Bad Joke of the Week

One of a series

A man wasn’t feeling well, so he went to the doctor.

After examining him the doctor took his wife aside and said, “Your husband has a very sensitive heart. I am afraid he’s not going to make it, unless you treat him like a king., which means you are at his beck and call 24 hours a day and that he doesn’t have to do anything himself.”

On the way home the husband asked his wife, with a note of concern, “What did he say?”

She turned to him and gently told him, “He said it looks like you’re probably  not going to make it.”

Your Friend The Handgun

Number 170, unfortunately

These get posted on Thursday, but I usually write them in advance. The result is some of the material is dated—last week’s news. Such as this:

CHICAGO (CBS) — One week after a Chicago woman was shot inside a Walgreens, the company could be facing legal trouble.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams spoke with experts who say the manager on duty that night made the wrong call.

“I’m trying. I’m trying. It hurts so bad,” said April Reed, who is trying to understand why her sister Sircie Varnado was shot to death at a Walgreens in Belmont Cragin Wednesday night.

“He should have called the police,” said Varnado’s niece, Lydia Foster.

Instead the Walgreens night manager, who suspected Varnado was shoplifting, called a friend, a former security guard.

Witnesses said the man confronted Varnado, falsely identifying himself as a Chicago police officer.

An argument turned physical, and the man shot Varnado in the face.

CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller said the Walgreens manager made the wrong call.

“Frankly, a no-brainer,” he said. “You see a shoplifter, and you don’t have security personnel employed by Walgreens on premises, you call 911, and you let the pros take over and do the right thing.”

Yes, definitely, an armed citizenry is what’s going to keep us safer. This a belief that is held by real people. I don’t know what fraction of gun fans buy into it, but they do pop up on my Facebook feed. Here is one:

Linda Spencer John Blanton “ an armed society is a polite society!”

Linda has something there. If everybody is packing heat, who is wanting to rock the boat. My mind wanders. What if everybody carried around an M67 fragmentation grenade with the pin pulled? Nobody, I mean no body, is going to jostle you. Are you feeling safe yet?

To finish out, here are some that didn’t make the cut this week.

Abusing Science

Number 29 of a series

The Discovery Institute continues its campaign to paint Intelligent Design as a valid scientific enterprise. A recent post to their Evolution News site highlights their approach:

Watch: Stephen Meyer Expertly Punctures the Rule of Methodological Naturalism

Following on chemist Marcos Eberlin’s comments yesterday about intelligent design and the definition of science, watch philosopher Stephen Meyer expertly puncture the idea that science requires an approach of methodological naturalism (MN):

[Link to the video]

The rule, as he explains, is arbitrary. True, the designing agent inferred by ID theory is not directly observable, but neither are the elementary particles. Both are inferred. And the so-called demarcation criteria that would exclude ID as science would, if applied consistently, also exclude Darwinian theory. Most fundamentally, MN shuts down on principle what ought to be the goal of all science: objectively seeking the truth about nature, whatever that truth might be.

Particularly galling is the assertion “True, the designing agent inferred by ID theory is not directly observable, but neither are the elementary particles. Both are inferred.” What may not be obvious to David Klinghoffer is that while the “designing agent” is inferred (conjectured, postulated, imagined), elementary particles are not. Not, that is, unless the definition of the word “inferred” has been changed.

The designing agent, although proponents may be reluctant to admit so, is the god of Abraham. There is no physical evidence for the existence of this entity, and no manner of approach for probing its existence has been proposed.

Fundamental particles include protons, neutrons, electrons, muons, and such, and their properties and their presence are routinely studied. These things have mass, and they can do real damage when flung about. The notion that the fundamental particles of physics are on the same level as an imagined transcendental being speaks to the abysmal level of scientific thinking among fans of Intelligent Design. If you want to see abuse of science done so ineptly, here it is.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a series

A rather attractive woman goes up to the bar in a quiet rural pub. She gestures alluringly to the barman, who comes over immediately.

When he arrives she suggests seductively that he should bring his face close to hers. When he does, she begins to gently caress his beard, which is full and bushy.

“Are you the landlord?” she asks, softly stroking his face with both hands.

“Actually, no,” he replies.

“Can you get him for me? I need to speak with him,” she says, running her hands up through his beard and into his hair.

“I’m afraid I can’t,” the barman replies, clearly aroused. “Is there anything I can do?”

“Yes, I need you to give him a message,” she continues in a husky voice, popping two of her slender fingers into his mouth and allowing him to suck them gently.

“What should I tell him?”

“Tell him there’s no toilet paper in the lady’s room.”

Your Friend The Handgun

Number 169, unfortunately

People keep telling me that an armed citizenry is going to make us all safer. That’s good to know.

Woman pulled a gun during argument over karaoke, Austin police say

Hey! Everybody stand down. Nobody got hurt. No shots were fired.

Then what was the purpose of pulling the gun? I need to know. That’s because, although I do not like karaoke, and I never play karaoke, but in case I ever decide to give it a try, I need to know if I’m supposed to bring my own heat, or will somebody provide me with a piece when I sign in.

Just asking.

This is your president speaking.

Number 217 in a series

And now a few words from the President of the United States.

Almost 70% in new Poll say don’t impeach. So ridiculous to even be talking about this subject when all of the crimes were committed by the other side. They can’t win the election fairly!

“No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die.” For some reason that line from Goldfinger came to mind when I read the above tweet posted by President Donald Trump. No, Mr. Trump, I don’t want to impeach you. I expect you to serve in your current position until Republicans become so embarrassed they take jobs delivering pizzas and deny ever holding public office. Keep it up, Mr. President. The world is your audience.

Abusing Science

Number 28 of a series

The above meme is supposed to be an argument for Intelligent Design, a modern form of creationism. A similar argument is the one that invokes fine tuning:

The Radio at the Edge of the Universe

Some atheists have been crowing lately about the rise of the “nones.” Many of those “nones” aren’t atheists, and the trend toward atheism is greatly exaggerated. But the way many scientific materialists talk, anyone capable of walking while chewing gum must see the “overwhelming evidence” that “God is dead.” 

Wait. That’s just the intro. Here is the meat of Marcos Eberlin’s argument:

Think of a radio dial that needs to be set at precisely the right frequency — “tuned” — to find the desired station. If the universe were a radio and the desired setting allows for life, it would have dozens of dials for setting the values of the universal constants. Muff even a single of these dial settings at the beginning of the universe, by even a tiny bit, and the result is a universe that can never host life. 

Confronted by this, distinguished physicist Fred Hoyle commented, “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.”

Failing to comprehend the circumstances underlying our existence, more so the existence of the Universe, we must fall back on legends perpetrated by Bronze Age tribesmen living on the eastern region of the Mediterranean Sea. I am thinking Eberlin expects too much of me. Here is some background:

Marcos Nogueira Eberlin (born 4 March 1959) is a Brazilian chemist and professor at the Institute of Chemistry of the University of Campinas. He is a member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences and received the Brazilian National Order of Scientific Merit in 2005 and the Thomson Medal in 2016.

Eberlin discovered the Eberlin Reaction during his work on gas phase ion chemistry, and he and his research group introduced EASI (Easy Ambient Sonic-spray Ionization), an ionization technique used in mass spectrometry.

Eberlin is an advocate of intelligent design in Brazil, a pseudoscience on which he also lectures and he has signed the Dissent From Darwinism statement. He is a creationist also, and has said that evolution theory is a fallacy.

There is more. He is the author of Foresight: How the Chemistry of Life Reveals Planning and Purpose. The notion that wacky ideas about science are relegated to back stream advocates such as William Dembski and Stephen C. Meyer needs to be extinguished. Eberlin continues:

But in fact, intelligent design is testable. Also, if the above definition were the proper definition of science, only one worldview would be allowed in science: naturalism. And that biased restriction would mean that evidence of apparent foresight in the universe and life must be ignored or explained away.

He bemoans restricting science to naturalism. The problem is that beyond naturalism we have the supernatural. The supernatural exists in a realm where anything can happen, and by this means anything can be explained by made-up stories. Read his posting.

The Kansas Board of Education has defined science as a human endeavor aimed at explaining the natural world, though they added one sweeping restriction: It can only appeal to natural forces. “Science is restricted to explaining only the natural world, using only natural cause,” the board wrote. “This is because science currently has no tools to test explanations using non-natural (such as supernatural) causes.”

But in fact, intelligent design is testable. Also, if the above definition were the proper definition of science, only one worldview would be allowed in science: naturalism. And that biased restriction would mean that evidence of apparent foresight in the universe and life must be ignored or explained away.

Follow the link to another Evolution New post regarding testability of Intelligent Design. I will cover that in a future item for this series.

This is your president speaking.

Number 216 in a series

And now a few words from the President of the United States.

LONDON needs a new mayor ASAP. Khan is a disaster – will only get worse!

The president’s tweet is in apparent response to another by Katie Hopkins:

20 hours in Stab-City UPDATE 2 stabbed to death 1 shot dead Three stabbed – but not dead. Wandsworth & Tower Hamlets This is Khan’s Londonistan.

Wow! killings in London, and the mayor is responsible. Killings in the United States, and the president is not responsible:

US leads the world in child gun deaths

(CNN) — Death by gunshot was the second-highest cause of death in the United States in 2016 among children and adolescents ages 1 to 19, according to a study released Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The mayor needs to get his act together.

This is your president speaking.

Number 215 in a series

And now a few words from the President of the United States.

Thank you Mr. Prime Minister, a great honor!

That is great news for the President of the United States, and for the people he serves so humbly. Apparently the need for humility is manifest.

Israeli Town Named After Trump Appears to be Fake News

But according to an article in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz and multiple reports in the Israeli press, it’s more Potemkin village than Trump Heights. No actual town or village has actually been founded at all. It appears to be little more than a PR stunt to curry favor with the President who continues to openly support Netanyahu as the country moves toward new elections in September. No money has been budgeted for the new town. Nor is there specific location. Indeed, there’s no commitment to build a town at all. The decision will be left to the government that takes power after the next election. In the words of Israeli journalist Barak Ravid: “A settlement by the name of “Trump Heights” or “Ramat Trump” doesn’t exist. It my exist in the future but the Israeli cabinet still hasn’t even decided to do it. For now there’s only a sign.“

The head of the Golan caucus in the Israeli Knesset, Zvi Hauser went even further: “Anyone who reads the fine print of the ‘historic’ decision understands that this is a conceptual decision. There is no funding. There is no planning. There is no location and there is really no committed decision.”

The ceremony seems to be an effort to further burnish the current government’s bond with President Trump who loves nothing more than a ribbon cutting ceremony with his name is shiny gold lettering. The decision to build a town may be taken later. Or it may never happen at all. For Trump the fine print doesn’t seem to matter.

May we all become humble.

Quiz Question

Number 209 of a series

What’s the last digit of the following?

171999 + 111999 – 71999

Enter your answer in the comments section below.

Update and Solution

Mike saw through this one early, only his comment was so cryptic I missed it. See below. I didn’t see it until I started working through it, then I thought, “too easy.” Here is how it works.

A is the last digit of 171999. B is the last digit of  111999. C is the last digit of 71999.

It is obvious A = C, so the answer is B. And B is 1.

Breathtaking Inanity

Number 17 of a continuing series

A conversation has been going back and forth on Facebook. It relates to a post on this site concerning this country’s remarkable rate of gun-related tragedies. Here’s the gist:

  • John Blanton We need to hear both sides. There are many who will contend we should accept the collateral damage. The problem is getting them to make that statement.
  • Daniel G. Kuttner I’ll say something like what you’re fishing for, John:

    In a free society, bad things will happen.

    It is a pipe dream to believe one can regulate and legislate utopia. Quite the opposite is the result.

    Using government to take away “their” rights results in powers which later on will be used to take awy your own.

  • John Blanton Thank you, Daniel G. Kuttner, You have stated the case more precisely than anybody else could have.
    • Daniel G. Kuttner What’s your position on it?
    • John Blanton My position is that you are giving an honest answer. Instead of saying we are safer having a proliferation of guns in society, you are saying that all these deaths represent acceptable collateral damage.
    • Daniel G. Kuttner Again you misrepresent what I said.

      “Unavoidable” is not the same as “acceptable” in my dictionary.

      I still await your statement of your position.

    • John Blanton My position is, given the proliferation of guns in society, the consequences are unavoidable. Since it is unavoidable, it must be acceptable to those who insist upon a proliferation of guns in society.
    • Daniel G. Kuttner John: (I think you know) I meant your position on “keeping and bearing” arms. That is, the right (or not) of self-protection.

      Just please don’t mislabel my position as “insisting on a proliferation of guns.”

      You use a lot of labels which seem to me loaded. Maybe you could reconsider that manner of speaking/writing, at least, if you want to appear scientific in drawing your conclusions.

    • John Blanton Daniel G. Kuttner Right now I’m sitting among strangers in a strange city, enjoying a cup of hot cocoa. I [will] post a lengthy response when I get back to my computer.
    • Daniel G. Kuttner John: Glad you’re in a pleasant place.

      No need to be lengthy on my account!

      I still don’t know if you’re pro-self defense or not.

In total, Dan wants me to state my position on the “keeping and bearing” arms, as paraphrased from the Second Amendment of the Constitution. That amendment is stated as such:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The first thing a person reading this notices is the amendment does not mention guns. It does not mention “firearms.” Hopefully that does not come as a shock to members of the National Rifle Association.

So what does the wording mean by “arms?” I contend some interpretation is required. Note at this point many fans of the Second Amendment argue daily there must be no interpretation. The right to keep and bear arms must not in any manner be infringed. So what are “arms?” What did the writers of the amendment mean? My take goes back to the initial wording, “A well regulated Militia being necessary…” The Second Amendment is meant to preserve the right to keep and bear weapons of war. Guns? Yes. Machine guns? Yes. Claymore mines? Yes.

Obviously some interpretation is required. Once fans of the Second Amendment agree on that point, then it is sort of downhill from there. The Second Amendment must be interpreted to mean that citizens on the street (not active in a well regulated militia) do not have the right to use Claymore mines for home defense.

Take this further. Not everybody should have the right to keep and bear guns. There are some people who should not be allowed near a firearm. We have such laws. Convicted felons can be and are prohibited under penalty of prosecution from having a firearm on or around themselves. Others are likewise prohibited.

A problem arises when such prohibitions are diluted to the point that is it almost impossible to keep certain people from getting hold of firearms.

  • Guns are sold individual to individual with no regulation.
  • Guns are sold at swap meets.
  • People are not penalized for having their weapons stolen.
  • People who obviously should not be allowed to touch a firearm cannot be prevented from getting hold of one. Think about people who have otherwise threatened others. Should such a person be denied for life from having a gun?

The courts have, of late, ruled in favor of very much unrestricted access to guns and also against laws that prevent carrying guns on the streets and in public places. That is the law as it stands. Dan wants to know whether I support the law.

I do support the law. Considering that in some places it is your right to carry a loaded pistol into a classroom. I think the law should be changed. If on reading the paragraphs above you agree the Second Amendment is subject to interpretation, then you should begin to think about how it should be interpreted to bring down the rate of death and injury due to guns.

Dan asks how I feel about self-defense. Dan, I’m for it. Let’s see who else has been for it.

  • Man in Florida shot the man who threw popcorn on him.
  • Man in Florida shot the teenager he thought might have a gun.
  • Retired Army major I met shot his neighbor, who was wandering in his back yard.
  • Man shot foreign student who did not understand his command to “freeze.”
  • Numerous cases of road rage escalating into deadly shootings.

Let’s get real about self-defense.

Dan says he does not advocate a proliferation of guns in society. What language would he prefer instead? In American society there is a gun for every person. Does Dan want the proliferation to be reduced? By how much?

I will wind down. Stuff coming up tomorrow. We should rejoin this conversation from time to time.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a series

Jake had a long and successful career pitching in the major leagues. But those days were long past, and as he lay dying his friend Ernest, who had played second base, came to visit.

“Ernie,” Jake said, “After i die I’m going to come back and visit you.”

“No way,” Ernie replied.”

“No. I will. I promise,” Jake told him.

Shortly after, Jake died, and Ernie mourned his passing. Then one night he was awakened in the middle of his sleep. He opened his eyes, and he saw the apparition of his friend Jake standing before him.

“Jake, is it really you?” Ernie asked.

“Yes, Ernie. It’s me. Your old friend Jake.”

“You’re dead?”

“What else?”

“What’s it like.”

“It’s wonderful, Ernie. I’m in Heaven.”

“Heaven! Jake, that’s wonderful. Tell me about Heaven.”

“Well, there’s the good news, and there’s the bad news. First, you won’t believe it, but I play baseball every day. And all the big guys are here. Just yesterday I pitched against Babe Ruth, and I struck him out.”

“Wow! That’s fantastic. What’s the bad news.”

“You are pinch hitting this Saturday.”

This is your president speaking.

Number 214 in a series

And now a few words from the President of the United States.

The dishonest media will NEVER keep us from accomplishing our objectives on behalf of our GREAT AMERICAN PEOPLE!

Yes, the President of the United States, arguably the most powerful person on this planet, is  bask at his Twitter account complaining about the rough deal he’s getting from the mainstream media. The screen shot above is from a video posted with the tweet. You may need to pull up the video to appreciate the president’s complaint. I don’t have a link. Go to the tweet to watch.

Meanwhile, here are additional cases of FAKE NEWS working to undermine this president.

There is no doubt. The FAKE NEWS is the enemy of the people.

 

Your Friend The Handgun

Number 168, unfortunately

People tell me we are safer. I am hoping they are not saying this kind of thing does not happen. I’m hoping, instead, they will say it is worth it if it keeps me safe:

3-year-old accidentally shot in Yukon neighborhood

YUKON, Okla. – Oklahoma City police said a 3-year-old child was shot in the torso Thursday evening. The toddler was rushed to the hospital and into surgery and is expected to survive the wound. News 4 was told the bullet entered and exited the abdomen.

Here is a sample of what I am told by people on Facebook.

[Somebody else responding to somebody else] It’s NOT ABOUT the “neighborhood” Helen … it’s our defense against a tyrannical government (history). GOOD LORD, people … put down your remotes and read a damn book!

[Previous person responding to me] John Blanton is that all? 300,000 die every year in hospitals from negligence and no one seems to care! I guess it’s the MANNER of death (especially if it can be used for a political agenda) rather than the death itself. #AbolishHospitals#BanDoctors

[I posted a link to the New York Times, and somebody responded.] If people were allowed to defend themselves from unrighteous cop aggression then the self – defense numbers would be MUCH higher.

NYT? LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL I would not wipe my ass with that paper.

[Another response] When you have 30 seconds to respond gun safes get you killed.

[Another response] If someone broke into my home while I was there, how would I know the limit of what they were ready to do to me or mine?

Where I live, that’s a very rare occurrence. Some places, though, it happens more often – usually someone high or in withdrawal needing drug money. No rational thinker, in any case, decides to break into an occupied house

[A final response] It’s sad to see anyone killed by any method. But his selected headlines are reminders there are armed people out there with evil intent.

The main defense against them is armed citizens sprinkled among the populace.

Not everyone need be armed to deter the relatively sane bad guys from taking the chance of meeting one.

Somebody correct me if I am wrong, but the argument I am getting is we need armed civilians to prevent all kinds of crime, and it’s too bad if kids get killed along the way.

This is your president speaking.

Number 213 in a series

And now a few words from the President of the United States.

For two years all the Democrats talked about was the Mueller Report, because they knew that it was loaded up with 13 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, later increased to 18. But despite the bias, when the Report came out, the findings were No Collusion and facts that led to……..

….No Obstruction. The Dems were devastated – after all this time and money spent ($40,000,000), the Mueller Report was a disaster for them. But they want a Redo, or Do Over. They are even bringing in sleazebag attorney John Dean. Sorry, no Do Overs – Go back to work!

Before I begin to respond, a factual matter. The Mueller committee spent $25 million, not $40 million. Prosecutions returned something like $65 million from Paul Manafort, alone. Now back to the story.

First, McGahn’s clear recollection was that the President directed him to tell Rosenstein not only that conflicts existed but also that “Mueller has to go.” McGahn is a credible witness with no motive to lie or exaggerate given the position he held in the White House.1884 McGahn spoke with the President twice and understood the directive the same way both times, making it unlikely that he misheard or misinterpreted the President’s request. In response to that request, McGahn decided to quit because he did not want to participate in events that he described as akin to the Saturday Night Massacre. He called his lawyer, drove to the White House, packed up his office, prepared to submit a resignation letter with his chief of staff, told Priebus that the President had asked him to “do crazy shit,” and informed Priebus and Bannon that he was leaving. Those acts would be a highly unusual reaction to a request to convey information to the Department of Justice.

The Washington Post. The Mueller Report . Scribner. Kindle Edition.

In June 2016, Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer who, Trump Jr. was told, would share damaging information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. “If it’s what you say, I love it,” Trump Jr. wrote in an email.

The Washington Post. The Mueller Report . Scribner. Kindle Edition.

I could go on, but it would become tiresome. A few graphics, and I’m done.

Abusing Science

Number 27 of a series

The above image is from an item posted to the Evolution 2.0 site. The page title is “Information Theory and the Trinity.”

Information Theory and the Trinity

Here is a transcription of the Facebook post.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb September 21, 2014

INFORMATION THEORY is the new central discipline. This graph was from 20y ago in the seminal book Cover and Thomas, as the field was starting to be defined. Now Information Theory has been expanded to swallow even more fields.

Born in, of all disciplines, Electrical Engineering, the field has progressively infiltrating probability theory, computer science, statistical physics, data science, gambling theory, ruin problems, complexity, even how one deals with knowledge, epistemology. It defines noise/signal, order/disorder, etc. It studies cellular automata. You can use it in theology (FREE WILL & algorithmic complexity). As I said, it is the MOTHER discipline.

I am certain much of Medicine will naturally grow to be a subset of it, both operationally, and in studying how the human body works: the latter is an information machine. Same with linguistics. Same with political “science”, same with… everything.

I am saying this because I figured out what the long 5th volume of the INCERTO will be. Cannot say now with any precision but it has to do with a variant of entropy as the core natural generator of Antifragility. [Revised to explain that it is not *replacing* other disciplines, just infiltrating them as the point was initially misunderstood…]

And that’s something to digest. You need to read the item, but here is the gist:

All communication systems that we know the origin of are designed. This suggests that consciousness comes first in the universe. Consciousness first, matter second. Not the other way around. (If anyone solves the Evolution 2.0 Prize, and I hope they do, they’ll solve it by starting with consciousness and working from there. My 2 cents.)

You cannot create messages or communication by blind material processes, so far as anyone knows thus far. Information always starts with consciousness. Which is the thesis of my Evolution 2.0 book.

What he is saying—see the diagram above—is that we marvel at the employment of DNA to encode and reproduce life forms, but DNA is merely the telephone line in a communication system. To explain the origin of the message (the structure of novel life forms) you need to invoke outside intelligence.

Perry Marshall is the author of the book and presumably the posting. He wants to stretch the analogy of an information transmission system into the Christian concept of the Trinity. It is a stretch too far.