Tuesday, August 3, 2021

The Problem With Modern Catholic Positivity

This may surprise people, but: I don't like to complain all that much. And I don't like to be negative or hostile.

I like to be positive. And I mean real positivity, not "I'm glad this other guy got hurt/humiliated/whatever" positivity. I tend to focus on debate, argument flaws, bluffing and so on -- but even there, the point was never sticking it to even the worst and most dishonest people I deal with. It is in the hope that someone looking on would realize that a given atheist or fraudulent Christian argument could be dismantled, and that people who meant well did not have to worry about something mentally plaguing them.

So, given that: why don't I focus more on positive developments? On good things? Encouraging things?

Because, simply: the most prominent kinds of modern Christian positivity are either Hallmark level mindless, dishonest fluff, or manipulative psyops. I don't get much encouragement from reading the latest writings of someone opining how Christ was an endlessly happy, cheerful God who never, ever would have said anything to upset someone or was judgmental. Or from the likes of Barron, who praises BLM riots as the cries of an oppressed people looking to heaven for justice, but the J6 protesters were dangerous insurrectionists filled with hate who we should all condemn unreservedly.

There is a lack of meaningful positivity out there, just as there is a lack of sincerity.

It's a shame, but it's the truth.

Monday, August 2, 2021

The Pillar's Velvet Detector Keeps Pinging

 It should have been obvious that Burrill was only going to be the tip of the iceberg.

The data set assessed by The Pillar is commercially available and contains location and usage information which users consent to be collected and commercialized as a condition of using the app.

Extensive location-based hookup or dating app usage is evident within the walls of Vatican City, in restricted areas of St. Peter’s Basilica, inside Vatican City government and Holy See’s administration buildings including those used by the Vatican’s diplomatic staff, in residential buildings, and in the Vatican Gardens, both during daytime hours and overnight.  

Signals emitted from most of the Vatican’s extraterritorial buildings, which house the offices of several key Curial departments were excluded from analysis because of the proximity of tourists, pilgrims, and the general public to those buildings on a daily basis.

What makes this really awkward for the Velvet Mafia is that it's not as if Grindr is Pinknews, or some general gay-themed site. Grindr is a hookup app with GPS enabled: the purpose of the app is to facilitate anonymous gay sex. They're not merely finding gay clergy, but gay clergy who are happily getting involved in some of the worst aspects of gay sex culture.

By the way: do you think the Vatican is doing anything about this? Are they upset that such a prominent cleric was knee deep in that culture? Or is their concern, 100%, that their priests may get outed?

Oh, also: do you think all the fear and terror about COVID surfaced? Don't get me wrong, it's very possible Burrill was masking up during his encounter, but a latex hood isn't CDC approved. I suspect that this isn't a concern either, and COVID is supposed to only shut down particular gatherings that don't matter, like a mass or an opposition political party.

And just to get a sense of how deep the rot is:

Vatican City State policy does not presently prohibit employees or residents from the use of location-based hookup apps, even within secured locations connected to diplomatic responsibilities, Vatican officials have told The Pillar.

Do you think The Pillar's story will cause this to change?

Don't bet on it. The Vatican does have its priorities. 

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Scattered Thoughts, 7/31/21

 * The supposed "ordination crisis" that I've been hearing about all my life increasingly seems artificial. Once upon a time the basic issues made sense to me -- you need various degrees to be a priest, they need to make sure your faith was authentic, that you were cut out for the priesthood, and so on. Nowadays? The degree requirement is easily dispensed with, and what they really seem intent on is screening out faithful Catholics while trying to get in as many homosexuals and leftists as possible. We could be up to the throat with priests, even bishops, if the desire was truly there.

* I don't think I've ever heard a living member of the clergy describe any sect as 'schismatic' other than extremely recent breakaway/defiant Catholic sects: the SSPX, the sedes, and so on. Do they even call the Lutherans schismatic? Protestants in general? The Orthodox? It seems like that designation is holstered in those cases, on the grounds that it's offensive and provocative (and in the case of the Orthodox, the reply will be that no, you guys are schismatic.) Offense and provocation is left to particular targets. Go figure.

* I checked out Victor Reppert's blog recently, and saw him writing a pretty thoughtful piece on the need to 'listen to the other side'. It sounds even-handed. The problem is, it's even-handed now that Biden is in power, there's a Democratic majority in the House, a near-majority in the Senate, and the near-entirety of the media and even communication systems are in the hands of, frankly, Reppert's favored faction. When Trump was in power, Victor went absolutely bugfuck insane. He believed every Russian collusion story, he saw agents of Putin behind every bit of Trump support, and no amount of intervention seemed beyond the pale. Seeing him plea for civil discussion now honestly makes me feel a bit sad, because I spent so much time there, and to me, Victor was always the example of 'the leftist who really means well'. After Trump, it just showed me that the left largely only treats you with respect and a willingness to hear you out only if they feel confident they can stop you cold at any time, and if you may actually have even a temporary victory, they want you jailed or worse. Spare me the dialog, thank you. I know what terms make it possible.

* Now that Larry Elder seems like he'll be the actual GOP nominee in the California recall race, I have to laugh at every conservative who came out swinging for Jenner. Keep in mind the terms under which they did that: when it seemed like Elder wasn't running, and Jenner was the only candidate with "name recognition" in the race. Suddenly you had prominent conservative 'influencers' like Sean Hannity going to bat for this creature, blowing so much of their carefully built-up, tactically acquired credibility, and it was all for nothing. I cannot imagine being that wealthy, that influential, and still living a life like that -- where you say things you don't mean and humiliate yourself for the benefit of unseen powers that be. What's the point of being a multi-millionaire at that rate?

* I have zero problem with internet Catholic journalists figuring out who is and isn't using Grindr among the priesthood. It's one thing to be attracted to men. It's another to be involved with that bit of moral degradation. Being an active and willing participant in gay hookup culture should be viewed as akin to being connected with Freemasons, atheists or Satanists. I don't want those men having influence on a single Catholic soul if I can help it. Or, for that matter, much anyone else.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Only the trads have the option of the catacombs

I don't really like the imagery of 'returning to the catacombs' for trads -- sneaking around, saying private masses. There's a kind of romanticism attached to that, and it's endemic among "conservatives", but that's because many of them have mind-screwed themselves out of even fantasies of victory. Dreaming of the restoration of the faith in all its glory, its enemies scattered? How prideful. (No more prideful than the Second Coming, but still.)

As for me: if I'm going to dramatize and fantasize, I will dream of chasing leftists and their sycophants out of the Churches. Let the traditional mass be the only mass you can say in the great cathedrals. Call it unrealistic, but if we're going to fantasize, let's fantasize about the future we want, not the future we'll endure.

You'd think this would involve fantasizing about forcing the anti-trads "into the catacombs", but that doesn't work. Not because it's undesirable, but because it wouldn't happen: if some kind of internal Catholic Reconquista takes place and the Novus Ordo is wiped out of the Church, the reaction of leftists won't be to scurry into the shadows to, fearfully but prayerfully, continue to say the mass they love.

They're just going to shrug and leave the faith behind. Or start saying the Latin mass while working to bring it down again from the inside -- somehow, some way. Perhaps using more novel means. 

But for most of them, suffering is not what they've signed up for. They wanted to be part of stamping out their political enemies, and if that's not possible, the fun is gone and they'll go do something else, freed of the need to keep up appearances. You already see something akin to this in the Churches where their victory has been a bit more complete: the Anglicans, the Episcopalians, etc. With no more enemies left to stand against, the reformers leave it all behind anyway. You only need a skeleton crew to slide on the Anglican skin-suit and, say, argue that their increasingly vague and non-committal Christian faith demands blessing polyamorous lesbian trans sexual unions.

We'd see the same if vanquishing their enemies wasn't even an option anymore. And so, that's the future we should work towards.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Let's (not) trigger the libs. Or at least, that's not really the point.

Despite being pretty firmly on the right, I don't have a let's-trigger-the-libs attitude. I don't get any joy out of really getting a rise out of those left-wing snowflakes, or whatever. 

I just don't really care what they think. If my views or acts upset them, fine. 

If my views or acts please them? Also fine. 

Are they completely ambivalent about either of these things? Well, that's fine too.

Being motivated by spite, even against terrible people, is a pretty bad way to live, and definitely a bad way to make decisions or embrace/reject beliefs. The attitude is partly rooted in a social development still taking place among conservatives, where the we're-better-than-that, don't-stoop-to-their-level, always-be-civil mindset is (rightly) reject as a mind-game and an inappropriate response to sociopolitical aggression. 

In that sense, it's a positive development: the "old, respectable" conservative approach to conflict was always a kind of psy-op and failure theatre. But when one op fails, the powers that be try to craft another one to take its place, and now the name of the game is to trick conservatives into doing things that will purportedly upset leftists.

"Dude, you know what would really trigger the libs? If WE nominated the first openly gay-transexual governor of California! EPIC PWN!"

Yeah, how about no.

At the same time, if I come to a conclusion or a belief that upsets people, well, their being strategically upset doesn't matter either. No, I don't think women should be priests. No, gay marriage isn't real, I don't care what the law says (or for that matter, any pseudo-clergy): it's all a joke and I won't act otherwise. Anger won't change this. Crying won't either. No, not even razors to wrist.

But most of all: apathy sure won't change it.

In fact, perhaps that's what I really want: I don't want leftists triggered. I will settle for leftists who are incapable of trying to force me, or anyone else, to change our views by threat, force or manipulation. 

If the monkey's paw curls in a finger and suddenly I have what I want and we can all live our lives and write our books and blog and go to church as we please (and, for most of us, as we think God commands and is right) without conflict but the cost is there will never be a triggered lib in the world again, well, I just hacked the monkey's paw because that's a great result.

The goal isn't being offensive. 

That's just, sometimes, a means to an end.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Christ's crucifixion only matters because of His resurrection

The statement seems obvious -- Christ's resurrection is central to Christianity -- but it seems downplayed nowadays.

People love the imagery of the crucifixion. Christ suffering on the cross, persecuted, a victim of betrayal and cruelty and crowd anger. Not coincidentally, the crucifixion is not very controversial.

The resurrection is.

Partly it's because humans can relate to the crucifixion. We can relate to suffering. The resurrection? Metaphors aside, that's not a human thing. It's a God thing. Or at least a supernatural thing.

Partly it's precisely because the resurrection is central to Christianity, so that's the one thing that's going to be attacked, rejected and mocked. Maybe on par with the virgin birth.

Christians, not wanting to give offense, and perhaps liking the idea that non-believing people may find at least something positive in Christ, often cut their losses. Why spoil people's admiration for the crucifixion by bringing up what followed it? They can just... learn that on their own time.

It's a bit like "love your neighbor as yourself", one of the favorite Bible quotes for atheists, particularly when they can deploy it against a Christian who upset them in some ways. Putting aside the misinterpretation of that line, the preceding and superior rule -- Love God with all of your mind, heart, and soul -- gets comparatively little talk. 

Even by Christians.

After all, people adore the love-your-neighbor line. And it's nice to have people say something nice about the Bible, even if it's in a backhanded way. The importance of loving God will ruin that -- and worse, it exposes a glaring deficiency that will be present in all non-theistic worldviews.

Again, as I keep harping on lately -- I don't mind the atheist abuses of all this so much. I mind the willingness of Christians to give up their own faith, of avoiding the more difficult aspects of it. Of letting seculars and non-Christian dictate their own faith to them.

Hardly a point to a faith like that, which is easy to see unless you're of the mindset which can airbrush out the resurrection and still see a god worth paying attention to in the gospels.

Monday, July 26, 2021

So, has the Hard Problem of Consciousness been solved by science yet?

Way back in the day -- close to two decades now? -- there was a very serious gauntlet thrown down by materialists and atheists, at least in the communities I hung around in.

The claim was simple: scientific advancement is going to solve the hard problem of consciousness, and it will solve it soon.

At the time, "within five years" was the estimate. Five years, and the human brain would be fully simulated, down to the neuron! Five years, and we'll have a brain we can interact with -- talk with, perhaps! -- and the hard problem (and any other problem you could imagine) will vanish. Materialism will win, once and for all.

Well, far more years than five have passed since those claims were made.

Did I just miss the news?

Or was it -- as I said back then -- all a complete pantload?

On other topics -- the origin of life (which is in a similar situation), the origin of the universe (ditto) -- I tended to be almost but not quite as skeptical that science was going to deliver a major discovery that could be paradigm shifting. In philosophy of mind, however, the whole thing seemed like a con game from the start.

Even now I suspect the temptation would be to say "We're almost there! Five MORE years! Five more and we'll have the brain mapped out and understood in a way to remove all meaningful confusion!"

Bullshit. And the reason why it's bullshit can be expressed simply. I said it back then, and it still matters now.

Simulate a mouse brain. Tell me if the mouse is conscious. Solve the hard problem for a mouse.

Oh, is a mouse still too complex? 

Fine. An earthworm. Simulate an earthworm.

STILL too complex? Simulate a bacteria. A single-celled organism. Tell me all about the consciousness, or lack thereof, of the bacteria.

Is even that still too complex?


Simulate a rock. 

Destroy panpsychism with science. I'm sure even my computer can give a complete, thorough, exhaustive, atomic simulation of a small rock. Tell us how your simulation completely eradicates consciousness from the rock, and that panpsychism is thus falsified.

Somehow, these minor steps -- far more modest, achievable in faster timeframes -- never were proposed to solve any meaningful outstanding problem in the Philosophy of Mind. Not the kind which touches on intentionality, the soul, the hard problem, what-have-you.

Because no one really thought they could. The reason a full and tremendously detailed map of the human brain was the gold standard is because it sounded like such an aggressive project that it would take time, and the sheer fact that the project could be undertaken seemed, in a less computer-frenzied age, to be some intellectually towering feat. That the plan could even be proposed with a serious face was supposed to put the fear of anti-God into the hearts of non-materialists.

All they wanted was time. 

It was like a Ponzi scheme: all they need is the time to get you your money. They had a million excuses as to why they needed so much time, but they could never tell you that the delay itself was the most important thing in the world, because otherwise you'd figure out that there was nothing to this and it was all a scam.

Which is why the smaller projects not only wouldn't work. No one claimed they would shed much light on anything, because those projects could be done -- or even were done -- at the time, and it was a bust. Less than a bust, because no one even had the audacity to suggest those simulations would matter at all. 

It was preposterous for the same reasons it's preposterous that a brain simulation will do the trick.

Like with atheism, once I figured out what limits there were to science -- again, The Last Superstition was essential here -- then it all collapsed. It's a better game than atheism, but not by much.

The Hard Problem is unsolved. Intentionality is unsolved. It's all unsolved and science won't solve it because science cannot. We've hit the point where science discovers more mysteries than it ties up, and what we are capable with in terms of engineering is hitting a point where the impact of minds on the development and even creation of universes -- Intelligent Design -- will eventually need to be seriously contemplated.

We do not need any more time to be confident of that.