I Love the Scientific Method…
You get an idea, a grand inspiration and you spend years nurturing it, developing it, testing it over and over and examining it from every angle you can think of. Finally, after exhausting all your physical, emotional and frequently financial resources, you present your idea, your theory; your baby to the world.
The first thing that happens, the VERY first thing is a whole raft of other people in your specialty, friends, colleagues perhaps even your old grad school room mate do everything in their power, bring all their collected intellects, resources and time and focus it all on ripping your baby to shreds before your eyes .
Before the ink is dry on the publication, before you can say ‘peer review’, your life’s work can lay in tatters at your feet.
And if it still lives… if you can retrieve the pieces of your professional dignity and the remaining bits of your masterpiece… even if it survives the feeding frenzy that is peer review, there will always be critics, trailing like remora, feeding off of any tasty chunks they can pry off.
That’s the way it works… only the strong survive, Darwin’s Theory in academia. Speaking of which…
Post Civil War America created the perfect conditions for the development of massive corporations and the emergence of a few men as the captains of industry or the more derogatory term robber barons. This is due to a variety of factors- labor became extremely cheap with a multitude of former slaves now faced with the unenviable position of having to provide for themselves and their families with no education, facing extreme racism and absolutely no significant personal property. Many of them headed north in hopes of getting jobs in factories or west in hopes of getting jobs building railroads and were willing to work far cheaper than whites. Add in large populations of Chinese were immigrating in due to economic problems in China and soldiers returning from war looking for new work and you have the ingredients of a depressed labor market.
Another key factor was the railroads which had expanded dramatically to assist the war efforts of both sides leaving a new, faster and cheaper form of transportation throughout most of the east and was ready to expand west. Taking advantage of the cheap labor railroads quickly expanded, both privately and through government projects making it possible to exploit the natural resources in large areas of the midwest and eventually the rockies that were previously too far away to be useful. Areas that once took months to reach by wagon were could now be reached in days. Led by the railroads, virtually every industry experienced a boom; especially agriculture, steel, coal and oil.
Long story short, a former roommate screwed his own credit rating just to get revenge for being evicted for being a fucking idiot. 16 days later I'm back online and he still owes the cable company $300+.
Personally, I'd say I won. Hell, no net gave me the opportunity to play a game I'd picked up recently and never got around to playing while I had net: Final Fantasy Tactics. I must admit it's a pretty sweet game.
Anyways, I'll just get back to my religion bashing and spam removal.
With the death of President McKinley on September 14th, 1901 Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in at only 42 years old- he remains the youngest president we have ever had. President Roosevelt was very ambitious and had the perfect conditions to push through much of his agenda. He took over after the death of a popular president in an economy that was booming and both the House and Senate were held by comfortable republican majorities. President Theodore Roosevelt was able to effectively spend his political capital to promote a variety of progressive policies. He promoted his policies under the moniker of the "Square Deal" claiming that they did favor any particular group but were fair to all.
I want to start by discussing two massive public works projects that were initiated early in Roosevelt's presidency. The Newlands Reclamation Act and the Isthmian Canal Act (what we now call the Panama Canal).
The Newlands Reclamation Act was a law that federalized irrigation projects in the desert areas of the west. It gave substantial control to the Secretary of the Interior to irrigate public lands (most of the west was publicly owned at the time) and then sell those lands to people with the requirement that at least half of the land is farmed. The proceeds from the sale would then be spent on more irrigation projects.
How religion came to be.
Human beings have a strong will to survive, an instinct that is ‘hard wired’ into the fiber of our bodies. (1)
We also have certain knowledge of our own mortality; we know that like our ancestors, we are going to die at some point.
This causes a crisis in the mind, which many resolve with a functional self-delusion, that of an Afterlife.
This expands on a recent comment on a recent posting here...
A lot of people when debating or arguing on this and other forums will toss out the name of a Logical Fallacy as if that in itself is a show stopper.
Some of the favorites are;
Ad Hominem, something that gets thrown in to block any derogatory commentary, but it isn't the game ender people hope for.
If I say "Your arguments are wrong BECAUSE you are an asshole."
THAT is an Ad Hominem.
If I say "Your arguments are wrong AND you are an Ass Hole,"
That is an Observation.
Being an asshole doesn't mean one can't be right on any particular issue, just as being right on an issue doesn't mean one is NOT an anal orifice.
Hitler loved dogs and built great highways. (reducto ad Hitlerium)
It's also NOT an Ad Hominem to point out that someone is not qualified to speak on an issue. Kent Hovind comes to mind, a self aggrandizing fraud, who claims educational experience he simply does not have. Pointing out that he is not qualified to speak on scientific matters is NOT an Ad Hominem.
To paraphrase Bill Maher, In a discussion about science, the non scientist simply doesn't get a vote.
Some may have noticed a certain 'slant' in my postings of late and I feel a need to explain and in so doing, I need to digress.
I've noticed that the words "Liberal" and "Liberalism" have been fairly well 'Swift Boated' in the media and in public discourse.
The election of 1896 centered on economics issues. If you remember from my previous post, the country was in a very deep recession since the panic of 1893. Unemployment was still in the double digits, which metal to base the currency on was still a hot political issue and there was a whole lot of uncertainty. McKinley ran on a platform supporting protective tariffs and the gold standard. While McKinley himself was not a hardliner on the gold standard, it was a position he was forced to take for political reasons as his democratic opponent was William Jennings Bryan a very prominent silverite.
I have been a little remiss in discussing tariffs because quite frankly I find the subject boring. But arguments over tariffs were as important at that time as the metalism arguments. Tariffs are taxes on imports and there was a large "protectionist" movement that was mostly fueled by industrial tycoons. Protectionists supported high tariffs which would make it more difficult for foreign companies to offer competitive prices and therefore encourage people to buy domestically. Obviously, domestic industry leaders liked this because it cut out a competitor. Large domestic trusts like the sugar trust that held 90%+ of the domestic production were especially enthusiastic about pursuing high tariffs.
Several decades ago I worked for a multi-million dollar company. It was small, but made a shitload of money. At the top ranks were VP's, CEO's etc who walked around in very expensive suits, held meetings, and then disappeared for weeks at a time before we saw them again.
These executives always had the best of the best. They lived in the best homes and the best neighborhoods all on the company dollar. They even had their houses furnished by the company and they had parachute clauses in their contracts in case they got fired.
I remember one executive who came in to the office one day and sat down at my desk while I worked on their laptop. They were new to the company so I was telling them some of the stories about people within the company and the benefits that we all got because we were employees. I quickly learned what a doofus and how ignorant I truly was about how things worked in the office.
I found out that the executive was already fully vested in the 401k which took most of us six months. The executive also got a better deal on the 4:1 and 8:1 plans we had for saving our money. They also got other perks which I didn't know about such as more paid vacations and more sick leave.
It's time for a new round of the classic Blasphemy Challenge!
I will start this one off with a simple petition, with a goal of 1 million signatures.
Join me in damning your soul to eternal torment!
There will be FUN and DOOR PRIZES! Cake and Punch served!
LC >;-}> aka Bill Moody