Publius

The Voice of Reason. A look at contemporary philosophy and politics from outside the Left vs. Right continuum. RSS FEED

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Science is a process.

Science is a process, not a result. It is in particular a process of epistemology - it's a means of obtaining and verifying knowledge.

Anyone who is wed to a theory as opposed to the facts is not a scientist.

I've been watching Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" and there is a great episode about Johannes Kepler.

You see, Kepler's original theory was that the planets travel around the sun in perfect circles nested in perfect solids nested in other perfect circles and so on.

Kepler spent many long, frustrating years trying to match his theory to the data, but he couldn't make it work.

At one point, he decided the data he had on hand was flawed, so he sought out Tycho Brahe who had the best data on the motions of the planets.

Even with Brahe's excellent data, Kepler couldn't make his theory work.

So at long last, he gave up his theory. And in doing so, he was able to make a great scientific achievement - the first laws of planetary motion. You see, the planets travel around the sun in ellipses and only by a strict adherence to the *facts* (i.e., Brahe's data) was Kepler able to discard his error and develop the correct theory.

Now, of course it remained later for Newton to develop a theory of gravity, and for Einstein to refine it. Does this mean Kepler's ultimate theory was wrong? No. We would say it was correct in the context of his knowledge but incomplete. Kepler's laws of planetary motion are still largely correct - inside a certain error range.

Correct knowledge is *never* proven wrong later - because if you're right, your idea corresponds to reality. Reality is what it is. Your idea may be refined, enhanced, but at core it reflects something fundamental about the universe.

And that's how we have had five hundred years of continuous scientific progress, building in this way on prior discoveries.

It pains me to hear of modern "scientists" doctoring data to fit their theories, as appears to happen regularly in the "global warming" research community. These people aren't scientists - they're priests, erasing uncomfortable facts that contradict their precious religious dogma.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Murder in the US

In 2011, I calculate the overall US murder rate as 4.6 per 100,000 population.

But if you recalculate this, and assumed that black men murdered at the same rate as everyone else, the overall rate would drop to 1.9 out of 100,000 population. That would give the United States the 147th highest murder rate in the world - or, the 60th best.

The insane disproportionate murder rate among US blacks is why the overall US murder rate seems so high.

I don't understand why liberals refuse to talk about this. I don't understand why blacks refuse to talk about this. Blacks are just as often the victim as the offender - almost SIXTY PERCENT of murder victims in the US are black. Shouldn't they care about this? Where are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to talk about this? Yet they are silent.

And it's not like this is any secret. This culture of violence, abuse of women, and plain thuggery is paraded around daily in pop music. It's glorified on TV shows like "The Wire". It's in our faces every day. And yet we evade it.

And most of this goes on in cities where guns are already illegal.

The bottom line here is that ownership of guns by the vast majority of the American public leads to absolutely no discernible difference in murder rate between the US and the other Western countries. The *entire* difference in total murder rate between the US and Europe is explained by a single, small sub-culture that glorifies violence and lives and dies by the gun.

I know, most liberals reading this have already covered their ears and are screaming "racist! racist!" to avoid having to face these facts. But this isn't about race. Most blacks in the US don't live this way.  If you went back to the 1920s and 1930s and did this same math, the gang violence would be by and against Europeans. The gangster culture did not start with inner-city blacks, but that is certainly where it thrives today.

This isn't about some random whack job being able to kill kids in a school. That's 100 deaths a year max. Tragic, yes, but absolutely nothing compared to the everyday, out of control slaughter in the "gangsta" culture. (And taking eveyone's guns away only gives us no defense against these random acts - or against garden variety thugs.)

Unless we are willing to face these facts, unless we are prepared to stand up to this anti-life culture, no bleeding-heart gun ban is going to do one single thing about the US murder rate.

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/ucr
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

Monday, January 07, 2013

Krugman: We can just print money to solve our problems


Seriously. I shit you not.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/07/be-ready-to-mint-that-coin/

The bill above is from a period of Yugoslavian hyperinflation in 1993-1994.

But Paul Krugman is arguing Obama can "sidestep" the debt ceiling negotiation by simply printing a trillion dollars.

It's nice that Krugman hasn't given up his childhood belief in magic. But in the real world of grown-ups, such thinking is dangerous.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

The Solution to Federal Spending - Tax the Rich!


Federal Spending has increased by $1 Trillion a year since Obama took office.

These are big, absurd numbers that bear no relation to most people's daily lives. So let's put it into perspective.

$1 Trillion, is a million millions.

There are 300 million people in the US. Only about half of those, 155 million, are employed.

One trillion divided by 155 million (i.e., each working person's share of the increased government spending) is $6,451. Per year, per working person.

So if you are a typical family with two wage earners, your family's share of just the *increase* in Federal spending since Obama took office is $12,903. Per year.

But the total Federal budget is actually $3.7 Trillion. Your family's share of the total Federal Budget is $47,741. Per year.

Now let's take a look at soaking the rich. (You know you want to.)

In 2011, about 6 million Americans made more than $200,000 in income that year. (1)

Let's make them pay for everything!

How much would they have to pay just to make up the $1 Trillion per year increase we've had under Obama? $166,000 per year.

How much would they have to pay to pay for all Federal Spending? $616,000.

So there you have it - problem solved! All we have to do to get free big government for all of America's "poor" is to make people earning $200,000 a year pay $616,000 a year in income taxes!
While I say this jokingly, the whole left-wing sales pitch is to trick people into thinking they can get whatever they want paid for by "the rich".The fact is, the poor and middle class bear the burden of the enormous government we have, because "the rich" don't remotely have the money to pay for a government that will take 45% of everything Americans produce this year.You go, "But I see my paycheck! My income taxes aren't that high!"

No indeed, they're not. Because the rest of the taxes that you pay are baked into prices. The price of bread. The price of gasoline. The price of medical care. Taxes on business and on the investments of "the rich" are simply passed through to the consumer, just like other business expenses like rent and electricity.OK, forget income taxes. Raising taxes on capital, surely THAT soaks the rich? Nope. Taxes on capital simply raise the cost of capital to business. Which is passed on to consumers just like every other expense.OK, forget business at all! Just directly tax the wealth of the rich! America's richest man, Warren Buffet, is worth about $50 Billion. That will pay for approximately five days of Federal government. And after you've eaten Warren Buffet, I guess you're pretty much screwed.

The Big Lie that you leftwingers have been tricked into believing, is that "the rich" can pay for all the freebies you want government to shower on you.The reality is that this simply is not possible. So what happens is that YOU pay for all this government - which impoverishes you - and then government gives some of it back to you, making government seem like God to you - to ensure that you continue to vote for the Big Government politicians.They are bribing you with your own money, and tricking you into thinking the money is coming from others, when in fact it's coming from you. And since a huge part of this spending is with borrowed money, you and your children are actually actively being sold into economic slavery by the leftwing politicians you love.Why do you think middle class real income is down even though productivity continues to improve every year? Where is all that new wealth going?To the government you love so much.

1. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/DC-Decoder/2012/0710/Obama-tax-proposal-Who-makes-more-than-250k-and-are-they-rich-video