Chaos Patch (#14)

Chaos Patches are going to be transformed into a regular (weekly) facility, starting now, so there should always be one within reach. This is to solemnly recognize where the real ballast of this blog is to be found (in the comment threads). I’ll try to update the post with indications of the principal lines of discussion.

The re-surfacing of this classic is only the most recent of recent distractions. I’m sure the commentariat here have much more significant matters to discuss.

I’ll throw in John Derbyshire on Richard Lynn as a semi-random prompt (there’s more JD here, contributing to a highly-stimulating series of dissident right doomfuturism pieces).

A few cryptic link pushes: The recent trend to frag-blogging in the reactosphere is capturing my attention (no doubt, in part, because I’ve been doing so much of that myself recently). For instance, I’m eager to learn where this is going. At the other extreme, there’s this. If you haven’t already ventured over here, it’s highly recommended.

June 14, 2014admin 66 Comments »
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66 Responses to this entry

  • NRx_N00B Says:

    What are your thoughts on evolutionary psychology?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Plenty of fascinating insights (summarized in Pinker’s The Blank Slate), but evo-psych basically IS serious HNU — it carved out an academic niche by ritualistically dismissing HBD at its origin.

    [Reply]

    NRx_N00B Reply:

    Would the following ideas be considered to be part of evo-psych or would they deny it?

    Eastern Thought/Philosophy—is it really an extended phenotype? An adaptation that consoles individuals to accept things the way they are because they are a mere component of the whole—don’t bitch and moan, don’t fight; be submissive. Is the predisposition for meditation is in the genes? Those that were adventurous and full of piss and vinegar were selected against a long time ago. Would this make East Asians “pre-adapted” for our more crowded future world?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Those lines of inquiry are definitely HBD-oriented, rather than evo-psych based. The foundation of evo-psych is a table of human ‘instinctual’ universals — an impressive one actually, but closed against the possibility of significant population group variations.

    NRx_N00B Reply:

    @admin, thanks, I’m definitely going to have to read The Blank Slate now. I see Pinker acknowledges group differences in IQ but does he address questions about group differences in degrees of ethnocentrism?—with radical individualism and hyper collectivism being end-members of a continuous spectrum.

    If organisms are automatons assembled in/by the interests of genes is it really such a far leap to say that, by extension, groups of individuals have also been assembled to serve tiny lifeless molecules? Is there a fractal pattern here?

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    Possibly relevant: http://www.cep.ucsb.edu/primer.html

    Bryce Laliberte Reply:

    @NRx_NOOB

    Yes.

    I’ve been arguing this since last summer.

    NRx_N00B Reply:

    @admin, Alrenous, Bryce Laliberte, it is rather amazing how they blind themselves “against the possibility of significant population group variations”—when the only way that “speciation”, in its embryonic phase, can initially manifest itself, is through population group variations.

    Peter A. Taylor Reply:

    How would you describe Satoshi Kanazawa? Is he an evolutionary psychologist or something else? And if something, what? He got canned by Psychology Today for writing about differences between whites and blacks.

    [Reply]

    R. Reply:

    Kanazawa is a joker.
    http://vserver1.cscs.lsa.umich.edu/~crshalizi/weblog/566.html

    Posted on June 14th, 2014 at 3:47 pm Reply | Quote
  • Chaos Patch (#14) | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on June 14th, 2014 at 7:34 pm Reply | Quote
  • Erik Says:

    Scott Alexander comes up with Archipelago, claims he’s reinvented the “same utopia” as Moldbug and the Patchwork. I wrote some responses you can see there, but the TL;DR is:

    Moldbug’s Patchwork has multiple sovereign states. You have some exit from whatever patches haven’t limited exit – which one expects most of them won’t limit too harshly, as that’s a bad sign for profits.
    Scott’s Archipelago has everyone answering to Omi Oitherion. (In the slightly more realistic version, it has everyone answering to a World Government.) You have lots and lots of exit from whatever patches have offended Omi. You have no exit from Omi.

    Then it gets weirder.
    Scott, in comments: There’s a very specific constitution which lists exactly the limited things the federal government is allowed to do
    Moldbug, not in some separate commentary on constitutions, but right in the Patchwork series, disagreed with this: most democratic citizens are firm believers in the concept of limited government. In the all-curing magic black bag of democracy, limited government is the first-line ointment. Apparently a government can prevent itself and its successors indefinite from doing bad things, just by writing a note to itself that says “don’t do bad things.” […] Limited government is a perpetual-motion machine: a product axiomatically fraudulent by definition.

    Much like how “freedom” is a vague gloss over various different things, including “liberty”, “license”, “negative rights”, “positive rights”, etc. so I think “exit” may be melting down. Suggestions for sub-terms?

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    That was an effective argument.

    On the other hand, the Patchwork as such is unstable. Historically, large areas consisting of small states have usually seen state consolidation. That which was divided must unite. Either through internal warfare or because an outside big bad takes advantage of their quarrels.

    The Menciist argument is technological as I understand it. Consolidation won’t happen because, Civ-style, “my words are backed by NUCLEAR WEAPONS!” All that means is that successful expansionist states will have material or sociological/organizational counters to nuclear weapons or will proceed with large doses of subversion and sabotage and pressure. Imagine Color Revolutions writ across the face of the future.

    Or, even more likely, the adaptive response will be some kind of trans-state ideology or religion that convinces the peoples and even the rulers to want to join together, which mean they will cooperate more than they would in a state of nature, which will harm the individual ruler’s individual interests, but which will make the collective stronger than its competitors. Pan-German nationalism is an analogy.

    And, anyhow, its difficult to see how the Patchwork could emerge in the first place.

    The only somewhat plausible version of something like the Patchwork I’ve seen is the late John Reilly’s Ecumene. Relying on Spengler, he saw consolidation into one state under a despot as a natural possibility at our civilization’s late stage. Once that happened, he envisioned the Emperor simply letting each little region govern almost all its own affairs because the Empire has no political goals. It is the result of ideological and political exhaustion.

    [Reply]

    an inanimate aluminum tube Reply:

    Possibly a dumb question, but I’ve always wondered, was the term Patchwork intended as a Holy Roman Empire reference?

    [quote]
    The number of territories in the Empire was considerable, rising to approximately 300 at the time of the Peace of Westphalia. Many of these Kleinstaaten (“little states”) covered no more than a few square miles, or included several non-contiguous pieces, so the Empire was often called a Flickenteppich (“patchwork carpet”).[/quote]

    That’s one possible way to have lots of small states that are somewhat protected from outside interference. And in an interesting counter example to the United States, the central government of the HRE actually got weaker over time.

    Of course, one wonders if that was really the result of the system they had in place, or just a result of the limited technology that was available.

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    Telling that as the HRE weakened, the larger states started to gobble up the smaller.

    Posted on June 14th, 2014 at 8:03 pm Reply | Quote
  • argus Says:

    PZ Myers = angry, chunky, beta atheist with an intellectual inferiority complex. Seems like that could be a type. The inferiority complex might be justified considering that he’s kind of old to be an associate professor. The comments are relatively amusing.

    [Reply]

    special ed Reply:

    @associate professor

    at a junior college. somebody else in this thread mentioned the peter principle. ergo, qualified for government work.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 14th, 2014 at 8:10 pm Reply | Quote
  • nyan_sandwich Says:

    /pol/ is running brilliant countermeasures on SJW feminism with shit like #whitescantberaped and #endfathersday and a few others. It’s getting so that feminists can’t trust their own part-line propagation networks because 4chan is spamming them with plausible divisive insanity.

    [Reply]

    Erik Reply:

    I heard one of those others was freebleeding?

    [Reply]

    nyan_sandwich Reply:

    Not sure.

    I am perpetually impressed by 4chan’s anarchic social technology. Somehow they are able to cooperate to do epic things. Might be ripe for an analysis.

    THIS IS SO GLORIOUS! 4CHAN RAID CULTURE TURNED AGAINST THE CATHEDRAL! 4CHAN IS MY THEDE! FOAR THE LULZ! MY MONKEY BRAIN IS GOING BANANAS!

    [Reply]

    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    s’cool, they can sure tear stuff down. But what can they build?

    nyan_sandwich Reply:

    @RiverC

    Not much. They can’t even count to 10.

    Antisthenes Reply:

    Another one I saw floated this morning was ‘#realmomswork’. Entertaining stuff.

    [Reply]

    nyan_sandwich Reply:

    Holy crap this offensive is funded and they have multiple long-term deep sleepers in SJW. Cover me, I’m going in!

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 14th, 2014 at 9:05 pm Reply | Quote
  • fotrkd Says:

    You know voice and conflict created the chaos patch, right? Admittedly, by the will of the benevolent dictator…

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 14th, 2014 at 10:00 pm Reply | Quote
  • R. Says:

    Why, exactly, would a democracy with votes heavily weighted towards certain categories of citizens a bad idea?

    For starters, those on welfare would not qualify. Smart people would get extra votes, so that their opinions(collectively) would have at least as much weight as those of dimmer people

    Well informed ones even more. Both those categories can be found thru affordable computerised testing,

    Same for experts who’d forsake monetary gains and have worked on stuff that’s not profitable, yet essential(antibiotics development)

    And so on.

    [Reply]

    Erik Reply:

    It might be a good idea. One of Moldbug’s arguments for why it might be a bad idea is that once you’ve split the microslices of command and distributed them around, there’s an incentive to meddle further with the distribution to gain power, much like creating a votebank/importing an underclass.

    [Reply]

    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    Also think about it this way. You enter into a kickstarter or patreon support. You chip in a dollar. Now, is that dollar going to get you any voice? I mean, let’s say you disagree with everyone else who donated about how the product should be. Thus, if you are in the minority at all, you may determine that your giving money is pointless unless you either give a lot so that you can influence the work, or that you support the people themselves and are okay with whatever they will do. Aside from this your money only serves to validate/supply them and nothing more. The same concept works for voting, but in voting you generally can’t ‘get more voice’ using more money (there are some workarounds, but they’re all anti-democratic, oops)

    Once there are enough voters in any bloc, each slice of power is so insignificant as to be ‘important’ like buying a lotto ticket is important; there is a really slim chance your vote might be the vote that swings the election. But if you believe that is why you should vote, why vote? Just play the lotto, the payout is better.

    In the realm of subjective determination of vote worth, (a resource distribution problem) like any algorithm it has to be tweaked, and can definitely be gamed. As awesome as our future test making tech might be, these cunning tests will be made by humans with perhaps a greater collective cunning, but not a greater individual cunning than the people who will learn how to game them. There is also the problem of ‘clearing the ground’ (that we don’t ever start from a blank slate where there is no pre-existing baggage) and ‘beta testing’ – the algorithm may destroy its legitimacy with a couple of catastrophic misfires.

    Remember that the SAT is (or was) basically designed to be a test of genetic fitness in the form of IQ. But if you meet certain minimum requirements for intelligence, you can game the test to show that you’re much smarter than you really are. (In this case, it is called studying a lot.)

    [Reply]

    nyan_sandwich Reply:

    The problem with democracy, besides the intelligence of the voters, is the number of the voters. If you have to get an idea out to a couple million people in order for it to have an influence, it means that idea has to be optimized for virulence to compete with all the other ideas, which has negative effects on the correctness and subtlety of the idea.

    In contrast, in a more hierarchical system, you need only communicate to your direct superior, which allows much higher investment in higher bandwidth and more subtle idea transmission, and totally excludes the mass-virulence memetic petri-dish effects.

    Of course disallowing horizontal discussion might prevent the discussion and solution of some problems, and it’s easy to do it in a way that fucks you up overall, especially if you don’t bother to replace it by a superior information/command propagation mechanism.

    [Reply]

    R. Reply:


    In contrast, in a more hierarchical system, you need only communicate to your direct superior, which allows much higher investment in higher bandwidth and more subtle idea transmission, and totally excludes the mass-virulence memetic petri-dish effects.

    The problem with hierarchical systems is that people in them tend to devote more energies to getting ahead than actually running the systems.

    A workable system of gov’t needs to both not-stifle individual efforts, prevent corruption and incompetence caused by collusion and avoid the Peter principle..

    A tall order, really.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 14th, 2014 at 10:02 pm Reply | Quote
  • scientism Says:

    Is ISIS carving out an Islamic caliphate voice or exit, activism or action?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Early step of DE anti-universalism is to abandon the prospect of successfully applying NW European ethico-political categories to radically alien societies. Thinking that we could even begin to ‘understand’ what Middle Easterners want for their world is already to stray into Neoconservative error. They don’t belong to the clades within which almost all of our cultural processing takes place.

    [Reply]

    nyan_sandwich Reply:

    What is the ISIS situation?

    [Reply]

    Commander Khan Reply:

    Here is a sitrep from two Black Dragon operatives on the scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lheE-woGBOw

    [Reply]

    nyan_sandwich Reply:

    What the fuck did I just watch?

    Alex Reply:

    Sublime.

    Wilhelm von Überlieferung Reply:

    Skip to about 4:30 for the action to begin.

    https://ia801509.us.archive.org/18/items/al_saleel_4/SaleelSawarim.mp4

    [Reply]

    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    The caliphate is a mad universalist dream born of religious fervor bent towards world peace.

    (I would classify it, in general terms, as simply conquest. If they will be able to hold any of what they have taken — well — did those that they took it from, and so on, have an easy time holding their territory? The middle east is much like central Asia and the Balkans – those who stir up conquest there may find the land to be more like water.)

    If the Kurds secede and secure their border against ISIS, that is at least in part what we could classify as an exit maneuver.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 15th, 2014 at 1:01 am Reply | Quote
  • fotrkd Says:

    Has this been picked up elsewhere? Tim Stanley on Creepypasta and Lovecraft, with a link to an E. Anthony Gray essay. Strange days…

    [Reply]

    fotrkd Reply:

    OK, ignore me (obviously living in a cocoon). It’s everywhere.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 15th, 2014 at 11:40 am Reply | Quote
  • blogospheroid Says:

    I have made this point before, but repeating again.

    How about supporting healthspan extension like SENS as a judo strategy against the cathedral? It is genuinely a win for almost all.

    The ladies who postponed having children into the late 30s, homosexuals, a number of cathedral supporters will favour the research. Medical spending may come into control after 20 or so years.

    However the long term affect of anything like this will absolutely have to be a lengthening of the time preference horizon of everyone. People may be genuinely open to truths that they deny today because they will not live to see the consequences. For the left wing we can say that the right wing will live to see the climate change they denied . For the right wing we can say that the left will live to see race wars.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 15th, 2014 at 6:17 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    Hey everyone, did you know North Korea is a Chinese client state, not independent at all? I found this out a few months ago but didn’t immediately realize how relevant the fact is.

    In completely different topics, I find ritual cleanliness is basically a fraud. It doesn’t clean you of your profanities, it merely distracts you. Real humility burns. It’s a good burn, a workout burn, but most can’t or don’t care to tell the difference. Real cleanliness is about preventing future mistakes and it absolves by restitution, not forgiveness. Unfortunately I don’t think I know any real cleanliness rituals.

    [Reply]

    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    “It is not that which goes into a man that makes him unclean, but that which comes out of him.”

    Forgiveness (and ritual cleanliness) are only intended to deal with negative externalities (social ones, mostly) of uncleanliness. For example, the leper, when no longer leprous, would go to the priest for washing. The ritual cleansing did little to remove the leprosy (though probably getting a washing after little proper washing for so long would be a good thing) but it did establish to the community that the person was clean, important for something like leprosy.

    Truth is, penances only work to move the person to contrition – that is, to move them to understand the wretchedness of their state, and thus put them in a position to possibly rectify it. Confession itself (in the PROPER context) is not just a ritual cleansing but does burn. Forgiveness often burns the other person, if true. That is to say, if you have wronged someone and are not dealing with it, them forgiving you of it directly (not just saying it is okay) is a pretty sick burn; “yeah, you f*cked up, but I can make room for your f*ck ups, try not to do it again.”

    In Greek the term which we translate ‘for-give-ness’ means something close to ‘making-space-for’.

    Anyway isn’t there a ‘baptism of water’ AND a ‘baptism of fire’? It’s all there, you just have to look at it properly.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “North Korea is a Chinese client state” — I’m going to take some convincing about that. Any particular authoritative source for the claim?

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korea#Foreign_relations

    Most of the foreign embassies to North Korea are located in Beijing rather than in Pyongyang.

    Uh, I didn’t know that until just now. And QED.

    But let’s not stop, let’s overdetermine.

    North Korea began installing a concrete and barbed wire fence on its border with China in 2007,

    China got pissed off about Korea’s emigrants and told them to stop it. “Yes sir right away sir,” and now they have to build a fence on their own dime. The wording used to be more blatant but we’ve got this too:

    Up to 90 percent of North Korea’s oil supplies also come across the border from China.

    China had left their border lightly guarded but it has became a security concern for Beijing in the past decade as tens of thousands of North Korean refugees began trickling into northeast China.

    If you really want to more blatant wording I’ll try to dig up the correct part of the edit history.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    It’s opaque, and I’m open to radical correction, but my strong sense of it is that China would VERY much like the Norks to introduce a program of Deng-style economic reforms, but are told to go pound sand. The Norks even voted against Beijing’s 2008 Olympics bid, just to demonstrate their refusal to be cowed. Yes, the Chinese could bring down the NK regime in short order by cutting off fuel supplies, but the result would be chaos, and that’s the one winning card the regime has. It really is a case of “one step closer and I kill myself”. Sometimes that works.

    Alrenous Reply:

    Got me there.

    That said I wonder if the Ils even can do Deng-style reforms. Since they depend so heavily on the Chinese their power base is going to be delicate. They just won’t have the respect to exploit loyalty and other intangibles. Elites can typically move wherever they want; if NK is going to become behind-the-times China, why wouldn’t they cut out the middleman and just defect to China? Il’s aristocrats probably have to be bought off with dictatorship-specific goods. (Ref: Bueno de Mesquita.)

    I’m not very sure, but sure enough, that Norks are telling them to pound sand as a bluff. They can’t do it anyway.

    Alrenous Reply:

    I probably don’t need to be explicit, but just in case: If all the Nork aristos move to China or wherever, NK is screwed regardless. My argument is not just that Kim Jong-un can’t Deng up NK, nobody can Deng up NK, the infrastructure would collapse.

    admin Reply:

    Norks denounce Xi Jinping.

    Alrenous Reply:

    Many American client states denounce American too.

    Most notably, in April Russia officially agreed to forgive 90 percent of North Korea’s substantial debt to it dating back to the Cold War, and offering favorable repayment terms for the remaining 10 percent.
    […]
    What is particularly revealing, as KGS Night Watch noted, is that the details of the agreement strongly suggest that Russia is in effect substituting for the role China currently plays in various sectors in North Korea. “What is striking,” Night Watch noted, “is that the trade and development menu resembles the kinds of projects that the late Chang Song-taek was arranging, but with Chinese investors. Kim Jong Un has decided to make similar arrangements with the Russians.”

    Though apparently in this case they don’t want to be a Chinese client state anymore, they want to be a Russian client state instead.

    The Diplomat cannot independently verify the report

    But it strikes me as plausible.

    Also strikes me as, “I hate you mom! I’m gonna go live with dad.” What kind of tyrant makes you build a fence? They already had a fence!

    There are some other interesting tidbits in that link.

    Consider:

    To conclude business deals, especially big ones, it’s usually necessary to meet face-to-face. Jang Song-Thaek would therefore have to have physical access to China. If he wanted to defect, it would simply be a matter of refusing to return one day. A man like that would probably find better opportunities in China’s richer economy than a Deng-ified NK. Given that The Diplomat is citing a whole magazine by defectors, how many would Jang Song-Thaek drag with him?

    How long can NK resist China’s pressure to reform when nearly 90% of their trade is with China? Remember, China doesn’t have to cut off the fuel line, they could use a tariff. A small one, to start…

    Posted on June 15th, 2014 at 9:17 pm Reply | Quote
  • NRx_N00B Says:

    Cladistically speaking, is there any validity to claims that the lovey-dovey flavor of the New Testament is rooted in Buddhism? Thoughts?

    [Reply]

    Erik Reply:

    I doubt it.
    First, Buddhism mostly spread eastwards from India for the first few hundred years; it didn’t get through Persia until around the second century.
    Second, what lovey-dovey flavor? Aren’t you accounting for scale? The Old Testament has a higher absolute count of violent incidents because it’s a summary of highlights of several thousand years, but there are many decades it entirely skips over, which are presumably quite peaceful and pass by unnoticed. The New Testament covers a much shorter period of time, so one should expect fewer severe incidents, but it still provides the opportunity for various people to get blinded for sorcery, blinded for persecuting the Christians, struck dead for fraud, or eaten by worms for worshiping foreign gods. Arguably there’s also significant property damage involves when Jesus drives out Legion and Legion possess a swineherd, and I expect everyone’s familiar with the case of whipping the moneychangers from the temple.

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    The Silk Road is 4000 years old. Parts of it anyway. Just because there weren’t converts doesn’t mean the ideas didn’t spread. It’s the difference between religious domination and influence and inspiration. There was plenty of time for Siddhartha’s ideas to get to Jesus. Athenian/Miletian philosophy seems to have made the reverse journey in about a century. There’s a post on this blog way back on a nearby topic, though damned if I’m going to dredge it up.

    Though beyond that I know enough about neither fundamental Christianity nor Buddhism to comment.

    [Reply]

    Lesser Bull Reply:

    That’s not a cladistic analysis, though, that’s an argument for influence and cross-fertilization. For OG Christianity to be a subclade of Buddhism, it would have needed to have got started among a Buddhist population.

    admin Reply:

    @ Lesser Bull — There could well be a deep common clade. Pre-Socratic Greek philosophers seem to have been intimately acquainted with the teachings of the Indian ‘gymnosophists’ — to such an extent that it suggests an archaic common matrix. Pyrrho, for instance, is thought to have studied in India. The Pythagorean case is also very striking. Thus infusion of ‘Buddhistic’ elements into European Christianity from a more basic clade is quite conceivable — and even probable — without any need for appeal to cross-fertilization.

    admin Reply:

    Buddhism isn’t “lovey-dovey” — that’s an artifact of New Age sentimentalism.

    [Reply]

    Erik Reply:

    Perhaps a more interesting question would be whether the hell-flavor of both religions is nontrivially related? 🙂

    NRx_N00B Reply:

    According to La Wik, most mainstream scholars that have studied both say that there is absolutely no connection between the two.

    I guess what I find interesting though, if it’s true, is the coincidence between the similarities of moral commandments issued by both—“prohibited killing, stealing, adultery, false witness, and coveting. Both emphasized the same moral themes: advocate peace, not war; avoid the corruption of wealth; help the poor; abolish slavery and caste systems; abandon self and selfishness; and love your neighbor, even your enemy.”—James M. Hanson, Buddhist-Christian Studies, Annual 2005 v25 p75(15).

    Emphasizing again, ***if this is true***; it must either be a matter of cross-contamination or about the independent discovery of some deeper universal truths.

    Then again, it could all be complete crap, and as admin says “an artifact of New Age sentimentalism.”

    [Reply]

    Izak Reply:

    Beyond the outward agreements, Buddhism and Christianity aren’t really comparable. They reach similar conclusions, but they take very different approaches to arrive at them. Buddhism should be compared more to Stoicism, if anything.

    [Reply]

    NRx_N00B Reply:

    “They reach similar conclusions, but they take very different approaches to arrive at them.”
    —-

    Thanks for the comments; I guess this could be analogous to the independent biological evolution of similar morphological/functional features in two distinctly unrelated species?

    Again, I’m not sure of the credibility of the source:
    —–
    JESUS: “A foolish man, which built his house on sand.”
    BUDDHA: “Perishable is a city built on sand.” (30)
    JESUS: “Therefore confess your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed.”
    BUDDHA: “Confess before the world the sins you have committed.” (31)
    JESUS: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the foregiveness of sins.”
    BUDDHA: “Let all sins that were committed in this world fall on me, that the world may be delivered.” (32)
    JESUS: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
    BUDDHA: “Consider others as yourself.” (33)
    JESUS: “If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also.”
    BUDDHA: “If anyone should give you a blow with his hand, with a stick, or with a knife, you should abandon all desires and utter no evil words.” (34)
    JESUS: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”
    BUDDHA: “Hatreds do not cease in this world by hating, but by love: this is an eternal truth. Overcome anger by love, overcome evil by good.” (35)
    JESUS: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
    BUDDHA: “Let your thoughts of boundless love pervade the whole world.” (36)
    JESUS: “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to cast a stone at her.”
    BUDDHA: “Do not look at the faults of others or what others have done or not done; observe what you yourself have done and have not done.” (37)
    JESUS: “You father in heaven makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.”
    BUDDHA: “The light of the sun and the moon illuminates the whole world, both him who does well and him who does ill, both him who stands high and him who stands low.” (38)
    JESUS: “If you wish to be perfect, go sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.”
    BUDDHA: “The avaricious do not go to heaven, the foolish do not extol charity. The wise one, however, rejoicing in charity, becomes thereby happy in the beyond.” (39)
    —James M. Hanson, Buddhist-Christian Studies, Annual 2005 v25 p75(15).”
    —–

    **Full Disclosure: I’m a hardcore deep-fried atheist.**

    Erik Reply:

    My attempt to trace sources for this list ends with a defunct link to Geocities, so I can’t check out the Buddhist end of the alleged parallels, and I’m not well enough versed in Buddhist scripture to track down the original passages without great effort. However, I can pull on the Christian end of the tangle and see what, if anything, unravels.

    30-Jesus is snipped at the sub-sentence, sub-verse level, which “smells bad”, for lack of a better word. Check out Matthew 7 for more. “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.

    32-Buddha strikes me as extremely suspicious. I would want to see an original source before believing that the Buddhist scriptures say any such thing. Google turns up no results for even the first phrase if I add -jesus as a search delimiter, which suggests to me that it was invented by syncretists. 32-Jesus also adds some more bad smell by writing “foregiveness”.

    36 isn’t the parallel someone wants it to be. Jesus here commands his followers to love one another; Buddha to love the whole world.

    38 is once again badly snipped; the original passage goes: [do particularly good things…] “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?”

    And as a general objection, several of these parallels are rewritten from the source material, then dishonestly presented as quotes, given without scriptural citations so it’s hard to verify. Combined with the typos, the whole thing reeks of urban legend, chain mail, and poor scholarship.

    I see the name of Max Muller is dropped in some of the sourcing, for which I refer you to this piece: http://lesswrong.com/lw/2w/are_you_a_solar_deity/ (recursion to http://www.elfinspell.com/Kottabos.html ) in which it’s noted that Max Muller shows all sorts of parallels and argues that various religions are all based on solar deities; a response is issued by R.F.Littledale who uses the same methods and forms of argument to show that this “Max Muller” character is based on a solar deity.

    “The take-home lesson is that any technique powerful enough to prove that Hercules is a solar myth is also powerful enough to prove that anyone is a solar myth.”

    Erik Reply:

    When I search for items from the list of alleged parallel quotes, I get a lot of sites recycling the same materials, such as http://www.thezensite.com/non_Zen/Was_Jesus_Buddhist.html

    I’d like to take the separate opportunity to pick at something else, the alleged parallel lives. Let’s take the first five.

    * Born as an incarnate god.
    * Born from a virgin mother.
    * Birth claimed as a divine event and prophesied as the same.
    * Birth attended by singing angels.
    * Birth attended by wise men bearing gifts.

    #1 is bullshit, and wrong. Buddha wasn’t born as an incarnate anything in particular, he was human and achieved unusual wisdom. Worse, if you take classical Christianity seriously (rather than watered-down pop-culture Churchianity), #1 is supremely ignorant bullshit, because it managed to get the facts of the matter entirely backwards: Neither was born as an incarnate god. Jesus was born as the prerequisite-of-existence incarnate, not merely a god. As the antiphon has it: (from memory) Today He who hung the Earth upon the waters is hung upon a tree. Today He who is King of the Angels is crowned with thorns. Today He who wrapped the Heavens in clouds is wrapped in mockery. Jesus’ birth is an ontology-shaking event where the uncreated, flawless, omnipotent I AM is suddenly manifest as a vulnerable speck of creation to be whipped bloody. It is not merely a bodiless sort of person becoming an embodied sort of person, and to say “an incarnate god” is to misrepresent and flatten Christianity.

    #2 is bullshit, and wrong. Buddha’s mother wasn’t a virgin. Buddha’s father was banging her, and Buddha was in line for the throne until Buddha ran away to become a sage. (Buddha may have been conceived by parthenogenesis, but that’s not the parallel being asserted.)

    #3 is bullshit, true, and worthless. The birth of the central figure of a religion is claimed as a divine event? What next, people paid homage to the central figure of the religion?

    #4 is bullshit, and wrong. Jesus’ birth wasn’t attended by singing angels; Buddhism doesn’t even have angels.

    #5 is bullshit, and wrong. Buddha was the son of the local king, so it’s reasonable that wise men could come bearing gifts at his birth. But Jesus’ birth wasn’t attended by wise men; they showed up later. Whatever midwit wrote this list couldn’t have been arsed to go and actually check the Nativity story, I expect, instead muddling together half-remembered mentions of birth and wise men and angels and shepherds and Herod and mangers and stars into a single generic event. What’s actually written in the Bible is this: Jesus is born in a manger, because there was no houseroom – shepherds show up, praise, depart – wise men drop by Betlehem and speak with Herod – Herod asks wise men to please notify him once they’ve found the king – wise men follow the star to the house where Jesus is (this is the first clue that the wise men are showing up later) – God tells wise men to depart without notifying Herod, sends angel to tell the Holy Family to leave – Herod realizes that the wise men aren’t notifying him, orders all babies under two years killed (not all newborns), in accordance with the time he’d gotten from the wise men.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 16th, 2014 at 5:03 am Reply | Quote
  • Erik Says:

    “I received a letter from them saying they had found an incident of abuse or neglect regarding Ethan because I refused to take him for psychological evaluation,”

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 19th, 2014 at 2:06 pm Reply | Quote
  • vinteuil Says:

    @Erik: I am quite taken by your comment of 5:03 a.m., 16th June last, just above. Your passion & your eloquence are almost enough to silence all criticism. Yet still I suffer from doubts. I will only trouble you with one, just now. You write:

    “Jesus was born as the prerequisite-of-existence incarnate, not merely a god.”

    This seems to suggest that you believe that there is a distinction to be made between “the prerequisite-of-existence” and “god.”

    But it seems clear from any serious interpretation (e.g., Edward Feser’s) of (at least) the first of St. Thomas’ Five Ways that the Angelic Doctor himself makes no such distinction. God is subsistent being itself, the ultimate prerequisite-of-existence, at every moment, of all created beings.

    No doubt I have mistaken your point.

    [Reply]

    Erik Reply:

    By “merely a god” I meant to denote one of for example the Japanese kami, Roman lares or Hindi devas, the little spirits of house or field or fire.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 19th, 2014 at 9:25 pm Reply | Quote
  • Peter A. Taylor Says:

    “Some of the most historically salient ‘right-wing’ movements are monarchism, fascism, fundamentalism, and libertarianism, which have nothing in common except that they all have reasons to oppose Marxist communism, and vice versa. Yet they also all have similar reasons to oppose one another. Toss in David Brooks Burkeans, security-state neocons, and so on, and you have a miscellany of unrelated positions.”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/06/the-left-right-political-spectrum-is-bogus/373139/

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 21st, 2014 at 7:51 pm Reply | Quote

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