30 June 2015

Mind in Tibetan Buddhism

At death you can no longer lie to yourself. You cannot rationalise away all the negative aspects of your life and your personality. The state of mind you have at the moment of death determins what you will experience, so it is vitally important to prepare now, while you are in this body, for what is to come. Lama Ole Nydahl of the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism explains the mind and the bardos.

05 June 2015

The Myth of Cultural Relativity

Why is it that on every video about Egypt, or archaeology in general, there has to be someone who leaves a comment about racialism? "You don't think [insert minority here] was smart enough to create something on their own! You're racialist!"

The truth of the matter is, most people in the world were not smart enough to do things on their own. People from Eurasia, and Egypt, did invent a whole lot, and had achieved a whole lot, and everyone else in the world was pretty much stuck in the stone age until the 18th century when they were dragged kicking and screaming into modernity.

People in North America did not have wheels, few had any form of record keeping, and those who had a limited usage of metal used it for ornamental purposes, not for anything practical. However impressive the accomplishments of the Maya or the Peruvian peoples, those accomplishments were all equivalent to things Eurasians had done many thousands of years earlier. Megalithic cairns dating back over 10,000 years map out precise astronomical alignments. While Egyptian pyramids were made from enormous blocks of cut stone, Mesoamerican pyramids were mostly made of rubble, only faced with stone. There were people in the Americas who built tumuli (earthen mounds), even up to probably 1500, while Eurasians had advanced beyond this thousands of years earlier. Not all cultures are equivalent, not scientifically, not technologically, not philosophically, not artistically, and not morally.

I don't think there is anyone who would argue that all breeds of dog are equivalent. Some dogs run really fast, others are exceptional at hunting waterfowl, others are useful for military work. No one would argue that all dogs are equivalent. And yet, somehow, there are some people who manage to think that all humans are equivalent. Some humans are exceptional at metal work, and philosophy, and construction, and hydrology, and navigation, and agriculture, and science, and they almost all come from the same areas. And some humans are great at making mud huts, and they pretty much live everywhere else.

The mistake is to separate humans from the natural world and make equal that which is not. As groups of humans separated geographically breed, just like dogs, different traits are passed on. Some breeds of human accumulate more beneficial traits than others, just like dogs. Some dogs (created in modern times by sick humans) have severe physical deformities that are a terrible detriment to their health. Some dogs are so deformed they cannot even breed without human intervention. The same is true with humans. Certain groups of humans are really short, others have developed the ability to digest milk into adulthood, some can run for days without tiring, and some groups of humans are incredibly smart. But for some reason while it is perfectly fine to talk about how breeding affects dogs, people get up in arms when anyone talks about breeding in humans.

I'm not talking about intrinsic human-ness, I'm not saying other groups of people should be enslaved or exterminated, as people who feel instead of think have already assumed my argument is and have stopped reading. Stupid people are just as human as smart people, just as small deformed dogs are just as dog as reasonable-sized healthy dogs. It's just that stupid people are not as smart as smart people, and so one would find it a lot more difficult to believe that a group of stupid people would be able to create more advanced structures than a group of smart people. That's what the whole issue is. It is easier to believe that certain cultures with long histories of great achievements could create certain monuments with their technology than it is to believe another culture could do the same with much more primitive technology and no suitable record of achievements. It's logic, not feelings. Try using it.

04 June 2015

Overpopulation is Officially Bullshit

The New York Times has finally admitted that overpopulation is bullshit.

Paul Ehrlich from Stanford University terrified millions of people with his 1968 book The Population Bomb that predicted hundreds of millions of people would starve to death by 1970! As the Times admits "As you may have noticed, England is still with us. So is India. Hundreds of millions did not die of starvation in the ’70s."

What they don't mention is why there is no overpopulation problem. They merely mention that affluent women have fewer children. They ignore the 400 million forced abortions carried out in China since the initiation of their one child policy. They don't talk about the tens of millions of men in China and India who will never father children, never even have the opportunity, since there are millions too few women as a result of sex-selective abortion and infanticide. They don't talk of the forced sterilisation.

Birth rates are well below replacement in most of the world. Population is declining, all over the world. There is not only not an overpopulation problem, there is an underpopulation problem. There are far too few young people working in Japan to pay for the pensions of the increasingly geriatric population. And with so many people giving up sex entirely, the total collapse of the Japanese population within the next half century is inevitable. The same is true for Russia, which is losing 1% of its population every year. Millions of poor North Africans have to be imported into Europe to pay for the expansive welfare state because the now 60 and 70 year old socialists who make up the bulk of the white population never had kids to replace them. The Islamic caliphates tried to conquer Europe, and now, sometime in the 21st century, Islam will colonise the continent peacefully when all the European atheist socialists die out from natural causes.

So many people bought into the myth of overpopulation that governments the world over took drastic action to solve a problem that did not exist, with disastrous results. There really is a population bomb waiting to go off, but not for lack of food. This bomb was constructed through population control policies and when it explodes there won't be nearly enough people to keep the global economy from falling apart. Hundreds of millions have already died, and millions more will for want of young people.

Dr. Ehrlich still says the sky is falling. He still says millions more need be aborted, millions more need to be sterilised, or all the food will run out. His colleges have disowned him. They can't believe how wrong he was, and how intransigent he remains in face of overwhelming evidence.

One thing that happened on the road to doom was that the world figured out how to feed itself despite its rising numbers. No small measure of thanks belonged to Norman E. Borlaug, an American plant scientist whose breeding of high-yielding, disease-resistant crops led to the agricultural savior known as the Green Revolution. While shortages persisted in some regions, they were often more a function of government incompetence, corruption or civil strife than of an absolute lack of food.


Somewhere on the spectrum between Dr. Ehrlich the doomsayer and Mr. Simon the doomslayer (as Wired called him) lies Fred Pearce, a British writer who specializes in global population. His concern is not that the world has too many people. In fact, birthrates are now below long-term replacement levels, or nearly so, across much of Earth, not just in the industrialized West and Japan but also in India, China, much of Southeast Asia, Latin America — just about everywhere except Africa, although even there the continentwide rates are declining. “Girls that are never born cannot have babies,” Mr. Pearce wrote in a 2010 book, “The Coming Population Crash and Our Planet’s Surprising Future” (Beacon Press).

Pearce says that the Earth can support a much greater population, over nine billion, as long as resources are distributed properly.

While the Times has eaten crow and admitted there is no such thing as overpopulation, the readers, aging hippies and modern day progressives still bitch and moan about a non-existent problem. Ehrlich was right, we just have to wait a little longer! Even though population is decreasing on all the other continents, there are still so many Africans, and they're so poor! And global warming! Some people change when presented with overwhelming evidence that they are wrong. Unfortunately some people do not, and there are no shortage of them in the comments section.