We ashen-souled columnists, the galley slaves of journalism, are accustomed to abuse from web louts, though it makes us see humanity as having the charm one associates with the underside of a theater seat. We bear up manfully under this, perhaps in the company of Mr. Daniels of Tennessee. To be fair, we get a modicum of civil and intelligent comment.
The third category we see is CDA: Cognitive Dissonance Avoidance. The majority of men cannot abide anything they do not already think and, when asked questions they would rather not contemplate, probably lock themselves in the bathroom until the screen goes blank. Herewith some of the most studiously avoided questions.
The Police: A cop sees a man strike a woman in the head with a piece of pipe and grab her purse. He tries to arrest the perp, who resists. The criminal is 19, muscular, and weighs 220. What should the cop do?
Web louts avoid the question because all available answers involve violence and the louts, who hate the police while knowing nothing about them, cannot afford to concede that violence by police can ever be legitimate. If they did, then many cases of alleged brutality would become legitimate. So they duck and dodge. Classic CDA.
Second question: The perp is big, stoked on PCP, has a length of pipe, and does not want to go to jail. He attacks the cop. What should the cop do when attacked with a deadly weapon?
Note to web louts only: Do not natter stupidly about cops are thugs, you don’t like cops, they are racists, Fred is a fascist, and all the other excretions of negligible minds. Answer the question.
Intelligent design. For those unfamiliar with this particular circus, intelligent Design–ID among the cognoscenti–is the theory or, as many would have it, observation–that some biological structures cannot have evolved because they are irreducibly complex, and therefore must have been designed. This does not mean excessively complex, but that the structures in question have too many parts all of which would have to appear at once or the structure would not function, and that the parts by themselves would have no value in survival. This is furiously denied by the Darwin claque.
If irreducible complexity does not exist, then any organism can in principle be traced backward, evolutionary step by evolutionary step, to nonliving matter. In practice of course this is impossible with entire organisms. With simple processes it should be doable.
Consider protein synthesis. This is a comparatively simple, well understood. Why is it not irreducibly complex? How can it be simplified to a preceding evolutionary form? Can we reduce the number of nucleotides per codon from three to two, allowing coding for at most sixteen aminos? Can the sugar be eliminated from nucleotides? The phosphate? Surely simplifying an already simple process should be only an exercise for grad students. Otherwise it would seem irrem—No! No!
Immigration.The presence of any Latinos at all in America is strongly opposed by racialist groups such as the Alt-Right. These encourage the belief that Latinos are stupid, filthy, criminal, and parasitic, and seek to prevent immigration. There are forty million legal Latinos in the country, mostly citizens, who are not going to leave and cannot be deported. While it can certainly be argued that the country would be better off without them, they exist and will remain. Question for the Alt-Right:
What policy do you recommend toward American citizens of Latino descent?
Encourage assimilation? Discourage it? Poisoning? In any case, how?
Those opposed to immigration strenuously avoid the question because having a policy would concede the legitimacy, or at least permanence, of Latino-Americans. This they cannot bring themselves to do. If they did, they would likewise concede the inevitability of intermarriage. Eeeeeeek!
Personally I sympathize with white nationalists and think mass immigration should not have been permitted. But I also that that it was, and we have to deal with what is, not what we might like.
Illegal immigrants: The roughly twelve million illegals pose another problem. It is arithmetically very unlikely that a statistically important number of illegals will be deported or leave. If ten thousand a month were deported during Trump’s maximum possible reign, this would come to almost a million, eight percent of the illegals and substantially less than two percent of the Latino population. Question for white nationalists: What policy do you recommend toward those illegals who do not leave?
They duck and dodge on this question too because having a policy on remaining illegals–probably most of them–would be to admit that some will remain, which they will not. Questions consequent to the first would arise, such as do we amnesty them–the Alt-Right would rather take slit its throat–so they can get real jobs, buy houses, and so on, or keep them as a permanent underclass until their children, citizens, make the question noot?
Open borders: People in favor of mass immigration never put a number on what they want, without which they become moral poseurs and feel-good artists. There are probably 700 million Indians, at least 300 million Latin Americans, all of Haiti, 500 million Africans, and many hundreds of millions of Indonesians, Arabs, Afghans, Pakistanis, and so on who would like to come to America. Question for pro-immigrationists: Specifically, how many immigrants do you want to accept? What upper limit do you want?
Ants. If you look at mammalian brains, or even reptilian ones, you see enough neurons to believe that they can manage the animal. People have about 1350 cc of brain, some whales 5400.
But consider the above ant. There is hardly any ant there. Most of what there is of the little beast consists of legs, exoskeleton, thorax and abdomen and so on. It has virtually no nervous tissue, distributed or otherwise.
Yet it effortlessly manages six legs over broken terrain (ask a robotics engineer how easy this is) operates digestive organs and such, knows how to forage for food, dig nests, care for queen and young, manage sensory organs and interact with other ants.
All of this is flat weird. Question: How can so very, very little “brain” control such complex behavior? What, as we would say in today’s digital world,is the storage mechanism? The programming language?
When I have asked this question, the response has been “Oh, Fred, ants use a different system.” That is the question, not the answer. What is the explanation, if one exists?
This question involves no web louts pr evasive politics, but there does seem to be a desire to avoid saying that there is something going on that we do not understand.
Affirmative action: This was originally sold as a temporary measure to allow blacks who did not quite meet the qualifications for a job to begin working, whereupon–so the theory went–they would study hard and catch up. Critics argue that blacks aren’t catching up, and indeed cannot, and that affirmative action is just another entitlement giveaway to keep them from burning cities. . Proponents deny this. Question: When, specifically, should affirmative action be dropped, and how will we know when we get there?
There may be good answers to all of these questions. Specific, concrete, non-evasive answers. I would like to hear them.