The Everlasting Phelps

TRIGGER WARNING: This entire site will cause massive butthurt in any precious snowflake that needs a trigger warning for anything.

Priorities

November 29th, 2005

Okay, let me get this straight: You guys in Plano can’t catch a bunch of white high school kids running a freaking heroin cartel in Plano High for two years. That took credit cards. But you guys are all over Michael Irvin and his weed pipe and “weed residue”. Yeah, way to prioritize, guys. Don’t worry about the lady murdered last week. Don’t worry about the asshat running around impersonating police officers and groping women on the side of the road. Don’t worry about that serial rapist you’ve got running around. You stick to that Michael Irvin beat.

I’m usually one to shy away from racism calls. On this one, I’m pretty sure that Michael Irvin would not have been arrested if he hadn’t been black.

Impeachment Needed

November 28th, 2005

A lot of people throw the word “treason” around frivolously, and an equal number are too timid about using it when it is the fact. This is not a case of treason, but it sure as hell is a crime: Venezuela sending cheap oil to Massachusetts:

The agreement gives President Hugo Chavez’s government standing as a provider of heating assistance to poor U.S. residents at a time when U.S. oil companies have been reluctant to do so and Congress has failed to expand aid in response to rising oil prices.

U.S. Rep. William Delahunt of Massachusetts, a Democrat, met with Chavez in August and helped broker the deal.

The Representative (we can drop the “honorable gentleman” part) Delahunt needs to be impeached for violations of the Logan Act:

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

To my knowledge, no one has been convicted or impeached under the Logan Act. It is time to change that.

Our constitution is designed with a separation of powers. Negotiations with foreign governments is the privilege of the Executive and the State Department. The end. I didn’t like the way Clinton and Albright handled things, but I sure as hell didn’t want Gingrich or Pete Sessions going around them to negotiate trade deals with the Bosnians. If you want to do the things that are the purveyance of the executive, win the fucking election. You don’t get to lose the election and still run the country. Try harder next time.

This is bullshit. Congress needs to reassert the constitution and put this ass in his place — on the curb and the unemployment rolls. Article II, Section 1. Read it, asshole:

The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.

While you are at it, read Article I, Section 10:

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

Massachusetts needs to have its pee-pee whacked.

Coffee Vs Tea

November 21st, 2005

Heard a good coffee rant lately? Me neither. Let’s have one, shall we?

I’ve actually cut back on my coffee. See, coffee has a rich tradition. The main reason that we drink coffee is that the English were greedy and the Americans were cheap. The English, back when they still screwed things up for us rather than leaving us to screw things up for ourselves, decided to gouge us a little more with an insane tax on tea. It is bad enough that our government taxes gasoline and liquor. Imagine if they taxed coffee. There would be people rioting in the streets. Which is damn near what happened when the English taxed tea. We dumped a lot of it in the bay (blamed the Indians) and then just stopped drinking it.

“Give me something as black as my heart and half as bitter!” they said, and we got coffee. Sweet, sweet coffee. But coffee does things to your body that you would be much better off doing with liquor and cigars. I mean, you only get to die once, so you have to ration out how you kill yourself. I like coffee because it gets me back to the “throw the bastards in the bay, to hell with the king and to hell with his taxes!” mentality that I love. Tea, on the other hand, has its own redeeming qualities. So I have replaced my afternoon coffee with twice as much afternoon tea.

Oh, the millions of indigenous peoples oppressed for tea. Your tears infuse every drop, and they are so, so sweet. Arrogant English Bastards (the purest, most sublime form of arrogant bastard, for which they should rightly be admired) fought the Dutch for centuries for the right to hold oppressive colonies all over the world to fuel a tea obsession. They trained the tea smugglers of the 18th century, who kept the tradition alive long enough to smuggle booze into America during prohibition, fuel the rise of the Mafia, and pass the tradition along to our current drug cartels.

But, as will all things, it is being subverted by hippies. First the Starbucks hippies corrupted coffee, and they are corrupting tea, too. They don’t carry a good brand like Bigelow or Twinnings at the drug store under our building, so I end up buying Tazo from Starbucks. Not only is it shit, but it is covered in hippie propaganda. The only saving grace is that hippies are smart enough to know when to stop and avoid me slaying them. They have all their cutesy names for their bullshit blends, like “Awake” and “Zen” and “Om” and “Horny” and “Calm”. But they don’t fuck with what I’m coming for. Earl Grey. He was a proper Victorian Bastard. He was the Victorian Era, some would say, with the Reform Act. He pissed off lots of chaps with that one, but he had such a nice tea that they didn’t kill him in a duel. And now, I can sit here and drink it and think of what it would have been like had I been born in Victorian England. And an aristocrat. And rich. And that they had proper toilets. Kinda like how Alex looks at the bible in A Clockwork Orange.

What am I saying? My people were Welsh and Irish. We would have gladly killed him for a farthing just for being English. I guess what I am trying to say, is that since I want my beverages to be based on the suffering of others and compatible with my personal general cussedness, tea will do just as well as coffee.

What is Science?

November 11th, 2005

TCS: Tech Central Station asks: Is Intelligent Design a Bad Scientific Theory or a Non-Scientific Theory?

So what is the mark of genuine science? To attack this question, Popper examined several theories he thought were inherently unscientific but had a vague allure of science about them. His favorites were Marx’s theory of history and Freud’s theory of human behavior. Both attempted to describe the world without appeal to super-natural phenomena, but yet seem fundamentally different from, say, the theory of relativity or the gene theory.

What Popper noticed was that, in both cases, there was no way to prove to proponents of the theory that they were wrong. Suppose Jim’s parents moved around a lot when Jim was a child. If Jim also moves around a lot as an adult, the Freudian explains that this was predictable given the patterns of behavior Jim grew up with. If Jim never moves, the Freudian explains — with equal confidence — that this was predictable as a reaction to Jim’s unpleasant experiences of a rootless childhood. Either way the Freudian has a ready-made answer and cannot be refuted. Likewise, however much history seemed to diverge from Marx’s model, Marxists would always introduce new modifications and roundabout excuses for their theory, never allowing it to be proven false.

Popper concluded that the mark of true science was falsifiability: a theory is genuinely scientific only if it’s possible in principle to refute it. This may sound paradoxical, since science is about seeking truth, not falsehood. But Popper showed that it was precisely the willingness to be proven false, the critical mindset of being open to the possibility that you’re wrong, that makes for progress toward truth.

I agree with this 100%. In fact, this is actually enshrined in American jurisprudence as the Daubert standard. This is the standard that courts apply to expert testimony, and the ultimate question on it is falsifiability.

If we examine ID in this light, it becomes pretty clear that the theory isn’t scientific. It is impossible to refute ID, because if an animal shows one characteristic, IDers can explain that the intelligent designer made it this way, and if the animal shows the opposite characteristic, IDers can explain with equal confidence that the designer made it that way. For that matter, it is fully consistent with ID that the supreme intelligence designed the world to evolve according to Darwin’s laws of natural selection. Given this, there is no conceivable experiment that can prove ID false.

And this is where I disagree. ID (which isn’t yet a theory, simply a collection of hypothesis) proposes that design can be detected mathematically (the signal in the noise) and should therefore be falsifiable. In fact, the techniques they are proposing have already been shown to work in fields like cryptography.

On the other hand, Evolution falls squarely on the Freudian example above. What does Evolution do when new evidence is found? It simply shoehorns it in with whatever looks like the best fit. It makes the presumption of common decent and then shoves the jigsaw puzzle together in whatever way seems to fit closest (regardless of whether it is a proper fit or not.)

Evolution has failed to account for the apparent error-checking functions that weed out mutation in genetic material. Evolution has failed to show a way to perform a regression analysis on genetic material and show common decent. Evolution has failed to show any significant speciation.

It is sometimes complained that IDers resemble the Marxist historians who always found a way to modify and reframe their theory so it evades any possible falsification, never offering an experimental procedure by which ID could in principle be falsified. To my mind, this complaint is warranted indeed. But the primary problem is not with the intellectual honesty of IDers, but with the nature of their theory. The theory simply cannot be fashioned to make any potentially falsified predictions, and therefore cannot earn entry into the game of science.

This is flat wrong. The entire premise of the ID thought is that you cannot design something without leaving evidence of that design. The evidence is the very unlikelihood of it having occurred by random chance and selection.

The Everlasting Phelps

TRIGGER WARNING: This entire site will cause massive butthurt in any precious snowflake that needs a trigger warning for anything.