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Friday, May 08, 2020

Heritage and preservation

BBC Radio 4 - Thinking Allowed, Heritage and preservation

"‘What I think has happened in the last 30 years really, since the 1980s, is the tremendous expansion of what heritage is seem to be by these bodies, English Heritage and the National Trust and so on. You've got that kind of proliferation of blue pat plaques now all over the place for people you've never heard of. So I think there is a problem. And I think we are trying to preserve too much, but really, because we are unable to make judgments about what should and shouldn't be valued. That would mean in my book, yes, letting things go. But not necessarily to give them over to the rats and the mice that you write to Caitlyn so beautifully about, but maybe to create a space to build something new.’

‘So you feel there is a danger that we actually are going to lose contact with some parts of our past if we follow Caitlyn's-’

‘There is a danger and that's not all bad. Actually. I think some of the some of the cases she talks about, yes, you should let them go. We preserve too much because we are not deciding what is important to save… if you take something like the Liverpool docks, which is a World Heritage Site, it is now very difficult for them to build anything new on it, because it's been preserved by kind of UNESCO. So that's really limiting new growth and new build for something that perhaps isn't as important as heritage people think it is’...

‘The object, whether it's something like the Elgin marbles, or the human remains that are in museum collections around the world, that is what is important here, not the relationship. That's what I'm interested in. The subject that can tell us about ancient Greece and Athens or the Ottoman Empire, or even the British elite and the Bavarian elite in the 19th century when they retrieved the Elgin marbles and brought them to Britain or restored them in Greece. So the object is what's important. The objects is what is important. When it comes to human remains, research on human remains is what led to an understanding of patterns of human evolution and where populations go to and from. So this is really vital research material, it is sort of what people choose to go see when they're visiting museum collections. That's why people go to heritage sites, they want to see the thing. So it does matter. It is important. And where it is, is important.’

‘So you'd want to say that the historical interest in say the Elgin marbles, or all sorts of related interest, trumps questions of ownership, or are questions of ownership almost impossible to decide?’

‘Questions of ownership are difficult and I think we have to look at why they've become really prominent in the last 20, 30 years. And that's one thing that's concerning me. So I think one of the things that happened is that the kind of remit of the museum to pursue knowledge went into kind of a crisis. Critical questioning, no longer confident about that. At the same time, as you've had the politicization of culture. Culture has always been political. People have always used it in political ways, but it seems to have really come to the forefront now. So you have indigenous movements now, arguing for the return of, quote, unquote, their culture, as a way of doing all sorts of things, which I think culture can't do. So I don't think culture, can raise self ,esteem can create community, can do all these things. In a way it's too much is asked of it. And that's often what is at the heart of arguments over ownership.’...

‘In Scotland, where there's a modernist seminary that was built in the 60s, used for 20 years ish, abandoned in the 80s. And it's been a derelict space, abandoned, spectacularly ruined for a long time. People value that, that ruined state of that building. And so the organization that's now managing that site has decided they're going to partially restore elements of that seminary structure, but they're actually going to allow the ruination to play out in other parts of it. And they're going to allow the way that people value that rawness and that openness of the site to persist if they can’...

‘In the heritage context, how many preserved Cornish engine houses do we need?... And it may be that there's one out there where it's more interesting to actually allow the people, the fringe, the radical fringe who really enjoys this kind of encounter with ruins to be in relation to that object, that lost engine house and I think it's just there's a very narrow sense now of how we do right by our heritage objects sometimes. And I think if we think about those relationships and unfolding processes, instead of thinking about permanence and fixity, then really fascinating things can start to happen.’

LInks - 8th May 2020 (2)

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Life after prison - does a past deny a right to a future? / Bart Campolo (former evangelist) interview

Everyday Ethics: Life after prison - does a past deny a right to a future?

[On recruiting former prisoners] 'Within two years of leaving prison, 61% of ex offenders go back. But if they got a job that drops to 90%… the only risk you’re taking, you’re taking all the time, is that you pick the wrong, wrong man or woman. But you're actually, when you think about it, you're taking less risks than you are because we know exactly what's happened. They know the person's record, they can't hide what they have done. Large number of people out there in employment, who’ve got a criminal record, the employers don't know about it. So we obviously are not going to take on people where we consider there is any risk at all, particularly to our customers or to other colleagues. But that's never really been an issue...

Interview with one of the best known evangelists in the US, Bart Campolo, becoming an agnostic:

‘Did you ever really believe those dogmas?’

‘Well, golly, you know, that's, that's one of those things where, I think I did. But I mean, we, whenever we're in, you know, if you've ever broken up a romance, and then ask yourself, did you really ever love that woman or that man? You know, you go like, well, I thought I did. But now looking back at it now, I think there was always this going on. But for me, yeah, I had transcendent experiences as a Christian. I had moments in which I was sure that the Holy Spirit was speaking to me. I had moments in which things came together in such a way as it really felt like there was a divine architect, and I and I really interpreted those experiences in the context of the Christian framework.

I still say I had those experiences, those were real, my friends who are still, who are Christians, sometimes when they hear that I'm not, they say, are you denying these experiences that I've had? Are you saying that I didn't hear a voice? Or that I didn't have a, have a moment of transcendence? Like, oh, no, no, I understand that most Christians have had all their transcendent experiences in the context of Christianity. And, and that's why they stay Christians. And so I would interpret those experiences I had as a Christian differently now. But they were authentic, and my faith was authentic. And so if somebody, if somebody heard me preach 15 years ago, and came to Jesus under my teaching, like, and they said, well, I bet you would, you're embarrassed about that now, or you would repudiate it? Oh, no, that was a sincere sermon at the time. And if that person's life was blessed by that sermon, I'm glad for that...

[My realisation that God wasn’t real] started early on, like when I first became a Christian, and I ended up working in the inner city. I saw horrors there, I had come into the city, in the inner city, seeing, believing that God was in control of everything, and that you could pray to God for traveling mercies, that you should, you could ask God, you know, for help with things, and he would intervene. And when I saw some of the things that were happening in my friends lives, I lost my ability to believe in the sovereignty of God in that way. So I changed my theology to match what I saw in reality. Later, I did the same thing when I had close friends who were gay, I changed my theology, and changed my understanding the Bible and actually started to ignore certain Bible verses, in order to make room for that. That wasn't for me, stepping onto the slippery slope.

Because once you start modifying your theology, to match up to what you want to believe, or what you see, what you see around you, you know, they warn you about that. The Orthodox ones worry about that. You can't start changing things to make it work for your, for your, for your situation. But for me, the end point was, you know, I had become a Universalist. I had become somebody who didn't trust, you know, who, I had been dialing down the supernatural for many years.

But I had a bicycle accident. I don't actually remember that. I remember leaving the house that morning. And I remember waking up in the hospital. But in between, evidently, I had a very bad bicycle accident where I went off the road. And if I hadn't been wearing a helmet, I would have surely been killed. But as it was, I had brain injury, and I was concussed and I had amnesia, for about a month, I wasn't myself. And didn't know if I would get back to myself. And when I did get back to myself, you know, I realized maybe for the first time in a very visceral way, that my identity was not a disembodied spirit that was inhabiting this body.

But rather, that it was right in my brain, was right in my body. That if you took a hammer to my head in one place, I would change. If you cut this part of my brain out, I would still, I would still be intelligent, but I would have no compassion, if you cut this other part, I would still want to eat food, but I wouldn't want to have sex. If you cut this other part, I wouldn't be able to form any short term memories or another part long term. And I realized, like, oh, my goodness, I'm right here, in my head, in my body, and when this body and brain die, I'll be gone.

I still believe in in eternal life, because I believe that my kids will still be alive. And then they'll have kids and, you know, life will go on without me. But I don't believe in eternal Bart Campolo, or William Crawley for that matter, because you may actually be God. But guess what, what happens is, is that when you realize that you don't believe in eternal life anymore? You know, for me, that was kind of the last dress and like, you know, I can't check any of these boxes anymore. I don't believe in the divinity of Christ. I don't believe in the Virgin Birth. I don't believe in the Resurrection after three days. I don't believe in any life beyond this one. Not, not that I'm sure that there isn't one. But I have no, I have no evidence that there is. And, and I realized, like, you know, there are some very basic boxes, you have to check if you want to call yourself a Christian, at least in the tradition that I came from…

When I came out of, out of Christianity, and trying to figure out what comes next for me, I started visiting like atheist groups and, and free thinking groups, thinking I would find sort of like the secular equivalent of the church. And what I found was, I would go to these groups, and they were like, a lot of times, the people at the center of them were very angry at religion. And they were, they wanted to debate and talk about how stupid it was to believe in God. And I wasn't interested in that at all. What I was interested in is, where's the group of people who say, listen, this life is all we have? How do we make the most of it? All, the way to make the most of this life is to love one another.’"

Links - 8th May 2020 (1) (Yale Shenanigans - Western Art History)

Yale Will Eliminate a Beloved Introductory Art Class for Being Too White, Male, and Western - "Enrollment has swelled for Yale University's introductory art history course, which covers "the Renaissance to the present." That's because the school plans to eliminate the popular class after the spring.According to The Yale Daily News, the art department has decided that the class might make some students uncomfortable due to the "overwhelming" whiteness, maleness, and straightness of the artists who comprise the Western canon (though that last label may be dubious). Indeed, the focus on Western art is "problematic," course instructor Tim Barringer told the student newspaper... In its final iteration, the course will "consider art in relation to questions of gender, class and race and discuss its involvement with Western capitalism," according to the latest syllabus. Art's relationship to climate change will also be a "key theme." "I'm really looking forward to seeing what works the students come up with to counteract or undermine my own narratives," said Barringer. Art students who wish to master the Western canon will still find plenty of other courses that satisfy their interests. But the removal of the introductory course makes it difficult for non-majors with a casual interest in the subject to study it... It has become more common in recent years for small cabals of students to rebel against liberal arts curricula that they feel are too focused on Western artists, authors, and thinkers. Students at Reed College, for instance, successfully pressured educators to disband an introductory humanities course. In that case, the activists demanded that all European texts be removed and replaced by non-European books as a form of reparations "for Humanities 110's history of erasing the histories of people of color, especially black people."... When a university eliminates an introductory art class because a tiny number of ideologues object to the whiteness and maleness of it all, it feels like they are declining to teach history because some people don't like what happened. The West's outsized influence on the events of the last several centuries may very well be problematic, but that doesn't mean it isn't real."
Despite this, we are told that decolonising/diversifying the curriculum is not a zero sum game, and that diversity is only ever a good thing. Then again, the course has already been infected so maybe this is a good thing
Presumably students undermining the narrative of oppression will not delight Barringer

Segments of Random Thoughts - Posts - "The Woke are rewriting history with extreme prejudice. The West cannot have any positive legacy. Because they don't want you to feel pride, only guilt."

Yale Med School To Stop Teaching Medicine Discovered By White Males | The Babylon Bee - "This has been lauded as a much-needed stand for diversity at Yale, especially by current med students who will now have much more time to deal with the stress of med school by watching Netflix."Yes, many people will get sick and die because of this, but it will be worth it for the woke points," one professor said. "We will now only teach medicine discovered by brave, oppressed, trans people of color." At publishing time, Yale University had announced that the entire campus would be bulldozed over after faculty discovered the school was founded by privileged white males."

Yale against Western Art

"Given the role that these two courses have played in exposing Yale undergraduates to the joys of scholarship and knowledge, one would think that the department would have amassed overwhelmingly compelling grounds for eliminating them. To the contrary, the reasons given are either laughably weak or at odds with the facts. The first reason is the most absurd: the course titles (“Introduction to the History of Art: Prehistory to the Renaissance” and “Introduction to the History of Art: Renaissance to the Present”). Art history chair Tim Barringer apparently thinks students will be fooled by those titles into thinking that other traditions don’t exist... If the titles are such a trap for the Eurocentric unwary, the department could have simply added the word “European” before “Art” and been done with it...

Barringer also claims that it was “problematic” to put European art on a pedestal when so many other regions and traditions were “equally deserving of study.” The courses that will replace the surveys will not claim to “be the mainstream with everything else pushed to the margins,” he told the Daily News. Leave aside for the moment whether the European tradition may legitimately form the core of an art history education in an American university. The premise of Barringer’s statement—that previously European art was put on a pedestal and everything else was pushed to the margins—is blatantly false. The department requires art history majors to take two introductory-level one-semester survey courses. Since at least 2012, the department has offered courses in non-Western art that can fulfill that requirement in lieu of the European surveys...

Nor would anyone surveying the art history catalogue think that Yale was “privileging” the West, as they say in theoryspeak. That catalogue is awash in non-European courses...

Those courses must also be sacked because it is impossible to cover the “entire field—and its varied cultural backgrounds—in one course,” as the Daily News put it. If this statement means that the span of time covered in each of the one-semester Western art classes is too large, non-Western survey courses are as broad or broader. “Chinese Painting and Culture” covers 16 centuries. “Power, Gender, and Ritual in African Art” covers nearly two millennia. “Introduction to the History of Art: Buddhist Art and Architecture” covers seven centuries. “Introduction to the History of Art: Sacred Art and Architecture” covers several millennia. None of these courses is facing extinction.

Barringer promises that the replacement surveys will subject European art to a variety of deconstructive readings designed to pull that tradition down from its alleged pedestal. The new classes will consider Western art in relation to “questions of gender, class, and ‘race,’” he told the Daily News in an email, carefully putting scare quotes around “race” to signal his adherence to the creed that race is a social construct. The new courses will discuss the involvement of Western art with capitalism. Most intriguingly, the relationship between Western art and climate change will be a “key theme,” he wrote.

Barringer’s proposed deconstruction of Western art illustrates a central feature of modern academia: The hermeneutics of suspicion (Paul Ricoeur’s term for the demystifying impulse that took over the humanities in the late 20 century) applies only to the Western canon. Western academics continue to interpret non-Western traditions with sympathy and respect; those interpreters seek to faithfully convey the intentions of non-Western creators and to help students understand what makes non-Western works great. So, while the replacement European art survey courses will, in Marissa Bass’s words, “challenge, rethink, and rewrite” art historical narratives, the department will not be cancelling its Buddhist art and architecture class due to the low representation of female artists and architects, nor will it “interrogate” (as High Theory puts it) African arts and cultures for their relationship to genocidal tribal warfare, or Aztec art and architecture for their relationship to murderous misogyny.

In the replacement European survey courses, however, Tim Barringer will ask students to nominate a work of art that has been left out of the curriculum or textbook, in order to challenge long-held views of art history. Barringer is looking forward to seeing how students will “counteract or undermine” his own narratives about Western art, he wrote in an online syllabus note. Will students in “Painting and Poetry in Islamic Art” be asked to nominate an excluded art work? Unlikely. The idea that a Yale undergraduate knows enough to “counteract or undermine” the expertise of Islamic scholars would be seen as ludicrous. Only with regards to the Western tradition are ignorant students given the power to countermand what was once the considered judgment of the scholarly profession.

Students exert pressure over what gets taught not just through explicit pressure but also through their mere existence, if they possess favored identity traits. The “diversity of today’s student body” guides the art history department’s curricular thinking, department leaders explained in a statement on the cancelled survey courses. But the ephemera of students’ race and sex have no bearing on the significance of the past. The sublimity of Chartres Cathedral, a focal point of Scully’s fall semester course, transcends the skin color of the latest round of freshmen. If the University of Lagos suddenly received a large influx of students from Idaho, that would not change how Yoruba bronzes would be taught or interpreted. It is only in the West where scholarship and pedagogy are held hostage to some students’ demographic profile.

Yale has cancelled other landmark courses on identity grounds. For decades, English majors were required to take a yearlong course called “Major English Poets.”... But that course was defenestrated from its gateway status for English majors in 2017...

Rather than push back against this ignorant nonsense, members of Yale’s English faculty validated its premise... Medieval and Elizabethan England simply did not have black poets writing in the English language, a pattern that continued through the Augustan and Romantic periods. Females were only slightly more represented, but none of them had the influence of the course’s focal authors...

Yale’s lust for curricular cancellations has picked up steam since Major English Poets lost its required spot in the English major. The art history department appears to be eliminating the Western art introductory courses on its own initiative, without the pretext of a student petition or other agitation. The only possible grounds for doing so is a political hatred for the Western tradition, since the axed courses were voluntary and surrounded by numerous non-Western alternatives. Barringer did not respond to an email asking for a preview of the mysterious relationship between Western art and climate change. He also chose not to reveal whether African, Asian, and South American art will now be “problematized” along with Western art.

The one-sided subjection of Western civilization to the petty tyranny of identity politics will only worsen. Yale is one of four universities to have received a $4 million grant to infuse the theme of race into every aspect of humanities teaching and scholarship. Brown, the University of Chicago, and Stanford are the other recipients of that Andrew W. Mellon Foundation bequest. (The Mellon Foundation, once a supporter of apolitical humanities scholarship, has been captured by the identitarian Left.) Race, Yale announced in its press release about the Mellon grant, is critically important and indisputably central to the humanities.

Actually, it is not. The humanities are about matters far more compelling than the trivialities of race, which in any case we are supposed to believe is not even real. For centuries, poets, painters, novelists, and architects sought to express essential truths about the human condition. Race may have played a role in a few classic works, such as Othello or The Heart of Darkness, but it was hardly “central” to the entire tradition. Those who seek to make it so do so in the pursuit of political grievance, not scholarly accuracy.

Some students know better, however. Once word got out that this year would be the curtain call for the two introductory Western art courses, students stampeded to enroll. Though the courses were not in fact a required gateway into the study of art history, it would have been perfectly appropriate to make them so. The primary obligation of education is to pass on a particular civilization’s cultural inheritance with love and gratitude. Yale, like nearly every other college today, has lost the will to do so. It has therefore negated its very reason for being."

The Real Problem at Yale Is Not Free Speech

"Poor people pretend to be rich to look cool. Go visit the Russians on Brighton Beach in their tank tops and gold chains. Rich people pretend to be poor to fit in. Go to San Francisco and play a round of “Homeless or tech billionaire.”

But bizarre effects emerge when signals are mixed up. In particular, I have seen bizarre effects from mixed-up wealth signaling structures...

On the surface, there is nothing wrong with haphazard and sometimes warped class signaling. But if you put on a façade for long enough, you end up forgetting that it is a façade. The rich and powerful actually start believing that they are neither of those things. They actually start believing that there is not much difference in status and resources between themselves and the upper-middle class, the middle class—and eventually, between themselves and the actual poor. They forget that they have certain privileges and duties that others do not. They forget that the inside joke was just a joke all along...

When these kids grow up, they end up at conferences where everybody lifts their champagne glasses to speeches about how we all need to “tear down the Man!” How we need to usurp conventional power structures.

You hear about these events. They sound good. It’s important to think about how to improve the world. But when you look around at the men and women in their suits and dresses, with their happy, hopeful expressions, you notice that these are the exact same people with the power—they are the Man supposedly causing all those problems that they are giving feel-good speeches about. They are the kids from Harvard-Westlake who never realized they were themselves the elite. They are the people with power who fail to comprehend the meaning of that power. They are abdicating responsibility, and they don’t even know it...

We mock each other over wealth and mannerisms, to the point that we forget how and why wealth is built in the first place. We forget the extent of our own power and start blaming an ephemeral elite beyond ourselves for the ills of society. And when something does need to be challenged in elite thought, not in the fake, recuperated way that Greta Thunberg ritually challenges an already-supportive crowd at Davos, but in the real way that carries personal risk—we bail. When we see an unfashionable truth that may risk criticism or ostracism, we forget our own position of strength and assume we cannot bear those risks. We give up the fight before it even starts—as if somebody else can or will fight it.

That is what can lead to societal dysfunction. But it is also a symptom of that dysfunction...

The appearance of bottom-up protest politics is always a bit of a false narrative...

What do all of these events have in common? Some had student support. Some did not. Some started as public outrage taken to the street. Some were completely internal. What they had in common was an administration and student body coordinated around an ideology that continually mutated to ensure moral entrepreneurship and a continued supply of purges, as new forms of human behavior or commonplace descriptors became off-limits. Some of this energy was genuine, some cynical...

Their point was that this was all to help poor people. Immigrants. People whose parents are from distant, impoverished lands. People of color. Changing “Master,” firing the dean, and firing professors was all for this.

Except this did so little to actually help any of these people that this could not possibly have been the main motivation.

None of this was actually to their benefit, except for the few activists willing to invest time and energy into the game. It is not easy to stay up-to-date with the new, ever-more-complex rules about what you are allowed to say to qualify as the bare minimum of sociable and sane. It is cognitively and socially demanding. I had to not just study psychology and computer science, but I had to stay up-to-date with the latest PhD-level critical theory just to have conversations...

If words like “Master” are deemed offensive based on questionable linguistic or historical standards, then this means other words and phrases can become offensive at a moment’s notice. Under these rules, only people in the upper ranks who receive constant updates can learn what is acceptable. Everybody else will be left behind.

The people best positioned for this are professors at elite universities. They are ingrained in the culture that makes up these social rules. They get weekly or even daily updates, but even they cannot keep up...

If even competent, qualified, liberal, well-meaning, tenured professors at Ivy League universities are in danger of losing their livelihood for arbitrary reasons just because they said something subtly wrong to the wrong student organization, then what hope do the rest of us have?...

A cynical observer might conclude that this is all just revolution as usual—a small clique of agitators seizing more and more power, and purging their enemies by virtue of their superior internal solidarity, a bold and demanding ideology, lukewarm popular moral support, and no real organized opposition. In some ways, that is what’s going on. They have the bold ideology, the ambient support, and no real opposition.

But importantly, they don’t have internal coordination by any means other than adherence to the ideology itself. Even members of the clique are never really safe. Anyone who contradicts the latest consensus version of the constantly mutating ideology, even if they have worked to its benefit or are otherwise obviously on side, gets purged. If you don’t keep up, you get purged...

For everyone who gets purged for a slight infraction, there are dozens who learn from this example never to stand up to the ideology, dozens who learn that they can attack with impunity if they use the ideology to do it, and dozens who are vaguely convinced by its rhetoric to be supportive of the next purge. So, on it goes...

Yale administrators had lofty goals. In an attempt to placate their own biases, the administrators and faculty forgot that they are the ones who are supposed to be teaching. Instead of expelling or suspending the small number of people actively undermining the student body and university as a whole, the university does nothing, or actively accelerates the process. The professors are the ones who leave. The radical clique feels emboldened.

Now we can begin to understand the real problem at Yale...

The faculty get pushed around by a small number of students, and administrators actively fire up conflict on their behalf. If an administrator wins favor among them, that administrator gains power. If administrators come to understand that they can gain power via this vector, it makes sense why they would chip away at existing holders of power: the people on the board, the donors, the alumni, and the traditions of the institution itself.

In effect, a large fraction of the administrators form a revolutionary class within the rest of the university structure. They use both their existing power and new ideological mandates to expand their own domain at the expense of other players. The purpose of the administrators is to shape, tear down, and rebuild the university on the institutional level, which lets them act on ideological goals in a way students and faculty generally cannot. The people filling these expanded roles often come from the student body itself, having served in student government or activist student organizations before transitioning into their bureaucratic roles after graduation. This is the human institutional structure behind the ideological phenomenon.

The result is an institution increasingly unable to carry out its own mission, as tuition rises to pay for more administrators, and ideological drama makes it harder and harder to actually teach. And now we are back at the original question. What was the point of Yale? What was the point of going to Yale? What is the point of elite institutions?...

The problems present at Yale are present at every other university, and schools outside of the United States look to elite American universities as role models."

Interview with the Pope's Astronomer

BBC Radio Ulster - Everyday Ethics, How Do We Measure Success?

Interview with Brother Guy J. Consolmagno:

‘He's the director of the Vatican Observatory, and he has spent most of his life studying galaxies far far away. And if he isn't studying objects from space, he's probably explaining how science and religion should not be competing ideologies. More about that in a moment, but he began by describing what it was like to work for one of the oldest astronomical research institutions in the world.’

‘Well it's an interesting place to work as an astronomer. When I got here, my instructions were do good science. So unlike the days that I was living off in NASA grant before I became a Jesuit, we have the freedom to pursue whatever astronomy is interesting to us. And that means we've got a dozen astronomers who's doing a dozen different projects with collaborators from around the world. But we're not limited to what can be funded in a three year cycle or you know, a six year, 10 year thing. It means that the kind of science we do complements the science of the people that we do. We do surveys, we will take 20 years to measure the physical properties of meteorites, that sort of thing. And it gives us the freedom to look into places that other scientists don't get to look into’

‘Many people might wonder, why does the Vatican need to do this? Why?’

‘Well, you could ask really the bigger question, why does anybody need to do astronomy? I had that crisis when I was much younger when I was about 30. And thought, you know, why am I doing astronomy when people are starving in the world? I quit astronomy at that point. I went off to the Peace Corps and worked in Kenya for two years. And the Africans reminded me that they wanted to know about astronomy, too. It's human to have this hunger about who are we, what is the world all about, what are the things in the sky, what is this conversation that human beings have been having about the universe and cosmology for the last 3000 years? It's what makes us more than just well fed cows. In particular, the Vatican does it because it makes us look good compared to the mistake they made with Galileo 400 years ago... [Pope Francis has] got a background in chemistry. And the director before me was an Argentinian Jesuit. They knew each other before he was Pope. Pope Francis was the one who told my predecessor to continue on in his studies in astronomy, that it was useful to have both the scientists and the people who work with the poor. Sometimes you can do both.’

‘Do you get much pushback? Do you receive much challenge to the Vatican pursuing science?’

‘Surprisingly no. The people in the field have known us for 125 years, we've been partaking in International Science. And as I say, because we don't have to compete with them for money, we're welcome on the field of science. The funny thing that happened to me when I became a Jesuit, I'd met a scientist had been in astronomy 15 years at that point. And so many of my friends and colleagues said, You're a Jesuit? You don't, like, you go to church? Couldn't tell. And then they started telling me about the churches they went to. And I discovered the religious background of so many people in my field who I would never have thought were science, scientists and religious. It's a kind of thing that we don't talk about, usually until we have the permission to and when I have my collar, whether I'm wearing it or not, I give people permission to ask the bigger questions, whether it's, you know, what is this all about? Or the simpler ones of you know, I've got an issue with my church. I've got an issue with my marriage. What do I do? Who can I talk to? That happens all the time.’

‘Why do you think there is that reluctance to talk about it?’

‘Well, there is this myth that goes back to the end of the 19th century, that somehow science was going to replace religion. And I think the 20th century proved that one wrong. First of all, that science doesn't seem to be so cut and dried as it was before we knew about quantum physics and relativity. And the second that we've learned that just having good technology doesn't mean you have good ethics, you know, like, Nazi Germany had great technology. But so as a result, I think people now are more open to the idea of science and religion coexisting. Yeah, we're both interested in learning truths. And we both know that we have this urge to know the truth, and we need tools to know the truth and we can help each other out that way. But there's still this suspicion, we grew up with the idea that all it had to be one or the other. You see the pop scientists on TV saying, well, I'm I must be a scientist because I don't believe in God. And it's surprised to discover that those [op scientists on TV are probably the minority.’

‘So are you a creationist or an evolutionist?’

‘I'm a Catholic. Which means that I recognize ,the current theories of evolution are as good as a theory we've got at the moment to explain how we went from inanimate atoms to the multiplicity of life we see on Earth. But in 1000 years, we may not even be asking those questions. You know, evolution isn't the final answer. And yet I'm also with my Catholic background, well aware of what St Augustine said and what St. Thomas Aquinas said, that anyone who wants to treat the scripture as if it was a science book is misunderstanding scripture and actually heaping abuse on it. That's not my term. That's the term of St Augustine writing about the year 400’

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Links - 7th May 2020 (3)

Remarks by President Trump in State of the Union Address | The White House -"We are advancing with unbridled optimism and lifting high our citizens of every race, color, religion, and creed."
"From the pilgrims to our Founders, from the soldiers at Valley Forge to the marchers at Selma, and from President Lincoln to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Americans have always rejected limits on our children's future."
"To expand equal opportunity, I am also proud that we achieved record and permanent funding for our Nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities."
"The USMCA will create nearly 100,000 new high-paying American auto jobs, and massively boost exports for our farmers, ranchers, and factory workers. It will also bring trade with Mexico and Canada to a much higher degree, but also to a much greater level of fairness and reciprocity. This is the first major trade deal in many years to earn the strong backing of America's labor unions."
"The unemployment rates for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Asian-Americans have reached the lowest levels in history. African-American youth unemployment has reached an all-time low."
"African-American poverty has declined to the lowest rate ever recorded."
"The unemployment rate for women reached the lowest level in almost 70 years -- and last year, women filled 72 percent of all new jobs added."
Literally Hitler. We all know Hitler was so racist that he talked the Jews up before gassing them

Trump puts on a clinic at State of the Union address - The Post Millennial - "No matter how much you hate President Trump—and I have some world-class Trump haters in my immediate circle of family and friends, so I know how deeply authentic and ferociously visceral that particular hatred is—you have to admit he has some great speech writers."

Trump Gives Presidential Medal Of Freedom To Rush Limbaugh - "Barack Obama famously awarded the honor to Ellen DeGeneres"

Trump puts on a clinic at State of the Union address - The Post Millennial - " no response to the SOTU address would be complete without a word about House Leader Nancy Pelosi’s unbelievably dumb gesture at the end of the speech. With the camera still steady on a radiantly happy Trump and her, plainly visible behind him, she ripped the pages of his speech in half.Whatever possessed her? Had she already planned to do it before she arrived? Hard to believe that with time to consider, such a seasoned politician wouldn’t see the obvious danger of unintended consequences inherent in that symbolic act. Or was it Trump’s insulting refusal to shake her proffered hand before the speech that triggered her ill-considered thirst for revenge? Even then, she had a full hour to contemplate the gesture’s attendant risk. Whatever, Pelosi’s “Nantrum” (thanks, witty tweeter) is the meme that will live in infamy. Trump was wrong to ignore her hand, but that was only an insult to her personally – or perhaps to her party. Tearing up the speech was an insult not only to Trump and Republicans, but to his guests. And in any case, there is no tit-for-tat possible here, because the expression implies that Trump and Pelosi are peers. They are not. He is the duly elected president of the United States. She is a party appointee, not even a candidate for president... many Americans, a lot of them undecided, would see the gesture as an offence to the office of the presidency. After all, she had gotten a dig in by refusing to intone the usual introduction with the words “honour” and “privilege,” so she had already riposted the handshake refusal. I’m pretty sure Pelosi handed Trump a significant number of votes with that moment of uncontainable malice. Never a dull moment in American politics, eh? Even without impeachment dramas, an Iowa primary disaster and a SOTU spat meme gone viral, it’s a circus like no other."

J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis bonded over their mutual hatred of Walt Disney, private letters reveal - "J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were close frenemies when they were both still alive and kicking, operating within the same dusty Oxford literature circles and bantering over lofty subjects like theology, personal faith and their own fantastical writing. But if there was one subject that truly brought them together, it was their shared dislike of Walt Disney... the fantasy legends sling bitchy insults and put-downs like a stuffy, academic Gossip Girl, decrying Disney's creative choices in 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and referring to the man himself as an ill-educated "boob"... [Tolkien] pledged to never work with him or his company."

Baby bears found in rest stop bathroom near Banff

Do We Really Live Longer Than Our Ancestors? - "while medical advancements have improved many aspects of healthcare, the assumption that human life span has increased dramatically over centuries or millennia is misleading.Overall life expectancy, which is the statistic reflected in reports like those above, hasn’t increased so much because we’re living far longer than we used to as a species. It’s increased because more of us, as individuals, are making it that far.“There is a basic distinction between life expectancy and life span,” says Stanford University historian Walter Scheidel, a leading scholar of ancient Roman demography. “The life span of humans – opposed to life expectancy, which is a statistical construct – hasn’t really changed much at all, as far as I can tell.”Life expectancy is an average. If you have two children, and one dies before their first birthday but the other lives to the age of 70, their average life expectancy is 35... Do We Really Live Longer Than Our Ancestors? - "while medical advancements have improved many aspects of healthcare, the assumption that human life span has increased dramatically over centuries or millennia is misleading.Overall life expectancy, which is the statistic reflected in reports like those above, hasn’t increased so much because we’re living far longer than we used to as a species. It’s increased because more of us, as individuals, are making it that far.“There is a basic distinction between life expectancy and life span,” says Stanford University historian Walter Scheidel, a leading scholar of ancient Roman demography. “The life span of humans – opposed to life expectancy, which is a statistical construct – hasn’t really changed much at all, as far as I can tell.”Life expectancy is an average. If you have two children, and one dies before their first birthday but the other lives to the age of 70, their average life expectancy is 35. In the 1st Century, Pliny devoted an entire chapter of The Natural History to people who lived longest. Among them he lists the consul M Valerius Corvinos (100 years), Cicero’s wife Terentia (103), a woman named Clodia (115 – and who had 15 children along the way), and the actress Lucceia who performed on stage at 100 years old...  Back in 1994 a study looked at every man entered into the Oxford Classical Dictionary who lived in ancient Greece or Rome. Their ages of death were compared to men listed in the more recent Chambers Biographical Dictionary.Of 397 ancients in total, 99 died violently by murder, suicide or in battle. Of the remaining 298, those born before 100BC lived to a median age of 72 years. Those born after 100BC lived to a median age of 66. (The authors speculate that the prevalence of dangerous lead plumbing may have led to this apparent shortening of life).The median of those who died between 1850 and 1949? Seventy-one years old – just one year less than their pre-100 BC cohort...  Not everyone agrees. “There was an enormous difference between the lifestyle of a poor versus an elite Roman,” says Valentina Gazzaniga, a medical historian at Rome’s La Sapienza University. “The conditions of life, access to medical therapies, even just hygiene – these were all certainly better among the elites.”In 2016, Gazzaniga published her research on more than 2,000 ancient Roman skeletons, all working-class people who were buried in common graves. The average age of death was 30, and that wasn’t a mere statistical quirk: a high number of the skeletons were around that age. Many showed the effects of trauma from hard labour, as well as diseases we would associate with later ages, like arthritis... “The life expectancy of Roman women actually increased with the decline of fertility,” Gazzaniga says. “The more fertile the population is, the lower the female life expectancy.”... Did having money or power help? Not always. One analysis of some 115,000 European nobles found that kings lived about six years less than lesser nobles, like knights. Demographic historians have found by looking at county parish registers that in 17th-Century England, life expectancy was longer for villagers than nobles"... “once the dangerous childhood years were passed… life expectancy in the mid-Victorian period was not markedly different from what it is today.” A five-year-old girl would live to 73; a boy, to 75.Not only are these numbers comparable to our own, they may be even better. Members of today’s working-class (a more accurate comparison) live to around 72 years for men and 76 years for women... if we think we’re living longer than ever today, this is because our records go back to around 1900 – which they call a “misleading baseline,” as it was at a time when nutrition had decreased and when many men started to smoke"

One of these is a deadly viper. The other is a harmless toad. Can you tell the difference? - "The Congolese giant toad, which grows to the size of a small hand, would be a hearty meal for any predator. But it escapes being eaten by birds, lizards, and snakes with a trick never seen anywhere else in the world: It looks and acts just like the Gaboon viper, one of the most venomous snakes in Central Africa.Many animals imitate dangerous ones to avoid being eaten. Viceroy butterflies are colored like the toxic monarch, for example, and many harmless snakes mimic venomous ones. But this is the first time a toad has been found to mimic a snake... given their close evolutionary history (both evolved between 4 million and 5 million years ago) and the fact that the toad is found only in locations where the viper is present, it’s likely that the toads and vipers coevolved together"
Ricky Gervais on Twitter - "What's your New Year's Mantra? Mine is..."You found it offensive? I found it funny. That's why I'm happier than you." Happy New Year."

Ricky Gervais, Man of the People - "In a room filled with self-absorbed narcissists, one brave, slightly less self-absorbed narcissist had the balls to speak truth to power—and his name is Ricky Gervais... They have the audacity to call for an “economic revolution” after making fortunes off us working-class stiffs. They look down on anyone who doesn’t vote like them because they can’t possibly imagine a world in which they might be wrong. Fame has tricked them into believing they are the moral arbiter of all that is good and right and just in the world... I have to say, it was satisfying to watch a roomful of self-righteous celebrities be on the receiving end of a roast. Only a cheeky atheist comedian with a British accent could get away with saying, “So, if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your god, and fuck off.”"

David Burge on Twitter - "Good comedy never punches down on marginalized communities like entertainment industry executives, it challenges sacred cows like all those stump-toothed inbred hillbillies from Pennsyltucky or wherever"

Tim Dillon on Twitter - "The reason critics hate what Gervais did is because they have spent the last two years telling people that boring virtue signaling is the truest form of comedy, and the only person worth talking about is Trump. In 7 minutes Gervais reminded people of what comedy actually is."

Ricky Gervais - "How the fuck can teasing huge corporations, and the richest, most privileged people in the world be considered right wing? #GoldenGlobes"

Ricky Gervais on Twitter - "1. Simply pointing out whether someone is left or right wing isn't winning the argument.
2. If a joke is good enough, it can be enjoyed by anyone.
3. It's not all about you.
4. Just because you're offended, doesn't mean you're right."

Serhii Plokhy On A US/USSR Operation In WW2 | HistoryExtra Podcast - HistoryExtra - "[On US bases in the USSR] ‘The Soviets… they really just acted like they did the issues related to dating or sex and the Red Army didn't exist. And one of the outcomes of that was of course, mass rape of, for example, German women and women in Eastern Europe. The US position was that, yes, the Soviets told them that the American Airmen, GIs are not supposed to date the women in the uniforms. So women in the Red Army, but it was expected that they would be *something* their allies, that they would be allowed to date civilian women. Like that was the case in Britain. Again, good memories, bad memories about that, like that was the case in France as well. In the Soviet Union, they actually allowed and even encouraged that kind of dating as long as they thought they needed the Americans, and they thought they needed the Americans before the opening of the second front. So one of the reasons why Stalin agreed to open the bases was to accommodate Roosevelt's request for that because he wanted, he wanted the second front. Once the second front was there, one of the reason to be nice to the Americans disappeared. Then once they they moved the frontier. As a result, the Soviets came in, as a result of that offensive, there was one less reason to have the Americans there and then there was embarrassment of not being able to protect them. So by July of... 1944, what you see are the military counterintelligence groups and the civilian secret police is going there and actually openly harassing women whom the Americans were dating. And resentment towards rich Americans dating the locals in Britain or in France was there certainly. But nowhere there was a secret police go in there and try to break the relationships that originally they encouraged to develop. And that certainly added to the frictions’"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Catullus - "‘When I was studying Latin when I was 14, 15, in a convent school, we had selections of Catullus. So there was a lot left out. We had poems that we were told what the translation was of certain words. And they were just not true. So we were told that scortillum meant little cabbage, and it means little whore. But you couldn't have had that in the convent school. And then we were also told, oh, when men kiss each other, as they seem to be doing in this particular poem, that's because Romans are just like Italians today. They're much more outward looking and friendly than you know, us Brits. And you realize it's a completely false education’"

The futility of exploring the stars

"Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics and you'll get ten different answers, but there's one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won't just take us. It'll take Marilyn Monroe and Lao-Tzu, Einstein, Morobuto, Buddy Holly, Aristophanes .. and all of this .. all of this was for nothing unless we go to the stars."

― J. Michael Straczynski (Creator of Babylon 5)

There's another thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a million years or a billion years or a trillion years, eventually our universe will grow old and go out. When that happens, it won't just take us. It'll take Marilyn Monroe and Lao-Tzu, Einstein, Morobuto, Buddy Holly, Aristophanes .. and all of this .. all of this was for nothing. Period, even if we go to the stars.

Further reading:

The fate of the universe—heat death, Big Rip or cosmic consciousness?

Links - 7th May 2020 (2) (Trans Mania)

Jana ☭🇵🇸جانا on Twitter - "I just punched my brother because he called me his "brother" and now he's crying. Trans rights... This moment also happened after i had a panic attack over not being able to go out and my father insulting & misgendering me heavily. Anyways, donate to my paypal so i can escape out of this hellhole, every dollar helps "
"Congrats on being a horrible man."
"Resorting to violence because someone said something that offended you a bit is not something to be proud of"
"And now whenever any person says "trans rights" some people will think of YOU and YOUR idea of trans rights. Because you obviously think it's a special right of trans people to punch those who misgender them.Bravo, you're proving the conservatives correct."
""My Dad made me cry so I took out my frustrations on my brother."Pretty masculine story, Brother."
"There's no way this is legit with that Paypal link. But hey fair play to you. I respect a man that knows how to hussle."
"So instead of being a rational adult you decided to be violent. Congrats, your brother will hate you for that. You coulda told him in a civil manner but- oh, hammer and sickle. That explains everything"
"I feel like this is a 'and everyone clapped' like they know they couldnt make up a convincing public lie, so instead they said they assaulted family and thats 100 percrnt believable"

UK Gender Identity Service at Crunch Point as Pressure Mounts - "More adolescents than ever are being referred for treatment at gender identity centres in the UK, leaving under-resourced services that facilitate transition to the opposite sex struggling to cope with demand.One consequence of this is complaints surfacing from some staff and patients that the decision to start the process of gender transition is, at times, hasty and misguided... A previous article by Medscape  referred to concerns about bone health as a result of puberty blocking, with experts noting that data demonstrate a fall in bone mineral density (BMD) Z scores during treatment with puberty blockers. One 2015 study that followed BMD development during puberty blocking - which involves use of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogue therapy - in patients with gender dysphoria, through to the age of 22, found a decrease in BMD Z scores in both natal sexes, but it was more marked in natal girls... "Another area of uncertainty relating to blocking puberty - which I am aware of through the media - suggests that blocking puberty might reinforce or amplify a patient's own uncertainty about their gender by preventing the natural process of puberty," he observes, adding that - for this reason, among others - it is recommended that these puberty blockers are only used after specialist assessment at one of the UK's gender identity clinics... When Evans joined the GIDS team in 2004, all children under 18 years were treated, but only those aged 16 years or older received hormones.  "I expected that young people would be assessed in depth and given support and psychological treatment over several years, but the alarm bells began ringing for me when, at a team meeting, I heard that a child who was 16-years-old had only been seen four times and was then referred to the endocrinology department for hormone therapy"... Given the often complex histories and co-morbid factors that patients present with, Evans believes that the three to six assessment sessions that are standard at GIDS is completely inadequate."... "Patients presenting with gender dysphoria will definitely experience distress, but in the same way an anorexic persists in being thinner, you would not say to an anorexic 'you're so stressed that I'll let you starve yourself'." Like Evans, around 30 other psychologists have also resigned from GIDS over the past 3 years. Staff are under enormous pressure there, Evans says. Most psychotherapists not at GIDS generally have a maximum of 35-40 patients at one time, but those at GIDS often have caseloads of up to 130 children.She explained that those who feel uncomfortable leave the service and therefore the expertise in the team reduces: "Now they have to employ psychotherapists straight out of college, and overall, the team has insufficient experience to manage the young people presenting there." Evans also says that to the best of her knowledge, GIDS does not have an autism expert on the team, despite up to one-third of patients presenting with gender dysphoria also having some form of autism spectrum disorder.She adds that the whistleblowing staff, and also some parents, claim that a child's autism is often treated as separate or irrelevant to the gender dysphoria... In 2012, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) drew up guidelines for the treatment of gender dysphoria."They removed the requirement for counselling prior to treatment from the guidelines … due to transgender activists believing that they were being discriminated against by medical professionals," explains Caspian.Effectively, WPATH decided that by requiring clinicians to look broadly across a range of possible mental health issues, it would stigmatise patients asking for treatment... Caspian sat on the Board of the UK Council for Psychotherapy and advised a committee that drew up a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formulate policy aimed at preventing so-called 'conversion therapy' in transgender people.  "I warned them that the wording was dangerous because it appeared to promote affirmation, implying that a therapist was required to affirm a patient's self-diagnosis of varying gender identity"... "This MoU became national policy in 2018.""

Nurse launches legal test case with claim children cannot consent to transgender treatment - "Children cannot consent to transgender treatment, a nurse bringing a landmark legal case has said, claiming that many are autistic, homosexual or just confused.Susan Evans, 62, a former psychiatric nurse at the Tavistock and Portman NHS foundation trust, said that “experimental” and “invasive medical treatment” should be prevented in order to protect children... Their legal team will argue that the provision of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones at the Tavistock for those under 18 is illegal because children cannot give valid consent to the treatment. However transgender children’s charities have criticised the case, saying that children should not be denied the right to make decisions about their own bodies, simply because they are trans... children as young as nine or ten are being asked to give informed consent “to a completely experimental treatment for which the long term consequences are not known”."
Strange how children are denied the right to have sex or drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes

WATCH: Jessica Yaniv assaults journalist outside of court - The Post Millennial - "Jessica Yaniv is no stranger to violating other people’s rights, but the scene outside of the Surrey Law Courts was shocking as Yaniv was caught on camera violently assaulting Rebel Media reporter Keean Bexte... Bexte had been banned from reporting from inside the courtroom today where Yaniv had been appearing, with courthouse police capitulating to Yaniv’s demands to have him barred. Previously, Yaniv had also successfully demanded citizen journalist Donald Smith be prevented from entering the courthouse.   Earlier this evening, Yaniv confronted The Post Millennial’s Amy Eileen Hamm, falsely accusing her of taking photographs of Yaniv in the women’s washroom. The police searched Hamm’s phone at Yaniv’s request, finding none of the claimed photos."

Jessica Yaniv sues more women salon owners for wax job refusal - The Post Millennial - "The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has announced it is representing another esthetic salon against Jessica Yaniv at the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal.The She Point Beauty Salon, owned and operated by women of the Sikh religion, has become the newest target for Yaniv’s litigation after declining Yaniv a Brazilian wax. Yaniv then demanded a leg wax, but was also refused on the same grounds. In their Tuesday morning Press Release, the Justice Centre notes that leg waxes are performed in private with the client undressed or nude from the waist down. Citing religious and safety reasons, the salon refused Yaniv service... The Tribunals found that Yaniv’s gaggle of discrimination claims against the esthetic salons were “vexatious, calculated” and, in part, motivated by racial animus against persons from South Asia and the Sikh, Hindu, and Muslim faiths. The complaints, which varied in cost-demands of up to $500,000, were dropped to fanfare and global praise of the BCHRT. Yaniv was subsequently ordered to pay $2,000 each to three of four clients represented by the JCCF for improper conduct... “Women have a constitutional right not to be compelled to touch biological males in an intimate or highly personal manner if they are not comfortable doing so,” says Jay Cameron in the JCCF Press Release, the lawyer who represented five other aestheticians in Yaniv’s 2019 claims. “Like male genital waxing, our client does not offer male leg waxing services to the public, and we intend to vigorously defend against this targeted harassment on behalf of our client.”"

Sex offender who identifies as young girl reveals just how dangerous self-ID is - The Post Millennial - "An eight-year-old girl trapped in a grown man’s body claims her collection of child pornography is a first amendment right. This is the logical result of self-identification. If people are what they say they are they can get away with anything. Joseph Gobrick is a 45-year-old male sex offender in Grand Rapids, Michigan, who claims that he has “always been an 8-year-old girl.”... Gender self-ID has made a mockery of a criminal justice system, as police report crimes by self-ID’d gender as opposed to reality. Such was the case of Tanner Young, who was referred to as a “Lowell woman” when she was arrested and charged with masturbating in front of a 15-year-old girl. Young’s mugshot clearly shows a man, and the crime of exposing one’s self to young girls then masturbating is typically not a female crime. In Toronto, law enforcement will no longer list biological sex in the descriptors for suspects. This trend will likely show an increase in crimes committed by women, when in fact, these are male crimes performed by men who have self-ID’d out of their sex."

sofie halili 🛒 on Twitter - "cis people getting mad at trans girls for showing up late or cancelling plans last minute is like peak micro aggression that they'll probably never understand"
If you are trans you can do no wrong and anyone who criticises you is transphobic

Meme - "Isn't Trans Sex Inherently Queer? If I Were Having Sex With a Transwoman That Had a Penis and I Stimulated That Penis With My Mouth and Anus It Would Fall Under Q"
"Nope. if You're a Cishet Man Having Sex With a Woman You Are Having Straight Sex"
"Something About Sucking a Dick Just Feels Queer to Me Though"
"Well It's Not. It's a Woman's Penis. It Would Only Define as Gay if You Were a Woman as Well"

All gender restroom in Taiwan : lgbt
From 2018. Meanwhile some people claim Asia won't follow in the Anglo world's footsteps
Hongkie: "I used to make that claim too"

ZeroHavens Deux - Posts - "Angelina Jolie: 'My blonde-haired natural daughter Shiloh is the outcast in our family'"
"Shiloh, transgender child of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, will soon begin hormone treatment"
"If you want to know how to give your children mental illnesses."

Selina Todd and the rise of academic mobs - "A female professor is invited to a university to speak about social class. This is bound to go down well with left-leaning academics who measure gender equality down to the nearest penny, right? Apparently not. Next month, Selina Todd is due to speak at the University of Kent as part of a series of public lectures organised by the School of English. In response, an open letter is now circulating, signed by academics and students from Kent and around the world, demanding Todd’s invitation be withdrawn. Todd is a historian who specialises in the lives of women and the working class. She has dared to suggest that ‘women who posed as men in the past were often lesbians seeking to protect themselves, or because they wanted to do jobs that were only available to men’. Unless we are to assume that every woman who donned a pair of trousers back in the Victorian era was actually a transgender man, over a century before the notion of being transgender had even been invented, this is hardly a controversial view... Todd, having received death threats, now has bodyguards accompany her to lectures... ‘The English Keynote Lecture series is designed to represent and reflect the attitude, politics and image of the School of English and, by extension, the university.’ But universities, as institutions, are not supposed to have a political position on any issue. Doing so would be antithetical to education; it would suggest that research and teaching must lead to certain pre-determined and incontestable conclusions... To substantiate the melodrama of people being forced to defend their existence, they turn to the High Priestess of Academic Wokeness, Sara Ahmed, and her claim that ‘there cannot be a dialogue when some at the table are, in effect or intent, arguing for the elimination of others at the table’. This is truly bonkers. Do the signatories really think that Todd is arguing for the ‘elimination’ of people who describe themselves as transgender? Do they assume that those listening to a lecture on social class will rise up, grab pitchforks and go on a violent rampage against transgender people?"
Academic rigour (considering possible explanations) and freedom of thought are "transphobic"

 Transgender man loses court battle to be registered as father - "A transgender man from Kent who gave birth with the help of fertility treatment cannot be registered as his child’s father, the most senior family judge in England and Wales has ruled.In the first legal definition of a mother in English common law, Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the high court’s family division, ruled on Wednesday that motherhood was about being pregnant and giving birth regardless of whether the person who does so was considered a man or a woman in law.Freddy McConnell, 32, who has lived as a man for several years but retained his female reproductive system and gave birth in 2018, went to court after a registrar insisted he was recorded as the baby’s mother on the birth certificate despite holding a gender recognition certificate that made it clear the law considered him male... McConnell, a Guardian multimedia journalist who had experienced gender dysphoria since childhood and realised he was trans in 2010, aged 23, said he was “saddened” by the decision in favour of the government and the registrar, which resisted McConnell’s claim to be recognised as his child’s father. He is considering an appeal. “If it is upholding the status quo then I am really worried about what that this means not just for me but other trans people who are parents or who want to become parents,” he said.“It has serious implications for non-traditional family structures. It upholds the view that only the most traditional forms of family are properly recognised or treated equally. It’s just not fair.”... Stonewall, the LGBT charity, said the ruling was “deeply disappointing” and failed to recognise trans parents for who they were. “It’s another example of how current legislation contradicts the fragile equality trans people currently have”"
It seems trans activists think trans people are super fragile and even if they're legally male and referred to as male, if they're deemed a "mother" their lives will be ruined
Is it transphobic to think so lowly of trans people?

Cunning spam

A new way I've seen spammers use to get a response.

Email 1:

From: Barbara Podair

To: "fgddddddddjhfgh@usfreeads.club"

Subject: remove from all emails and mailings

Body: *blank*

Email 2 (5 minutes later):

From: Jennifer Freeman [Ed: There is even a profile picture displayed]

To: "fgddddddddjhfgh@usfreeads.club" , Barbara Podair

Subject: Re: remove from all emails and mailings

Body: Unsubscribe

Sent from Outlook Mobile [Ed: Suspicious-looking link for 'Outlook Mobile' that is either phishing, to get you to confirm your email address is active, or both]

So by inducing you to 'unsubscribe' from spam, this is actually going to get you spammed even more.

Links - 7th May 2020 (1) (Trans Mania)

X-rated drag queen called 'Flowjob' visits primary school sparking backlash - "A drag queen called 'Flowjob' who shares sexually explicit images of herself on Twitter has sparked a furious backlash after she visited a primary school to educate children as part of LGBT history month.The drag queen’s social media feeds show pictures of her simulating a sex act with a dildo, laying spread eagle in a bath tub with a ball in her mouth and simulating oral sex. In another post she shared 'Flowjob', who refers to themself as 'she/her', tweeted a picture of EastEnders star Ian Beale being throttled by Max Branning with the caption 'I need a Daddy like this'.During the visit 'Flowjob' read a story to Primary 1 children aged between four to five.Glencoates Primary School in Paisley has come under fire for allowing 'Flowjob' to visit the kids with many saying it was ''inappropriate'', ''outrageous'' and ''disgusting''... One parent with a seven-year-old child at the school blasted the headteacher and claimed parents had not been told about Flowjob's visit... "I’m not opposed to learning about lgbt, but my 7 year old doesn’t need to know what a drag queen is and certainly not the one they had in. The headteacher is more concerned about furthering her career than tackling issuing that our school has.'''Flowjob' visited the school alongside SNP MP and LGBTQ+ campaigner Mhairi Black and was introduced to the children as 'Flow'... Women and children's rights group forwomen.scot were among dozens who launched criticism at the choice of LGBTQ+ role model and questioned why checks were not made beforehand.They wrote: “Sending abusive messages to a school is not OK, but questions about this are legitimate. A male who dresses as a sexualised parody of a women, goes by the name "flowjob" is hardly a role model for primary aged children. Did no one check this?”... ''Adult entertainment is for adults. ''And actually, a number of us would probably enjoy Flow's act but schools and groups for young people have a responsibility to safeguard those people and consider what is and isn't age appropriate. They are the ones who failed the children and, frankly, exposed Flow.''We understand why children might think Drag Queens are sparkly and exotic, but they are hardly the norm. Surely it would be more representative of the LGBT community to hear from same-sex parents?"Boring, ordinary parents..."Taking to Twitter another outraged woman added: “Thanks Flow” full name @flowjobqueen. Why would anyone think this is suitable for pre teens.""
Addendum: The left keep insisting it's a myth that drag queens are sexual

Barry Humphries slammed for transphobic comments - "Barry Humphries is facing heavy criticism after making hostile comments about the transgender community... The comments drew an immediate rebuke online, with activists calling Humphries an "ignorant bigot" and urging him to "shut up and retire". In a viral tweet, comedian Hannah Gadsby called Humphries an "irrelevant, inhumane dick biscuit of the highest order.""
Even drag queens aren't safe

When a Drag Queen Has to Lecture Woke Parents on Morality - "You know that American culture has hit an all-time low when it takes a drag queen to tell “woke” parents to keep their kids out of drag bars. Who would have thought?... “A popular drag queen known as ‘Kitty Demure’ has issued a stark warning to parents who are seeking to involve their children in the crossdressing scene.” In the video, which is going viral, “Kitty” asks pointedly, “What in the h*** has a drag queen ever done to make you have so much respect for them, and admire them so much, other than put on makeup and jump on the floor and writhe around and do sexual things on stage?”... What on earth happened to our society that the American Library Association could actually support Drag Queen Story Hours for our toddlers?... In the words of “Kitty,” “I have absolutely no idea why you would want that to influence your child. Would you want a stripper or a porn star to influence your child?”... “I understand that you might want to look like you’re with it, that you’re cool and woke … but you can raise your child to be just a normal everyday child without including them in gay sexual things.”... “There is a lot of filth that goes on, a lot of sexual stuff that goes on, and backstage there’s a lot of nudity, sex, and drugs. To actually get them involved in drag is extremely, extremely irresponsible.”This was seconded by a commenter who tweeted, “The drag scene is a dirty, rough & tumble lifestyle, rife with promiscuity, prostitution, drugs & crime. Exposing kids to people who live their lives wallowing in such an environment, as if it’s just peachy keen, is child abuse.”... gay men have had to combat the pedophile accusation for years. Why, then, implicate them again by bringing little children to their performances? On the flip side, why would other drag queens accept invitations to read to little children if they were so concerned with pedophile accusations?"
So many drag queens who are "transphobic"

Paul Joseph Watson on Twitter - "Why does the western media/dominant culture always celebrate pregnancy when the parents are transgender while simultaneously telling women that having kids is bad for the planet & makes them worthless and unhappy? "

Satiria - Posts - "#Alok #NewGoths #Pronouns Nar / cis / sist."

The Ranks of Gender Detransitioners Are Growing. We Need to Understand Why - "“in a 2015 survey of nearly 28,000 people conducted by the U.S.-based National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), only 8 percent of respondents reported detransitioning, and 62 percent of those people said they only detransitioned temporarily.” Even if this 8 percent figure were accurate, that would certainly merit attention and concern, given the rising numbers of minors who now present as transgender. But the actual figure is likely much higher than 8 percent, because the referenced study is based exclusively on survey respondents who identify as transgender. Many of the detransitioners I have spoken with, by contrast, have cut ties completely with the transgender community, and certainly don’t identify as trans... The population transitioning in recent years is also qualitatively different from predecessor cohorts. For one thing, many of those now transitioning are much younger... protocols aimed at fast-tracking treatment for trans individuals would increase the rate of false positives... The detransitioners I see in my practice are all female, and they are all in their early twenties. At the time they became trans-identified, many were suffering from complex social and mental health issues. Transition often not only failed to address these issues, but at times exacerbated them or added new issues. These young women often became derailed from educational or vocational goals during their period of trans identification.Since detransitioning, they have lost the support of the trans community, often both online and in person. Some report that they are vilified if they speak about their experience as a detransitioner. And so, in addition to suffering from their pre-existing conditions, they also now suffer social isolation and a lack of peer support... Sexual assault and sexual harassment were common precursors. A majority had an eating disorder at the time they became trans identified. Since detransitioning, most now understand themselves to be butch lesbians. In our work together, they traced complex histories of coming to terms with their homosexuality. Some faced vicious homophobic bullying before they announced their trans identification. All of these young women report that their experience of gender dysphoria had been sincerely felt. According to their recollections, they were as “truly trans” as anyone. In some cases, they received a formal diagnosis of gender dysphoria from mental-health clinicians. Others attended informed-consent clinics, through which they were able to access testosterone after only a brief discussion with a health provider. For most of these young women, identifying as trans worsened their mental health. Although some report that starting on hormones initially brought an increase in confidence and well-being, these drugs eventually seemed to make some of them more emotionally labile, and intensified depression and suicidality. Some of the women who underwent surgeries such as mastectomies or hysterectomies found that these procedures brought no relief from their suffering and instead resulted in nerve damage, regret and, in some cases, life-long dependence on synthetic hormones... most of them are still likely counted by their transition doctors as examples of “successful” transition stories, since they have simply stopped reporting for treatment."

Thread by @LaraAdamsMille1 - "Homosexuals won recognition of their rights because, ultimately, the rest of society changes very little in allowing gays to marry, hold jobs, & be free from harassment/violence... The gender movement is an inverted movement. Rather than basic protections common to all people, members of the mvmt are demanding that all of society make radical changes to policy, personal habits, language, parenting, professional (inc. medical & scientific) practice, & more.Homosexuals asked that we be allowed what everyone is allowed — That we can marry the (adult, consenting, unrelated) person of our choosing, that we can raise our children, keep our jobs. We asked for inaction in the form of not seeking to punish us for our personal lives.The gender movement is demanding that we convert to their ideology and practice their beliefs. You can employ a gay person without voicing moral agreement with them. But current non-discrimination practices for trans employees demand you live as though you share their beliefs. This is an unstable movement because it will never not require brute social and political force to maintain. There’s nothing organic about using pronouns that conflict with natural speech. There’s nothing sustainable about asking every person you meet how they “identify.”& the gender movement is demanding far more than any true human rights movement in history has. We’re meant to enact scientific & medical practices that aren’t evidence-based. We’re being told to compromise our privacy, our sexual practices, our religious beliefs. It’s distressing in the short term and unsustainable in the long term. People won’t accept this indefinitely. It will be torn down, along with every movement that’s being falsely associated with it. This will hurt gay rights, and disability rights, and women’s rights.The modern era of social justice thrives on upheaval... history shows us that not all societal shift is positive.Never in history has forcing a population to practice a belief system against their will been a positive change.Violating freedom of thought, speech, association, assembly — that has never indicated progress toward justice. I never believed in gender — this idea that “man” and “woman” are internal feelings separate from chromosomal and reproductive sex. But I supported trans people anyway, because I didn’t feel required to agree with them. I didn’t feel required to submit to their doctrine.I used the pronouns to be polite, and because those pronouns weren’t the loaded prospects they’ve become... I feel betrayed by this movement. As a lesbian, I advocated for trans rights along with my own. Now trans “lesbians” march in opposition to me and my sisters. They demand our resources, our spaces, our platforms, our emotional energy. They demand access to our bodies.But I said “she,” & that’s supposed to make the rest of it okay.So I don’t do the pronouns anymore.For me, individually, the demands of the movement were unsustainable, and I had to withdraw my support. And other people will do. Every day, more people are... The gender mvmt isn’t limiting itself to protection of human rights. It’s demanding society assist the transgender person in feeling secure about themselves by transitioning our own speech, beliefs, & personal practices.Freedom from emotional insecurity isn’t a human right... No one, aside from the most fervent believers in gender, is impressed by the turn this situation has taken. We look like proof that allowing us our rights was a bad idea.We’re endangering basic liberties like medical decision-making & parental rights for the sake of pronouns. The protections we ask for must allow for belief systems other than our own. They must consider the rights of groups we don’t belong to.We do not have the right to punish people for disagreeing with us, or for saying so.We do not have the right to compel or stop speech"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Gender identity and free speech - "‘We're living in an age of mass hysteria. The claim made in a new book called the madness of crowds: gender, race and identity. Its author, the journalist Douglas Murray, argues that the new culture wars being fought in the modern world are threatening freedom of speech through what he describes as a weaponization of identity’...
‘Increasingly we're doubling down. Just at the point at which things like race, sex, sexual orientation, should have been I suppose we hoped to have sort of become relatively irrelevant or as irrelevant as possible, there's been a doubling down on them, a re-emphasizing of them. A problematisizing of them, to use one voguish term. To the extent that they seem to be driving us apart'...
‘And you call it St George in retirement?’
‘Yes, that's one of the things from the late Australian political philosophy Kenneth Minogue. There is an attitude among other things of St George in retirement, that the battles having mainly been won, the dragon having been slain, you know, women's rights, having broadly speaking, not absolutely there, but pretty much there. Gay rights, pretty much there. And so on that you get this thing of the person who's slain the dragon staggering around the land, looking for ever smaller beasts to slay until finally he can be found swishing his sword at thin air. And I worry that that attitude, the sort of revolutionary, the barricades attitude, the fighting attitude has become the normal attitude of our time. And as a result, we're in this very strange phase where we are all pretending to be very certain about a lot of things we don't know very much about. And we're pretending we don't know things that everyone knew till yesterday... Gay, women, race and trans and in a way that last one has become the most revealing because it's the one that demonstrates how bad we are at discussing, thinking or even talking without weaponizing things against each other. We just had a really interesting one this past weekend, the pop singer Sam Smith, came out as non binary. He’d previously come out as gay, came out a bit later as gender queer, now says he's non binary, which means among other things he wants to use, have plural pronouns used of him. Now the BBC, not to want to make a criticism, the BBC immediately on its website said, they said in their statement, and so on. Now, this isn't the biggest thing in the world. But how about this? Why can't we think about what this claim actually is? I don't think there is any such thing as non binary. I don't think there's any such thing. And I think a lot of people know that too. But, because we are so bad at discussing it, everybody, including the BBC immediately starts to say, okay, we will massively distort and maul our language, if somebody's got a claim’...
‘At every point that there has been change, I would characterize it as positive social change, there have been voices like Douglas’s who said, this is madness. Why are we having to use these silly terms and be so politically correct? The same thing was said, about feminism in the 70s. The same thing has been said about not using derogatory words towards people from ethnic minority backgrounds… [your column on Smith] almost verged on bullying. This is somebody who is making an expression of his identity and how he wants to be described. And I don't know why you feel so threatened’
‘Well, I could play this several ways. If I wanted to do the other way that we do it at the moment, I'd say that he's disappearing gay people, but I would just say it this way. He's pretending there's no such thing as sex or gender. There is and I'm not willing to lie about science in order to fit around his feelings.’"
"But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown."
St George in retirement is basically the "myth" of the slippery slope
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