Thursday, December 3, 2015

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

It's totally predictable but a lot of whiners on the Right didn't like the Daily News's great cover this morning God Isn't Fixing This

"As latest batch of innocent Americans are left lying in pools of blood, cowards who could truly end gun scourge continue to hide behind meaningless platitudes," the cover reads.

I believe there's an old African-American saying that says Only the truth hurts. This is certainly true for those who are complaining about the News' title.

As a New Yorker, I've never been prouder of my hometown paper. Ok, yes, they could have chosen a less incendiary headline but that would have generated much less conversation.

I've criticized the Beltway pundits a lot lately but here was a time when a media organization did itself proud.

Notice that the finest moments of journalism are often when bloodless 'journalistic objectivity' is eschewed.

Mostly, these days, the media eschews doing it's job in the worry that Rush Limbaugh and friends will accuse it of being liberal. So every argument no matter how absurd or bigoted is given equal time.

But the truth isn't necessarily objective. Like Krugman says the truth has a clear liberal bias.

The News rightly responded to the complaints by pointing out that this is just meant to distract form Congress' pitiful inaction.

It wasn't an attack on religion per se-but it was meant to make people think. The time for platitudes is long gone.


  1. I wonder if it's true to say:


    Lol... yes, it's a cheap shot and it probably wouldn't do anybody any good (politically speaking) I realize, but it would probably get some attention!

  2. Since we're all in danger of just getting used to mass shootings now, why not open it up to betting? Some kind of mass shooting ghoul pool... where you use your "skill" to pick the race, religion, immigration status, gender, profession, location (school, post office, etc), state, etc of the perps and victims: plus totals per month and year.

    TV News stations could hire a mass shooting anchor to come on after the weather.

    Here's a group that might want to get in on the prediction market:

    Perhaps even 538 might want to consider adding a "mass shooting" tab.

    Yes, I know it's sick. I'm just trying to game out where all this is heading.

  3. Yes, that might be morbidly clarifying

    1. I figure it'd get people to start thinking more empirically at the very least. If you had some money riding on the next one... you might be a bit more thoughtful about blurting out whatever politically felt best to you at the time.

      Of course the thought of someone "fixing the game" would probably be prohibitively terrible for this to ever fly... let alone the shame factor.

  4. Mike, here's a mass shooting tracker:
    Maybe you could add a link on your blog.

  5. Mike, I'm pretty sure you won't be on board with this, but some mischief occurred to me that could potentially be used to maximize trolling and the associated negative reactions. Just for the fun of it. I would love to own my own newspaper so I could create my own headlines to pull it off.

    Here's the sequence of thinking: Americans are all for gun rights, however, even Republicans think that exceptions should be made for the mentally ill. I'm a fan of the philosopher Peter Boghossian. One of the things he's been "combating" is what he straight up calls "delusional thinking" ... that is ascribing a sense of certainty to unreliable means of knowing things. He has a standard example: he needs to replace a door in his house. So he goes through a set of proposed methods of obtaining the dimensions of the door: He could measure it with a tape measure. He could ask an expert, etc. A variety of "reliable" methods. Or, he could throw a bunch of sticks in the air and count how many fall inside a circle on the ground. He could ask his dog. He could sacrifice a goat... i.e. a bunch of "unreliable" means. He claims that if you regularly use unreliable means and are certain of their efficacy, then you're delusional. He refers to the DSM (the diagnostic and statistic manual of mental disorders) when justifying that description. The fun part is he goes on to note that there's a "religious exception" in the DSM for diagnosing delusion. He doesn't think that exception is justified. He's actually trying (I doubt he'll succeed), with some other people, to get that exception removed. Lol... so, Peter would (and does) argue, that faith is also delusional. Hope is not. Hope doesn't generate certainty. Hope isn't a knowledge claim.

    So, here's how that all fits together: Editorial page:

    "Enough is enough: It's time America's mentally ill, including those suffering from delusions (such as religious faith) be bared from owning firearms!"

    Hahahaha... I'd love to see how that goes over with the American public!

    But seriously, that is partly what appears to have happened in San Bernardino. This couple were new parents. Let's focus on mom in particular. What (other than delusional religious faith) would inspire a new mother to leave her 6 month old baby and go off on a suicide death rampage? Really! That's a serious question. There are few things that could cause otherwise sane people to do something so against human nature, except hardcore delusions.

    The thing is, I agree with Peter on this line of thinking. Now in reality, not all religious faith is created equal. But the general concept I think is pretty sound. Why allow the delusional to own dangerous weapons? The fact that the religious delusional fit the DSM description of a delusional person... and are only exempted by an arbitrary exception to the rule shouldn't matter. Let's get that DSM changed, and make some changes for the better in America!


    I think I can even boil it down to fit on a T-shirt or bumper sticker:

    If you worship invisible magic sky fairies (e.g Yahweh, Allah, Vishnu or Jesus), you're delusional. (sky fairies are imaginary)

    If you're delusional, you're mentally ill.

    If you're mentally ill, you shouldn't be allowed to own guns!

    OK, I know that's over the top. I know plenty of people who have religious faith whom I wouldn't worry about owning firearms. I'm just thinking of taking this to it's logical conclusion, and it's not clear to me exactly why I can't pursue that line of thinking.

    I might email Peter and see what he thinks.

    1. My list could be inverted to better effect I think:

      o Enough! The mentally ill should not be allowed access to guns!!!

      o If you're delusional, then you're mentally ill.

      o If you believe in and worship magic sky fairies*, you're delusional.

      o DO THE MATH!!!

      *[like Allah or Jesus]

      I'm sure that would probably lead to a beating or worse if worn in public in Texas. (I emailed Dave Silverman too... maybe he'll put it on the side of a buss or a roadside billboard... he's also brave enough to wear that in public I'd guess)

      Of course we all know how this policy would *actually* be used: if you don't accept Jesus as your personal Lord and savior, then you're clearly delusional. Lol... which falls under the old maxim "Be careful what you wish for!..."

    2. OK, one reply was this;

      "If I wore that I'd be spending the next six months in the office of Diversity & Inclusion."


    3. Well I myself have dreamed of owning my own newspaper or tv station, especially lately.

      I do like what the Daily News for instance did.