Institute has written about you too, asshat! They remarked, completely and accurately, that you are a crusader/bully determined to silence and Malign anyone who disputes your talking points, even if they agree with you on most everything else. Even if the person is a leftist and evolutionist like you, if they don’t agree with you in every minute point, you attack them like a rabid dog!! Dawkins and Harris aren’t perfect, but they are better men than you!! And they continually publish scientific research; you haven’t published research in more than four years! You’ve spent nearly all your time trolling and trash talking on twitter!!! You should have been disowned by Atheist Ireland and it’s allies a long time ago!! If Dawkins, Harris, or any other new Atheist dies as a result of your defamation, like Pim Fortuyn was, I will make sure you and all the other hate-mongering, Islamic appeasing, Ameriphobic , uber-left wing pricks who’ve been lying about and bashing them are held accountable. Dawkins is in danger of being killed like Taslima Nasrin. Because of bin ladenist, brown-shirt lefties like you!! By the way, the Federal Government, while refusing to charge you with treason and sedition like they should, informed me that they have you under surveillance, and are waiting to catch you committing some act of insurrection or violence against the government so they can arrest and charge you. And don’t tell me you’d never do that, you said you hoped for a revolution to erase the stain of America. And you support Antifa violence against right-wingers like Andy Ngo. I wouldn’t be suprised if you’re plotting to bomb a bridge, like those Occupy Cleveland nuts!! If this country is so terrible get out!! I’m going to boycott any appearance or association with you asshole!!

Twenty three exclamation points. Not a high score, but respectable. I appreciate how it gradually escalates from “how dare you trivialize…” to “new Atheists will die as a result of your words” to “you’re plotting to bomb a bridge”.

Extra points for going to the Federal Government, and gloating that they said I was under surveillance and are awaiting any excuse to arrest me, while at the same time claiming that I’m the one who wants to take away individual rights, freedoms, concerns, sovereignty, and independence. Always nice to be reported to a police state for daring to suggest that they’re a police state!

Garbage in, garbage all over the place

I just bumped into this 2 year old article in Forbes. Forbes is all sober, serious, conservative bullshit, right? This piece isn’t sober at all. It’s about post-apocalyptic visions of the future and how billionaires are buying up vast tracts of land far away from the coast because they know what’s going to happen. Normally, I wouldn’t put it past billionaires to pull off all kinds of perfidious schemes, but in this case, I suspect it’s more that lots of acreage is available and cheap far inland, rather than that they’re preparing for doomsday.

You just have to look at the sources.

In the early 1980’s, spiritual visionaries and futurists provided clues to our changing planet. Often dismissed as crazy prophets, their thoughts for a new world were quickly ignored and laughed at. Gordon-Michael Scallion was a futurist, teacher of consciousness studies and metaphysics and a spiritual visionary. In the 80’s he claims to have had a spiritual awakening that helped him create very detailed maps of future world, all stemming from a cataclysmic pole shift. The result, while not based on any science, nonetheless provides a vivid and compelling picture of an Earth ravaged by flooding.

My emphasis. Note also that Gordon-Michael Scallion was a co-host on Coast to Coast AM, that pioneering talk radio show that let the conservative world know you could get away with saying anything you wanted on radio.

So, in the event of a post asteroid apocalypse, where are the safest territories in the world? According to several prognosticators and much criticized theorists, here is the detailed list of predicted land changes based on geological positioning. All post polar shift predictions are based on theories from Gordon-Michael Scallion, Edgar Cayce and others, and should not be construed as fact.

I haven’t heard the name of Edgar Cayce invoked seriously in decades. I wonder if people have forgotten who he was? He was called the “sleeping prophet”, because he’d do clairvoyant readings while pretending to be asleep, and made all kinds of goofy predictions and claims of past history (he was big on Atlantis stories and reincarnation). But that’s enough to tell you about the quality of the pile of maps which are published. In Forbes. With an author admitting that they’re not science-based.

Gosh. I’m going to have to buy me some ocean-front property in Nebraska while it’s cheap. I am a bit baffled about how so much of Florida remains above the waves while a big chunk of Colorado is flooded, though. And if you’re going to include Atlantis and Lemuria, you ought to also mark the location of R’lyeh.

Pounded in the Butt by Our Carnivore Diet

I read a curious book last night…well, more like skimmed an odd and repetitious assortment of short transcripts. Jordan & Mikhaila Peterson – Our Carnivore Diet: How to cure Depression and Disease with Meat only: Revised Transcripts and Blogposts. Featuring Dr. Shawn Baker was available for free on Kindle Unlimited, so I downloaded it.

It’s bad.

The cover is a hint. It’s a poor Photoshop with sloppy layout, the kind of thing you’d see on a self-published romance novel with the smiling heroine in front in her best bikini, and in the background the brooding, rich Heathcliff she’s going to win over…except, oh dear, that’s her father in the swim trunks. Seriously, Dr Peterson, you’re rich enough to hire a graphics pro to do the design. Chuck Tingle could have done a far better job, and would have at least thrown in a few dinosaurs and a sentient physical manifestation or two.

The contents are worse. The first chapter is a transcript of an interview with Steve Paikin (who?). The second and third are transcripts of interviews with Joe Rogan (yeesh). The fourth is a transcript of a podcast with Robb Wolf (?). The fifth is a transcript of…you get the idea. Then there are a couple of extracted blog posts, and a bonus(!) transcript of some carnivore diet proponent named Shawn Baker (who? again). And they’re all the same!

All can be summarized similarly. Jordan Peterson or Mikhaila Peterson talk with a sympathetic host about how miserable their lives were, and how Mikhaila was afflicted with these terrible idiopathic diseases and Jordan was so depressed. I believe that part. Mikhaila had rheumatoid arthritis to such a terrible degree that she had hip and ankle joints replaced with prosthetics, and Jordan always comes across as a sad sack. They were really sick! And then they say they got better when they started cutting stuff out of their diet, finally getting down to nothing but beef and salt and water. Yay! They found the cure! And the gullible hosts praise them.

Except, I would say two things. They were suffering from real but idiopathic diseases. All “idiopathic” means is that the doctors don’t know the causes. Have they considered the fact that their “cure” is also idiopathic? I accept that they say they feel better now, but we don’t know that their all-meat diet has anything at all to do with it, and announcing that they have the universal CURE in a book title is classic quackery.

The second issue is that every chapter in their book is a repetitive recital of the same damn things: the same two people describing their complaints and their history, in nearly the same words, in public broadcasts over and over. If you repeat the same anecdote 11 times, it doesn’t magically transform into empirical data.

After reading their best case summary of their diet, I am not at all tempted to try it. In fact, I’ve gone the opposite way in my life, cutting way back on meat and enjoying a vegetarian diet, and I feel pretty good.

If I repeat that sentence 11 times would you find that a compelling reason that you should conform to my dietary rules? I would hope not.

Maybe if I also put a photo of my wife in a bikini on the cover?

The IDW is f*cking embarrassing

I’ll always enjoy seeing Steven Pinker, Sam Harris and the epidemic of annoying white male intellectuals ragged on — and generally, any member of the Intellectual Dork Web deserves a thorough savaging. This one is good because it documents specific examples of Pinker and Harris being bad scholars, and shows how their fellow travelers flock to defend even their more egregious errors. I have to agree with its conclusions.

The point is that the entire IDW movement is annoying. It’s really, really annoying — its champions misrepresent positions without their (mostly white male) audience knowing, and then proceed to “embarrass” the opposition. They embrace unsupported claims when it suits their narrative. They facilely dismiss good critiques as “hit jobs” and level ad hominem attacks to undercut criticism. And they refuse — they will always refuse, it’s what overconfident white men do — to admit making mistakes when they’re obviously wrong. I am annoyed, like Robinson, mostly because I expected so much better from the most popular “intellectuals” of our time.

“Intellectuals” seems to be acquiring a new meaning here in the 21st century. It refers to well-off white people who use their illusion of academic prestige to defend 18th century ideas against all reason, as long as they bolster the status quo.

Crawl back into the bushes, you poseurs.

Children are to be sold quietly to billionaires, not heard

In case you were wondering what the worst reaction to Greta Thunberg might be, let’s look in on a Libertarian Communist Catholic’s (what?) opinion:

He’s not even being provocative! He just thinks girls can’t have credible opinions if raping them makes you a pedophile.

That’s probably the Catholic side of his bio speaking. Well, maybe the Libertarian side, too.

By the way, he’s quite proud of his tweet, and is bragging that Twitter didn’t see any problems with it, either.

When rationalism goes wrong, it really goes wrong

I could almost believe this little essay, You Can Learn How To Become More Rational, is pure satire, except that I’ve seen too many people sincerely holding these nonsensical views, and it cites a source that is packed to the gills with precisely this advice. It takes pains to tell you where their authority comes from.

LessWrong is a community blog devoted to “refining the art of human rationality.” The blog is led by artificial intelligence theorist Eliezer Yudkowsky.
A charitable organization which Yudkowsky founded has received $1.1 million from Peter Thiel, and Yudkowsky has given a talk on rationality at Thiel’s hedge fund.

Oy. The vampire wanna-be has lots and lots of money, and he gave some to Yudkowsky, therefore these must be good ideas. Rationality!

Then comes a list of 10 things you can do that range from banal to LessWrong dogma and cant, but I’m only going to mention the last one…because hoo boy, it’s a doozy.

10. Become More Awesome.
Possible means: master mental math, learn mnemonics, play n-back, become a lucid dreamer, learn symbolic shorthand, study Esperanto, exercise, eat better, become a PUA (if you’re a single male), deliberately expose yourself to rejection so you become less afraid of it, learn magic tricks or juggling, memorize information using spaced repetition, understand Bayes’ theorem, become a faster typer, challenge your senses by wearing a blindfold, eye patch, or colored goggles, stop using your dominant hand for a week, learn self-defense, or get trained in First Aid.

Wow.

I mean, that’s just…wow.

So, learn gimmicky party tricks and become an asshole pick-up artist is the same as being “awesome”? Rationality!

I hereby refuse to ever be awesome. I’ve got better things to do.

Unless…if I wear colored goggles for a week, will Peter Thiel give me a million dollars?

Real Seattle pride

He would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those pesky kids.

Today, Seattle Proud Boy Zac Staggs attempted to infiltrate the #ClimateStrike march in black bloc gear, but was reportedly identified immediately under his mask and got beat up… at an event organized by high schoolers.

Good on the Seattle antifa for catching out this clown…and the high school kids who exposed him.

Note also what the “Proud Boy’s” right foot is stepping in. So appropriate!