QuickReaction, Saturday-3

Is this church finally crumbling? I haven’t paid much attention to all this pope stuff since it’s just the rituals of an obsolete institution. Of late though there is a buzz about the disconnect between the continuing huge hoard of believers and this rotting hierarchy. But is it perhaps even more corrupt than anyone can imagine? Are we witnessing something like the fall of the Soviet Union, where the hierarchy has become so corrupt and incompetent it can no longer govern at all? What would the fall of the Catholic church mean? What walls would come down? Given they’ve declared themselves infallible, how can they ever reform (become transparent, allow women in, priests to marry, fact-based theology of reproduction (where did life begins at conception come from anyway, where is that in the bible? Or is it just a declaration of a man?)). Are we witnessing something actually interesting here? This article has some of the juicier parts. But more and more it seems like tempest in a teapot and probably nothing significant will come from this event. The monster bureaucracy will roll on, continuing to rot internally, because its believers will not think openly about the institution they swear allegiance to.

Cloud computing takes another hit: Amazon has already done a good job of proving that cloud infrastructure is just as vulnerable to failure as any other, and, also when it fails the consequences are more widespread. Now Microsoft screws up a relatively simple thing and shuts a lot of people down. Folks, we have the power grid or highway system or any other “public” utility to use as reference – putting all your eggs in one basket doesn’t necessarily improve the reliability. Yes, a single IT center is vulnerable to a variety of issues that are expensive to mitigate, but a “cloud” doesn’t necessarily make these issues evaporate. When I worked at one of the main proponents of the cloud I was skeptical but it would have been hazardous to express such skepticism (yes, groupthink invades business just as much as it does government). Now maybe day by day as evidence accumulates a more realistic view will develop. Cloud computing is not a bad idea, it just isn’t the silver bullet as it’s being sold.

PZ is selective in the studies he attacks: I used to follow PZ all the time, hanging on to almost every word he wrote. Then he climbed on a soapbox and threw all objectivity out the window. I read the FoxP2 article as well and thought it was very feeble, not just in extrapolating to humans, but even in the methodology about mice. PZ adds nothing in his attack except cherry-picking some other data to make a political point. One of the pieces of dirty laundry in science is how many initial findings end up getting reversed. Of course in science the confirmation or disputing of results is what it’s all about, we don’t really “believe” something until extensive followup and/or duplication and/or contradictory studies are done (remember the faster-than-light neutrinos where the crowdsourcing fairly quickly revealed the flaw). So the more interesting thing to comment on, PZ, is not the political correctness campaign you’re on, but why science rushes to publication and then gets reversals. I’ve been critical of almost everything I find about nutrition because, frankly, most of it is wrong, and bad information, esp. trumpeted by the popular press is harmful, either directly or in impeding people to do the right thing since they have all the fad junk information. So why not talk about this, PZ? Why not find other articles that are bogus and attack them? Your outrage is getting really old and tiring.

Flimsy evidence: Since this article endorses the same silver bullet cure-alls I’m naturally skeptical, as usual, but the question really is where is the evidence? I know pop articles aren’t going to be written to satisfy peer or critical review, but when they’re written with unsourced claims and only a single source endorsing it’s easy to be skeptical. What, for example, were people saying about nutrition and dementia 20 years ago and how much of that has been sustained? If the answers weren’t the same old tired answers for the politically correct foods I wouldn’t be so skeptical but every day we get more and more evidence that not just the supplements industry but mainstream medicine is putting out bogus information just to sell products. The guys in white coats think that authority alone is enough for them to sell something. Hey, if jocks in Bud commercials are viewed skeptically, why not the white coat crowd – do we think they’re not human and manage to avoid greed. I know first-hand how pervasive the marketing to the medical establishment is. Now the kale lobby is not exactly the Kochs, but there is an investment in certain of these nutritional ideas, either ideological or pecuniary. Plus again how much is pushing higher cocoa levels in chocolate going to be like quinoa, one of those things that wreaks havoc on 3rd world countries?

Usually Tim Tebow is just a joke but now he’s standing up against the bigots? This guy is such a moron I would normally ignore any articles about him but when it comes to his cancelling an appearance at a megascamchurch it’s vaguely interesting. Apparently odious Robert Jeffress is just too much for even Tim. Just as with the Repugs when are people going to start standing up to the bullies on the right? Can the bigots say anything and everyone else is too terrified of retribution to stand up? Amazing what the tweets show, that Tebow is the one being denounced, so no wonder he was cautious about this. Even if Tebow’s motives were base (protecting his brand) standing up to the monsters on the right deserves a small pat on the back.

Had to do some research on this one: While I’m not personally enthralled with yoga I have seen it as exercise not religion so I was a little surprised when a school is being sued to stop spreading it to students. Now religion often sneaks into schools in a disguise so the left can do it just as much as the right. Since the “eastern” religions are a bit subtle it’s sometimes hard to spot the religious component but when it’s there it’s still woo just like the Hebrew mythologies. So is Ashtanga yoga religious or not (if so, it should either be cleansed of religion or not compulsory or a club or not even there at all)? By “western” standards probably not, but if you look at it from a sense of eastern religions it probably is. Undoubtedly it’s probably being pitched at new age loony “spiritualism” which is no less bad than hardcore dogmatic damnation and hellfire religion. So it will be interesting to see who wins this one.


About dmill96

old fat (but now getting trim and fit) guy, who used to create software in Silicon Valley (almost before it was called that), who used to go backpacking and bicycling and cross-country skiing and now geodashes, drives AWD in Wyoming, takes pictures, and writes long blog posts and does xizquvjyk.
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One Response to QuickReaction, Saturday-3

  1. dmill96 says:

    I’ll apologize to PZ, a little, at least when he sticks to biology. I’ve been going over his (and his citations of others’) disagreements with ENCODE and it all seems much more reasonable, as well as an even better demonstration of how science actually seeks truth through debate over facts instead of the dogma of “revealed truth”. So, please, PZ, get off your soapbox and go back to solid blogging about something you actually know about.

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