Miscellany 5: Peak Miscellany?

1) Penetrating comment by Jim:

Roosh is the only Middle Easterner banned from Britain. They fear the truth more than they fear terrorists who drive trucks into nativity scenes.

2) Speaking of Jim’s blog, from a commenter at another post,

Deep State operatives are now in a prisoner’s dilemma.

Quite. The question is, as the walls close in on the seditious FBI agents and others, who will rat out whom first? Who will be the first to run to Trump or the public with more evidence of the corruption?

Whoever comes out of the cold first will be able to cut a deal. Those who don’t…

3) Circa February 5, 2018: WordPress’s official “Recommended Posts” feature has a new release by one Kathi S. Barton. The photo has two male chests and it’s described as “M/M LBGT Erotica Paranormal Romance.” In other words, it’s gay porn.

Update: It was STILL there on February 9! Nothing ever lingers that long, usually they only last a day! So not only did WordPress decide to make this a “Recommended Post,” someone at WP is actually futzing with their algorithm to keep gay porn on their first page of results! What the fuck!?

4) Huffington Post editor: Kill All Men!

The important thing is not to let this make us forget that leftists are all about peace and tolerance.

5) Speaking of the insane hatred in the modern Left, last summer I noted that if you go out of your way to reject civilized restraints in your political movement, “you’ll constantly be in conflict with your own so-called allies, your energy will be largely diverted to attacking them and defending yourself from their attacks, and overall you’ll doom yourself to an irrelevant strife-ridden hell of your own making.”

Scott Alexander also has noticed this obvious point (see above link), and now so has Sarah Hoyt. You might recall the recent imbroglio in which pink pussy hat marchers were forced by their own even-more-radical wing to abandon the pink pussy motif. The rationale was that not all women have pussies that are pink, and, even more insanely, “not all women have vaginas” (this last thing being about trannies). Hey guys? Yeah they do. If you don’t have a vagina you’re not a woman. Hoyt notes,

Alas, the pink hats having been declared hateful, there was no escape. Besides, a movement that attracts people who are offended by everything, anything and the vaguest things, is going to have members who are offended by everything.

Quite. Or to put it even more tersely,

A movement that attracts people who are offended by everything is going to have members who are offended by everything.

6) Ending on a positive note: Elon Musk launches a car into space, proves human race not out of it yet.

Via The Dark Herald.


CLONE WARS: Stupidity on Cloning

I originally wrote this ~1997, in response to some of the more fuckwitted reactions to the Dolly the Sheep announcement. It has a couple of dated references to celebrities, which I’ve left in on the grounds that they add an element of period charm.

The idiotic commentary on cloning serves as a sharp reminder of the low intellectual level of the human species.

What follows are some of the more extremely cretinous objections raised against cloning in the weeks immediately following the Dolly announcement, along with remarks highlighting their already obvious imbecility.

1. Cloning will cause a gradual accumulation of genetic defects.


Because gene surgery, like everything else in this vale of toil and sin, will not be perfect, so mistakes will be made, and must inevitably accumulate over time. Asymptotically, the entire human race will be genetic freaks.

Here’s why this argument is moronic: First, cloning and gene surgery are not the same thing. Second, mistakes—mutations—occur all the time in nature, but they don’t accumulate over generations. (Unless they’re beneficial, in which case no prob.) Third, any society advanced enough to do gene surgery in the first place, will be advanced enough to use gene surgery to correct the mistakes made by gene surgery. Following this kind of “reasoning,” cars must be getting worse all the time, because mistakes are made sometimes, and “they must inevitably accumulate.”

2. Cloning will cause a loss of genetic diversity.


Because everyone will just copy himself.

Uh-huh. Yeah, sure. But whatever. Suppose everyone in the world elected to copy himself. Then the genetic makeup of the next generation would be exactly identical to the genetic makeup of this generation, so the level of genetic diversity would also be exactly the same. Fucking duh.

3. Cloning is like incest. (Yes, someone actually said this).

You’re an idiot.

4. Clones would be bought and sold like slaves.

If this isn’t legal for people created the traditional way, why would it be legal for clones? I’m not aware of any clause in existing laws that says “…unless the victim is a clone.” And if there were such clauses, the thing to do would be to eliminate them, not to outlaw cloning. Argument a la mode: “Women are sometimes raped! Therefore we must outlaw… women!”

5. Corporations would own cloned children because they’d be perfect workers, or something.

See above. And if you’re not a perfect worker, a clone of you wouldn’t be either.

6. Cloning violates a person’s right to be unique.

Oh, now there’s “a right to be unique.” WTF?

Round up all parents who have twins or triplets, and string ‘em up.

7. Cloning raises tough questions about the nature of free will.

Like what?

8. The rich would be able to afford it and the poor wouldn’t.

I suppose if you’re a socialist this seems self-evidently a bad thing. The response from the rest of us: Yeah, so? The entire point of being rich is being able to afford lots of goodies. Furthermore, if you really think it’s unacceptable for anyone to be able to afford stuff other people can’t (and if you have a touching faith in government programs) your argument does not support outlawing cloning; it supports making it an entitlement.

9. It’s like Naziism, what with all the shades of improving the race.

The Nazis were evil because they killed people. If someone resolves to improve the human race by producing children only if the other parent is a physically perfect supergenius, fine, let ‘em. That doesn’t hurt anyone. The same applies to doing it without the sex, even if it’s not as fun. I’m not an advocate of zero population growth, but if any are reading this: An article in The Times on September 13, 1977, made the following droll observation: “The principle that a lesser but early benefit will offset a substantial but postponed liability is one which rules human life; indeed, it is the principle on which the human race reproduces itself.”

10. The government could take an individual who is a perfect soldier – strong, fast, and obedient – and make thousands of copies of him, thus making the military and law enforcement forces more efficient and therefore more dangerous to liberty.

If this really worries you, excellent. Join those of us who want a smaller, less powerful government. Either that, or be consistent and oppose all technology that could, in theory, possibly be used in some way by government to limit individual freedom. Of course, that means all technology.

Also, see the above remarks on the illegality of slavery. If the government can’t own children and dictate that they be professional soldiers now, why would they be allowed to do so for clones? Oh, wait a minute. The government can force people to be professional soldiers; that’s called the draft. Well then, let us oppose a reinstatement of the draft, which is, as a matter of objective fact, unconstitutional, since the Constitution forbids involuntary servitude. See the Thirteenth Amendment. In the absence of the draft, most of the government’s intended military slaves would just say, e.g., “No thanks; I’m going to be a party planner.”

By the way, note the technology available to the government also would be available to private individuals, so they could adopt cloned babies of an individual who is strong, fast, and courageous – thus evening up the odds in conflicts with minions of the State.

Addendum January 2018: How easy would it be to design a bioweapon that would kill 100% of these soldiers: They’re all genetically identical, LOL! (It just hit me that that’s a serious problem with the Star Wars clone trooper thing.)

The glaring common feature in all the above objections to cloning is that they’re all easily refuted by someone who has the desire to be objective about it. Quite evidently, not everyone has the desire to be objective about it. This is a real mystery. Why cloning? What is it about cloning that makes people so prone to spout off without even going through the usual rudimentary activity commonly labeled “thinking”? Will someone who “thinks” like this kindly tell me the emotional reasons, that is, the real reasons, that everyone finds this so horrifying?

I think y’all have been exposed to too much bad science fiction.

If you’re afraid that “corporations” or the government might steal your genetic material, may I suggest, with all due respect, that you’re flattering yourself? Also, why would they? Do they steal kids now? Do they secretly fertilize human ova and train the resultant people to be CIA assassins or whatever? Whoa. Huh huh, that would be cool. But there are easier ways to get assassins, and anyway, it’s a bit too late to worry about it. You see, the ability to do this is a matter of test tube baby technology, which is distinct from cloning and which has been around for decades.

Maybe you don’t like the idea of a rich guy like Ross Perot making a hundred copies of himself. I don’t like that idea either, on aesthetic grounds, but we needn’t worry. If Ross didn’t choose to have a hundred old-fashioned kids, why would he choose to have a hundred clones? It’s not as if it would be less costly to raise a cloned child.

Ah, maybe that’s the issue. Maybe you slightly slow individuals have forgotten about the laws of conservation of matter and energy. You envision this technology creating a new adult instantaneously and out of thin air, by wave of the technological wand. Never fear; this is science, not magic. It’s not even Star Trek. No, there aren’t any matter transmuter thingies. Raising a clone to adulthood would take exactly the same quantity of time and other resources as raising any other child to adulthood. If your neighbors can’t afford to feed, clothe, etc., ten old-fashioned kids, how are they supposed to afford it for ten clones?

There’s this thing called thinking and it would benefit us all if you hoi polloi would try it every now and then. As an exercise in noblesse oblige, I will now take you step by step through an example of this process as it applies to cloning.

Let’s return to the example mentioned just above of the laws of conservation of matter and energy. Since I have two brain cells to rub together, this point is simply obvious to me, but I’ll pitch it down a level to make it easier. Despite what many say, the important thing in thinking is not so much to avoid jumping to conclusions, as it is to actually check the conclusions to which you have jumped.

The first step involved in thinking is to identify in specific detail the scenario you’re thinking about:

Step 1. The scientists press a button and instantly, a Tia Carrere look-alike appears on the laboratory workbench. Also, she’s naked (here at Neurotoxin we believe that learning should be fun).

The next step is to list in detail what would be required for this imagined event to occur:

Step 2. More than one hundred pounds of matter, in the form of gorgeous dark eyes, high round cheekbones, etc., have suddenly appeared next to the Bunsen burner on our laboratory table. This requires one of two things: either matter-energy that did not exist one second ago exists now, or matter-energy has been converted from one form into another very rapidly. The first is impossible; it violates the laws of physics. Also, if scientists had found a way around the conservation of matter-energy the last thing they’d be chatting about would be cloning; it would be about, for example, the best technique for blowing your nose into tissue made of gold, constructing Jeep rollbars out of solid diamond, etc. So we must be assuming instantaneous conversion of matter from one form into another.

Let’s consider the “out of thin air” scenario. Earth’s atmosphere is about seventy-nine percent nitrogen, twenty percent oxygen, and one percent carbon dioxide, which is in turn composed of the elements carbon and oxygen. The gorgeous piece of femininity we’re ogling at is assembled partly from these three elements (i.e., nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon) but also, among other things, iron, hydrogen (in water), calcium, etc. Thus our latest science project could not exist unless we had the ability to convert any arbitrarily selected element into any other one, for example, nitrogen into iron, and so on. As it happens, we cannot do this – that’s another scenario in which you’d be hearing about golden Kleenex. (We can convert some elements into other elements—for example nuclear breeder reactors convert uranium 238 into plutonium 239—but only for a small number of special cases.)

Summing up, for the scenario we’ve envisioned to occur, we’d either have to create matter out of nothing, which violates the laws of physics as we presently understand them, or we’d have to be able to convert any element into any other element, which we cannot do now and may never be able to do.

Finally, note there is also the organizational problem of assembling our black-eyed siren, even if we did have all the ingredients. I mean how, in detail, do you convert eighty-five pounds of water, a bunch of carbon, and so on into a set of working lymph nodes, hemoglobin-laden red blood cells, perfectly proportioned calcium endoskeleton, etc.? Or consider the brain: since we don’t understand how it works, how are we supposed to build a working model, from scratch no less? Now I know you anti-cloners are stupid, but even you should have realized this task presents some difficulties.

Of course in a practical sense everyone does know how to turn so much free oxygen, etc., into living human biomass, but our role in such a project is limited to what can be accomplished in the first thirty minutes or so, with no instruments more complicated than a couple of gin and tonics, some crotchless panties, and a pair of thigh-high spike-heeled black leather boots. After that, we just release the resultant biohazard into the environment and watch the mysterious process of its self-assembly. It’s sort of like downloading a self-extracting ZIP file.

In conclusion: the process of thinking, in the proper sense of the word, requires, among other things, attention to real-world details. You have to imagine specifically, concretely, how the scenario you’ve imagined is to be accomplished. If we’re talking about science then it might occur to you that the laws of physics are sort of relevant. If you’re not sure whether we can do things like violate the classical conservation principles of physics, one way of getting a vague clue is to imagine what the world would be like if we could do so.

For example, if we could say a magic word and have a ton of anything appear, the world would be a very different place, different enough that you’d notice. The price of all precious metals would drop to zero. Formerly starving Africans would suddenly appear rather corpulent. Terrorists would alter the Earth’s orbit by creating another planet the gravitational pull of which would jerk Earth around. And so on. In short, you’d know about it.

Whew! This has been a long exercise in the way a person who is not mentally challenged sees the world. I hope that you have learned something about this activity called thinking. If you don’t believe your intellectual skills have been improved, may I ask that you not vote ever again? Oh, and please don’t reproduce – by any method.

Less Wrong, the State, and the Trend

There’s a loosely-affiliated community of aspiring rationalists called the Less Wrongers. The old website which was the focal point of the group is http://www.lesswrong.com and the new site, just a couple of months old (the beta version went live in September), is http://www.lesserwrong.com. The community’s goal is to learn how to think better.

A lot of the people in the community strike me as kind of fuck-witted, and all of them strike me as fuck-witted at least some of the time, and there is the usual problem of objective institutions not being a Nash Equilibrium, i.e., they are infiltrated, hollowed out, and converged by people with agendas wearing the original organization as a skinsuit.


They are continually improving. They’re already notably more mentally competent, on average, than they were just a few years ago. The rate of change is certainly positive and significantly away from zero. This community, for good and ill, will bear watching.


From: Mrs. Stanton, Middle School Music Director
To: Michael Porkwit, 7th grade
Re: The Winter Holiday Concert


This is just a quick memo regarding last night’s Winter Holiday Concert. It’s great to see students participating with such high energy. We teachers love to see that, and so do the parents! A couple of notes for future reference:

1) On the carol “Sing We Now of Christmas”: The first line, as you apparently know, is

Sing we now of Christmas, sing we now noel.

However, the second line is not,

If you don’t freakin’ like it, you can go to hell.

2) Backstage before the concert, Mr. Brandwich, in dressing like an elf and skipping about, was trying to be festive, not “as gay as a dancing lord.” (That remark would have been detention material, by the way, but no one wanted to ruin the holiday mood.)

3) At the conclusion of the performance, when the audience is applauding, it is traditional to simply smile and bow. It is not necessary to seize the microphone from the conductor and shout, “Word to your mama!” You will recall there was a confused pause in the applauding at that point in time.

With attention to these simple matters, next year’s concert can be just as memorable and more enjoyable for everyone,

Thanking you,
Mrs. Stanton

More on the ad hominem “fallacy”

In my previous post I argued that ad hominem and tu quoque arguments are not always fallacious. I want to be clear that I am not saying, to those who claim they’re always fallacious, “Yeah, you’re right, but you’re a bunch of eggheads, so I’m gonna ignore you.” I’m saying, “You’re wrong.”

Now dweebs with no intellectual self-confidence will say, “Dear God, you can’t disagree with textbooks, man! They’re textbooks!

I can, in fact, disagree with textbooks when they make statements that are ragingly moronic. And I did so in my last post.

Today I want to provide a different, more explicitly rigorous argument refuting the notion that argument ad hominem is always fallacious. I will do this by providing an argument that is both ad hominem, and logically sound. I will also note, for those who collapse in spasms of fear at the idea of disagreeing with actual textbooks!!! that the kind of argument I am going to present is common in the academic literature, including Economics, Psychology, and, hilariously, Philosophy. The Philosophy one is hilarious because the fuck-witted “Ad hominem is a fallacy!” stuff appears in textbooks for Logic classes, which are typically taught by… Philosophy departments.

Here’s the example argument, casual version:

“Joe said that a meteor is bound for Chicago and will kill everyone in the city in an hour or so. Yet he’s calmly sitting here in Chicago with his feet up on the ottoman, sipping a Riesling. So obviously there’s no meteor.”

This is good enough as a counterexample. In other words, I’m refuting Joe’s assertion not by attacking his assertion (not directly), but by stating something about Joe. That is, speaking precisely, an argument ad hominem – “against the man” – and the argument is valid, not fallacious.

But just for thrills, let’s disassemble it and lay all the parts out. I am going to be careful but not anal-retentive about it; professional logicians are welcome to fill in the blanks even more carefully if they want to.


1. Joe wants to live as an overriding priority. (He may also want other things, but remaining alive is priority numero uno.)
2. Joe is capable of assessing evidence pertaining to the existence and trajectories of meteors (note that if he’s not, nothing he says about the alleged meteor is credible anyway), such that he will believe a meteor is approaching if and only if there is evidence that a meteor is approaching.
3. Joe knows of at least one way to get beyond the meteor’s blast range, and to do so soon enough to remain alive.
4. Joe knows that, if there is a meteor, he will live if and only if he gets outside the blast range soon enough.
5. All methods for being outside the blast range soon enough require that Joe begin to travel immediately.

First conclusion, which follows from 1, 3, 4, and 5:

6. If Joe believes there is an impending meteor, he will begin to move immediately.

Second conclusion, which follows from 6 and 2:

7. If the evidence suggests there is meteor approaching, Joe will begin to move immediately.


8. Joe is not moving; he is calmly sitting on his complacent ass in his Lakeside Drive apartment.

Third conclusion, which follows from 7 and 8:

9. The evidence does not suggest there is a meteor approaching.

Let’s re-write 7 – 9 more tersely:

A. If there is meteor evidence, Joe is moving.
B. Joe is not moving.
C. Therefore there is no meteor evidence.

If someone tells you this is an ad hominem fallacy, your only option, as a civilized individual, is to give them a wedgie. There’s nothing else you can really do.

The argument is not fallacious. It is correct.

Again, I want to emphasize for the intellectually pious that the foregoing kind of argument is entirely standard in various branches of the academic literature.

Additionally: If you say X is true because a textbook author asserted it, you’re making an ad hominem argument. This variant of it is usually dubbed “appeal to authority,” but it’s simply the other side of the same coin. In other words, ad hominem is usually interpreted to mean,

“(Something about the author of an argument) ➞ the argument is wrong.”

While an appeal to authority is simply,

“(Something about the author of an argument) ➞ the argument is right.”

Therefore, those who would claim that ad hominem is a fallacy, and cite textbooks as support for this claim, are, in technical terms, fucking themselves over. You tell me, doofuses: Are ad hominem arguments valid or not? Double bind, bitchez!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Xtra credit for nerdlingers: Put A – C in proposition/contrapositive form.


Using symbolic logic with arrow indicating implication and tilde (~) meaning “not”:

The statement

A ➞ B

implies the contrapositive statement

~B ➞ ~A.

For example,

If something is a cat, then it is a mammal.
If something is not a mammal, then it is not a cat.


Meteor evidence ➞ Joe is moving.
Therefore, by the contrapositive:
~Joe is moving ➞ ~Meteor evidence.

When a “fallacy” is not a fallacy

A standard assertion in propositional logic textbooks is that tu quoque (roughly, “you do it too”) and ad hominem (arguing “against the man”) are logical fallacies. This is the received wisdom, which is wrong. They are not always fallacious.

I am going to refute this silliness, discussing both “fallacies” in the same post because, while they’re distinct in principle, they often travel together in practice. E.g., both often come up in political debates.

1. Tu quoque is not a fallacy when were are faced with two choices and must choose one. E.g., Suppose that in some election our only realistic choices are a Democrat and a Republican. If a Dem supporter points out that the Republican candidate has killed someone, it is perfectly reasonable for a Rep supporter to point out that the Democrat candidate has also killed someone.

That’s because the question we’re debating is not “What’s right or wrong?” but “Which of the two options should we elect?” Our choices are often about the lesser of two evils, and we should vote, not for the candidate who is perfect, which is not an option, but for the candidate who is the best available choice.

2. We also often hear argument ad hominem as an alleged fallacy. But argument ad hominem is only fallacious under certain conditions.

An example of an ad hominem argument that really is fallacious would be “Pythagoras really wanted the Pythagorean Theorem to be true, therefore, due to his bias, the theorem is wrong.” Whether he wanted it to be true is not relevant. Just look at the theorem’s assumptions and determine if the conclusion follows from them.

This is all very well if we are just deducing the logical implications of a set of assumptions. But that’s rarely what is going on in real-world discussions like political discussions.

Consider: “The New York Times, and leftists and general, have consistently lied in the past, therefore there is a high probability that their assertions about matters of fact today are lies.”

This is not fallacious. It’s simple reality. In fact, it’s an example of something that those same logic textbooks will tell you is a valid kind of reasoning: Inductive reasoning. Indeed, to deny it is to say, “You cannot form beliefs based on what you’ve observed in the past.” To deny it is to say, “No matter how many times the boy cries wolf and turns out to be lying, you cannot validly conclude that he’s lying this time.” Sorry, wrong. You can, validly, conclude that. In fact you must conclude it based on the evidence.

So we have, “The New York Times says President Trump made a racist statement,” and my reaction is just going to be “They’re lying.” Based on experience, it’s literally hundreds of times more likely that they’re lying than that they’re telling the truth. This is not engaging in an ad hominem fallacy; it’s forming your beliefs based on evidence.

In your life you will encounter plainly false assertions from obviously untrustworthy sources immeasurably more often than you will encounter proofs of mathematical theorems. (This is true even for mathematicians, let alone everybody else.)

3. Another reason ad hominem is not always a fallacy: People’s actions reveal their beliefs and therefore something about their information. If someone tells me that he believes Chicago is going to be obliterated by a meteor tomorrow, but he continues to stay in Chicago, I can infer that he doesn’t really believe it. Whatever facts he knows have not actually convinced him that there’s an impending meteor. If he says, “Here are 50 pages of evidence that there’s an onrushing meteor,” I’m logically correct to say, “You’re staying in Chicago, so I can infer that the 50 pages contain no convincing evidence of a meteor.” So no, I’m not going to waste hours pouring over your alleged “evidence.”

This, of course, takes me to an old video game called Road Rash. “Finally!” you say. “I was wondering when he was going to get to Road Rash.” Road Rash was a motorcycle race game from the early 1990s. You were a biker on a motorcycle and you’d compete against other, digital bikers animated by the game. It had the following interesting feature: The game had hills, and occasionally a car would come at you in the opposing lane – which you’d be in because you were trying to pass another biker – from over a hill. Of course, you couldn’t see the car, so you’d get smeared by it. UNLESS! you had a couple of the digital bikers ahead of you. If they were near the top of the hill, they’d all move over into the right lane all of a sudden, because they could see the car. That told you that you’d better get over to the right as well. That is, you were inferring something that the other bikers knew based on their behavior.

These other bikers never spoke, but if they did, one can imagine them all getting over to the right, even as they said to you, over their shoulder, “Don’t worry; there’s no oncoming car!”

“Bullshit,” you’d say, “you’re getting over to the right so I’m getting over to the right!” This is both tu quoque and ad hominem… but it sure as shit isn’t a fallacy. It is simple, undeniable reality.

A more real-world example:

Suppose some white leftist tells me he thinks “racial inclusiveness” is vital, and “segregated” neighborhoods are bigoted and evil. But he lives in an all-white or 95%-white neighborhood. I can infer that he himself doesn’t really believe that “inclusiveness” is important. This is logically relevant, because it shows that even a person with a strong emotional incentive to find convincing arguments for it, cannot find an argument that convinces him. I am therefore entitled to conclude that no convincing arguments exist.

Maybe there are convincing arguments, but I can validly conclude that it’s improbable. In fact, it’s VERY improbable, because human beings can convince themselves of the most astounding bullshit when they really want to. If a leftist can’t make himself believe X even when he really wants to, then X is very unlikely indeed.

Hordes of “intellectuals” will shriek, “But that’s ad hominem and therefore a fallacy!” which is why “intellectuals” are held in such low general esteem: Because so many soi-disant “intellectuals” are so nakedly stupid and intellectually dishonest.