Pinker is embarrassing

Seriously, dude? Steven Pinker is peddling NFTs now?

On March 14th at 7pm ET, thought leader and Harvard professor Steven Pinker will release digital collectibles of his famous idea that “Free speech is fundamental”.

These collectibles will guarantee recurrent access to intimate group video calls with Pinker to discuss this topic for the next several years.

Two tiers will be available: the gold collectible, which is unique and grants the buyer the right to co-host the calls with Pinker, will be priced at $50,000; the standard collectibles, which are limited to 30 items and grant the buyers the right to access those video calls and ask questions to Pinker at the end, will be priced at 0.2 Ethereum (~$300).

The NFTs will be available for purchase on the Polemix NFT platform. Holders of the NFTs can expect to book their first call with Pinker as soon as two weeks following their purchase; thus receiving utility for the NFTs shortly after.

HIS famous idea that “Free speech is fundamental”? And all it is is a picture of Pinker with the words “free speech is fundamental” printed on it? Here you go, I’ll save you $50,000, although I can’t provide the phone call.

My first thought: this has to be a joke, a satirical web page made to poke fun at the self-importance of these IDW gomers.

It’s not. Pinker himself promoted it.

Jesus. It is a big joke, a joke named Pinker.

Except…apparently they’ve already sold out. Maybe humanity is the joke.

Rot in hell, Pell

Admire this work of art.

That’s beautiful.

As you’ve probably heard, Cardinal Pell is dead and will be buried in the Vatican tomorrow. The news has been strange — I’m not seeing much talk about his child sex abuse history, since he was acquitted, after all. All was forgiven, the Catholic church was relieved to be let off the hook.

On the day of Pell’s acquittal in 2020, Francis offered his morning Mass for all those who suffer from unjust sentences, which he compared to the persecution of Jesus.

Ironic, then, that the latest scandal is the discovery of a memo written by Pell.

Australian Cardinal George Pell was lying in state on Friday, with funeral preparations overshadowed by revelations that he was the author of an anonymous memo that branded Pope Francis’ pontificate a catastrophe.

You don’t expect loyalty from a junkyard dog, do you? He was just a mean-spirited, nasty little man. He was the kind of rabid conservative who hated science and did immense harm to society.

The late Cardinal George Pell left a legacy of climate science denial which – in his later years – became ever more distanced from reality and the position of the Catholic church.

For decades in newspaper columns and speeches, Pell popularised climate denial talking points to dismiss the science of global heating and to brand environmentalists as hysterical and in the grip of a pseudo-religion.

What’s impressive is that Pell was one of the few people who could make a positive contribution to humanity by simply dropping dead.

Yet another Twitter alternative

I tried out Hive Social. I don’t think I like it much yet.

What is Hive Social? It’s like a mashup of Twitter and Instagram, with a dash of MySpace. It offers the simplicity of Twitter before it went down the drain, puts a bit more emphasis on images like Instagram (or at least before video), and you can even add music to your profile. It’s interesting and certainly a bit easier to use than Mastodon.

Simplicity is good — it has a simple chronological timeline, none of that algorithmic crap that just gets in the way. That “dash of MySpace” isn’t appealing at all, nor is the melding with Instagram and emphasis on images. Mastodon is really easy to use, I’ve never understood how people can complain about its difficulty.

But here’s the deeply off-putting part, for me. You get on, and it’s just a wall of images. Not text, not words, none of the stuff I’d prefer. What I immediately see is selfie culture, picture after picture of attractive young twenty-somethings showing off their makeup and posing game, and I don’t want to click further. I mean, that’s all fine, I think it’s fabulous for the younglings to thrive and have fun on social media, it’s just not for me, and we grizzled old people don’t belong at that party.

If I were to join in and felt obligated to flaunt my beauty, it would be nothing but spider photos, and it would be another place where I don’t fit in at all.

All you beautiful people would be less uncomfortable than I’d be, so try it out. It’s mobile only, so you’ll have to rummage around on your phone to find it. I’ll just lurk for now, as is appropriate for a homely old person, I guess. Maybe it will grow on me.

Shameful pseudo-scientists

Dan Phelps sent me a link to a terrible, awful video of the Answers in Genesis astronomers babbling about how the JWST proves the universe is young. I know, that’s just nuts, but what else can you expect from AiG?

Fortunately, Dan provides a description, so I don’t have to watch it. You don’t have to either.

Young Earth Creationist Astronomers Declare Victory for Creationism Because of the Findings of the James Webb Space Telescope

Our favorite Young Earth Creationist (YEC) astronomers have finally discussed the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) at length. On Wednesday 9/14/22 on Facebook Dr. Danny Faulkner and Rob Webb of AiG, and Dr. Jason Lisle (formerly of AiG, now at the Biblical Science Institute) discuss the early findings of the JWST for a full excruciating hour. See: .

Faulkner and Lisle have PhDs in astronomy. Rob Webb, recently was hired by AiG as a preacher/scientist and has experience in aerospace engineering, helping design several different spacecraft (hence his AiG nickname “Rocket Rob”). Their “discussion” consists mostly of self-congratulation and sundry claims that every new finding supports Young Earth Creationism including having light from galaxies billions of light years away getting to Earth in 6,000 years (a miracle!). Their self congratulations are based on the fact that astronomers are revising their ideas about how quickly galaxies and heavy elements formed in the early universe because of new data from JWST findings. This motley crew seem to be gloating that other astronomers are, gasp!, doing science. Much of the rest is preaching/scripture quoting and, at about 23 minutes in, claiming a nefarious conspiracy of morally questionable “secular astronomers” based on their “worldview.” Most astronomers I know are rather upright citizens. The exceptions know who they are ;-).

About 32 minutes in Drs. Lisle and Faulkner joke about dead Democrats voting in Chicago, and Dr. Lisle claims “dead people vote Left.”

In Dr. Faulkner’s esteemed scientific opinion God only created life on earth, not elsewhere (~36 minutes in). However, he intones, this only includes “physical life like us; I’m not talking about spirit beings like angels and demons, and so forth.” (Is this video from the 13th century?). Then, after a discussion of exoplanets, Dr. Faulkner also tells us that God will destroy stars and galaxies when he creates a “new heavens and a new Earth” (~39 minutes). Golly wow! Thankfully, Dr. Faulkner goes on to rebuff an online questioner who asks about the Flat Earth, giving Biblical and scientific reasons the ancient Bible-based cosmology is wrong. Dr. Faulkner has even written a thick tome about the subject (for sale at the Creation Museum and Ark Park, as well as online). The three gentlemen then discuss Flat Earth Theory and the psychology of the cultish behavior behind it for a bit. They appear oblivious to the irony, that, in spite of their education, promoting a 6,000 year old universe and Earth. When they agreed that it is a “psychological issue,” I stopped the video for a few minutes out of necessity. I couldn’t decide to laugh or cry, so I took a bathroom break.

Near the end (~53 minutes) Dr. Lisle bemoans that mainstream science is ignoring his claim that he predicted the findings of the JWST. He goes on to claim that science itself wouldn’t be possible if the Bible weren’t true. Lisle then posts the inane cartoon below (my screenshot) insulting scientists and intelligent people as well as confusing evolution and cosmology/cosmogony.

The video ends with mentions of books they have for sale and the Creation Museum planetarium.

But, you ask, what about the biologists? We have to turn to the Institute for Creationist Research, which employs the most appallingly awful guy with some credentials in biology, Jeffery Tomkins. I’ve discussed Tomkins several times before, and I’m tired of. He’s incredibly dishonest fellow whose entire expertise is about distorting the scientific evidence in ways that anyone who knows the field sees is wrong, but he throws around technical terms that make lay people think he’s smart. It’s a classic pseudoscientific move.

I am spared the pain of working through Tomkins’ lies by Dan Cardinale, who explains how his arguments about junk DNA are totally bogus.

Reminder: Wanna hear some bad defenses of Noah’s Ark?

At noon my time Dan Phelps and I will be grading Answers in Genesis’s answers on the topic of Noah’s Ark. Spoiler: they fail. But you can tune in later to see how they fail.

If you want to help out, here is the AiG video (only 20 minutes long), and you can chime in in the chat. I’ll keep my eyes open for better rebuttals than ours. We sure won’t get it from the comments on their video, because they’re mainly about sucking up.

Welp, guess it’s time to start committing crimes

Only big crimes, though. The little crimes get you shot.

At least, that’s the lesson I get from the news. Arm yourself with a big gun, go murder a couple of protesters, you’re fine — better than fine, you’ll be lauded by your fellow gun fondlers. Commit treason and try to overthrow the government, and if you’re the big kahuna who incited it all, everyone is afraid to arrest you, although your little dupes get picked up and get jail time. Fill a court with incompetent ideologues, and you’ll be safe from everything, in addition to corrupting the entire goddamn government. Wrap yourself up in a great big flag and a great big god, and no one can touch you, as long as your criminality is sufficiently massive.

That’s justice in America. I really should start planning my crime spree. It’s tough, though. You can’t just knock over a local bank, instead you’ve got to wreck the entire economy to steal billions, and then you can get away with it. Anything less, then some bigger crook will take your ill-gotten gains and punish you.

Also, darn it, I’m infected with this no good secular morality that tells me I shouldn’t do harm to others. It’s really getting in the way of taking advantage of our system.

Classic example of the logic of cults

I mean, how could I not read a story with the title, White nationalist ‘America First’ group plunges into chaos after high-ranking official gets a girlfriend? It’s the most pungent kind of clickbait. It seems Nick Fuentes, that unbelievable cartoon of a man, is in disarray over the fact that one of his employees has done something fairly normal.

The America First movement has plunged into turmoil after its treasurer started a romantic relationship and moved out of the group leader’s basement.

Somehow, I could have guessed someone was going to be living in someone else’s basement somewhere in the story.

White nationalist Nick Fuentes, the right-wing group’s leader and associate of Reps. Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene, urges his followers to abstain from sex, and he describes himself as an incel, or involuntarily celibate.

This led the nonprofit group’s treasurer Jaden McNeil to resign and call America First a cult, reported The Daily Beast’s “Fever Dreams” podcast.

“[Members act so] racist and ridiculous in public that it ruins people’s lives,” said co-host Kelly Weill on the podcast. “You can’t go and get a normal job after that, so they turn further and further into this movement, which really does function almost like a cult.”

The fact that Gosar and Greene, who have a modicum of power and influence, are entangled with Nick Fuentes, is revealing about the sad state of American politics. How can anyone in the halls of power take this guy seriously?

That last paragraph, though, explains a lot. America First is openly and loudly racist, and its members have openly slapped that stigma on their records. This is how cults start: throw out one absurdity for your followers to accept, watch as the majority walk away, but the ones who stay…give ’em another absurdity. Then another. And another. You’ve got the few so deeply hooked that you can get them to do whatever you want. Tell your followers that you translated the holy book by staring at magic rocks in a hat, and if they swallow that, you can load ’em up into a wagon train and go found a city in the middle of nowhere. Fuentes is such a patently hateful fool that his followers have to be committed to stick by him, not by virtue of the quality of his arguments, but because they’re so stupid that admitting that leads to an exposure of their gullibility.

By the way, this also explains how Michelle Malkin has ended up associated with this group. She’s been making horrible choices for many years — justifying the internment of Asian Americans in WWII just one of them — so of course she has sorted herself to the bottom of the dumpster.

Shouldn’t reporters be expected to know a little history?

The front lines in the vicinity of Kiev and across Ukraine shifted back and forth during the bitter fighting for control of the Ukrainian capital city in the waning months of 1943.

Listen to this guy. He compares Ukraine to Afghanistan & Iraq by suggesting that, unlike those middle-eastern countries, Ukraine is “civilized” and hasn’t known “decades of war”.

Iraq: the cradle of civilization. A modern nation before the US bombed it to hell.

Ukraine: They’ve been fighting Russia for 8 years. Multiple, massive tank battles were fought there in WWII. Kiev (the old name) was occupied by Nazis for 3 years. Ever hear of Babi Yar? I think Ukrainians have experienced a few atrocities, and have fought back bravely.

Maybe he should have simply said what he was thinking: Ukrainians are white, Iraqis are brown.