Saturday, December 31, 2011

Why the NBA is becoming lame

Life is good. Even though we're on the cusp of Christmas/New Years vacation, my the prospects for joy are good.  Why am I so merry, you ask? Simple. The NBA is back!! The perfect Christmas gift!

Or not.

Back when I was a kid dunking on 7" foot basketball goals, I was an NBA fanatic.  I was enamored with the Michael Jordan's and Vince Carter's of the league.  All I wanted to do was to watch the recap of the day's highlights, which were mostly filled with some crazy athlete driving in for a monstrous dunk.

But as I grew older and started playing for a real team that played real basketball, I started to see how lame the NBA really is.  The 3 second defensive lane violation, the outlawing of zone defenses, and other rules like them are designed to promote 1on1 "And one" street ball. No longer is passing the ball around the arc the most effective way to score; it's all Kobe Bryant taking it 1on1 on his man, driving for the dunk or otherwise pulling up for a jump shot.

Thanks to the demand of school and extra-curricular activities, I couldn't afford to waste my time watching anything but the Finals in high school, but that didn't stop my teammates from doing so. Of course, I didn't need to inquire who were the fans of the NBA; it was readily obvious who the ones were by the way they played.  Their idea of great basketball was them dribbling up the court, dribbling around their man, and - you guessed it - more dribbling through the lane for the play of the gamewild shot or turnover. There goes their starting spots.

Okay, but as bad as it is to patent your game like the pros, it's even worse to make them into your role models.  "Who are your heros?" I would ask them. "Umm, lets see - MJ, Lebron, Kobe, and aahhh,[insert favorite player here]. " was the inevitable response.  Theirs is a life of spectatorship. 

And on top of this trainwreck, the league is piling up more turn-offs.  Players no longer have the traditional team allegiances that made possible the rivalries (i.e Celtics vs Lakers, Bulls vs Pistons) which made the league a blessing to watch. Every time you check there's always news about some big name player going to another team, usually to join up with some other superstar.  The Miami Heat represent everything that is wrong with this setup.  Here they turned 3 solid teams, each with a superstar, into one blown-up team and two other crappy ones.  Now nobody wants to watch the Cleveland vs Toronto or Toronto vs Miami.

Whats transpiring is that the NBA, with each additional lopsided team, is becoming like British Soccer, where all everyone talks about is the Arsenal and Manchester United.  It's stupid, and David Stern shouldn't let this happen.  (and if anybody comes to me saying the teams and players should do whatever they want to, I don't want to hear it.  These people imagine themselves clever because they can apply their fetish for free-market economics to the sports world, when actually there is nothing free-market about denying the NBA as an association to make decisions.)

I still watch Pro Basketball on occasion, and I'll even talk about its latest happenings with my more sports-inclined friends, but the direction it has taken is not for good.

And no, I don't watch college basketball. The only time I got into it was when Syracuse won the Championship back in 2003. Those were the days...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Favorite quotes

Below is a list of my favorite quotes, in no particular order.  It will be expanded upon whenever I find a suitable addition. 

"If Your Actions Inspire People to Dream More, Learn More, Do More and Become More, Then You Are A Leader. "John Quincy Adams

Take away my people, but leave my factories and soon grass will grow on the factory floors……Take away my factories, but leave my people and soon we will have a new and better factory.
Andrew Carnegie

"On the basis of what I learned, I began to daydream about winning a universal empire, for there was something in me that would not rest until I fulfilled a grand destiny. Thus I created an empire in my thoughts long before I began to win an empire in reality." - Cyrus

"Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The moral configuration of Western society requires its best citizens to rebel, to go against the grain, to behave in mala fide in order to secure their own fortunes." -Ferdinand Bardamu

"Then you're obviously like the average Macintosser, not bright enough to use a real computer without having your hand held." - Vox Day

"It’s a brave new world, and the answer is more game, more players. It’s win-win for everyone… except modern society." - Roissy Chateau
"I have wasted my hours." - Leonardo da Vinci

"Its not about how hard you can hit, it's about how hard you can get hit" -Rocky Balboa

"A woman uses her intelligence to find reasons to support her intuition." - G.K Chesterton 

"The fact is, SWPLs are enamored of genetic genius and creativity… not ambition, not fortitude, not conscientiousness or discipline… IQ and CQ" -Roissy Chateau

"A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read" - Mark Twain

"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people." - Eleanor Roosevelt.

"If you are a critic, you would do well to keep in mind that there is a very high probability I am both more intelligent and better educated than you are before you leap to immolate yourself in the beautiful flames of my brilliance. " - Vox Day

"It'll be funny when some slacker with natural smarts strolls into class late, aces the finals, and kicks Amy Chua's kid out of the #1 spot." - Roissy Chateau 

"I can't tell you if genius is hereditary, because heaven has granted me no offspring." - James Whistler

"What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult." -Sigmund Freud 

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo Galilei

"i need to stop calling myself 'anti-feminist'. 'anti-bullshit' would be a better term." G.L Piggy

The Judgement Arrives

Things got hysterical when I asked the rhetorical question "Why do people celebrate Xmas again?"  Some of my more secular friends were offended that I even dared asked such a question, and thereby challenged the rational foundation they had for celebrating Christ's birthXmas.  Now, I don't have a problem with non-Christians unwrapping gifts from under a tree or singing Jingle Bells, but I couldn't help but notice how cheap sounding it is to call it Xmas in fear of arousing obvious connotations, as well as trying to appear culturally audacious and rebellious, and yet do the exact same things as everybody else does.

At any rate, the response that ensued didn't live up to the virtues of honesty and truth.  I won't recount it verbatim, but it went something like this:
Okay, everybody is entitle to their own opinion, but your taking this too far; you're judging! You really don't want to go down that path.
 I know, right?  How I dare judge her! How cruel of me to critically examine the rational foundation behind people's actions.  This line of attack is no different than when the clowns at CNN got up and arms for as long as they could stand up and speak for the day about Ron Paul's alleged racism.  No counterargument was necessary, because its raaaaaaa-cism.  For them, any attempt to draw racial differences from objective data is self-defeating.  Ergo, it can be dismissed. Likewise, for the self-pitying pawns of the cultural Zeitgeist, anything carrying the tiniest fragment of judgment is evil, something to be immediately dismissed before the idols of equality and tolerance.  No judgements are warranted and no actions frowned upon because everyone is equal in every way.  

Conventional mentality really does flop around through time, sometimes rotating a full 180 degrees. See, even though this blog is advertised as counter-conventional/cultural, the many truths it espouses were recognized by the many for most of recorded human history. The notion that there really are ways to live your life that are either right or wrong, smart or stupid, rational or irrational, this was common sense before the cage of equalitopia was broken loose.

It must tough going through life, living with no sense of self-superiority, not being able to pat yourself on the back because you were smart enough to take the one correct path over ten other incorrect ones, to cherish victory only because you had no chance of defeat, to be inferior to no one only by definition, to be special because everyone is special.  But then again, I'm operating under the tenuous assumption that they're not living some looser lives, denied even the comforts of mediocrity.  Equality is the endeared refuge of the sub-median.  

I've always been curious as to what extent one's personality affects one's politics.  Apparently a lot.  If you are loosing at the game of life, the easiest way to salvage your self-worth is to convince yourself there is no scoreboard.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Who cares about abortion?

I do, for one.  Abortion, like murder, should be prohibited. Period. But who of any relevance cares about it? No seriously, is there a single politician who cares about prohibiting abortion? Alot of them, you may say; "The Republican's are pro-life!"

Are they really?

I have no doubt they pay their due lip-service.  There are no shortage of conservative politicians speaking against a mother's right to murder her own child. The problem is that what they're doing is completely irrelevant.

Looking at the current Republican platform, I don't think there are any candidates who aren't pro-life. Romney had to flipflop, because being pro-choice, at least if you are a Republican, is political suicide. Everywhere evangelicals are fretting about abortion as if it were a serious issue surrounding the election of a candidate.  To them, even the most economically literate candidate would be horrible were he pro-choice.

But the fact of the matter is that it doesn't matter what position you take, abortion is not going to be outlawed, unless the president is absolutely serious about doing so.  And by "serious" I mean they say they WILL MAKE IT ILLEGAL during their stay in Washington.  And from my knowledge, I've never heard any serious candidate say such a thing.

Instead, you hear them blathering about how life begins at conception and that it is a federal government and not a state issue, all with a hypothetical ring to it.  No actions are proposed.

Maybe when I hear the words, I will make abortion illegal (providing the congress does their job), within the first year of my presidency, then I'll perk up my ears.  But until then, I will consider the probability that the Bachman's and Santorum's of the world will prohibit abortion to be the same as that of all the other pro-life politicians since Roe vs Wade out there, namely zero.  Not only will they not do it, they won't even try.      

So if anybody comes up to me and says they won't vote for a pro-choice candidate because abortion is a huge issue, I don't want to hear it. I'm against abortion too; I'm just not naive enough to believe that your favorite pro-life candidate is going to make a difference.

Some people believe that all the destitution and blood spilled from the Civil War was America's punishment for enslaving the black race.  If that's true, then something similar will be happen to twenty-first century America for the fifty million some odd babies that were aborted.  The question is whether you will separate yourself from the rest of the platitude spouting conservatives and make things happen.  And please, don't vote for a candidate just because he's pro-life.

What's worse than a straight-up liberal?

A liberal pretending to be a conservative. Here's Proph on modern right.
I spend a lot of time beating up on liberals, I know. Let's take a moment to remember that the modern "right" aren't our friends, either.
Remember Jonah Goldberg having the temerity to draw a connection between de Maistre and the Nazis? Or his and Norman Podhoretz's celebrations of sodomy? Or his and Ross Douthat's celebration of feminism? (Jonah Goldberg... what a shitbag).
Don't forget the endorsement of the abolition of marriage from Fox News, for Heaven's sake! Or their silence concerning (or even mild support of) the forced homosexualizaiton of the Armed Forces.
Holy smokes.  I used to be a moderate fan of Jonah Goldberg ever since I read Liberal Fascism.  I've never fully agreed with him, specifically on his brand of imperial neoconservatism, but he seemed to have his head screwed on reasonably straight.  I don't think so anymore. There's a reason he didn't indict feminism in his book; he's sympathetic towards it!

The reason faux-conservatives are so much more dangerous than self-professed liberals is that those on the right will listen to them.  I live in an Evangelical conservative ghetto of empty-headed anti-intellectualism, and these folks, God bless them, will not listen to ANYTHING a liberal says.  To them, the following is a truism: anything spouted out by a liberal is sh*t. And that's probably accurate.

Thing is, they'll accept what a nominal "conservative" says, even though its the same bloody thing liberals say.

Liberal ideologue says that woman's economic empowerment is necessary to cure world poverty "Friek feminism - typical redneck  
Clinton intervenes in Africa, in addition to providing foreign aid, "Why can't we just leave the world alone?" -  average Fox News watcher, considers himself an upstanding conservative.

Liberal Keynesian economist says tarrifs should be implemented to fix the trade imbalance, "Oh, so you want more taxes on MY Chinese goods?!" - TEA Party enthusiast


Right Wing commentator approves of feminism and woman's suffrage,"Sounds good to me!"-  typical redneck.

Bush gets conservative backing for the war in Iraq and the global spread of democracy, "Sounds like a good idea to me!" - average Fox News watcher, considers himself an upstanding conservative.

Free market economist writes new book espousing tarrifs, "Down with China!" -  TEA Party enthusiast

This is no joke. It happens all the time.  Ever wondered why conservatives cheered Bush on even as he was planting the country ever deeper in the plagues of liberalism?  Because he was "one of their own."

Unfortunately, this is a problem that cannot be remedied.  It's human nature.  Most people would rather delegate their thinking to some higher authority, blindly accepting their views as their own so long as they profess ideological similarity.  Most people don't think deep enough to construct a coherent worldview; they just combine contradictory bits and pieces of what they've heard.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

You can Increase your I.Q, Even if you believe in Human Biodiversity

Note: This article was originally published at In Mala Fide on 12/10/2011.

I am an ardent proponent of what folks in these circles call human biodiversity, a politically incorrect worldview of race and gender relations. Since many advocates of human biodiversity are evolutionary conservatives, an accepted tenet of HBD is that I.Q is mostly a product of genetics.
Contrast this with this week’s spin on conventional wisdom, which states that as much as 50% of IQ is determined outside the causes of predetermined genetics.

While many HBD’ers are perfectly content with IQ being mostly immutable because on the average they are naturally smart, left-wing ideologues cling to the idea that human nature lends itself to radical adjustments in order maintain their dream of socially engineering the population into… yep, you guessed it – equality. For the leftist, the malleability of human nature knows no limits, as even something as biologically established as gender can ultimately be uprooted and fashioned towards a particular end. Therefore, since intelligence has been universally recognized as an important factor in success and class-standing (yes universally, the people who deny it out loud uniformly do so because they themselves are unintelligent; size doesn’t matter only to those who don’t have size), IQ must be equally dispersed among groups as well as being amendable to large increases. Like the African-American who doesn’t get a sufficient SAT score or the woman who can’t climb the corporate ladder like her fellow man can, low IQ individuals must be the victims of the sharp end of society’s stick, not to some inherent deficiency.

The dichotomy is usually assumed, but let us takes a closer look at what human biodiversity really has to say – or more specifically, what the science behind it has to say. For one thing, there are no necessary material restrictions to improving human attributes. It is an axiom of human behavior that individuals improve with practice, whether the activity is physical or mental. Moreover, I.Q as a dynamic entity may not be so contradictory to genetic determinism after all.  The intriguing new science of epigenetics dictates that a person’s genes are not necessarily as fixed as they were once thought to be, but can be affected by his or her immediate environment. The idea is at the heart of the Paleo Diet, in which the modern industrial complex has triggered sub-optimal gene expression, and that we must revert to the old habits of our ancestors who enjoyed the environment our genes adapted to.

So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the fields of psychology and neurology are rolling in the evidence showing that one can, in fact, increase his IQ:
In the latest study, 33 British students were given IQ tests and brain scans at ages 12 to 16 and again about four years later by researchers at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London; 9% of the students showed a significant change of 15 points or more in IQ scores.
On a scale where 90 to 110 is considered average, one student’s IQ rose 21 points to 128 from 107, lifting the student from the 68th percentile to the 97th compared with others the same age, says Cathy Price, professor of cognitive neuroscience at the center and co-author of the study, published last month in Nature. Another student’s score skidded out of the “high average” category, to 96 from 114.
Swings in individual IQ scores are often written off as the product of measurement error or a test subject having a bad day. But MRIs in this study showed changes in gray matter in areas corresponding to fluctuations in the kids’ skills, Dr. Price says. Although the sample size is small, the study drew wide attention because it is among the first to show how changes in IQ scores may be reflected in actual shifts in brain structure.
First, saying that IQ can be improved is not synonymous with saying that there are no race or gender differences in intelligence. The average white could improve his IQ to 115 while the average black could make similar improvements and land a 100 IQ. And second, the idea that IQ is immutable is patently absurd, as there are numerous ways to lower it, most notably by huffing dangerous drugs and chemicals, sending you down into the mentally retarded zone. More to the point, there are many lifestyle habits that all of us, even the most die-hard health perfectionist, have that hinder our cognitive capacities to some degree. Obvious ones include sub-optimal diet (and since the majority of Americans are not versed of the ways of their Paleolithic ancestors, you can be darn sure that this includes virtually everyone), inadequate measures of recovery like sleep or emotional and mental relaxation, too much stress, fatigue, and emotional instability. Though these factors may have only a small role to play, they can take significant cumulative toll on cognition. And since these things serve to hamper us from attaining our true potential, simply removing these bars will have a positive effect.

Moreover, there are positive steps one can take as well:
Intense training can raise scores. Using a method called “n-back,” researchers at the University of Michigan had young adults practice recalling letter sequences by flashing a series of letters on a screen and asking them to press a key whenever they saw the same letter that appeared “n” times earlier, such as one or two times.
Training for about 25 minutes a day for eight to 19 days was linked to higher scores on tests of fluid intelligence, with gains increasing with the duration of the training, says Susanne Jaeggi, co-author of the study, published in 2008 in Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences.
The gains tend to fade after practice stops, based on studies of children, Dr. Jaeggi says. “You need some booster sessions” to maintain improvements, she says. Other research has found training people to switch mental tasks quickly also can lift scores.
Aside from geeky brain games, additional measures can be made. One’s that have real-world significance beyond a score on a meaningless test. What is the common element in all of these measures? The answer lies in a cliché that is as old as the hills: GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. Like the athlete who is constantly pushing himself beyond his current limits, such as lifting five pounds more than the last workout or switching to interval training after months of endurance training, the aspiring brain must be subjected to foreign experiences in order to grow. Evidence is shaping our view of the brain as a plastic entity, not a typical organ that withers over use and age. So learn novel things and perform new activities. Learn another language. Play a musical instrument. Learn to juggle. Use your less coordinated hand for basic acts like eating or brushing your teeth. Build things you have never built before. Learn how to draw. Read a lot. Study a subject unknown to you. Learn how to speed-read. Travel, even move overseas.  Solve mental problems in your head. Play another sport. Transform social interactions from passive acceptance to active awareness (most of you know what I’m thinking: game). Instead of playing the same old board games over and again, crack open the instruction booklet for a new one. Read polemical articles that make a case for something.  Write a blog. And then of course, there is always faking intelligence. Someone clocking an average intelligence could hit the books, become knowledgeable in subject matter, and school the ignoramus with a genius IQ.
The take home message: novelty is key. Once you find yourself in automatic pilot, stop and reconsider if what you’re doing is helping you grow.

At this point, I am dubious that these measures will make the drones of the world into Einsteins, but I am reasonably confident that they can raise your Intelligence Quotient by at least a standard deviation. (Unless you listen to Win Wenger, who believes that holding your breath underwater for a total time of 20 hours over three weeks can increase your I.Q by over ten points, and something called image streaming can have even more dramatic effects. In all honesty, I have never really tried his techniques, so will refrain from pronouncing judgment. Go check his stuff out and let me know how it works, if you feel so inclined.)

So, what impact do these findings have on the entire social engineering debate? Essentially nothing. We here at In Mala Fide understand the secrets to improving intelligence and increasing our rate of success. We are also in the minority. I’m sure a good amount of the male population is capable of getting ripped six pack abs and 18 inch biceps. That is no insurance most will actually do so. And it would be outright insanity to predicate a society on the assumption that they will. Anything from a lack of knowledge, willpower, motivation, or means will preclude the majority from transcending their genetically endowed IQ. (Then again, collective education has made a difference. See: the Flynn Effect.) And to state again, this does NOT mean there are no racial or gender differences in intelligence. There clearly are, evidence for which has been so exhaustively cited in these circles that I won’t bother with the links.

Society is relatively constant, but you, dear reader, are not. Go forth, my friends and allies of HBD; your fate is in thy hands.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

An Ode to Leonardo Da Vinci

I read my fair share of books, and one genre I have particular affection is the biography, or, more specifically, the biographies of great men.  I have always tried to surround myself with high-caliber and highly-motivated individuals.  I feed off their energy, picking their brains for advice and tips to get me rolling and improving as an individual.  But while I have had the fortune of knowing very capable people, sometimes the only way to know about truly great individuals is by reading about them.

Since I was in junior high, I have been enamored with the Renaissance Men of the past, figures including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Sir Isaac Newton and Michelangelo. The whole idea of a Renaissance Man, with his ocean deep curiosity and galaxy width interests, intrigued me. 

But the Renaissance Man who had the most influence on me was Leonardo Da Vinci.  He set out with his insatiable curiosity to almost every conceivable task.  He balanced and intertwined the intellectual with the physical, art with science, engineering and anatomy, writing and drawing.  And to complement his voracious curiosity, his powers of observation were unmatched.  Over his lifetime he wrote over seven thousand pages in his journal articulating his thoughts, observations, drawings, and experimentations, among other things.  He also wrote down and defined some 9000 words. The Biographer Anonimo Gaddiano wrote, c. 1540: "His genius was so rare and universal that it can be said that nature worked a miracle on his behalf ..."

Reading about his behaviors has inspired me to do something similar.   I write in a journal as well as an internet blog about almost everything that comes to mind.  I constantly find new words to learn and then write them down – I have already jotted down over 2000 words.  I have tried to balance the various intelligences to create a more efficient mind. 

Da Vinci undoubtedly possessed an innate genius, but what separated him from rest of the gifted class was his power of action and active thinking.  He didn’t blindly and unknowingly subscribe to the intellectual fashions of his time.  Instead, he engaged his mind to question the current scientific dogma of the age.  He was willing to get his hands in the mud by testing theories via experimentation. 

Leonardo Da Vinci has inspired me to cultivate my energies toward all intellectual and physical endeavors.  He has motivated me to learn as much as I can, to the challenge conventional wisdom, to appreciate all aspects of intellectual and physical achievement, and to use that knowledge to attain the optimal mental and physical condition of the human body.      

The Alexander Technique Part Two

Our physiology is qualitatively similiar to that of the animal kingdom.  From an evolutionary perspective, this should be obvious.  The Biblical perspective isn't quite as unambiguous, but should be reasonably clear after some thought and observation. While the Bible maintains that human beings differ from animals in that they possess an immortal soul, I am unaware of any verse or influential theologian testifying against the notion that on a physical level, human beings can be loosely compared to other animals. However, several physical attributes can be easily verified to exist so as to render different approaches necessary to obtain perfect posture and optimal health for human beings.  These different attributes, and the concomitant approaches to accommodate those differences, serve as the neurobiological basis for the Alexander Technique.

Look at another animal's movement features, like a dog or a squirrel.  You will see that while you can easily distinguish one organism from another of the same species based on differences in fur color or size, it is surprisingly difficult to notice any differences in gait or posture.But these similarities within species immediately end with humans, where everybody seems to have their characteristic "walk," sometimes you can even identify someone merely by looking at their shadow.  One could posit that these differences are simply the result of our sharpened perceptions toward our kind or diminished perceptions toward our unkind, like when an American is bewildered by the sight of a million of the same faces during his first trip to China.

While heightened and diminished perception may play a role, it fails to account for the objectively measured differences we can measure.  So why are humans, physiologically, so different from one another?

There are two reasons: 1) The modern industrial complex, with all of it's conveniences, has disrupted our evolutionary state of being.  This problem is significant, and it's what the primal lifestyle seeks to fix, but it doesn't cover the whole picture. 2) We are bi-pedals, meaning that we walk on two legs, as opposed to the rest of the mammal kingdom. 

There are numerous advantages of bi-pedalism,  For one thing, it doesn't require as much muscle because it is not based on static balance, but dynamic counterbalance. Our body maintains it's uprightness not by a system of tight, short muscles holding us into place, but of a system that allows counterbalancing muscles to lengthen and contract to keep us aligned with minimal effort.  We have four centers of gravity: the front of the head, the lower back, the knee cap, and the back of the heel.  (A diagram would be a tremendous help in illustrating this, but I couldn't find one). Two of these centers of gravity, the lower back and heel, are at the back of the body, while the other two are in the front, counterbalancing the other two.  Misplacement of these four COG will disrupt your overall posture.  A typical case is locking your knees back, thrusting hips out.  This mucks with your balance and forces, among other things, your shoulders to be rolled forward, and your weight placed on the middle of your feet instead of on the heel.

We have now reached the heart of the problem. Because our posture is a system of dynamic counterbalance, we must constantly assess, make judgements, and change accordingly. The proper way to move isn't perfectly hardwired into us; we possess no instinct that controls our movements with painstaking precision.  We have to actively learn and sustain it.

This is why learning the Alexander Technique, especially in a world so contrary to the one of our origins and design, is necessary.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

On Deserts and Holidays

The holidays are here, and with holiday's come irresistible deserts.  My usual routine is to stay away from all things junk for months at a time, then overindulge myself when my lent is over.  Yeah, I've heard studies showing that it is better to eat deserts in moderate proportions in a more intermittent fashion, and that's probably true if you just look at the overall health effects, (on the other  hand, kicking yourself into a fat-burning mode requires a longer period of eating paleo than five days).Thing is, while the diet is for the physical body, the ability to stay on that diet is mental.

I haven't had one drip of soda for over four years now.  My friends express awe over my discipline and self-restraint. But in truth, it's because I haven't had it for so long that I don't crave it.  I have absolutely no desire to drink it.  And that's not the only reason; I don't want to break my streak - I even have nightmares every once and a while of me freaking out because I had a soft drink.

So if continual abstinence produces a virtuous cycle of continued abstinence, the converse is also true. Everybody has experienced the slippery-slope of "just one bite." It's horrible; you eat one cookie for the pleasure it brings but face even greater discomfort resisting the next one.  My philosophy is to just not fight it all: always go overboard.

So enjoy yourself this Christmas.  Eat the good stuff, as always, but if you feel you must absolutely some Ice Cream, just eat it.  You just better have a disciplined new years resolution.  And unlike most people, you better stick to it.    

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Simulation Argument for the Existence of God

Note: this is my attempt to articulate the simulation argument for the existence of God,and not necessarily an original rendition of it.  I don't believe it is conclusive either of its proof of a Deity or the nature of that Deity. But it is thought provoking and provides a reasonable foundation for belief in the existence of God.

In making the case that God exists, it is customary for apologists to make use of arguments from design and origins.  While some of these particular arguments thought-provoking, they tend to be slightly overused and their reiterations can bore the reader out of the subject.  So, in the interest of keeping the subject interesting, I have elected to present an argument for the existence of God by blending the significance of future technological advancement with philosophy in order to establish a a particular conception of reality that necessitates God as its Creator.

Nick Bostrom, a Swedish philosopher and futurist, has come up with the with the simulation hypothesis.  This hypothesis is predicated on three assumptions.  They are:

i. It is possible that an advanced civilization could create a computer simulation which contains individuals with artificial intelligence (AI).

ii. Such a civilization would likely run many, perhaps billions, of these simulations (just for fun, research or any other permutation of possible reasons).

iii. A simulated individual inside the simulation wouldn’t necessarily know that it is inside a simulation — it is just going about its daily business in what it considers to be the "real world.”

Simply put, the hypothesis amounts to  the extrapolation that if it is possible create simulants with conscious’ on par with our own, then it is very probable that we are actually in a simulation given the fact that such simulations would vastly outnumber the amount of “real worlds.” Look at our own world.  The quantities of virtual worlds produced by the video games we play are orders of magnitude larger than our single world they exist in.  It goes without saying that the particular designer and watcher over this simulation would be God.  And trans-simulation designer would virtually indistinguishable in kind than a supernatural creator. It would possess infinite power from our perspective, and could perform the various actions of the Judeo-Christian God as described in the Bible.  The laws of physics could very well be the equivalent of software code, and the supernatural entities, such as angels or fallen angels,  whose existence have been recorded throughout history could either be a part of the same code that dictates our limitations, or a part of some other overriding code that intersects with this simulation. 

Note that this is not an argument that our universe is an illusion. It is an argument that our universe is a subworld that is on a lower plane of existence than the world containing the designer, in much the same way the world in World of Warcraft is a subworld of our own.  Our universe would still be very real in the sense that it exists independently from our minds and is the same for you as it is for me.  It would simply be the product of the trans-simulation mind that designed it. 

This is consistent with various Biblical themes.  Heaven is described wholly removed from this realm, and would be far more glorious than our own virtual world.

At this point, science fiction fans may point out that the simulation hypothesis is predicated upon the possibility of the singularity.  And many of my Christian readers may reject the idea of the singularity by pointing out that consciousness cannot be replicated by a computer, and thus requires the existence of a deity to instill one. 

I don’t disagree. But consider the following trichotomy, and the effect it has on my case that God exists:

A.The singularity – specifically, the production of conscious AI – is not only possible, but inevitable.  As processing power continues to increase, it is only a matter of time before we have conscious stimulants at our disposal. Thus, it is highly probable that we are in a simulation, as per the logic presented earlier.

B.The singularity is possible, but extremely improbable.  The processing power of the most advanced computers may be sufficient, but the software encompassing the computer is too crude to potentialize that processing power.  This difficulty is exacerbated by the fact that consciousness may not be replicated by an algorithmic system in a computer.  It could be something else that produces consciousness, like quantum wave collapses.  So Mankind may not be able to reach the singularity in time without destroying itself.  Alternatively, it may just not want to run simulations.

 C.The singularity is impossible due to the inherent limitations of the laws of nature.  Consciousness must be created via an external source, presumably by God.

Notice that both A and C are scenarios in which God exists and is the Creator of the universe. Scenario B cannot be discounted but its implications are neutral concerning the existence of God. Moreover, if the singularity happens to be improbable in this world, there is no reason it cannot be more probable in another conceivable world.

Too add on, quasi-simulations may not only be produced by a computer.  Something akin to dreams may be able to produce conscious agents – at least in another world.  In which case, the logic would be the same, thus bolstering my case for God by broadening the simulations logic’s applicability.
As the simulation hypothesis is taken into account, atheism becomes more untenable by the minute.  Its outright denial of the existence of God is unwarranted considering that mankind has already started to produce its own subworlds in which the designer is able to exercise god-like powers. 

Do I believe that we are living in a simulation? No. Believe is too strong of a word.  I speculate the possibility.  I believe it is just as if not more probable that God is the ultimate reality, the first cause, although I simply don’t know for sure and all we can do is play around with nonmathematical probabilities and good guesses. However, if humanity was ever granted access to the tunnel of truth on the matter, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that we are in a simulation.  But at any rate, the logic and evidence presented concerning the nature of reality should be sufficient to demonstrate that a belief in God, at the very least, is a reasonable one that has the potential of becoming the default position for any thinking individual.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Guest Post at In Mala Fide

I wrote a guest post on HBD and I.Q over at In Mala Fide. Here's the link.

The Alexander Technique, Part one.

I play a fair amount of basketball in my free-time. At a slim but strong 6''2, I would have the perfect body for the game. Well, if you didn't have 6"10 post players who could dunk with no more than a 12" inch vertical. 

I have a friend, however, who's physiology isn't quite as cut out for the game, or really any other sport for that matter.  But he plays because he enjoys the company.

At my estimate, he's around  5"9, 185 pounds.  Although he would be considered fat fifty years ago, he'd probably squeeze  into the "just not skinny" category in our supersize-me-society today.  But his movements seems like the epitome of inefficiency;  it's as if he stuck a 45 pound weight on his back and was trying to run with it. 

With that in mind, I wasn't surprised in the least when he started complaining about his shoulders and back.  When I saw him in action, he was just an injury waiting to happen, as the mere effort of running up and down the court proved dangerous for him.

Since I am a decent human being ready to help others with my newfound wisdom, I told him about the Alexander Technique.  I then asked him to stand up straight. At first I told him to reorient himself because I couldn't believe what I saw.  But my eyes were neither tricking me nor his posture unnatural.  Its was true, his left shoulder was at least TWO INCHES above his right one.  Now then, nobody has perfect posture; we all have something here or there we could correct.  But I've never seen someone's posture this bad

Yes, I thought to myself, the Alexander method is exactly what you need.  He would have none of it though.  Despite his chronic injuries and cases of discomfort, he brushed the subject off the second time I mentioned it to him.
I am constitutionally incapable of understanding this mindset.  When I have problems of any sort, I take whatever advice I can get. Heck, I actively seek advise. I search the internet for info, buy books about it, ask my friends for help, whatever.  Yet this guy has had chronic injury problems for years now and doesn't care when I offer him a solution [UPDATE: It turns out that he was more curious than I thought.  I saw him again today and he actually brought up the subject. There is hope.]

In all fairness, I didn't really explain AT all that well. I doubt he could've understood it if I said, "it's about using the processes inhibition and direction to maximize the locomotive system's efficiency," so I struggled a bit in explaining it.  On other hand, I know I could have made it more understandable and thus more marketable.So, what I couldn't do in real life I'll attempt to do online.  Hopefully it will meet more curious minds.

This is the first post in a series explaining what the Alexander Technique is, the neurobiological foundation for it, and how it can help you. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The problem with conservatarians - they don't take logic seriously

Michael Barry, a local conservative talk show host who has connections with Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh, said this on his facebook profile:
 The only reason Blacks won't vote for Hillary is bc they hate women. I feel Obama is taking us back to pre-suffrage days, with a sort of Jane Crowe mentality. Ladies, burn your bras and your Hope & Change bumper stickers.

I'm disappointed. He says this as if women's suffrage was a good thing.  This type of thinking is my main beaf with mainstream conservatives, even those who serve as the intellectual height of the movement and thus should know better. Their basic ideals are ok but their thinking is so shallow they end up advocating policies diametrically opposed to their stated missions.  It's a strategic nightmare.  With some exceptions like Vox Day, Ron Paul, and Keoni Galt, Libertarians have the same problem as well.  They beat on the drums of freedom and peace, but are advocating policies that will unravel us all: open immigration and free trade. Likewise, conservatives and libertarians advocate woman's suffrage even though it has been the most powerful fueling rod for the welfare state and big-government in the past century.  

The problem, I believe, is that they confuse what superficially appears to promote more freedom with what will ultimately produce more freedom.  Vox Day frames it in terms of Liberty of Opportunity vs. Liberty of Result, a spin off of the distinction between Equality of Opportunity vs Equality of Result.

While Liberals are enamored with EoR and Conservatives with EoO, Libertarians are fantasized about LoO, the thought that it may be contradictory to LoR never seems to cross their mind.

Well, that's not entirely true, as everybody save the anarchist believes that the Government should violate human liberties for the sake of liberty as a whole, or else you would have libertarians proposing that murder should be legalized, or that property rights should be abolished.

So, unless you want pure anarchy, some sort of Liberty of Result must take precedence.  This is why mainstream L Libertarianism is an incoherent ideology.  It tries to have it both ways. "Give women the right to vote because it gives her more freedom," except it doesn't.  "Allow anybody to walk into our country unchecked because we don't need Government intervening with the flow of labor," except mass third world immigration, both democratically and demographically, sweeps the notion of liberty into obscurity.  You get the point.

And I would be remiss if I didn't take the opportunity to point out that America doesn't have universal suffrage, nobody wants universal suffrage.  Toddlers crapping their diapers and teenagers being the immature souls they are cannot vote.  We all accept that because exceptions have to made, according to circumstances and observable human behavior. Opponents of women's suffrage like myself have simply taken the logic one step further. Of course, this means universal men's suffrage has to tossed out as well.  

So, Michael Barry, check yourself.  I like you.  You're a real talent. But check to see if you're not just spouting out conservative talking points and not critically examining your beliefs.  But in the event that you are, you may rest secure that you are not alone.


Alpha – the dominant animal or person in a particular group

Anomaly - a deviation from the common rule, type, arrangement, or form.

Putting them together, one forges The Alpha Anomaly: a blog that goes astray from the theaters of conventional philosophies by informing its readers of the ugly truths when it comes to politics, economics, the mainstream media, health, race realism, and gender realism.  The gates of Hell are wide and the golden keeps of fortune narrow.    In a society that is hellbent in restricting you to the confines of mediocrity, it becomes necessary to deviate out and beyond the norm. In that vein, The Dawn, The Sky, and the Sun sets out with intelligence and wit to turn his readers into Anomalies wholly foreign to our society.

"For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness…" – Ephesians 6:12    

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Stars Wars Three, lets not do that again.

I was bored last Saturday night.  I didn't feel like reading, exercising, or really anything productive for that matter, so I went to my movie shelf to look for a movie to watch.  Initially I was looking for the Gladiator, but for some reason couldn't find it.  As I was digging through my vastreasonably sized selection,  frustration engulfed my temperament. "Why did I have I have to BUY all these crappy movies!" Seriously, most movies are good to watch ONCE, but never again.  When the first Transformers movie came out, I was all over it,  but watching it a second just ruined it for me.  Nope, unless its an absolute classic, I'm not going to watch a movie twice.

But I rejected that advice even as I was formulating it.  In the back of the shelf, I caught a glimpse of my Star Wars section.  In particular, the third one, " the revenge of the sith." I remember that when I was younger, back when I was still living in South Korea, I walked out of the rock climbing gym where I had my lessons to find the film playing in one of the local theaters there. In English. It's kind of embarrassing to recount it in retrospect, but I was jumping up with glee and excitement.  I bought my ticket and took my seat, waiting for the previews to be over with.  When the flick finally burned, I was drawn to the wicked light-saber fights and what my primitive mind at the time thought was epic drama.

I came back, twice.

Its been 7? years since that night, and I saw nothing better to watch. I got my chocolate almond marshmallow ice cream, kicked my feet up, and lit up the big screen, ready to be amazed.

That was a mistake.

It was five minutes into it and I couldn't help but cringe in horror of the horrid dialogue.  It wasn't just the lame catch-phrases ("my powers have doubled since we last met"), it was the characters' overall juvenile mannerisms.

Anakin was the worst of all.  And the way he handled his nightmares about Padme by going to Yoda was all I could bear.  I was done after that.

I turned off the TV and went on the computer, resisting the urge to snap the DVD in a dozen bits.  But not all was lost from my mini (non)adventure. While reading one of the game sites, a thought came to me.  How did Anakin, a far bigger beta male than even his son Luke was, and who only managed to snag the princess padme because of his standing as a Jedi-Knight and his good looks (I've been told dozens of times that I look like Hayden Christensen, what do you expect me to say?), become the bad-a$$ alpha male that is Darth Vador?

So from here I submit my thesis: either every hint that Anakin was Vador is wrong, or his case is the biggest example of beta turned alpha.  I always thought George Lucas was cognizant of the basic tenets of game, as can be seen from his creation of Han Solo, but apparently he is a big believer in its ability to transform lives as well.

Ps. If you thought this post was weird. You would be right.