In a Chatter of Laughter

This was the first thing Mark had been asked to do which he himself, before he did it, clearly knew to be criminal. But the moment of his consent almost escaped his notice; certainly, there was no struggle, no sense of turning a corner. There may have been a time in the world’s history when such moments fully revealed their gravity, with witches prophesying on a blasted heath or visible Rubicons to be crossed. But, for him, it all slipped past in a chatter of laughter, of that intimate laughter between fellow professionals, which of all earthly powers is strongest to make men do very bad things before they are yet, individually, very bad men.

CS Lewis, That Hideous Strength

Los Lonely Seniors

Robin Hanson:

In the United States, a million and a half adults are under the care of guardians, either family members or professionals, who control some two hundred and seventy-three billion dollars in assets.… [A] quarter of guardianship petitions in New York were brought by nursing homes and hospitals, sometimes as a means of collecting on overdue bills.

More childless, unmarried, and debt-ridden young people today means even more seniors tomorrow who are not just residents but wards of nursing homes and other facilities. (How many family-less Millennials will have enough savings to fork out $90,000 a year for a nursing home?)

But the greater cost is social and emotional, not economic. “Social isolation is a growing epidemic—one that’s increasingly recognized as having dire physical, mental and emotional consequences. Since the 1980s, the percentage of American adults who say they’re lonely has doubled from 20 percent to 40 percent.” “Childlessness has a particularly powerful effect on the probability of isolation.” Family-less seniors will be among the hardest hit. (They already are, here and elsewhere.)

In comparison with our ancestors, who overcame war, famine, and plague, we are incalculably impoverished.

Day Bidet #15

Lavertezzo, Switzerland

Seven days, seven links (ein bisschen spät!):

  1. “[L]arge gathering, big auditorium, event-driven church expressions have been revealed to be very fragile during seasons of pandemic. Consequently, one thing seems clear: we are being called to a more solitary, contemplative, and monastic journey.”
  2. I’ve updated the Health page to include this excellent list of fruits and vegetables (and fungi) by potentially harmful compound. (Related: “[A] decimal point error appears to have misled millions into believing that spinach is a good nutritional source of iron.”)
  3. “Your children don’t need to see all of the latest hit movies and TV series.” (Related: “It’s the best life imaginable.” Related: “Public schools are literal prisons for children and the only time many people will ever encounter physical violence in their lives.”)
  4. “This is decades of people correctly seeing it coming … being told all the way they were being completely paranoid.” (Language warning. Related. Related.)
  5. “[Y]oung people are not abandoning religion but reinventing it to suit their own lifestyles.”
  6. “Florida Woman Took Dishwashing Job So She Could Visit Husband with Alzheimer’s During Pandemic”
  7. “If you think of God as a great city you have to explore, it was like, every street I walked down, there was Jesus waiting for me.”

More:

You can’t trust the experts. You can’t trust the experts. You can’t trust the experts.

“It may then be easiest to understand high places not as a reference to temporal space, but to a ‘higher’ theological place.”

Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Demon World. Demon World. Demon World. Demon World.

“[S]cientists are often tempted to transform what is really only a useful but limited method into a complete metaphysics.” (Related.)

Self-control is highly heritable. (Related.)

“Did God play mind games with His people Israel by giving them confusing prophecies and then sending a Messiah who did not fulfill them, at least not at that time?”

Lydia McGrew on Skeptics of the Resurrection

Image

The strength of the evidence can often be seen by looking at the lengths to which the skeptic must go to explain away that evidence rather than taking seriously the hypothesis that springs to mind. Hence, rather than take seriously the possibility of the resurrection, the skeptic must hypothesize that the women went to the wrong tomb and the persecutor Paul had some inexplicable fit on the road to Damascus that just happened to make him think Jesus was talking to him and that the Christians were right and the eleven disciples all just happened to have a coordinated mass hallucination of Jesus eating, being tangible, and talking to all of them at once, repeatedly, over a forty day period and James just happened to have a similar hallucination and…You get the picture.

Lydia McGrew, “There are no slippery prior probabilities”

They’ll Believe Anything

Neighbors Get Anonymous "Warning" Over Yard Sign

[I]t’s the educated reader who can be gulled. All our difficulty comes with the others. When did you meet a workman who believes the papers? He takes it for granted that they’re all propaganda and skips the leading articles. He buys his paper for the football results and the little paragraphs about girls falling out of windows and corpses found in May-fair flats. He is our problem. We have to recondition him. But the educated public, the people who read the highbrow weeklies, don’t need reconditioning. They’re all right already. They’ll believe anything.

CS Lewis, That Hideous Strength

Day Bidet #14

Seven days, seven links:

  1. “A Short Defense of the Resurrection of the Christ”
  2. “The white man will not be our equal but our slave.” (Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related.)
  3. “Knowledge of these difficulties in copying … should rule out altogether hypotheses according to which any of the synoptic authors were literally editing and grafting together earlier sources in anything like a complex literary manner.”
  4. Pro-soldier, anti-war is the way to go. (Related. Related: “Democrats are laying the groundwork for revolution right in front of our eyes.”)
  5. “[P]astors have already heard directly or indirectly from around one-fourth of the members that they do not plan to return at all.”
  6. Good music. (Related. Related.)
  7. “As the atheist, Nobel-laureate physicist Steven Weinberg said, ‘The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.’ The scientific gaze strips the world of value.”

More:

“A Democrat operative is telling all about the massive voter fraud operation deployed to rig elections for Democrats through paying homeless voters off, taking advantage of the elderly, posing as registered voters, and printing up fake ballots.” (Related. Related.)

“Today, we are excited to announce the release of a 5-part podcast series with N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird called The New Testament in Its World.”

“The Venn diagram of journos who bought and peddled the Iraq WMD hoax, the Rolling Stone UVA rape hoax, the Russian collusion hoax, the Covington hoax, the Kavanaugh hoax, the Ukraine hoax, and the latest Atlantic hoax is a single circle. Take note of who’s inside it.” (Related. Related. Related. Related.)

“The first century BCE–CE Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria clearly notes that more than one synagogue existed in Rome during Augustus’s reign.”

“One has no choice but to rely on experts and authorities, but if the path to becoming an expert authority filters out anyone who doesn’t give full support to the consensus or mainstream view, then one has to start taking risks with outsiders with contrary views, and most of these are unreliable cranks, kooks, crackpots, etc.” (Related.)

“With [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not be so.”

We Can Drink Death Like Water

If He is what He claimed to be, a Savior, a Redeemer, then we have a virile Christ and a leader worth following in these terrible times; One Who will step into the breach of death, crushing sin, gloom and despair; a leader to Whom we can make totalitarian sacrifice without losing, but gaining freedom, and Whom we can love even unto death. We need a Christ today Who will make cords and drive the buyers and sellers from our new temples; Who will blast the unfruitful fig tree; Who will talk of crosses and sacrifices and Whose voice will be like the voice of the raging sea. But He will not allow us to pick and choose among His words, discarding the hard ones, and accepting the ones that please our fancy. We need a Christ Who will restore moral indignation, Who will make us hate evil with a passionate intensity, and love goodness to a point where we can drink death like water.

Fulton Sheen, Life of Christ

More Fair than Dark Magic

narrow pathway near tress

Now we can see what the modern world is missing, aided by the admirable clarity of the blindsight of BLINDSIGHT. The Anarchist is rightfully devoted to destroying everything in the world, including himself, if in fact there were no truth, goodness, nor beauty in the world, or no way to achieve them. If we are all just programmed meat machines, suicide is the noblest option.

But if there is beauty, even it is ineffable, something never to be captured in words, a mystic feeling elusive as a ghost, then the Occultist is right to eschew all talk of truth and virtue, and right to tolerate any man’s approach to the inapproachable.

But if there is truth, even if it is hard and cold and tinged with bronze, the Cultist is right to impose it on the world, no matter the cost in human suffering, and let all competing truths and claims of other virtues be damned. The only beauty is what serves the Cause.

But if there is virtue, then men must get along with each other, and also go along with each other just enough to maintain the public weal. The talk of truth can be tolerated as long as no violence is done in its name, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

But if there is magic, then there is a force in the world which sets the standard of truth and beauty and goodness, and bright magic is both more fair than dark magic, and merits our loyalty. Each man must find that light for himself, because no authority is to be trusted.

But if there are miracles, and I mean miracles from God, then there is an authority, a divine and loving Father who has both the natural authority of a parent and of a creator and of king. If one of those miracles is the Resurrection, then to all these other claims of authority, the divine can also claim the most romantic authority of all: the authority earned by merit. Christ has authority because he earned it by suffering the quest to the bitter end, and rescuing the fair bride from the red dragon. The crown of thorns is his reward.

If there are miracles, there is at once truth and beauty and goodness, for all these flow from the same source.

John C. Wright, “Transhumanism and Subhumanism”

Day Bidet #13

Seven days, seven links:

  1. “[T]he ascension of Christ is far more important than a brief footnote to the resurrection.”
  2. “[S]chools of education … sought to make education about ‘consciousness raising’ and instilling a ‘critical conscioussness’ into children as an educational priority.” Most schools are indoctrination camps. Homeschool your kids! (Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related.)
  3. “[T]he dominant influence agents—media, parents, government, schools, peers—do not seek to develop a biblical worldview among those they influence.”
  4. “[T]he conformists to ideological fashions of today also erroneously imagine themselves to be some beleaguered minority of independent thinkers and heroes fighting against … The Man keeping them down. … When in reality, they are the very mechanism of the system’s power. They are The Man.” (Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related.)
  5. “Some early Christian readers of Revelation separated the economic prosperity they enjoyed as a result of Rome’s widespread trade from participation in the imperial cult. But here in Revelation 17-18, everyone who thrived from Rome’s economic power will weep and mourn [when] the empire is finally judged.”
  6. “Only irresponsible barbarians can have as an objective the rejection of this invaluable treasure which is so critical to the betterment of our humanity.” (Related. Related. Related. Related. Related.)
  7. “[W]hen the Voice arrives, it doesn’t act as the Eye would, it doesn’t force or compel Frodo. Rather, the Voice sets Frodo free, creating space where Frodo can become aware of himself.”

More:

Lots of respect for this woman. Pray for her son, her family, and for our country. (Pray also for Nick Wall and Laura Anderson and their family; Seth Smith and his family; and Kyle Rittenhouse and his family, among many others.)

Philippians 4.8 “is less about doing right and more about reflecting on and pursuing what is good and beautiful.” (Related.)

“[S]ix to 11 million Uyghur people are currently unaccounted for.” (Related. Related.)

“Despite all the Sunday school stories you heard and what they implied or stated, the synoptics never say that Jesus had never met Peter and Andrew prior to the famous ‘Follow me’ scene.” (Related.)

“Sorry New York Times, I decline to be interviewed.” Right answer. (Related. Related. Related. Related. Related. Related.)

“[T]he Jewish Revolt was precipitated and prosecuted by the king and the princes of Edessa.” (Related.)

You Can’t Trust the Experts: Brace Yourselves, Braces Are Coming

No dentist necessary

The New York Times:

On a Friday in August, I met with an anthropologist named Janet Monge in a ground-floor classroom at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia. … Since the early 1990s, she has been the keeper of one of the world’s largest and most geographically diverse collections of ancient skulls, housed at the University of Pennsylvania. … In a plastic container, Monge had placed skulls from the Middle East, West Africa, Eastern Europe and beyond. When I asked her if she’d ever seen an ancient specimen with crooked teeth, she didn’t hesitate: “No, not one. Ever.” Most of the skulls in the Penn collection date from a 40,000-year period starting late in the Stone Age and ending around 300 years ago, yet “they all have an edge-to-edge bite,” “robust” jaws and “perfect” occlusion, Monge said.

But then, in specimens from people who lived two centuries ago or less, Monge noted a striking change: The edge-to-edge bite completely disappears, and malocclusion suddenly runs rampant. She pointed to a skull on a nearby shelf — that of a woman who lived in 19th-century North America. Unlike the ancient skulls, this postindustrial woman’s maxilla was crinkled and small; the teeth that remained sat crammed together. “I always told my students, ‘Something happened 200 years ago and nobody has an edge-to-edge bite anymore — and I have no freaking idea why,’” Monge said.

(Related. Related. Related—see especially Figures 53-57 in Chapter X.)

In this case, as in many others, “Progress” has created a problem instead of solving one. Preindustrial people without dentists, braces, toothpaste, etc. had better teeth and jaw development than we do.

What’s the root (pun intended) of the problem? There are probably a few factors at play—the two orthodontists rather unfairly smeared in the NYT article above hint at some of them. Cutlery may also be a factor. As with most health issues, however, diet is almost certainly the key. Especially for children, whose jaws and teeth are still developing. (And brains. And bones. And everything else. Raise your kids on fatty meat!)

(Did your orthodontist ever mention that people didn’t used to need braces? Would orthodontists make more or less money if that fact became widely known? You can’t always trust the experts!)