The Loosening Grip: A Beginner’s Guide to Death Throes

Oh good. The world reaches a crossroads, or probably a road off a cliff, just when I want to relax and watch gratuitous violence on the tube. To judge by the rapid drift of events aboard our planetary asylum, the talons of Washington and New York on the world’s throat are fast being pried a-loose. The Global American Imperium is dying. Or so it sure looks anyway.

I say talons of  “New York and Washington” because America’s foreign policy, forged in those two cities, belongs entirely to them. Americans have no influence on it. Further, none of of what the Empire does abroad is of any benefit to Americans. Do you care at all what happens in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, or the South China Sea?  Do you want to pay for it? America has been hijacked.

And the Empire prospereth not. It prospereth very not. Consider the recent record of the world’s  hyperpower:

Washington does not have control of Afghanistan, and obviously is not going to.

Washington does not have control  of Iraq, and appears unlikely to.

Washington did not back Iran down, and isn’t going to.

Washington did not back Russia down in Ukraine and Crimea, and isn’t going to.

Washington did not back China down in the South China Sea and, while this is perhaps not over, the Empire seems to be losing.

Washington has not backed North Korea down and is not going to.

In the Philippines, President Duterte has told Obama to “go to hell” as being “the son of a whore,” which may be taken to indicate latent hostility. He is vigorously seeking rapprochement with China. While Washington may have him murdered, it seems to be losing control of the Little Vassals of ASEAN.

Turkey seems to be cuddling up to Russia–that is, looking East like Duterte. Maybe Washington can turn this around temporarily, but there-s a whole lot of wavering going on.

Meanwhile Washington thrashes around impotently as per usual in Syria, and, though the jury remains out on this one, looks to have poor prospects. If Washington–AKA New York–loses here, after doing so in Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Afghanistan, the Empire will beyond redemption be on the downward slope.

The United States is not in danger. The Empire is. This is not good. Empires, the Soviet Union notwithstanding, seldom go quietly. Either Washington gambles on war of some sort against Russia, or Russia and China, in the desperate hope of reversing things, or the Empire  gets slowly eaten. Or not so slowly. Once one country pries itself loose, many may rush for the door.

New York may go for calculated war against Russia–say, cyberwar expected not to turn into shooting war, shooting war in Syria not expected to turn into global shooting war, global shooting war not expected to turn into nuclear war. This will be a  crapshoot. Note that America has badly misguessed the outcomes of every war since Korea.

This is why the American election actually matters, unusual in Presidential contests. It is Blowhard against Corruption, a swell choice, but Trump is firmly against war with Russia, and Hillary for. Her military understanding is that of a fried egg.

The woman is both a fool and a knave but, it seems, Trump has talked trash, and therefore she will likely be President. Weirdly, the future of the world depends on how an excited electorate of political middle-schoolers responds to one candidate’s dirty talk. From a curmudgeon’s point of view, it is pretty funny. It is funnier if one lives  outside of the radiation footprint.

But back to business. The seaboard Axis of Evil needs a war because almost every tide runs against it. Proximately, the Axis has pushed China, Russia, and Iran together against the Empire. (First rule of empire: Do not let the dissidents unite.) Many signs suggest that the world, or much of it, is beginning to see China as its future. The BRICS, the SCO, the NDB, the AAIB–all exclude the US. China becomes the major trading partner of country after country. The twilight deepens.

Not all goes wrong for the Empire–not yet, but things are getting spooky. On the European Peninsula of Asia, countries remain docile, especially England and, much more importantly, Germany. Yet even among Washington’s European harem, there seem to be faint stirrings of a forgotten independence. As I understand it, Germany’s businessmen would very much like to end Washington’s sanctions on Russia and improve trade with China, which would be greatly to the benefit of the Peninsula.  Washington won’t let them. It can’t. If the Europeans did what would be good for themselves, and looked to Eurasia, then the fat lady, already warming up, would burst into full bellow.

Which, methinks, raises the likelihood that Washington will in desperation do something phenomenally stupid. At this writing Hillary’s camp seems to be prepping the public for war with Russia. The telescreen tells us day after day that Putin is Hitler, that Russia is expanding, that the Russkies are hacking the election, that they cause indigestion and falling hair. Is this just Hillary waggling her codpiece in the expectation that Moscow will demurely back down, as God intended? Or will she again send other people’s children to fight for her in somebody else’s country? 

The larger picture, assuredly obvious to New York, is truly grim–for New York, not for Americans. China has a huge population of a billion Han Chinese, versus two hundred million Caucasian Americans–these being the scientific, technological and entrepreneurial brains of the Empire. One must not notice this, but you can bet that New York and Beijing do. Economically China is growing hugely, advancing technologically at a high rate, building rail lines that now extend from  the Chinese Pacific coast to Madrid. It will increasingly dwarf the Empire no matter what happens–short of a world war.

The curtain falls in ways unnoticed. China recently launched a communications satellite, the world’s first employing quantum cryptographic links, which cannot be intercepted. The intention of this, as well of the QC link from Beijing to Shanghai, is to keep the NSA off China’s back. A small thing, perhaps. Yet if successful and adopted en masse by other countries weary of Washington’s meddling, the result will be a loosening of the Empire’s grip on everybody’s communications.

For the Empire it is, as Elvis sang, “now or never.” Lenin spoke of “useful idiots.” Ours aren’t even useful, but they call the shots.


Fred can be reached at Put the letters pdq in the subject line or your email will be heartlessly autodeleted by a raging spam filter.

Ronald McDonald or Lucretia Borgia?: In the Long Run, We Are all Dead

More fun in the Indispensable Nation: As we have all heard by now, according to Hillary, ardent of becoming National Basilisk, half of Trump’s supporters are evil and the other half losers, deplorables all. That is, she holds half of Americans in contempt. Unsurprisingly she said this in New York, which is barely America, and to a convention of sexual curiosities.

I frankly think her admirable. As she coughs, staggers, convulses, lies, pilfers, sells favors and lapses into intermittent confusion, she still has the courage to tell America that she loathes half of it. That´s candor.

Give her credit for consistency. She is always mendacious, firmly in the pockets of Wall Street, Israel, the Neocon hawks, and the arms industry, never  having accomplished anything on her own, always riding Bill’s coattails, having a disastrous record as SecState, always for sale. With her, we know what we will get. With Trump, it’s a roll of very weird dice.  

Ah, the Donald. While he unmistakably displays various presidential qualities–he can walk up stairs by himself, and his eyes usually point in the same direction–there is indeed a certain aleatory quality to the man. God knows what he might do. He shoots from the hip, saying all sorts of loopy but interesting things. Interesting if you live somewhere else. He talks  unflatteringly  about the other sex near open mikes, instead of away from them like everybody else.

The Donald merely makes me nervous, while Hillary makes me want to take poison. It is the difference between an acid trip and death by sinus drainage. His truly great strength is that he is not Hillary. The election is really a contest between placeholders for conflicting interests, for different views of the world. Few would want either if there were another choice.

Hillary’s attitude toward America has for years been implicit in our ruling class in New York. Having little in common with the rest of the country, they speak of most of it as Flyover Land, a realm of intellectual darkness and barbarism separating Manhattan and Hollywood.  So far as I know, this is the first time the elites have had the confidence, if not necessarily the judgement, to say it plainly.

Let’s not delude ourselves. America is ruled by the Five Cities, Boston, New York, Washington, Tel Aviv, and Hollywood. The rest of us just pay taxes. The heart of the beast is New York, the Ivies being its nursery and Washington its  storefront.

To a practicing curmudgeon, the presidential contest is amusing but unimportant. Hillary will win, whether she wins or not. She is just the wave front of deep and fast-flowing currents of decay that cannot be stopped. Trump may try, but he cannot succeed. We live in a dying culture and, soon, a diminished country. It cannot be saved.

Not true? Add up the bits and pieces. We laugh in horror, some of us, primarily the older, at the decline of schooling, the courses like Batman and the Struggle for Gender Equity. Comic, yes. Yet in aggregate these constitute an academic and civilizational collapse both profound and irreversible. Enstupidation does not happen in a healthy country. Who even wants to reverse this onrushing night? Not the universities, nor the teachers unions, nor a professoriat gone as daft as the “students,” nor the banks battening on student loans.

It is over. Hillary may start wars in her six months before going into a sanatorium. Trump may build walls. But the rot will go on. Tell me why it won’t.

American culture now drinks deeply from the ghetto, and there is no turning this around either. The country has achieved the dictatorship of the sub-proletariat. Someone said that when the lower orders found that they could vote themselves the treasury, they would. They can also vote themselves the culture, and have.

There is no solution. Complaining about degraded music, semi-literacy, and barnyard taste accomplishes nothing. Soon there will be none left who remember what has been lost. Once broken, the chain cannot be repaired.

It is over. Putrefaction is irreversible, either by Ronald or Lucretia.

The shift to the economic pattern of the Third World, the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, proceeds apace and there is nothing to do about it. Impunity, normal in Guatemala, allows corruption to go unpunished. Think sub-prime. Hillary is as crooked as any president in Latin America, everyone knows it, and nothing happens to her.  The extremely rich,  the famous one percent,  control Wall Street, the media, Congress, banking, the social media. The well-being of all but the rich declines. It will go on. There is no way to change it. Who will do it? How?

It is over. Ronald can’t stop it. Lucretia doesn’t want to.

It goes rapidly now. Perhaps worst, because it paralyzes resolution, in a few short decades the country has lost all cohesion, whether cultural, racial, linguistic, or religious.  In 1955, America was overwhelmingly white, Anglophone, Christian, and European, which provided enough unity to hold it together, and poor communications provided enough separation to maintain peace among groups that detested each other: Massachusetts and Alabama, West Virginia and California.

The US, once a nation, is now a group of angry minorities in the same place. Things that seem insane to half the country, such as making girls of twelve years share public bathrooms with any man interested in girls of twelve, are promoted by the other half as requisite for equality. Blacks are in open insurrection. The borders barely exist. The government cannot or will not enforce the laws. How can this change, other than to worsen?

Further, America is rapidly becoming a hive of narcissistic milquetoasts in extended adolescence, of delicates and Fauntleroys  unable to care for themselves. Those who read speak with reason of Eloi and Morlocks, but few read. We elders read agape of the microaggressions and safe spaces, of cry-baby co-eds who sob in fear at seeing a mouse. Snowflakes they are called, and snowflakes they are.

The potential consequences of this are not easily grasped by those under fifty. The United States has been remarkably protected for decades. America’s wars are fought in other people’s countries. Except for 9/11 the public has never been subjected to the horrors routinely inflicted by America in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and so on. Ever fewer Americans have been in a schoolyard fight, baited a hook, fired a gun, or lived a week in the woods. We are a coddled nation.

My saying this will bring forth much squeaking and gibbering to the effect that I am insecure and fantasizing about Marlboro Man, remembering a macho world that never was, a latent transgender, and that I hate everybody. Only the last comes close.

But America is more fragile than it looks. Its people cannot feed themselves. The economy really can collapse. If civil unrest broke the link from farm to cities, in two weeks New Yorkers would be eating each other. Soft white urbanites eeeeking and squealing about guns cannot defend themselves.
It is over. Watch. Trump if elected will be more interesting, Hillary a boring but more certain civilizational mortician, but both are chips floating on a fetid tide.


Fred is reachable at Put “pdq” in the subject line of your email will be heartlessly autodeleted. Lack of response usually due to volume, not bad manners.

Space Aliens!: More Undocumented Immigration


Proof of extraterrestrials. This space alien in suspended animation floated up in the Caribbean after an earthquake opened a crack in Atlantis. The CIA told me that she didn’t exist, ordered me to FedEx her to Roswell, and threatened to make me drink fluoridated water if I refused. 

I am in hiding. Write me care of general delivery, Tierra del Fuego.

Recently I  wrote a column about the variegated conspiracy theories that surround accounts of Nine-Eleven. Friends warned me against it. They said that the resulting attack on me would make the Normandy Landing look like a church picnic. It did. I believe that if you drew and quartered a conspiracy theorist’s children and even shot his dog, he would behave civilly. Question his theory, and you better run like hell.

Anyhow, it got me to thinking about space-aliens, and how they are just about everywhere, and you can’t water the lawn without bumping into at least three of them. This in turn got me to thinking about conspiracy theories in general. Such as:

UFOs are real and, in fact, the aliens who traveled here in their interstellar flying discs now work for the United States government — according to a top aerospace scientist who died in August, but left behind an extraordinary deathbed interview in which he reveals his high-level, inside knowledge of the United States …Oct 28, 2014”

Well, damn. I guess that settles it.

The story goes on: “Top Area 51 scientist reveals in deathbed video. Eighteen aliens work for US government “ (Hillary, I would assume.)

Then we have:

NASA “NASA’s image shows huge merchant fleet zipping by Sun,”

I suppose we will soon have another free-trade zone.

To be a real Conspiracy Theory, upper case, a plot cannot assert merely that evil is being done by some entity for the usual sordid purposes of money or power, such as that the pharmaceutical industry conspires to fix prices. Typically it must posit that dark forces, usually the government, particularly the CIA and the military, but sometimes Jews, are hiding something foul or of terrible importance. As I understand it, the currently favored theory of Nine-Eleven holds that Mossad brought the towers down, though it is often blamed on the US military or Larry Silverstein, the owner, who did it for the insurance.

Now, if Israel did it, a major act of war, clearly we should bomb Tel Aviv. Why do the conspiracy theorists not suggest this? Because the theories are amusements, video games without all those buttons.

Examples of theories are that, as mentioned, Israel destroyed the Twin Towers with a controlled demolition, that the government hid the existence of large number of POWs left behind in Vietnam, that the moon landings were faked, that the government is building FEMA camps for imprisoning most of the population, that the Holocaust was faked, that practically everybody assassinated JFK, that the Navy shot down Flight Flight 800, that the government is concealing the existence of extraterrestrials, and that fluoridated water is a conspiracy to lower our national intelligence, assuming this to be possible.

One notices inconsistencies. Well, normal people do. Conspiracy buffs do not. Note that on one hand, the Nine-Eleven planes were flown by remote control:

Imagining that teams of hijackers could successfully take over four jetliners then flawlessly fly three of them into relatively small targets, even though none had ever flown a jet, requires enormous leaps of faith. In contrast, robotically flying the jetliners into their targets could have been accomplished using the flight control computers that were standard equipment on the targeted planes.”

I guess nobody noticed the absence of pilots.

On the other hand, the planes s didn’t exist at all. This raises the philosophical question as to whether nonexistent planes must be flown by nonexistent robotics, and how you could tell.

Characteristically, believers in conspiracies display absolute certainty, regard pityingly those not of the faith, ignore contradictory evidence, and are made as uncomfortable by logic as they would be by an insane aunt kept in the attic. For example, the furiously held belief that the moon landings were faked would seem to contradict the belief furiously held by others that Neil Armstrong saw alien ships on the moon. A logician would think either A, or B, or neither, but not both. Nope. This isn’t  just fuzzy logic. It is a virtual hairball.

“Were US Astronauts Ordered Not To Report UFOs & Aliens?

There are buildings on the Moon. There is mining equipment on the Moon. Photos, NASA photos, do exist which clearly show both of these. Hundreds, but probably thousands, of NASA photos have been tampered with. Specifically, by careful use of an airbrush, flying saucers and other UFOs can be removed….”

This is good to know. If they invade the earth we can simply airbrush them to death, sssssssssss.


The existence of Moon Maid has been confirmed by police sources, specifically Detective Lieutenant Richard Tracy, who later mysteriously disappeared. It is widely rumored that he was erased by the CIA.

This book at Amazon ends all doubt: We Discovered Alien Bases on the Moon

I have been told on several occasions that the unexplained large markings in Peru–Nazca lines–were made to guide ancient astronauts to landing fields. This assumes reasonably that space aliens with the technology to get here from other star systems cannot navigate without large mounds of dirt to help them.

Nothing could make more sense, I say.


Space-alien GPS. Certainly looks like a space-alien.

A good Conspiracy Theory is always supported by assertions that large numbers of eyewitnesses and experts confirm the theory (“top aerospace scientist who died….), that countless doctors or pilots or engineers or several astronauts have said as much, but are either suppressed by the media or threatened into silence by the government. “The Use Of Fluoridation For Mass Mind Control

“Repeated doses of infinitesimal amounts of fluoride will in time reduce an individual`s power to resist domination, by slowly poisoning and narcotizing a certain area of the brain.”

Well, OK. But at least we have good teeth. I concede that the students of American universities lend a certain credence to this theory.

The theorists often are intelligent and sophisticated, and certainly common. I know four here in Mexico, all gringos. One of them believes that the passenger manifests of the hijacked Nine-Eleven planes, manifests which he cannot possibly have seen, reveal that the Arab hijackers were not aboard. Well, it was on the internet somewhere, so it must be true. Another specializes in FEMA camps, but has sidelines I think in Nine-Eleven and fraudulent moon landings.The last two believe, really, that strange reptilian creatures from space secretly rule the earth. It’s in some book. None of these people are crazy or even otherwise eccentric, and all are bright.

FEMA Camps: “There are over 800 prison camps in the United States, all fully operational and ready to receive prisoners. They are all staffed and even surrounded by full-time guards, but they are all empty. READ MORE:”


Unnoticed FEMA camps. If for arithmetic convenience we assume a figure of 33 1/3 guards on duty per camp, that’s 100 per camp for three shifts, (never mind weekends, cooks, administrators, maintenance staff) or 80,000 unnoticed, off-budget guards, kept hermetically secret by the FEMA bureaucracy as well as the surrounding population.

Those who believe in one theory usually believe in others. The theories typically view large organizations as tightly united in secret evil, as unitary globs of malevolence, a bit like the evil spirits of primitive societies, and able to keep dark secrets even though though large numbers, often of ordinary employees, would have to know of the plot. For example, one version of the attack on the Pentagon holds that a missile (type unspecified) was fired by a Navy ship (ship unspecified). This means that the entire crew, several hundred ordinary sailors–not CIA operatives or Thirty-Third Degree Masons–as well as higher-ups would quickly know that they had just blown up the Pentagon. Yet it never leaked out.

This is true of almost all conspiracy theories:  We must regard substantial populations  of unruly individuals, all thinking different things, liberals, conservatives, rebels, herd-followers, Christians, Jews, agnostics, atheists, moral, immoral, amoral, thoughtful, thoughtless, sophisticated, or rubes–as reliably being willing to hush up such things as mass murder. This is the stuff of dreams.

The Mirror: “Top secret UFO documents ‘prove Britain’s biggest alien sighting was real’ claims US naval officer:”

I think revealing top secret documents is a crime in England, and is in the US.

A major part of the theory that the Moon landings were faked is that Stanley Kubrick was engaged by the government to do the faking. According to this site, Nazi scientists during WWII invented highly advanced flying saucers (honest: read the link) which were confiscated by the shadow government of the US and hidden from the public, so that….

One more:

Buzz Aldrin “On the Moon we were ordered by aliens to move away.”

You get the picture.


Note: Due to technical problems under resolution, my email button is misbehaving, but death threats can be sent to . However, the letters pdq must be in the subject line or your denunciation will be heartlessly auto-deleted.




Compaction, Pack Instinct, and Territoriality: Some Aspects of Irrationality

We’re all crazy. This explains everything. I will elaborate  in hopes of joining Plato, Burke, and Hunter Thompson as a lighthouse of the intellect.

The human mind cannot think of more than a very few things at once. We cannot for example think of a billion citizens of China as individuals, so we say “China,“ or “the Chinese” did something or other when most of them hadn’t heard of it, didn’t want to do it, or wanted to do something else. The billion become one sentient being, a sort of sprawling person. 

Thus, for example, people speak of Cuba as “Castro,” or say that “Cuba” must be punished for doing something that Washington doesn’t like, and thus the embargo on trade. In fact, there are 11,000,000 million Cubans, of whom only one is Castro. Most Cubans do not like Castro, as evidenced by their attempts to paddle ninety miles to Miami on inner tubes. The embargo doesn’t punish “Cuba.” It makes life miserable for 11,000,000-1 people almost none of whom have any influence on Cuba’s policies. The embargo certainly doesn’t discomfit Castro, who can have all the prime rib and good bourbon he wants, embargo or no embargo.

This inability to handle complexity runs through and almost defines politics. For example, Donald Trump wants to punish Mexico by making it pay for his wall, this being greeted with acclaim by people for whom Mexico is one thing, a malevolent being in a sombrero and crossed bandoliers that is  “shipping its criminals to the United States.”  (The precise part played by a third-grader in Mérida in shipping criminals to the US is not clear.) It is easier to think of “Mexico” than of several thousand criminals  or hundreds of thousands of the moderately impoverished, who of their own volition decide to go where the money is.

Extracting billions to pay for his wall will punish…whom? Or what? The money would come out of funds for construction of roads, or education, or medical services, and such. That is, it would punish those who did not go illegally to the US instead of those who did. It certainly would not punish anyone in the Mexican government. 

The consequences of this psychic compaction are often horrible. The UN estimates that some 600,000 Iraqi children died of waterborne diseases like dysentery because America put an embargo on chlorine for treating water (they might make poison gs with it). “Iraq” was one evil thing, or it was Saddam Hussein. It, or he, had to be punished. (The people who run the US wanted oil, empire, and Israel. The part about punishing Saddam and imposing goodness and democracy was to sucker the rubes into an excited pack.)

Actually watching a child crying as it dies of  diarrhea decreases the granularity to the individual level at which people can understand it. This is why governments do not like such things to become public.

Thee is also temporal compaction. The Jews killed Christ (“Gosh, Rachel, you don’t look old enough.”) or the South engaged in slavery and must be punished. No American has owned slaves for generations, but this is too hard to think about. “The South” is one huge, leering, immortal plantation owner.

Another thing that makes human behavior hopelessly awful is the dog-pack instinct. We have an insuperable tendency to form packs and bark at other packs. In the case of some species, such as ours, a powerful territoriality is also in play. The urge to merge into a pack and fight with others is perhaps stronger than the sex drive. It is not unique to humans–ants do it, for example–but it is unusual in nature. Intelligent species, such as horses, form herds but don’t fight each other. So do whales. Cats don’t bother at all.  

Countries (very large packs) fight and growl at each other, and form larger packs–NATO, the Warsaw Pact–to fight and growl at each other. These are immensely territorial. Members of these fanged herds do not actually pee on the borders to mark them, but come close.

Similarly–very similarly–teenage gangs have military hierarchies, territory, identifying clothing, and fight each other. Football teams exist only to fight each other, fans being supportive auxiliaries. So with the Olympics and the World Cup. Political parties, feminists, races, ethnicities, nationalities, religious faiths, subsects of those faiths, on and on and on, do the same.

The analogy of the dog pack is remarkably accurate. When a strange dog passes on the sidewalk in front of our house, our three dogs rush wildly to  the fence, barking furiously. They don’t think the stranger is really a threat. He is being walked on a leash by his owner. Our pooches are territorial pack animals,  just doing what such animals do.

So with air defense. When a lumbering, prop-driven, ancient Russian bomber turned recon bird approaches American air space, fighters roar frantically into the air to bark at it. The pilots know the intruder isn’t going to bomb anything. We we are territorial pack-animals.

History is a sordid record of packs fighting for territory, thinking of each other as unitary sentient beings. Empires, the largest packs, grow like bubbles, conquering other people’s territory, and then deflate like bubbles when a newer and more vigorous empire appears. The Delian League, Rome, England, the Soviets, the Americans, China. Even the biggest dogs get old.

Countries behave as idiotically as dogs because they are ruled by people as idiotic as dogs. Male dogs in a pack want to be alpha-dog, and fight to get there. Male politicians, to include the marginally female, want to be alpha-pol and fight, scratch, claw, lie, cheat, and steal to get there. Politics rewards the unprincipled and truculent, and thus those most likely to start wars. A fairly small number of these pathologically combative people decide whether a country of three hundred million go to war with another that most of the population has never heard of.

Misfortune can follow when people with instincts suited perhaps to small bands living in the wild decide on war for nations of hundreds of millions with nuclear arms. Their hormonal urges are exactly those encountered in bar fights. The pack follows them because, again, we are pack animals. It is what we do.

It is what we do everywhere. As one deeply steeped in the fetor of the press, I long ago noticed the First Law of Journalism: If you want to succeed, choose a point on the spectrum from Left to Right, and never, ever deviate from it. Which point you choose doesn’t matter. Smaller parties control less graft, but have fewer adherents among whom to distribute it. But you have to belong to a pack.

Consistency does matter. You must think what all the others at your chosen coordinate think, or the pack might degenerate into a group of independent minds, perish forfend. If you are a good liberal and come out against abortion, or a conservative and oppose the Second Amendment, you will never be forgiven. The first duty of every member of a pack is to be a member of the pack.

There you have it. All of political behavior in 1100 words. And you don’t even have to pay for it.

Undocumented Shopping: Legacy of an African President


Just another day at the Exceptional Nation. Racial attacks, racial threats, looting, burning. When I am politically upset, I loot stores. Don’t you?

It is worth understanding what we deal with. The video makes it clear.

The  rioters grow in imagination. This time they tried to throw a photographer into a fire. There was stealing, of course. They steal in response to anything they don’t like. What they can’t lift, they break. 

And they attack whites. It doesn’t matter to them who did what to whom. An African cop in an African city with an African police chief shoots an African criminal, and the rioters attack whites. In Milwaukee a black cop shot a black criminal and the tribesmen called for burning white suburbs. We seeing an episodic, one-sided–so far–race war. We will not admit it as then we would have to do something about it, and we do not know what.

These things come faster now. The outbreaks have become normal. This time, to judge by the internet, whites are getting angry. Sales of guns to whites are way up. Not good. Yet there is a reason.

Perhaps this explanation, from an employee of the Hyatt Gun Store in Charlotte, will make the foregoing clear: “First off, our prayers are with law enforcement this morning. People are afraid. They see lunacy in the streets being perpetrated by criminals and they are gearing up to protect themselves,” Justin Anderson, director of marketing for Hyatt Guns told Secrets.”

Protect themselves. When government will not or cannot enforce the laws, people prepare to go it alone. This merits attention. It won’t get it. Instead we will hear from the media about gun nuts and white racism, about slavery and discrimination and how we need to confiscate guns leaving black criminals as the only ones that have them. (It will not be expressed so candidly.) When part of the population arms to defend against attack by another part, it is time to think.

It is coming. One day rioting blacks will try to loot the wrong store, burn the wrong house, beat the wrong white man, and hell will cut loose. Talking about law-abiding blacks, law-abiding whites, will make no difference at all. There were law-abiding Protestants, law-abiding Catholics in Ireland. Did that stop the violence?

Three solutions, or ameliorations, offer themselves: Repression of rioting and enforcement of the law. Segregation. And having it go on forever or blow up hugely. Choose. Refusal to choose selects option three.

The problem is not racist police. It is racist blacks. Whites are not burning the businesses of blacks. White people are not sacking the stores of blacks. White people are not calling for the burning of black suburbs. White people do not play the Knockout game.

We are blaming the victims. 

And we are encouraging disaster. Blacks, a large proportion of them anyway, live in the expectation, and fact, of racial immunity. They are a special, protected category. The slightest offense to them causes the media to erupt, yet nothing they do seems to carry much penalty. Anyone who refers to blacks as niggers will likely lose his job and pension and become unemployable. It doesn’t work in the other direction. When a black man  calls for the gang-rape of a white woman (Sarah Palin), specifically by “burliest black men,” nothing happens to him. Feminists do not make so much as a peep.

Obama: “Within the white communities, across the nation, we see the sincerity of law enforcement officers and officials, who in fits and starts are struggling to understand, and are trying to do the right thing.”

Never, ever, a word about racial attacks on whites. He, like everybody in BLM, cannot conceive that any black could ever do anything wrong.

Like any other spoiled children, blacks are coming to believe that they can do anything they choose. In the long run, it may not be a good thing. In the short run, it may not be a good thing. The run, I suspect, is getting shorter.

It is a great mystery why the least productive thirteen percent of the country, the most dependent on welfare, the most criminal, should be permitted to steal, burn, rape, and beat those who behave in accordance with civilized standards. To shout “kill Whitey” while buying groceries with an EBT card, to expect to be taken care of, to get welfare and affirmative action while attacking the caretakers, does not suggest a crushing burden of mental acuity.

The bedrock problem, which most know but none dare speak, is that blacks cannot, or assuredly do not,  perform at the level of whites. Exceptions, yes, but the exceptions are exceptions. They never have performed, not in Africa, not in Haiti or Jamaica, not in Detroit. It is a frightful truth, but a truth. They know it. We know it. Liberals know it. Conservatives know it. No amount of pretending can change it. No amount of rabid ideological egalitarianism, of holding our breath and turning blue, will produce different results.

Now what?

Our policies make it worse than it has to be. The black columnist Walter Williams, professor of economics at George Mason University, points out that badly unqualified blacks are admitted to universities so that liberals can feel good about themselves–his exact diagnosis–and, since both they and white students see what is going on, demand separation to avoid feelings of inferiority. Why do this to them?

All of this under an African president who was, remember, going to be post-racial but in fact shares the ideas of the looters.

Again, the question: Should the country enforce the law, which would likely lead to a continent-wide insurrection?  Should it separate the  races to the extent possible? Or should it continue until it becomes open war on both sides? The easiest and least destructive of the three is segregation. The idea is verboten among the politically correct. It is not verboten everywhere. Around the country blacks in universities call for segregated dormitories and segregated fraternities. Well and good. Why not segregated facilities for whites? Why not segregated police for neighborhoods black and white? Why not end laws intended to force the races together? They do not love each other.

Breitbart: Back Lives Matter: We’ll Tear Down New Orleans’ Monuments Ourselves

Andrew Jackson Statue Must Go!

‘That’s not a threat, that’s a promise’

These are words of people completely out of control. Anything Africans don’t like must go. Anything they want, we must give them. If we don’t, they will take it by force, loot and burn and beat whites. And whites allow it, which is astonishing.

The rioters appear–correct me if I am wrong–to be too ignorant to know that Andrew Jackson of the statue is not Stonewall Jackson of the Army of Northern Virginia. Andrew of course is revered in New Orleans because of his generalship in the Battle of New Orleans, but you can bet that a good ninety percent minimum of rioters have never heard of the battle, or the war in which it took  place, and a fair number can’t spell it.

It has worsened under Obama because he is first and foremost a black President, as obsessed by race as anybody in Black Lives Matter. Why do you suppose he is furiously bringing in any immigrants but white Europeans? (On the streets of Paris, we see what Obama imports. Video) Why do you think he consoles families of black criminals shot by police, but never the families of white policemen shot by black criminals?

America is well and truly screwed.


An Obsolescent Military: Bombing Everything, Gaining Nothing

What, precisely, is the US military for, and what, precisely, can it do? In practical terms, how powerful is it? On paper, it is formidable, huge, with carrier battle groups, advanced technology, remarkable submarines, satellites, and so on. What does this translate to?

Military power does not exist independently, but only in relation to specific circumstances. Comparing technical specifications of the T-14 to those of the M1A2, or Su-34 to F-15, or numbers of this to numbers of that, is an interesting intellectual exercise. It means little without reference to specific circumstances.

For example, America is vastly superior militarily to North Korea in every category of arms–but the North has nuclear bombs. It can’t deliver them to the US, but probably can to Seoul. Even without nuclear weapons, it has a large army and large numbers of artillery tubes within range of Seoul. It has an unpredictable government. As Gordon Liddy said, if your responses to provocation are wildly out of proportion to those  provocations, and unpredictable, nobody will provoke  you.

An American attack by air on the North, the only attack possible short of a preemptive nuclear strike, would offer a high probability of a peninsular war, devastation of Seoul, paralysis of an important trading partner–think Samsung–and an uncertain final outcome.  The United States hasn’t the means of getting troops to Korea rapidly in any numbers, and the domestic political results of  lots of GIs killed by a serious enemy would be politically grave. The probable cost far exceeds any possible benefit. In practical terms, Washington’s military superiority means nothing with regard to North Korea. Pyongyang knows it.

Or consider the Ukraine. On paper, US forces overall are superior to Russian. Locally, they are not. Russia borders on  the Ukraine and could overrun it quickly. The US cannot rapidly bring force to bear except a degree of air power. Air power hasn’t worked against defenseless peasants in many countries. Russia is not a defenseless peasant. Europe, usually docile and obedient to America, is unlikely to engage in a shooting war with Moscow for the benefit of Washington. Europeans are aware that Russia borders  on Eastern Europe, which borders on Western Europe. For Washington, fighting Russia in the Ukraine would require a huge effort with seaborne logistics and a national mobilization. Serious wars with nuclear powers do not represent the height of judgement.

Again, Washington’s military superiority means nothing.

Or consider Washington’s dispute with China in the Pacific. China cannot begin to match American naval power. It doesn’t have to. Beijing has focused on anti-ship missiles–read “carrier-killer”–such as the JD21 ballistic missile. How well it works I do not know, but the Chinese are not stupid. Is the risk of finding out worth it? Fast, stealthed, sea-skimming cruise missiles are very cheap compared to carriers, and America’s admirals know that lots of them arriving simultaneously would not have a happy ending.

Having a fleet disabled by China would be intolerable to Washington, but its possible responses would be unappealing. Would it tart a conventional war with China with the ghastly global economic consequences?  This would not generate allies. Cut China’s oil lanes to the Mid-East and push Beijing toward nuclear war? Destroy the Three Gorges Dam and drown god knows how many people? If China used the war as a pretext for annexing bordering counties? What would Russia do?

The consequences both probable and assured make the adventure unattractive, especially since likely pretexts for a war with China–a few rocks in the Pacific, for example–are too trivial to be worth the certain costs and uncertain outcome.  Again, military superiority doesn’t mean much.

We live  in a  military world fundamentally different from that of the last century. All-out wars between major powers, which is to say nuclear powers, are unlikely since they would last about an hour after they became all-out, and everyone knows it. In WWII Germany could convince itself, reasonably and almost correctly, that Russia would fall in a summer, or the Japanese that a Depression-ridden, unarmed America might decide not to fight. Now, no. Threaten something that a nuclear power regards as vital and you risk frying. So nobody does.

At any rate, nobody has. Fools abound in DC and New York.

What then, in today’s world, is the point of huge conventional forces?

The American military is an upgraded World War II military, designed to fight other militarizes like itself in a world like that which existed during World War II. The Soviet Union was that kind of military. Today there are no such militaries for America to fight. We are not in the same world. Washington seems not to have noticed.

A World War II military is intended to destroy point targets of high value—aircraft, ships, factories, tanks—and to capture crucial territory, such as the enemy’s country. When you have destroyed the Wehrmacht’s heavy weaponry and occupied Germany, you have won. This is the sort of war that militaries have always relished, having much sound and fury and clear goals.

It doesn’t work that way today. Since Korea, half-organized peasant militias have baffled the Pentagon by not having targets of high value or crucial territory. In Afghanistan for example goatherds with rifles could simply disperse, providing no point targets at all, and certainly not of high value. No territory was crucial to them. If the US mounted a huge operation to take Province A, the resistance could just fade into the population or move to Province B. The US would always be victorious but never win anything. Sooner or later America would go away. The world understands this.

Further, the underlying nature of conflict has changed. For most of history until the Soviet Union evaporated, empires expanded by military conquest. In today’s world, countries have not lost their imperial ambitions, but the approach is no longer military. China seems intent on bringing Eurasia under its hegemony, and advances toward doing it, but its approach is economic, not martial. The Chinese are not warm and fuzzy. They are, however, smart.  It is much cheaper and safer to expand commercially than militarily, and wiser to sidestep martial confrontation—in a word, to ignore America. More correctly it is sidestepping the Pentagon.

Military and diplomatic power spring from economic power, and China is proving successful economically. Using commercial clout, she is expanding her influence, but in ways not easily bombed. She is pushing the BRICS alliance, from which the US is excluded. She is enlarging the SCO, from which America is excluded. Perhaps most importantly, she has set up the AIIB, the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, which does not include the US but includes Washington’s European allies. These organizations will probably trade mostly not in dollars, a serious threat to Washington’s economic hegemony.

What is the relevance of the Pentagon? How do you bomb a trade agreement?

China enjoys solvency, and hegemonizes enthusiastically with it. Thus in Pakistan it has built the Karakoram Highway from Xian Jiang to Karachi, which will increase trade between the two. It is putting in the two power reactors near Karachi. It is investing in Afghan resources, increasing trade with Iran. . When the US finally leaves, China, without firing a shot, will be predominant in the region.

What is the relevance of aircraft carriers?

Beijing is talking seriously about building more rail lines, including high-speed rail, from itself to Europe, accompanied by fiber-optic lines and so on. This is not just talk. China has the money and a very large network of high-speed rail domestically. (The US has not a single mile.) Google “China-Europe Rail lines.”

What is the Pentagon going to do? Bomb the tracks?

As trade and ease of travel from Berlin to Beijing increase, and as China prospers and wants more European goods, European businessmen will want to cuddle up to that fabulously large market—which will loosen Washington’s grip on the throat of Europe. Say it three times slowly: Eur-asia. Eur-asia. Eur-asia. I promise it is what the Chinese are saying.

What is the Pentagon’s trillion-dollar military going to bomb? Europe? Railways across Kazakhstan? BMW plants?

All of which is to say that while the US military looks formidable, it isn’t particularly useful, and aids China by bankrupting the US. Repeatedly it has demonstrated that it cannot defeat campesinos armed with those most formidable weapons, the AK, the RPG, and the IED. The US does not have the land forces to fight a major or semi-major enemy. It could bomb Iran, with unpredictable consequences, but couldn’t possibly conquer it.

The wars in the Mid-East illustrate the principle nicely. Iraq didn’t work. Libya didn’t work. Iran didn’t back down. ISIS and related curiosities? The Pentagon is again bombing an enemy that can’t fight back—its specialty—but that it seems unable defeat.

Wrong military, wrong enemy, wrong war, wrong world.

Legion of the Tinfoil Hat: Fred Reveals His Martian Loyalties

Conspiracy theories hold charm for such as I, who regard them as we might a species of rare insectivorous marsupials who glow in the dark, and for the conspiracy theorists themselves, who seem to derive from their conditions a satisfying sense of esoteric penetration. Yet they become wearisome by constant repetition. Some have. In particular, Nine/Eleven. In the following wew will ignore the more abundantly silly theories, such as that there were no Jews in the Towers on the day of the attacks. Some thoughts::

The Pentagon

At the time of Nine/Eleven, I was living in Colonial Village in Virginia, a few hundred yards from the Virginia terminus of Key Bridge. The bike path ran from there parallel to the Potomac past the Pentagon and National Airport to the Washington Sailing Marina. On the wooden deck overlooking the water a concession sold snacks and Budweiser. A mixed group of oddballs foregathered daily to socialize.

One was Dave Winslow, whom we called Broadcast Dave to distinguish him from a couple of other Daves, Winslow having been involved in radio broadcasting in an earlier life. We often swapped journalism stories. His apartment was nearby. The day after the Pentagon blew up, he recounted being at home, hearing a plane coming in unusually low, looking out the window, and seeing the tail flash by, boom.

So much for conspiracy theories about the Air Force attacking the Pentagon with a missile. 

But Fred, this guy was part of the conspiracy. Don’t you see?… Or oh my God, I see it now. Fred, YOU are part….


Dave Winslow, actually a robot sent by the Trilateral Commission, and planted at the Washington Sailing Marina years earlier to deceive me about seeing the airplane. It was really a missile. My photo.

Here missiles are tricky to discuss because of the lack  of specificity. What missile, fired from what? Most of the theorists  couldn’t tell a TLAM from a back hoe. Reflect that firing an air-to-ground missile, probably a Hellfire and launched perhaps from an F16, would  involve a lot of people: pilot, ground crew, weapons-storage bureaucracy, base commander, and so on. Those in on it would talk to others, even if ordered not to. A loadout of live munitions inside the US is very odd except for carefully scripted training missions. Those involved would talk to others.  They might think, “Hmmm, F16 take off with Hellfire, come back no Hellfire. Where go Hellfire? Pentagon blow up. Heap strange.”

But Fred, it was a super-secret outfit especially trained to attack the United States. Nobody has ever heard of them which proves they are  supersecret….

If the missile was a Tomahawk launched from a ship the whole crew would know of the launch. Many mouths, much talk. It would take a very odd captain to fire a cruise missile at the Pentagon. 

But Fred, the crew and the officers and men are in on  the conspiracy.
A Tomahawk Land-Attack Missile, presumably what the  conspiracy people mean, if they have any idea what they mean, when they say “cruise missile.”Now, Flight AA77, which didn’t fly into the Pentagon. There are three possibilities:

First, the fight never existed. The entire travel industry would know this, along with everyone else having access to Sabre, the ticketing system. American Airlines would scream like  a scalded dog at this total fabrication, There would be no insurance claim on record for loss of the plane, and so on.

But Fred, the entire travel industry, along with everyone else having access to Sabre, and  American Airlines, are part of the conspiracy.

Second, Flight AA77 existed, and landed wherever it was supposed to. In this case the entire travel industry, American Airlines, the undead passengers, and so on, would have pointed this out. The press would have jumped on it.

But Fred, the entire press corps and the passengers were part of the conspiracy. Everyone knows this….

Actually, they have a point. The entire press corps must be complicit, since five phone calls would have sufficed whether the flight had existed or disappeared.

Third: AA77 ran into the Pentagon.

New York

The Twin Towers were brought down not by airplanes, but by a controlled demolition.

Possibility one: There were no airplanes. The airplanes we saw on television were done in Final Cut or other software. I  have seen videos claiming this. Let’s think about it.

Shortly after the nonexistent planes did not ram the Towers, every television screen in Manhattan showed smoking impacts. Now, what were the most visible objects in the city? Probably the Twin Towers. What would be the reaction of everyone in New York watching the screen? Answer: Run out to look for themselves. All millions of them would notice that the screens didn’t match the buildings. They didn’t point this out, which can only mean that….

Fred, you fool, don’t you see that the entire population of Manhattan is part of the conspiracy?

Possibility two: There were airplanes and a controlled detonation. Why  the redundancy is not clear. The explosives were secretly placed, meaning that the entire security and maintenance staff were complicit, until some airplanes could be found to run into the buildings. Ockham, call your office….

Since we have already established that the military blew up the Pentagon, it being characteristic of militaries to blow themselves up, we must assume that the military also was part of the conspiracy of the Twin Towers. That is, it seems unlikely that purely by chance the Pentagon decided to blow itself up and somebody else did the Towers the same day.

Possibility three: The buildings were brought down by airplanes.

Now, let us consider the controlled demolition itself. What is involved in a real demolition?

From Controlled Demolition Inc. a firm that does such demolition:

“On March 26, 2000, the firm used 4,450 pounds of dynamite placed in 5,905 carefully sited holes and 21.6 miles (34.8 km) of detonation cord inserted over a period of four months to take down the 25,000-ton concrete roof of the Kingdome in Seattle, Washington in 16.8 seconds….”

The Trade Centers singly or in combination, plus Building Seven,  represented a far larger project. A pawn of the government like myself might wonder how tons and tons of explosives could be placed in a fully occupied building without anyone’s noticing. Those doing the placing would have to have been fully qualified and highly experienced in controlled demolition. (How many of these are there, and how hard to find?)

Maybe, though, the occupants of the Towers just weren’t paying attention. New Yorkers are famous for a tight focus on business. A businessman thinking about an international contract might easily not notice piles of rubble in the corridors, walls torn out, countless men attaching bundles of girders, the screech of saws cutting partway through steel to weaken it, and endless elevator loads of explosives in packages labeled “Sex books” to prevent suspicion.

I imagine Marylou Nicodemi, a legal secretary, asking a man tearing down the wall of her office: “What are you guys doing?”

“We’re the exterminators, ma’am. We’ve had complaints of rats.”

”Oh. Are you going to do this to the entire building?”

“Yes ma’am. Rats re devious creatures. If you don’t fight them on the lower floors, you have to fighter them on the upper floors. We have no choice.”

Realistically, the occupants of the towers would have to have noticed–from which we must conclude that….

Fred, they were part of the conspiracy.

To kill themselves?

Fred, you don’t understand the lengths ….

On some of the conspiracy sites I have read that actually the security guards planted the explosives in a manner requiring little or no wiring, no damage to the building, and few explosives. Not only were they expert at demolitions, admittedly the norm among janitors, but much better at it than Controlled Demolition Inc.

Fred, they are Illuminati, Residual Cathars, Thirty-Fifth Degree Masons, and they train in a secret base in Atlantis, with Lex Luther…

Running through all of this is that lots of people would be involved, yet none have come forward and blown the scam. You don’t obtain many tons of explosives without leaving a paper trail. The multitudinous security people in the Towers would all have to have been carefully placed there in advance, as even one informant would have blown the whole thing. The government would  have to be complicit, given that the FBI could easily have tracked down the security people.

But Fred, they are all….

Here is the First Law of conspiracy theories, that to protect the theory you have to expand it. The press is a good example. Any reporter would slit the throats of his entire newsroom to break that story. Instant Pulitzer, national fame, huge book contracts, a movie, choice of jobs anywhere. The paper that did it would have the story of the century. It would have been easy. Think Seymour Hersh.

Yet nobody did it. The only explanation is, again, that the entire press corps….

Expand the conspiracy.

Note: I have  just discovered that the photo of a Tomahawk in the original posting of this column was in fact a Harpoon  missile. I want to assure the reader that this error was due to incompetent cooperation between me, with poor vision, and my  wife in posting pictures, and not due to my desire as part of the conspiracy to hide the true missile.

Darwin Unhinged: The Bugs in Evolution

This is atrociously long, criminally even, by internet standards but I post it anyway because I get occasional requests.  Few will read it, which is understandable.  Apologies. The Devil made me do it. Regular readers, if there is one, will have seen most of it before since in large part it is a gluing together of several columns.



“A scientist is part of what the Polish philosopher of science Ludwik Fleck called a “thought collective”: a group of people exchanging ideas in a mutually comprehensible idiom. The group, suggested Fleck, inevitably develops a mind of its own, as the individuals in it converge on a way of communicating, thinking and feeling.

This makes scientific inquiry prone to the eternal rules of human social life: deference to the charismatic, herding towards majority opinion, punishment for deviance, and intense discomfort with admitting to error. Of course, such tendencies are precisely what the scientific method was invented to correct for, and over the long run, it does a good job of it. In the long run, however, we’re all dead, quite possibly sooner than we would be if we hadn’t been following a diet based on poor advice.”

How the following Came About

I was in high school when I began to think about evolution. I was then just discovering the sciences systematically, and took them as what they offered themselves to be, a realm of reason and dispassionate regard for truth. There was a hard-edged clarity to them that I liked. You got real answers. Since evolution depended on such sciences as chemistry, I regarded it as also being a science.

The question of the origin of life interested me. The evolutionary explanations that I encountered in textbooks of biology seemed weak, however. They ran to, “In primeval seas, evaporation concentrated dissolved compounds in a pore in a rock,  a membrane formed, and life began its immense journey.” Still, I saw no reason to doubt this. If it hadn’t been true, scientists would not have said that it was.

Remember, I was fifteen.

In those days I read Scientific American and New Scientist, the latter then still being thoughtfully written in good English. I noticed that not infrequently they offered differing speculations as to the origin of life. The belief in the instrumentality of chemical accident was constant, but the nature of the primeval soup changed to fit varying attempts at explanation.

For a while, life was thought to have come about on clay in shallow water in seas of a particular composition, later in tidal pools with another chemical solution, then in the open ocean in another solution. This continues. Recently, geothermal vents have been offered as the home of the first life. Today (Feb 24, 2005) on the BBC website, I learn that life evolved below the oceanic floor. (“There is evidence that life evolved in the deep sediments,” co-author John Parkes, of Cardiff University, UK, told the BBC News website.”)

The frequent shifting of ground bothered me. If we knew how life began, why did we have so many prospective mechanisms, none of which worked? Evolution began to look like a theory in search of a soup. Fifty-five years later in 2015, it still does.

What Distinguishes Evolution from Other Sciences

Early on, I noticed three things about evolution that differentiated it from other sciences (or, I could almost say, from science). First, plausibility was accepted as being equivalent to evidence. And of course the less you know, the greater the number of things that are plausible, because there are fewer facts to get in the way. Again and again evolutionists assumed that suggesting how something might have happened was equivalent to establishing how it had happened. Asking them for evidence usually aroused annoyance and sometimes, if persisted in, hostility.

As an example, consider the view that life arose by chemical misadventure. By this they mean, I think, that they cannot imagine how else it might have come about. (Neither can I. Does one accept a poor explanation because unable to think of a good one?) This accidental-life theory, being somewhat plausible, is therefore accepted without the usual standards of science, such as reproducibility or rigorous demonstration of mathematical feasibility. Putting it otherwise, evolutionists are too attached to their ideas to be able to question them.

Or to notice that others do question, and with reason. They defend furiously the evolution of life in earth’s seas as the most certain of certainties. Yet in the November, 2005 Scientific American, an article argues that life may have begun elsewhere, perhaps on Mars, and arrived here on meteorites. May have, perhaps, might. Somewhere, somewhere else, anywhere. Onward into the fog.

Consequently, discussion often relies on vague and murky assertion, or ignores obvious questions. Starlings are said to have evolved to be the color of dirt so that hawks can’t see them to eat them. This is plausible and, I suspect, true. But guacamayos and cockatoos are gaudy enough to be seen from low-earth orbit. Is there a contradiction here? No, say evolutionists. Guacamayos are gaudy so they can find each other to mate. Always there is the pat explanation. But starlings seem to mate with great success, though invisible. If you have heard a guacamayo shriek, you can hardly doubt that another one could easily find it. Enthusiasts of evolution then told me that guacamayos were at the top of their food chain, and didn’t have predators. Or else that the predators were colorblind.

On and on it goes. On any coral reef, a scuba diver can see, or rather not see, phenomenally good camouflage in creatures such as octopuses, said to prevent their being eaten. It does. But many fish are garishly colored. What is the advantage?

Second, evolution seemed more a metaphysics or ideology than a science. The sciences, as I knew them, gave clear answers. Evolution involved intense faith in fuzzy principles. You demonstrated chemistry, but believed evolution. If you have ever debated a Marxist, or a serious liberal or conservative, or a feminist or Christian, you will have noticed that, although they can be exceedingly bright and well informed, they display a maddening evasiveness. You never get a straight answer if it is one they do not want to give. Crucial premises are not firmly established. Fundamental assertions do not tie to observable reality. Invariably the Marxist (or evolutionist) assumes that a detailed knowledge of economic conditions in the reign of Nicholas II substitutes for being able to answer simple questions, such as why Marxism has never worked. This is the Fallacy of Irrelevant Knowledge. And of course almost anything can be made believable by considering only favorable evidence and interpreting hard.

Third, evolutionists are obsessed by Christianity and Creationism, with which they imagine themselves to be in mortal combat. This is peculiar to them. Note that other sciences, such as astronomy and geology, even archaeology, are equally threatened by the notion that the world was created in 4004 BC. Astronomers pay not the slightest attention to Creationist ideas. Nobody does—except evolutionists. We are dealing with competing religions—overarching explanations of origin and destiny. Thus the fury of their response to skepticism.

I found it pointless to tell them that I wasn’t a Creationist. They refused to believe it. If they had, they would have had to answer questions that they would rather avoid. Like any zealots, they cannot recognize their own zealotry. Thus their constant classification of skeptics as enemies (a word they often use)—of truth, of science, of Darwin, of progress.

This tactical demonization is not unique to evolution. “Creationist” is to evolution what “racist” is to politics: A way of preventing discussion of what you do not want to discuss. Evolution is the political correctness of science.

The Lair of the Beast

I have been on several lists on the internet that deal with matters such as evolution, have written on the subject, and have discussed evolution with various of its adherents. These men (almost all of them are) have frequently been very bright indeed, often Ivy League professors, some of them with names you would recognize. They are not amateurs of evolution, or high-school principals in Kansas eager to prove their modernity. I asked them  questions, such as whether we really know what the primeval seas consisted of, etc. I knew the answers; I wanted to see how serious proponents of evolutionary biology would respond to awkward questions.

It was like giving a bobcat a prostate exam. I got everything but answers. They told me I was a crank, implied over and over (again) that I was a Creationist, said that I was an enemy of science (someone who asks for evidence is an enemy of science). They said that I was trying to pull down modern biology (if you ask questions about an aspect of biology, you want to pull down biology). They told me I didn’t know anything (that’s why I was asking questions), and that I was a mere journalist (the validity of a question depends on its source rather than its content).

But they didn’t answer the questions. They ducked and dodged and evaded. After thirty years in journalism, I know ducking and dodging when I see it. It was like cross-examining hostile witnesses.

This is the behavior not of scientists, but of advocates, of True Believers. I used to think that science was about asking questions, not about defending things you didn’t really know. Religion, I thought, was the other way around. I guess I was wrong.

A Preamble

The intent of this essay is not to debate with the ardent of evolutionism. To do so would be pointless. The problem is one of underlying set of mind, of why people believe and disbelieve things. The greatest intellectual divide is not between those who believe one thing and those who believe another, but between those who have an emotional need to believe something fervently and those who can say, “I don’t know.” The former group comprises those tedious Darwinists and Creationists who hurl imprecations at each other like fans of rival football teams. Each blockheadedly refuses to concede the slightest possibility that its doctrine might be other than infallible. To my mind they constitute the best evidence that we did not descend from monkeys, but have not yet ascended to them. Stupidity beyond a certain point is intractable.

I write here for those who can look at the world with curiosity and calm, divining what can be divined and conceding what cannot, without regarding themselves as members of warring tribes. To judge by the writing on evolution in the public prints, there may be as many as three of these.

On Arrogance

“The universe is not only queerer than we suppose, it is queerer than we can suppose.” J. B. S. Haldane

“Queer”: Exactly the right word, suggesting more the world of Alice in Wonderland than the crisp, clean-edged, perfectly ordered and causal world of physics. This paradigm holds that existence is like a vast crossword puzzle. Some parts we have filled in, others we have not, but by its nature the  puzzle is solvable, and it is only a matter of time before we know everything. This is awfully optimistic.

Humans today are a puffed-up and overconfident species. We believe that we  know everything, or shortly will. We have a sense of near-omniscience equaled only by that of teenagers. For do we not have have smart phones and Mars landers and PET scans, and do we not all speak wisely of DNA? We are, if not gods, at least godlings on the way up. If you don’t believe this, just ask us.

It was not always so. A thousand years ago, mankind cast a small shadow on the earth and lived in a dark and mysterious world. Little was known, about anything. Gods of countless sorts walked the earth. Spirits inhabited sacred groves. Lightning, the moon, the stars were…what? We had no idea. This brought humility.

We now believe that nothing is or can be beyond our powers. A contemplative skeptic might advert to a few remaining details: We don’t know where we came from, why we are here, where “here” is, where we are going if anywhere, or what we ought to do. These are minor questions. We only think about them when we wake up at three a.m. and remember that we are not permanent. We are kidding ourselves.

When people become accustomed to things that make no sense, they begin to seem to. Though we no longer notice it as we peck at tablet computers and listen to droning lowbrow shows about the conquest of nature, we still live in a weird and inexplicable universe, an apparently unending emptiness speckled with sparks of hydrogen fire. It is wicked mysterious. More things in heaven and earth, indeed.

We are not as wise as we think. We are just smarter than anything else we know about. I reiterate Fred’s Principle: The smartest of a large number of hamsters is still a hamster.

Where Evolution Fits In

The Theory of Evolution is not just about biological evolution. It is part of a grand unified theory that seeks to explain everything (except things that it can’t explain, which it ignores). It runs briefly as follows: First came the Big Bang. Subatomic particles flew in all directions, coalesced into atoms and into molecules and stars. Planets formed, then oceans, and then life came about by chemical inadvertence. Evolution produced trilobites, dinosaurs, mammals, and us. In the popular version, though not in the scientific, evolution produces ongoing betterment.

It is not particularly plausible. As someone said, evolution writ large is the belief that a large cloud of hydrogen will eventually turn into Manhattan. But, like a religion, it provides an overarching explanation of origins–the Big Bang–and destiny–we are getting better and better–and gives us a sense of understanding the world.

In this it serves the purposes of a religion and is treated as such by its adherents. They react to questioning with anger and they see their hated opponents as Creationists–that is, adherents of another religion. Note that while in the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925, Christian fundamentalists tried to outlaw Darwin, today evolutionists appeal to the courts to outlaw mention of Creation in the schools. This is not rational. Can anyone believe that describing Creation in high schools will deter students from studying biochemistry, and turn them into intellectual loin-cloth wearers burning textbooks?

Interestingly, atheism has to be part of the evolutionist’s mental equipment since if any sort of god exists, or if there is life after death, or anything beyond the laws of physics, then these things might influence existence in a way outside of physics–and this cannot be allowed.

Before going further, let us look at some of the questions  ignored by evolutionism.

In Evolution Writ Large nothing exists but physics. The Big Bang was physics, chemistry is the physics of the interactions of atoms, biochemistry a subset of chemistry and therefore also physics. Everything that happens in a cell is physics  (to include biochemistry). Everything that happens in a living body, from movement to thought, is physics. Mutations are physical events. The behavior of DNA follows the laws of physics.

Note that biological evolution is always regarded as an indivisible entity, yet in fact it consists of several distinct components that are logically separable. First, that life came about accidentally in the ancient seas (highly shaky and certainly not demonstrated). Second, that evolution occurred (as the fossil record would seem to show beyond reasonable doubt). Third, that natural selection drove evolution (demonstrable in some cases, plausible in a great many, and highly unlikely in yet others). Fourth, that random mutations drive natural selection (very shaky, but crucial to evolutionism). Fifth, that nothing else drives it.

The unwillingness to recognize that these are separable leads to a tendency to believe that when one of them can be demonstrated–natural selection, say–it is regarded as confirmation of the whole edifice. It isn’t.

An Embarrassing Necessity Before Getting to the Meat of Things

Inevitably one who writes of evolution without being a PhD at CalTech is assaulted on grounds that he must be ignorant of practically everything. I claim to be an expert on nothing. However, I subscribe to the principle that most problems can be solved by the application of modest intelligence and obsessive-compulsive disorder. A fact forgotten today is that one can learn things by reading books. By doing so I have learned enough to talk about at least a few things, such as:

Basophils, eosinophils, neutrophils. Descemet’s membrane, ciliary body, suspensory ligaments, retinal pigmented epithelium (the eye being of evolutionary interest). Peptide pituitary hormones, vasopressin and oxytocin. Osteoclast, osteoblast. Nephrons, glomerulus, Loop of Henle. Axon, dendrite, sodium in-potassium-out depolarization, neurotransmitters, receptor sites. Rough and smooth endoplasmic reticula, Golgi apparatus, lipid bilayers, hydrophobic and hydrophilic tails, lysosomes, ribosomes, epitopes, m-RNA, t-RNA, transcription, translation. Restriction enzymes, DNA polymerase. The Breeder’s Equation, selection differential, pleiotrophy, epistasis, narrow heritability.Purines adenine and guanine and pyrimidines cytocine and thymine (well, uracil in RNA). Degeneracy of the codon alphabet. Nucleotides, nucleosides, adenosine triphosphate, indels, mitochondrial cristae, single-nucleotide polymorphisms, polymerase chain reaction, restriction-fragment length polymorphism, electrophoresis. Luciferin, (and Luciferout?) luciferase, ATP. X chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA. Peptide bonds COOH to NH 2, water molecule extruded. Socially important compounds like 2, 4, 6- trinitrotoluene, toluene being benzene with a CH 3 group, bond resonance in benzene, pH, the negative log of the hydronium ion content. Levo- and dextro- isomers. Alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, al gore. Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian. Purported transitional forms: The Ichthyostegids of, if memory serves, upper Permian sediments of eastern Greenland; Archaeopteryx, Bavaria 1861; coelacanth, Marjorie Latimer, sort of 1937 I think; and my favorite, Piltdown Man. The amniote egg. Saurischian and Ornothiscian dinosaurs. Sauropods, pseudopods, copepods. Etc.

Eyeing the Argument from Time

A matter that needs to be gotten out of the way before continuing is the insistence that, given billions of years–more accurately, about  four billion–life had to from just because of all that time. This is by no means clear. In questions of the probability of complex events, time can mean surprisingly little. Consider the assertion famously made by James Jeans, often cited in connection with evolution, that a monkey typing randomly at a keyboard would eventually write all the books in the British Museum. This sounds plausible and, in a purely mathematical sense, is true. What are the odds?

Consider a fair-sized book of 200,000 words that, by newspaper average, would contain about a million letters. To make it easy on the monkey, we will ignore upper case and punctuation and let him work with an alphabet of 26 letters. What are his prospects of getting the book in a given string of a million letters?

The chance of getting the first letter correctly is 1/26 times the chance of getting the second letter, 1/26, and so on, making the chance of getting the entire book 1/261,000,000. Since 26 equals 10log 26, (log 26 being about 1.41) the chance of getting the entire book is 1 in 10 log 26 x 1000,000 or about 101,400,000. Innocent  looking numbers like this are remarkably intractable. For example, a billion billion monkeys (more monkeys than I want) typing a billion billion characters a second for a billion billion times the estimated age of the universe (1018 seconds ) would  have essentially zero chance of getting the book.

To give our monkey a fighting chance, let’s ask whether he would get even the title of a book, for example On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, which Microsoft Word tells me contains 119 characters. The monkey’s chance of getting the title in a give string of 119 is one in 10119 x x 1.41 or 10168 Thus our billion billion monkey at a billion billion characters a second for the life of the universe is essentially zero.

Is the chance of accidentally forming a living Crittter a similar problem? We don’t know, especially since evolutionists cannot tell us what the First Critter was. But it is their responsibility to tell us, first, what of what complexity formed and, second, why the odds are not astronomically against it. The point to take away is that the invocation of long  periods of time can mean  little when speaking of the probability of complex yet unspecified events.


A Few Early Questions 

(1) Life was said to have begun by chemical inadvertence in the early seas. Did we, I wondered, really know of what those early seas consisted? Know, not suspect, hope, theorize, divine, speculate, or really, really wish. Bear in mind that chemical reactions depend crucially on molarity, pH, temperature, half-life of intermediates, and so on.

The answer is, “no.” We have no dried residue, no remaining pools, and the science of planetogenesis isn’t nearly good enough to provide a quantitative analysis.

2) Do we know what conditions would be necessary for a cell to come about? No, we  don’t.

(3) Has the creation of a living cell been replicated in the laboratory? No, it  has not. Here the evolutionist will say, “But, Fred, how can you repeat in the laboratory something that took millions and millions of years and billions and billions of gallons of sea water?” You can’t, but am I to believe it happened on the grounds that it can’t be proved?

(4) Could it be shown to be mathematically probable that a cell would form, given any soup whatever? No, it couldn’t, and can’t. (At least not without cooking the assumptions.)

(5) Have biochemists designed a replicating chemical entity that plausibly might have evolved into organisms such as we now have? No.

6) This next I ask, knowing that no answer is possible, to make a point: The more complex we postulate the First Critter to have been, the less likely that it would form accidentally. The less complex, the harder to explain why such a Critter has not been designed in the laboratory. With every passing year, the difficulty grows.

In sum: If we don’t know what conditions existed, or what conditions would be necessary, and can’t reproduce the event in the laboratory, and can’t show it to be statistically probable, and can’t construct something that might have evolved—why are we so very sure that it happened? Would you hang a man on such evidence?

A Surfeit of Soups

To see the desperation of the search for plausible beginnings of life, look at this list, from the Wikipedia, of the wildly differing hypotheses, guesses, theories, and lunges, none of which have worked out. Does it give you a sense that evolutionists know what they are talking about?

One hypothesis, as mentioned before, is that life swooped in from outer space on carbonaceous chondrites, or began on Mars (where it conspicuously has not been discovered by a platoon of itinerant Mars landers) and drifted to the earth. That is, life began where apparently there has never been life. The flexibility of evolutionary thinking is greatly to be admired.

Here a point worth making briefly: The press often excitedly reports that “organic compounds” have been found on meteorites, or comets, or interstellar space, or in bottles of chemicals through which an electric spark has been passed. The unfortunate name “organic” suggests origins in living creatures, or the likelihood of turning shortly into living creatures. Actually, “organic chemistry” is, roughly, the chemistry of carbon chains. No living origins nor living intentions are implied. DDT is an organic compound, as is 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene, TNT.

While evolutionists couldn’t demonstrate that life had begun by chemical accident, I can’t show that it did not. An inability to prove that something is statistically possible is not the same as proving that it is not statistically possible. Not being able to reproduce an event in the laboratory does not establish that it didn’t happen in nature. Etc. I didn’t know how life came about. I still don’t. Neither do evolutionists.

Impossibility Theory and Common Sense, If Any

If you look at evolution from other than the perspective of an ideological warrior who believes that he is saving the world from the claws of snake-handling primitive Christians in North Carolina, difficulties arise. Chief among these is the sheer complexity of things. Living organisms are just too complicated to have come about by accident. This, it seems to me, is apparent to, though not provable by, anyone with an open mind.

Everywhere in the living world one sees intricacy wrapped in intricacy wrapped in intricacy. At some point the sane have to say, “This didn’t just happen. Something is going on that I don’t understand.” But an evolutionist cannot say that there is anything he can’t understand, only that there are things he doesn’t yet understand.

Read a textbook of embryology. You start with a barely-visible zygote which, (we are told) guided by nothing but the laws of chemistry, unerringly reacts with ambient chemicals to build, over nine months, an incomprehensibly complex thing we call “a baby.” Cells migrate here, migrate there, modify themselves or are modified to form multitudinous organs, each of them phenomenally complex, all of this happening chemically and flawlessly on autopilot. We are accustomed to this, and so think it makes sense. The usual always seems reasonable. I don’t think it is. It simply isn’t possible, being a wild frontal assault on Murphy’s Law.

Therefore babies do not exist. Quod erat demonstrandum. Unless Something Else is involved. I do not know what.

Complexity upon complexity. In virtually invisible cells you find endoplasmic reticula, Golgi apparatus, ribosomes, nuclear and messenger and transfer RNA, lysosomes, countless enzymes, complex mechanisms for transcribing and translating DNA, itself a complex and still-mysterious repository of information. Somehow this is all packed into almost nowhere. That this just sort of, well, you know, happened is too much to believe. It began being believed when almost nothing was known about the complexity of cellular biology, after which, being by then a sacred text, it could not be questioned. And cannot.

The foregoing is only the beginning of complexity. The many organs formed effortlessly in utero are as bafflingly elaborate as cells themselves. Consider (a simplified description of) the parts of the eye: The globe of three layers, sclera, choroid, and retina. Cornea of six layers, epithelium, Bowman’s membrane, substantia propria, Dua’s layer, Descemet’s membrane, endothelium. Retina of ten layers. Lens consisting of anterior and posterior capsule and contained proteinacious goop. The lens is held by delicate suspensory ligaments inside the ciliary body, a muscular doughnut that changes the shape of lens so as to focus. An iris of radial and circumferential fibers enervated competitively by the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems in opposition. A pump to circulate the aqueous humor. On and on and on. And equally on and on for all the other organs, which last for seventy years, repairing themselves when damaged.


Suspensory ligaments connecting the lens of the eye to the ciliary body. They form flawlessly on their own.

I can’t prove that this didn’t come about accidentally. Neither can I believe it.

The Details (Wherein Lurketh the Devil)

At every level, complexity mounts. The following simplified description of the biochemical functioning of the retina is from Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution by Michael Behe. The book, which I recommend, is accessible to the intelligent laymen, for whom it is written. The author includes the following technoglop to give a flavor of what is involved in vision. The sensible reader will skip through most of it.

When light first strikes the retina a photon interacts with a molecule called 11-cis-retinal, which rearranges within picoseconds to trans-retinal. (A picosecond is about the time it takes light to travel the breadth of a single human hair.) The change in the shape of the retinal molecule forces a change in the shape of the protein, rhodopsin, to which the retinal is tightly bound. The protein’s metamorphosis alters its behavior. Now called metarhodopsin II, the protein sticks to another protein, called transducin. Before bumping into metarhodopsin II, transducin had tightly bound a small molecule called GDP. But when transducin interacts with metarhodopsin II, the GDP falls off, and a molecule called GTP binds to transducin. (GTP is closely related to, but critically different from, GDP.)

GTP-transducin-metarhodopsin II now binds to a protein called phosphodiesterase, located in the inner membrane of the cell. When attached to metarhodopsin II and its entourage, the phosphodiesterase acquires the chemical ability to “cut” a molecule called cGMP (a chemical relative of both GDP and GTP). Initially there are a lot of cGMP molecules in the cell, but the phosphodiesterase lowers its concentration, just as a pulled plug lowers the water level in a bathtub. Another membrane protein that binds cGMP is called an ion channel. It acts as a gateway that regulates the number of sodium ions in the cell. Normally the ion channel allows sodium ions to flow into the cell, while a separate protein actively pumps them out again. The dual action of the ion channel and pump keeps the level of sodium ions in the cell within a narrow range. When the amount of cGMP is reduced because of cleavage by the phosphodiesterase, the ion channel closes, causing the cellular concentration of positively charged sodium ions to be reduced. This causes an imbalance of charge across the cell membrane that, finally, causes a current to be transmitted down the optic nerve to the brain. The result, when interpreted by the brain, is vision. If the reactions mentioned above were the only ones that operated in the cell, the supply of 11-cis-retinal, cGMP, and sodium ions would quickly be depleted. Something has to turn off the proteins that were turned on and restore the cell to its original state. Several mechanisms do this. First, in the dark the ion channel (in addition to sodium ions) also lets calcium ions into the cell. The calcium is pumped back out by a different protein so that a constant calcium concentration is maintained. When cGMP levels fall, shutting down the ion channel, calcium ion concentration decreases, too. The posphodiesterase enzyme, which destroys cGMP, slows down at lower calcium concentration. Second, a protein called guanylate cyclase begins to resynthesize cGMP when calcium levels start to fall. Third, while all of this is going on, metarhodopsin II is chemically modified by an enzyme called rhodopsin kinase. The modified rhodopsin then binds to a protein known as arrestin, which prevents the rhodopsin from activating more transducin. So the cell contains mechanisms to limit the amplified signal started by a single photon. Trans-retinal eventually falls off of rhodopsin and must be reconverted to 11-cis-retinal and again bound by rhodopsin to get back to the starting point for another visual cycle. To accomplish this, trans-retinal is first chemically modified by an enzyme to trans-retinol— a form containing two more hydrogen atoms. A second enzyme then converts the molecule to 11-cis-retinol. Finally, a third enzyme removes the previously added hydrogen atoms to form 11-cis-retinal, a cycle is complete.

I can perhaps imagine an Airbus 380 assembling itself. I cannot begin to imagine the foregoing evolving on its own. Or working flawlessly for more than a millisecond.

Worse Than Intelligent Design: Layers of Impossibility

If in an unexplored region of the Amazon Basin you find a grass hut next to a dugout canoe, you may not know who made them, but you suppose that someone must have. This is the theory of Intelligent Design. When you find in nature systems of unfathomable complexity that nonetheless work flawlessly, it is not unreasonable to suspect that they were designed, and perhaps sustained, by someone, or something. I have no idea who or what or why.

Equally mysterious—equally impossible, I would say—is how biological systems can function at all, no matter how they came into being. The workings of every detail of, say, a human body can indeed be explained mechanistically, in terms of chemistry and physics, and this is the result that comes out of experimentation. In the laboratory you can show, or seem to show, that enzyme A binds to enzyme B, activating enzyme C and allowing enzyme D to do whatever enzyme D does. (You can show that a massive federal program makes sense in detail. But does it work in practice?)

But to believe that 180 pounds of infinitely complex, interacting chemical reactions (me, for example) can go on for seventy years without utter collapse requires powers of belief beyond the wildest imaginings of religious faith. The whole is less possible than the sum of its parts. Something is going on that we do not understand.

Domain Bloat

Consider a plane geometer. He deals with a limited domain of planes, lines, points, and angles, and nothing else. These produce elegant mathematics and useful results. He cannot deal with volumes, momentum, or tailgate parties, because these cannot be derived from the elements of his domain. They are beyond the scope of his subject.

The domain of the sciences is physics, its elements being space, time, matter, and energy, however hyphenated. Everything in science ultimately reduces to physics.  Evolution is the physics of interactions of biochemical systems with their physical environment over time, and thus also is a subset of physics. Nothing can happen in evolution that does not derive from and follow the laws of physics.

Just as a baseball game cannot be derived from or be explained by plane geometry, which does not contain matter, energy, time, or space of three dimensions, neither can such things as thought, consciousness, morality, volition, or exaltation be explained by physics. The desire to strangle your mother-in-law does not fall out of the equations of motion. When evolutionists try to explain behavior such as altruism in terms of physics (which is what they are doing, though most of them don’t know it) they are like a plane geometer trying to explain a cheeseburger in terms of lines and angles in a plane. It can’t be done. The trouble with the sciences (though not with all scientists) is exactly this, that they try to explain within the domain of physics things that are outside of its purview.

Studying Us: Explaining the Explainers

The sciences get into particular difficulties when they try to explain the explainer, which is to say us. Consider the brain which, we are told, is just an electrochemical machine. Everything that happens in the brain, we are told, follows the laws of chemistry and physics.

And this certainly seems to be the case. For example, neurotransmitters diffuse across the synaptic gap: pure chemistry and physics. They bind to receptors on the other side: pure chemistry and physics. Enzymes like acetylcholinesterase clear the residue from the gap: pure chemistry and physics. The resulting nervous impulse sails down the distal fiber as it depolarizes, sodium in, potassium out: pure chemistry and physics. It is as mechanical as a 1901 typewriter.

Which means that the brain cannot, and thus we cannot, make choices. Physical systems cannot choose what to do. A bowling ball dropped from the top of the Washington Monument cannot decide to fall up, or sideways, instead of down, nor choose how fast to fall, nor how far. Similarly, the end point of a physical system is determined by starting conditions. A molecule of a neurotransmitter binds ineluctably to a receptor because of stereochemistry and charge. It cannot not bind.

It follows then that we cannot choose one action over another. Our thoughts are predetermined by the physicochemical states of our brains. We think what we think because it is physically impossible to think anything else. Thus we cannot think at all. QED.

Unless Something Else is going on. I don’t know what.

Paradox is a consequence of domain bloat. Descartes famously said, “Cogito ergo sum.” Ambrose Bierce less famously but more insightfully said, “Cogito cogito, ergo cogito sum. Cogito.”

Survival of the Survivors

Most people think that, “fitness” meaning “suitability for a purpose,” survival of the fittest means that the smarter, stronger, and faster survive and produce more offspring than the stupid, weak, and slow. It does not. The study of such things is called population genetics and, as a professor of it says, “In population genetics, fitness means the rate of successful reproduction, nothing else.” That is, fitness does not promote survival, but is survival. The circularity is well known: Why do they survive? Because they are fit. How do you know that they are fit? Because they survive.

If fitness means the rate of successful reproduction, we encounter the interesting conclusion that a woman with a genetic IQ of sixty and twelve retarded children by forty-five drive-by fathers is more fit than a Harvard math professor who runs Triathlons but has two children.

If instead of “fitness” with its almost inescapable overtones of  “superiority,” we used “reproduction rate,” clarity would follow. Perish forbid.

A staple of evolutionism is that evolution works to maximize the number of offspring, thus passing on successful genes. This is plausible but, in the case of us, counter to observation (but why let facts debilitate a perfectly good theory?) The populations of advanced countries, all of which could easily support larger numbers of people, are actually falling. For example, Japan, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Russia. In Mexico, as the standard of living rises, the birth rate falls sharply. How one passes on one’s genes by not passing them on is a mystery of population genetics.

Meanwhile the populations of black Africa, the civilizational equivalents of the unwed mother with an IQ of 60, grow rapidly. Which is to say that in advanced countries, reproduction of individuals is inversely proportional to circumstances favoring it–intelligence health, wealth, and education. Among nations, as noted, a similar phenomenon exists.

When this is pointed out, evolutionists hem and haw (or should I say hem and her?), sometimes say that evolution no longer applies to humans, (though they simultaneously insist that evolution is ongoing and rapid) and then often blame falling populations on contraception, as if this were an outside force, like drought or a new predator. But saying that contraception causes falling populations ls like saying that spears cause hunting. People wanted to eat, so they invented spears. They wanted not to have children, so they invented contraception. Not passing on one’s genes is now almost a preoccupation.

Another peculiarity is populational altruism. Countries with declining populations intentionally import inferior but more-fecund genetic groups. Sweden for example imports black Africans. In the United States, the white population feeds and clothes huge number of genetically utterly distinct blacks, and actually seems to be growing them. The Darwinian advantage of this is elusive.

Current Human Evolution

Evolutionists insist that human evolution continues today at a rapid pace. There is nothing illogical in this to the extent that it is a matter of selective breeding and that evolution is defined as a change in phenotype.  In some cases it can be shown to happen.

Consider for example cognitive stratification, in which very smart people tend to go to Ivy universities, marry each other, and produce smart children. The children will tend to revert toward the mean but, as they interbreed, the mean will rise. Thus a fairly distinct subpopulation comes about.

While such things certainly can occur, problems arise in the evolutionists’ casual attribution of traits to evolutionary change. The first is that “selective pressure” usually cannot be measured and cannot be correlated with its purported results. Traits are regularly attributed to genes that have not been demonstrated acted upon by selective pressures that cannot be quantified to produce results that cannot be correlated with the pressures. The second is that results often seem to be inversely related to what would seem to be obvious selective advantage.

Often it seems that evolution is driven less by selective pressure than by the absence of selective pressure. Before the advent of modern medicine, people with inferior genetic endowments– low resistance to disease, or possession of genetic diseases such as diabetes, serious retardation,  etc.–tended to die before reproducing. This selective pressure served to keep those diseases at a low level in the population. Today the defective are kept alive to reproductive age, have children, and thus rapidly increase the prevalence of those diseases in the population.

There is the curious fact that traits of very little obvious value flourish, while those seemingly important do not. Consider the epicanthic fold, which makes the Japanese and Chinese slant-eyed. Evolutionists I have read assert  alternately that the fold serves to conserve energy or to protect the eye against icy winds, thus furthering survival. Characteristically, they cite no studies demonstrating that the fold does either of these things: In evolution, plausibility substitutes for evidence. The fold has become universal in the populations, suggesting that powerful selective pressures must have been responsible.

But what pressures? Do we really believe that the fold provides enough protection to the eye, if it provides any at all, to result in its possessor having more children than others? Do foldless Vikings go blind? Where is the evolutionary noise level? At what point is the selective advantage, if any, so slight as to make no difference?

Which brings us to a baffling question. Why does a trait with very little or no reproductive value–the fold–become universal, when traits such as high intelligence, great physical prowess, astonishing eyesight, and so on not become even common? The genes for all of these already exist in the population without the need for mutations.

If traits that conduce to reproduction become evermore prevalent, it follows that traits that do not become prevalent do not conduce to reproduction. These would seem to include the aforementioned–intelligence, strength, and so on–as these seem no more common now than in c classical antiquity.

If human evolution continues today at a rapid pace as evolutionists say (and indeed it may) it follows that selective pressures must be fairly intense. It is reasonable to ask, what pressures to what end? Cognitive stratification–the self-selection of people with IQs of perhaps 130 and up–qualifies and may lead to a blurry-edged yet distinct subpopulation.

Yet pressures would otherwise seem to be low now. In modern human populations, in which almost no one dies in infancy, almost everyone marries, and almost everyone has the same small number of children, the number of offspring is not determined by life-or-death selection. The football captain gets the prom queen, but the class nerd gets the nerdette and can have as many children. Almost everyone lives past reproductive age, so there is little culling effect as the slow are eaten by wolves. The genetically sickly are kept alive and allowed to reproduce by medicine. Consequently it is hard to image Darwinian selection occurring with much ferocity.

Nor  can I see evidence for more than minor changes in the 2500 years since Fifth-Century Athens. Statues by Phidias and Praxiteles and later Roman copies show people exactly like us. It is impossible to give IQ tests to the long dead, but Plato and Archimedes seem very like the best minds of today, and the writing of such as Xenophon are indistinguishable in complexity, clarity, and quality of mind from good modern writers. Nothing suggests that the ancients were any less athletic, bellicose, or agile than we are, or that they had senses any less acute. The 2500 years of rapid evolution appear to have produce a net of zero.

The Bugs in Darwin

A Thing is Not Possible Merely Because It Happens: The Tarantula Hawk

It is easy to imagine how a complex system, once in existence, can, within limits, evolve under the influence of selective pressures. Any dog breeder can demonstrate this. Or think of the path from Eohippus to Clydesdale. The difficulty lies in knowing how the system came about in the first place.

Consider the Tarantula Hawk, a gigantic wasp that begins life as an egg inside a paralyzed and buried tarantula, where its mother put it. This may seem unmotherly, but there is no accounting for taste. The egg hatches. The larva feeds on the spider, somehow knowing how to avoid the vital organs so as to keep the monster alive and fresh. It pupates and then, a new adult, digs its way out of the burrow.

Off it flies. Never having seen another wasp, or anything else, it finds one, and knows how to mate. (Mating, if you think about it, is a rather more complex process than it may seem to high-schoolers. Some insects mate while flying, which compounds the trickiness. Think airline pilots and stewardesses.) Never having seen a tarantula, it knows how to find one, knows that it needs to attack it, knows exactly how to sting it, knows that it must drag it to its burrow, which it knows it has to dig, knows how to lay its egg on the tarantula and how to bury it.

Now, some of this may be imagined as evolving by gradual steps (emphasis on “imagined,” which in matters evolutionary is good enough) as required by Darwin. All it takes is enough time. In enough time, anything desired will happen. Of millions and billions of eggs deposited in unfortunate tarantulas, over millions of years, some larvae ate the spider’s vital organs and so died in a rotting spider, not passing on their genes. Others pupated but tried to dig out by going downwards or sideways, thus dying and not passing on their genes. Only those with don’t-eat-the-important-parts mutations and this-way-is-up mutations survived, and so their genes became universal. This we are told.

But…but knowing what a tarantula looks like when you have never seen one, or seen anything, knowing that you need to sting it and just how, that you need to dig a burrow and drag the spider to it, and cover it up, when all of this has to occur in order or the whole process fails….

You have to be smoking Drano.

The Bot Fly

The Bot fly is a squat, ugly, hairy fly that (in one version anyway) catches a mosquito, lays its eggs on on said mosquito after positioning it correctly, and attaches them with a kind of glue. It releases the mosquito. When the little feathery syringe lands on, say, a human, the eggs drop off, hatch, and burrow into the host. These make nasty raised lumps with something wiggling inside them. Later the larvae exit, fall to the ground, and pupate.

How did this evolve? Did a grab-a-mosquito gene occur as a random mutation (assuming that a single mutation could cause such complex behavior)? It would have to be a grab-a-mosquito-but-don’t-cripple-it gene. That is an awful lot of precise behavior for one mutation. At this point the bot fly would have a mosquito but no idea what to do with it. It would need simultaneously to have a stick-eggs-on-mosquito mutation. This would seem to require another rather ambitious gene.

Catching the mosquito without laying the eggs, or squashing the mosquito in the process, or laying eggs in mid air without having caught the mosquito, would seem a losing proposition. None of these awfully-lucky mutations would be of use without the others. How do you evolve this elaborate dance by gradual steps?

There’s not enough Drano.

Hornets, Yet

Living things are impossible, but some are more so. Consider brains. Larger brains supposedly allow more-complex behavior. In a laptop civilization, we refer to this as “processing power.” But consider hornets, cautiously. These have very complex behavior but almost no brains or other nervous tissue. Yet their unbrains control six multiply-joined legs (any robotics engineer will tell you that this is a massive problem), and allow them to fly precisely, also a very difficult problem. They know just how to chew wood fiber to make a paste from which they know how to construct complex nests. They know how and when to mate, which is not a simple a process. The same barely existent nervous system operates various senses and interprets the resulting data, which also isn’t easy. They find food, inform the others of its location, and navigate effortlessly over long distance.


Even worse than hornets: Here you see very little ant, and very little of very little ant consists of nervous tissue. Yet they too build nests, control legs,  and senses, and digestive organs, find food, care for young, and lots more. It takes an evolutionist not to suspect that something is going on that we do not understand. Another ant might notice, but not an evolutionist.

Yet hornets are pointy-headed intellectuals compared to pharaoh ants, above, those super-tiny picnic abominations of which several would fit on a hornet’s eye. They too have complex social organization and so on—with hardly any neurons. In general, the behavior of social insects is probably more complex than that of whales. It is inexplicable, or at least unexplained.

Metamorphosis: You Can’t Get There from Here

Straight-line evolution, for example in which Eohippus gradually gets larger until it reaches Clydesdale, is plausible because each intervening step is a viable animal. Darwin himself pointed this out. In fact it is just selective breeding. Yet many evolutionary transformations seem to require intermediate stages that could not survive. Metamorphosis in insects is perhaps the most baffling example.

Consider. There are two-cycle bugs that lay eggs that hatch into tiny replicas of the adults, which grow, lay eggs, and repeat the cycle. The four-cycle bugs go through egg, larva, pupa, adult. Question: What are the viable steps needed to evolve from two-cycle to four-cycle? Or from anything to four-cycle?

Here I am stumped. As best I can see, the eggs of the two-cycler would have to evolve toward being caterpillars, which are enormously different structurally and otherwise from adults. Goodbye legs, chitinous exoskeleton; head, thorax, and abdomen, on and on. Whatever the first mutation toward this end, the resulting newly-hatched mutant would have to be viable—able to live and reproduce until the next mutation occurred.

Let us consider this question carefully.

We begin with a two-cycle bug, that for convenience we will call a roach, which will endeavor to evolve into a bug that, also for convenience, we will assume to be a butterfly.  The roach has the insect’s standard body plan of head, thorax, and abdomen, and the usual chitinous exoskeleton. From a spirit of charity we will assume that it is a flying roach to give it a head start toward butterflyhood.

To achieve that exalted end, our roach would first have to evolve into a caterpillar–that is, a larval form. It is difficult to see how this could occur at all, or why. To become a caterpillar, our roach would have to lose its jointed legs, exoskeleton, and body plan. Since not even the most hopeful evolutionist could attribute such sweeping changes to one mutation, the transformation would have to proceed by steps involving at least several and probably many mutations. Losing the exoskeleton would leave it unarmored and unable to walk, not an obvious selective advantage. Or do we believe that head, thorax, and abdomen first merged mediated by a long chain of accidental mutations under mysterious selective pressures , and then it lost its exoskeleton and became, well– bait?

But if these things did happen, they would lead to a free-standing race of caterpillars, a new species, necessarily being able to reproduce. Then, for reasons mysterious to me, these would have to decide to pupate and become butterflies. And the butterfly would have to lay eggs that became caterpillars.

Which could not possibly work. Metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly is enormously complex and if you don’t get it right the first time, it’s curtains. It would depend on a great many steps which would have to appear simultaneously. First, our caterpillar would have to use its spinnerets (of mysterious provenance, but never mind) to make a cocoon, in which which would proceed to die because it hadn’t yet evolved metamorphosis. Why a caterpillar would think of doing this is not clear. To turn successfully into a butterfly, it would need the biochemical machinery to transform a mushy, legless, wingless, head-thorax-abdomenless worm into an utterly different creature. Where would it have gotten the impossibly complex genetic blueprint of the butterfly?

Methinks something is going on that we do not understand.  

Note that the questions posed by these bugs are not merely pleasant musings on a slow afternoon. Either the Theory of Evolution can explain them, or the theory fails. The problem is usually referred to as that of Irreducible Complexity, the requirement that a great many mutations each of no value in itself, or actually harmful, appear simultaneously to create a given outcome.

Irreducible Complexity

This term, implied in the foregoing, refers to the frequently observed existence in living organisms of systems that depend for their functioning on the simultaneous presence of things that would be either useless or detrimental by themselves. Thus all parts of an irreducibly comples system would have to appear at once, which meakes no evolutionary sense. For example, none of the individual steps of the bot fly’s complicated behavior with its mosquito would be of any value unless all the others were also present. This is irreducible complexity: take away any part and the system fails. The problem was noticed long ago:

If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

Just so. But modern carriers of the evolutionary flame insist that irreducible complexity does not exist. If this is true, then in principle any biological system can be simplified step by step back to its origins in the primeval seas without producing  intermediate stages that could not survive. An attempt to do this with a complex animal, a giraffe say, would immediately bog down in murk and multitudinous variables and endless argument. We might start instead with a cell. Even this would be difficult to the point, I suspect, of choking in discord. Let us then deal only with the mechanism of protein synthesis–DNA, RNA, mRNA, tRNA, nuclear bases, transcription, and translation. These are well understood and not impossibly complex. It should not be difficult to simplify the ensemble stepwise back to the level of elements–if protein synthesis is not irreducibly complex.

The advantage of looking for IC in a system using comparatively few components, all of whose structures are  understood, is that one avoids being caught in the confusions of clotting cascades, flagella, metamorphosis in insects, and retinal chemistry. It is probably true that if irreducible complexity exists in protein synthesis, it cannot be hidden and that, if it does not exist, its absence should be unmistakable.  The latter result would not rule out IC in other things but, given the fundamentality of protein synthesis, ti would be a large step in that direction.

Working backward from an existing mechanism (e.g., protein synthesis) to nonlife should be far easier than working forward from nonlife to an existing mechanism. To work forward one must reinvent each step in what presumably was a complex process of evolution. In working backward one already has the mechanism and does not have to invent it, only simplify a tiny bit at a time. By establishing a path backward to the simple inorganic chemicals of the primeval seas, unevolving backward so to speak, we would also establish a path forward from nonliving to living. Thus we would demonstrate unequivocally a pathway from nonlife to life, though the probability would remain uncertain.  

Let us begin by trying to imagine just how the simplification of protein synthesis might be carried out. Could we reduce the number of nucleotides per codon from three to two? This would allow coding  only sixteen amino acids with no STOPs or STARTs. Can it be demonstrated in the laboratory, or shown on paper, that this arrangement would give a functioning, reproducing organism? If not, the three-nucleotide codon, and thus presumably the genetic code, would seem to be irreducibly complex. If this is not true, why is it not true?

Can we eliminate transcription and go directly to translation? Might we eliminate enzymes–RNA polymerase, that sort of thing–to find the viable configuration immediately preceding the current one in evolution? Can protein synthesis be accomplished without enzymes? Surely  this can be done, as otherwise one would have to believe that the present system of synthesis sprang whole into being–i.e., is irreducibly complex.

What can we simplify? Nothing, it would seem

Now let us consider DNA itself. It is a fairly complex molecule, yet its structure and function are well known. Surely it must be possible to simplify it to the previous form it had as it evolved toward its present complexity, while still providing a viable organism. This would be impossible only if it were irreducibly complex. What changes might we make as we try to find the compound from which our familiar DNA evolved? Can the phosphate be removed, and perhaps be replaced by something simpler? Or be done without? The pentose? Purines and pyrimidines replaced by–what? Doubtless a molecular biologist can light the way.

Unless it cannot be done at all.


The Two Cop-Outs

Traits often arise for which there is no good evolutionary explanation. Evolutionists here have two escape hatches, (1) conservation of energy, and (2) sexual selection. For example, if one points out that humans are weak and would be more survivable if they were as strong as, say, chimpanzees, the response is that having larger muscles would require a higher caloric intake to maintain them, and lead to starvation if there were a drought. Sexual selection: If peacocks have hugely conspicuous tails that would attract predators, the explanation is that all the girls love a good tail, so the guy leaves more children. Let’s look at these notions.

Conservation of energy. Human beings are conspicuous in the natural world for being weak and slow, and for having poor senses of smell and hearing. Why? Evolutionists have multiple stories. One is that because humans walk upright, they can see farther on open veldt and thus have substituted vision for other senses that just are not necessary.

This makes no sense which, as so often in matters evolutionary, doesn’t matter. Obviously being able to detect approaching predators at night by smell would be a great advantage. Lions are the color of dirt and dead vegetation and take advantage of both. Horses, which have good vision, and eyes at about the level of a human’s, have an excellent sense of smell. This story doesn’t live up even to the usual evolutionary standard of vague plausibility.

Another explanation of the poor olfaction of humans is that a more acute sense would require larger olfactory regions in the brain and, since a surprisingly large proportion of the body’s energy is expended by the brain, these larger olfactory regions would increase the need for food and cause starvation in time of famine.

Does this make sense? No.

Consider. Rats have a much better sense of smell than do humans, which they use in finding what they regard as food. A rat’s brain weighs two grams, a human’s about 1350. Let us assume that a rats entire brain is dedicated to smell, which of course it isn’t. Adding all of a rat’s brain to the human would increase its size from 1350 to 1352 grams, an increase of 2/1350 or .15%, Since the brain uses 15% of a human’s energy budget, the overall increase in energy requirements is 2/1350 X 100 X .15, or .02%. Not 2%, but .02%. This minute increase cannot possibly offset the advantages of an acute sense of smell.

The same reasoning applies to other sense, such as hearing. And of course people already have olfactory regions. They just don’t do much.

Sexual selection Another way of explaining things that otherwise make no sense is “sexual selection.” Many things would seem to work against survival, yet persist in nature: huge antlers not usable in combat, the gorgeous tails of peacocks, and large breasts in humans, among many others. Why do women have conspicuous breasts? They are not needed to produce adequate milk, and they are a substantial physical disadvantage in running (thus we have sports bras). One would expect them to disappear.


These things are useless for defense as the animal would have to stand on its head to present them to an enemy. They cannot help balance or speed. We are to believe that they serve as sexual attractants because otherwise they are inexplicable. (I favor option B.)  Since it is unlikely that headgear so glorious sprang from a point mutation, they must have begun as mere bumps. And all the girls swooned?

The answer is sexual selection: men are attracted to large breasts, so those women with them mate and have more children. This suggests that women with modest endowments will have trouble getting laid, which in turn suggests that evolutionists need to get out more.

The problems with sexual selection are twofold. First is that sexual selection requires a pre-existing attraction to large breasts. Otherwise in a cave society when the first woman through mutation appeared with big ones, we would hear one cave man say to another, “Geez, Urk Urk, what’s wrong with Sally?” “Beats, me, Ralph. Maybe it’s cancer.” But why would there be a preference for large breasts when there were no large breasts to prefer?

The second problem is that  if sexual selection favored large breasts, by now most women would have them, which visibly is not the case. (Again, compare Greek statues of 2500 years ago look like us.) And of course when the sexually-selected trait became general in the population, it would cease to be of advantage.

The Problem of Consciousness

While consciousness seems the defining characteristic of life, (“I am conscious, therefore I am.”) or at least of the higher forms of animal life, it cannot be derived from physics. It cannot even be detected. Are ants conscious–or, for that matter, rocks? Are dogs less conscious than people, and ants less conscious than dogs.? Or are they just less intelligent? How could we tell? The questions may seem silly, but they are not. They are tied up with our ability to make decisions, which physics says we cannot. Again, our brains, which are physical systems, cannot act on decisions any more than a dropped bowling ball can decide to fall sideways.

Here is something outside of physics, and therefore outside of evolution, which must be ignored, and is.

There Must Be a Virus

When people have engaged in bitter ideological war over a theoretical ship dear to them, they tend to overlook the cracks and stains and leaks in the planking. Evolutionism is full of such. An unaffiliated skeptic can point them out in droves.

In evolution, traits which conduce to survival, and thus to the passing on of genes, are supposed to flourish, while traits that work against this happy passing on, or simply do nothing, are supposed to be eliminated. Does this happen?

Often, yes. Not infrequently, no.

An obvious problem is male homosexuality. Homosexuals seldom have children. How does not passing on one’s genes contribute to passing on one’s genes?  The condition would seem to be a prime candidate for elimination by evolution, yet it has apparently been with us forever. If this cannot be explained away, then something is wrong with the theory in at least this case.

Here evolutionists fall back on their Maginot Line, vague plausibility. For example Greg Cochran, a physicist of immoderate pomposity at the University of Utah, says that a virus causes homosexuality. The evidence for this virus? Homosexuality. Yet the chief characteristic of the virus unfortunately seems to be indetectability: No one can find it. Without this virus, the evolution would fail, at least at this point.  Therefore a virus must, must, must exist. We infer reality from the needs of our theory.

Other reproductive traits suffer from similar inexplicability: what are the  reproductive value of suicide, masochism, sadism, schizophrenia, and so on? Should these not be filtered from the gene pool? Must we invoke viruses to explain these too? Schizophrenia: A Neanderthal who thought that the CIA put transmitters in his teeth and tried to shake hands with Kodiak bears might limit his reproductive opportunities. While a suicide who blows himself up with a bomb may be said to be disseminating his DNA, it serves little reproductive purpose. Yet all of these things have been with us forever.

I therefore propose the existence of a virus for each of these peculiarities. And perhaps one for sun spots.

Again, the problem is Domain Bloat, insisting that one’s theory explain what it can explain but also what it can’t.

Next, consider pain. If you step on broken glass, it hurts, so you stop doing it, and don’t end up crippled and eaten by wolves, and so you can pass on your genes upon encountering an amiable maiden. This makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is the agonizing pain caused by many circumstances about which, pre-medicine, the victim could do nothing. Kidney stones, for example, are paralyzingly painful. A choroidal hemorrhage, behind the retina, is hideous. The agony has no utility since the premodern sufferer could do nothing about it. For that matter, the contribution of migraines to survival is not apparent, as a person rolling on the ground and clutching his head would seem vulnerable to ingestion. On and on. Why the abundant pain receptors with no function? Why do they not, like Marx’s state, wither away?

Perhaps instead of asking, “How does evolution explain a thing?” we should occasionally ask “Does evolution explain it?”

Impossible, Impossibler, Impossiblest


Clear examples of things outside the domain of physics are morality, right and wrong, Good and Evil. A Darwinist cannot say that some things are intrinsically wrong. “Wrong” cannot be derived from physics. Instead he must show that moral behavior exists because it promotes the passing on of genes. Thus I nurse my brother back to health when he has a broken leg because together we can protect ourselves and our women better and thus pass on our genes.

This of course runs into all sorts of problems. In Moslem countries, “honor kills” are thought acceptable: killing one’s daughter on discovering that she had engaged in sex before marriage (thus offering to pass on her, and her father’s, genes, but never mind). In Christian countries, this is called “first-degree murder,” and likely results in Dad’s sitting in a funny chair with wires running to it. Are we to believe that Moslem genomes contain a kill-daughter gene? Or is the obvious  explanation, culture, to blame?

It is interesting that evolutionists do not believe their own doctrine. Suppose a Darwinist found out that my hobby was using a blowtorch to torture to death children with severe genetic retardation. He would be horrified.

“Why?” I would ask. “We certainly do not want them passing on their extremely defective genes. Caring for them expends resources that would be better spent in raising more children to pass on our genes. Torturing them has no more evolutionary meaning than killing them instantly. Actually, all I am doing is terminating certain chemical reactions and allowing others to begin. What then is your objection?”

His objection would of course be that torturing children is wrong. But, again, “wrong” doesn’t exist within the domain of physics, and so of Darwinism. Domain bloat.

There is Something Else involved. I do not know what.

More on Eugenics: What Fun


Appalachian white trash, presenting obvious neurological deficits consequent to inbreeding. A clear argument for eugenics.

Most considerations of eugenics, before wobbling off into discussions of Hitler, deal with intelligence and physical characteristics, notably health and strength. By those who constitute the best argument for eugenics, eugenics is usually interpreted as a means of oppressing the poor, maltreating the more bedraggled minorities, and euthanizing the retarded. Most commentators on the matter would be endangered by the latter, so I understand their concern.

However, behavior may be a more important field for eugenic consideration. Herewith a few ruminations, offering more questions than answers. See what you think.

Most of the gravest problems facing humanity today have existed since at forever. War, crime, genocide and its approximations, the desire for conquest, lust for power, and a nonsensical pursuit of unusable wealth. We often blame these on proximate causes that seem to make sense at the moment. Currently for example, the Chinese are evil, Iran wants to blow us up, Russia plans to conquer Europe, and ISIS threatens our existence. These reasons, it is now evident, are pretexts for the expression of unwholesome instincts. The Romans honestly conquered for empire and booty, the Americans in the name of Manifest Destiny, the Israelis for lebensraum. We always invent a reason. When cats hunt mice for thousands of years, one may suspect that it is built in. We fight because fighting is what we do. 

A crucial point: A great deal of behavior is unmistakably genetic. Babies nurse, toddlers of two raise hell, teenagers rebel and copulate, men of thirty get into bar fights and women don’t.

Genetic behavior goes beyond this into psychological orientation. Dogs are a biological species (or close enough for present purposes). Subspecies of dogs, the parallel of human races, differ genetically in personality and intelligence. Pit bulls and Border Collies are not the same. Within a subspecies, such as German Shepherds, strains can be bred easily for aggressiveness or its absence. Things like pack behavior and barking at strangers exist apart from training or culture. They are innate.

Among humans, individual differences in intelligence and character obviously exist, and any amount of evidence, such as twin studies, suggests strongly that the reasons are substantially genetic.

Philosophical tendencies seem also to be innate. For example, two major  behavioral types–subsubspecies if you will–are liberals and conservatives. These display sharply opposed leanings which almost always occur together. Conservatives see life in terms of struggle, danger, tend to believe in authority, form tribal groups to fight other tribal groups, express strong loyalty to their own groups but have no empathy for others. These qualities, ideal for armies and primitive tribes, are found almost universally among military officers. Liberals across the board are opposite.

Both groups derive their outlooks from the same evidence–the world–and since there is not logical connection between the various traits, genetic causation seems probable.

“Assortative mating,” the tendency for people to marry those similar to themselves, is well known. The intelligent strongly tend to marry each other. There may be political parallels. For example, one does not readily imagine Ann Coulter wedding Michael Moore. Liberals may marry liberals, and conservatives, conservatives, thus aggravating both conditions.

Here we come to genetic manipulation, rapidly moving toward practicality. This is not the place to discuss evolving techniques, (though here), but they assuredly exist. Genetic manipulation hasn’t happened before because the underlying biochemistry was not understood, nor the necessary instrumentation existent. Design is becoming possible, not just by the obvious but politically sensitive use of sperm banks but also, soon, and much faster, by altering DNA. The Chinese are actively working on modifying human embryos for medical purposes.

What I am getting at is that soon, maybe in fifteen years but certainly in fifty, we are going to face the question:

Do we redesign ourselves, or don’t we?

For many people, I among them, the idea is distinctly spooky, encompassing what we think we are, the meaning if any of life, and whether we want to be a race of designer poodles. On the other hand, do we want to go on amid ever-advancing technology with our accustomed slaughter of millions, torture, crime, corruption, and exploitation?

Just now of course no one knows very well what genes control what behavior, or whether all behavior is genetically determined, but this won’t last. Then what? Almost certainly resistance to manipulation will fade as it becomes possible to edit out diseases of genetic origin. This having worked, it will be hard to resist amplifying intelligence. Then…if there are genes for psychopathy, well…I mean, do we really need Ted Bundys? And we are off and running.

Suppose hypothetically that a small number of genes were found to control combativeness. Would it be a good idea to edit the trait out? This presumably would end wars, military budgets, violent crime, and bar fights. If these or other genes caused anti-social behavior, such as burglary and embezzlement, we could end locked doors and police departments. Good idea? Yes? No ? Why?

Of course people designed to be pacific might be at the mercy of those not so designed. A trait highly desirable if universal might be  less so if spotty. We might be sculpting ourselves as sheep in a world of wolves.

Complicating things is that what will at first be inefficiently done only in high-end labs will filter down and down until it can be done easily almost anywhere. Remember when computers were exotic? When only Dick Tracy had the two-way wrist radio? Today, at least within a country, various techniques and lines of research can be controlled or forbidden by governments. This won’t continue. True, we are unlikely to see mail-order Design-Your-Dog kits any time soon. How long is any time soon?

Further, while one country may follow ethical guidelines, or what it regards as ethical guidelines, others may not. Countries that build multi-megaton hydrogen bombs for the explicit purpose of incinerating cities are unlikely to balk at, say, making soldiers of unlimited ferocity and endurance. (Adolf was into that.)

Since controlling them after you built them would be difficult, and given that militaries are moving toward automation of killing, more likely is the breeding–not exactly the right word–of more intelligent engineers. As China develops, the US faces a nation with some five times as many potential engineers. Will countries be forced into the competitive production of smarter scientists as they now compete in the design of supercomputers? Tell me why not.

Interesting question: If manageable numbers of genes are found that increase intelligence, or specific components of intelligence, how much would they increase it? An augmentation of ten or fifteen points of IQ would result in people more or less like ourselves. Fifty or a hundred points would produce almost another species that might regard us as food or detritus to be eliminated.

Skynet or Bionet?

If you think all of this crazy, reflect that gene editing of animals is done now and except for ethical considerations not shared by everyone, the same could be done with humans.  As noted, various groups work on modifying human embryos, killing them after a certain number of days.(Nature:  “Second Chinese team reports gene editing in human embryos.” Subhead: “Study used CRISPR technology to introduce HIV-resistance mutation into embryos.”)

Within a decade or so, this is going to be a big deal. Watch.


Continuity is comforting. The sun rises, the value of pi remains unchanged, businesses burn, cars are smashed, and rioters with the minds of children and the hormones of adults throw bricks at the police. All in good fun.

These incidents seem to come at shorter intervals. In characteristic confusion, in Milwaukee the mob believed that the dead man was shot in the back when the body-cam video show that he was raising a pistol toward the policeman (Milwaukee, Wisconsin ). Either they can’t read, don’t read, don’t have access to the internet, or don’t care. As usual, sixty years after Brown vs. the School Board they shout in illiterate semi-English.

It isn’t working. The racial thing, I mean. The hunting of whites, beatings of whites, calls for attacks on whites. In the age of cell phones, the media can hide only so much.

To avoid admitting that we are seeing a racial insurgency, the media insist that the police are the problem.  They are not. Blacks are unmistakably gripped by a powerful racial hatred of white people. If the police were perfect, nothing would change.


Teen neighbor charged with capital murder in slaying of burned elderly veteran” Why is this not racism, or even reprehensible, whereas describing this jewel as what he is results in being fired? “(Birmingham police lieutenant Sean) Edwards said that the preliminary investigation shows the suspect and the victim had an argument, before the victim was doused with gasoline and set on fire.”

In Milwaukee the policeman who shot the criminal was himself black–yet the mob specifically attacked whites. A woman screamed in fluent dey-be-he-be that blacks should burn the suburbs of whites. I saw this on  the video, but now read that CNN has cut that part. If you don’t admit that you have cancer, it will go away.

Perennial problems come in two flavors, those that we can’t solve and those that we won’t solve. For example the war on Afghanistan could be ended simply by bringing the troops home. We just choose not to do it.

I can think of no way to solve the country’s racial disaster. Can you?

Ritual chantings about racism, discrimination, white privilege, institutional racism, and so on are neither a program nor a solution. (Incidentally, why is “Kill Whitey” not racist?) Neither is documenting the intense racism of blacks, interracial-rape ratios, crime, and low scores on promotional examinations.

For the moment, let us assume that all of the complaints of blacks and their allies are correct. All right. We have done that. Now what?

There seems to be no solution. The underlying problem that will not go away is that blacks as a race have not shown themselves able to function in a modern society. Degrees and exceptions yes, but the central fact remains. One is not supposed to say this, and would that it were not true, but it is.

In particular they have lagged far behind academically. Attribute causation as you wish. The condition remains. It has proved impervious to every conceivable social program. For this reason affirmative action has become an entitlement rather than an entry point. For this reason the blacks in the blighted cities will never be employable. Everything works against them, most potently  their own attitudes. Joblessness rises among better qualified whites. Obama brings in more Latinos to compete with blacks.

Further, those in the ghettos show little disposition either to study or to work. This also is an obvious truth that one must not utter. A Mexican woman will work as a maid until she figures out something better; a black woman will not. A young Salvadoran man will make his way up Central America, through Mexican police likely to beat him, ride the Train of Death to the US border, and sneak into a country whose language he does not understand to work construction and send money back to his family. A black in Chicago won’t buy a Greyhound ticket to the same job. Yes, there are reasons. A condition does not go way merely because there is a reason for it.

It isn’t working.

Does anyone, black or white, man or woman, Left or Right, see any hope of change? Apparently not, since discussion consists entirely of vituperation. Squalling about conservative racism or liberal hypocrisy does nothing at all to change anything at all. Blacks, the only ones who could render their schools orderly, or make their children do their homework, or persuade their women to essay matrimony, do not.

The cultural divide appears unbridgeable. Blacks are a self-aware, aggrieved, and angry people widely apart from the civilization of whites. They have little desire for assimilation and indeed actively reject it. In Mexico, blacks speak normal Spanish and, in France, normal French. In America, Dat be actin’ white. They give their children strange names, Latoyota and Keeshawn, to maintain distance from whites. Their music is both frequently obscene and frequently hostile to whites. “Acting white,” as for example by studying, is punitively disdained. This is not headed for comfortable multicultural commensalism.

The core of blackness seems to consist of, first, a belief that all of their travails spring from the malignity of whites and, second, that whites owe it to them to solve their problems.

In politics, the focus is entirely on cosmetics. For example, Obama has ordered the Justice Department to use “justice-involved youth” instead of “juvenile delinquent,” and to cease using the word “Negro.” How this will improve literacy in the ghetto is not clear. He wants schools to suspend black and white students proportionately, being unhappy that blacks are suspended at higher rates. His is the quintessential black point of view:  Everything springs from racism, of which blacks don’t have any, and the solution is a federal regulation.

Obama never says that black kids ought to study more or that black women ought to behave responsibly in childbearing. He clearly believes them incapable of it, a position is indistinguishable from that of the KKK. They both seem to be right.

Why should things be otherwise? Blacks have no roots in European civilization, nor in African, if any  Slavery decultured the slaves, leading to a free-floating miasma of American blacknism. This is unfortunate, which changes nothing.The denomination “African-American” serves more to separate them from whites than to link them to Africa. American African might be more realistic.

The racial experiment has failed. We must not say so, but I suspect that most of us know it. To admit it would be to concede the unspeakable. The horrible question arises again: What now?

It is apparent that nothing of any use in going to be done and probably that nothing can be done. The police? Pulling all police out of black neighborhoods would end complaints of racism by cops. It would also leave the ghettos utterly controlled by criminals. Take your choice.

The calls for the burning of white neighborhoods do not bode well. Whites often are well armed. Gun sales are way up. Men I know have no desire to shoot anyone but will do so if their homes are threatened.

What now? The Fergusons, Baltimores, and Milwaukees may calm down, but if they do, the underlying situation will not change. Nobody seems to have any more idea than I do what to do about it, which is no idea at all.

What now?