Archive for October 2015
A character in Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code said the following:
The Bible represents a fundamental guidepost for millions of people on the planet, in much the same way the Koran, Torah, and Pali Canon offer guidance to people of other religions. If you and I could dig up documentation that contradicted the holy stories of Islamic belief, Judaic belief, Buddhist belief, pagan belief, should we do that? Should we wave a flag and tell the Buddhists that the Buddha did not come from a lotus blossom? Or that Jesus was not born of a literal virgin birth? Those who truly understand their faiths understand the stories are metaphorical.
The character seems to be arguing both sides, because after questioning whether it’s a good idea to disprove the contents of religious texts, he states that those who truly understand their faith already understand that they aren’t supposed to take the stories literally.
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Or, he meant that there’s no point in disproving the literal truth of holy stories because the smart people already understand that the stories are metaphorical and the dumb people need the guidance they can only get by believing in their literal truth.
However, Dan Brown, the author, attempted to teach the truth of Christianity’s untruths through his novel.
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Based on comments, it’s clear that Dan Brown is wrong, because some commenters do NOT understand that the holy stories of their religion are metaphorical.
1. Rubio believes in creationism. Interview with GQ:
GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?
Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.
2. Rubio attended a church where the pastor peformed exorcisms of demon-possessed members.
3. Rubio for a long time lied about his family history, claiming they had to flee Cuba after Castro took over. The Washington Post reported that Rubio’s version of his family history was a lie, and that his family moved to the United States two years before Castro took over Cuba.
4. This June, the NY Times reported Rubio’s history of mismanaging his personal finances and wasting his money on stupid prole stuff like an $80,000 speedboat.
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Why does creationism in particular have such a strong hold over evangelicals, whereas things like owning slaves (which was perfectly fine), is not ok? Or keeping the sabbath holy? Is it because the latter things require personal sacrifice but the former is just something you can say?
Why isn’t it enough to believe that God created the universe instead of maintaining the absurdity that the Earth is 6000 years old.
Evolution disproves the Book of Genesis. Of course, archaeology and other scientific methods also disprove the book of Genesis, but that stuff is more easily ignored by biblical literalists.
The mysterious cabal of Republican Party elites and super-wealthy donors who appointed Jeb heir apparent will pull their support from Jeb and back Rubio. This will become apparent over the next two to three weeks.
Jeb will be pressured to withdraw and publicly endorse Rubio.
One thing which is not clear to me is what happens to the $100 million in Jeb’s super-PAC?
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This doesn’t mean that Rubio is a shoe-in. Carson is obviously going to win Iowa; that mysterious cabal needs to pump up Rubio’s support so he can defeat Trump in New Hampshire.
The Drudge poll, as usually, shows a huge lead for Trump being the winner of the debate, but I think that just reflects Drudge’s readership, which is anti-establishment right-wing but not evangelical Christian.
Carson had momentum going into this debate, has this debate changed anything to stop that? I don’t think so. I think Carson did less bad this debate than in previous debates. He seemed a lot less nervous, and slightly more presidential. Trump also seemed more presidential.
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Betting markets have finally given up on Jeb Bush, after insisting for months that he was the odds on favorite despite pathetic poll numbers. Now they have Rubio in first place and Trump in second place. But I don’t see how Rubio and Bush squabbling with each other during the debate is going to help him.
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I think it’s time for Christie and Huckabee to drop out. I don’t think either of them had a bad debate performance, but nothing happened that will suddenly propel them higher in the polls. Evangelicals who supported Huckabee in 2008 now support Carson, and I don’t see that changing.
I have the debate on one screen and the World Series on another (with the volume turned off). And blogging from a third screen.
8:16 The pitcher for the NY Mets needs a haircut. At least he didn’t give up an in-the-park home run on the first pitch.
8:21 Is Rubio copying Bush’s opening statement?
8:27 Trump is trying to talk about immigration instead of his stupid tax plan, which is smart of him.
8:32 Kasich: 100% right about taxes, 100% wrong about immigration.
8:40 Jeb Bush attacks Marco Rubio about him missing Senate votes. This is new. I think it backfired.
8:48 Cruz argues with the moderator about his time being up.
9:02 Cramer asks Carson an interesting question about drug company profiteering. But Carson evades answering the question. Maybe he’s becoming more like a politician.
9:06 Mets hit into a double play, but the umpire calls the runner safe at first base and it’s not a double play.
9:07 Run scored! Bad call at first base gives the Mets their first run.
9:13 More crappy fielding from the Mets, and KC has a runner on first base with no outs.
9:17 More crappy fielding from the loser Mets center fielder, and KC has runners on first and second. Lenny Dykstra wouldn’t have missed that play.
9:21 Walk. Based loaded.
Conference on the mound.
Ground ball out, inning over, and de Grom gets out of a bad situation caused by crappy Mets fielding.
9:27 Trump now says that foreigners who go to American schools should be allowed to work in America. What happened to him being anti-immigrant?
9:38 Tie game. The KC batter, after getting an 0-2 count trying to sacrifice bunt, swings on the 0-2 pitch and gets a hit into center field, driving the guy on second home.
Next KC batter hits the ball down the 1B line, moving the runners to second and third with one out.
Fly ball out, too shallow to drive the runner home, 2 outs now.
Hit. KC leads 3-1. These Met suck. How did they get to the World Series in the first place?
Another hit, men on the corners, when will this inning end?
9:52 Another hit, KC leads 4-1, men still on the corners. This de Grom guy is certainly no Dwight Gooden.
9:54 Inning finally over.
10:04 Thinking about the H-1B visa issue, maybe Trump doesn’t know what’s on his own website because he didn’t write it himself. Perhaps Trump’s anti-immigration platform is not something he personally believes, but is just something he adopted because he realizes it’s what Republican primary voters want to hear. Why don’t Bush and Rubio and those guys realize it’s what the voters want to hear? I guess Trump is smarter because he graduated from Wharton.
10:08 My TWC online stream crashed… no debate coming in.
DEBATE CONCLUSION: CARSON WINS
They candidates are still making their closing remarks, but I say that Carson is the big winner of this debate. His performance has improved since the previous two debates. I’m starting to appreciate his calm demeanor.
Everyone else is afraid to attack Carson. Rubio and Bush squabbled with each other instead. They just hurt themselves. I guess the nominating process just doesn’t have room for two moderate pro-immigration Spanish-speaking candidates from Florida, and they realize that.
To quote Wikipedia:
In finance, the capital asset pricing model (CAPM) is used to determine a theoretically appropriate required rate of return of an asset, if that asset is to be added to an already well-diversified portfolio, given that asset’s non-diversifiable risk. The model takes into account the asset’s sensitivity to non-diversifiable risk (also known as systematic risk or market risk), often represented by the quantity beta (β) in the financial industry, as well as the expected return of the market and the expected return of a theoretical risk-free asset. CAPM “suggests that an investor’s cost of equity capital is determined by beta.”
The CAPM was invented in the 1960s, and became popular among finance people in the 1970s. It was taught in the most basic corporate finance class when I was a college student at Penn in the 1980s. It’s a fine model for valuing stocks and bonds, but what does it have to do with libertarianism?
Libertarians take it as a matter of faith that the amount of money someone earns is exactly equal to the value they create, but they have a tough time explaining exactly why some people earn such massively more money than other people. Thus they picked up on the part of the CAPM which states that more non-diversifiable risk equals higher returns, chose to ignore the “non-diversifiable” part, and applied to this to every rich person. So why is Bill Gates so rich? Because he took more risk. Why is Warren Buffett so rich? Because he took more risk. If you only stopped being lazy and took more risk, you too would be rich!
Carly Fiorina is considered one of the worst CEOs ever, yet she walked away from HP with approximately $200 million more than when she walked in. How was that risky? The regular employees of HP had much riskier jobs, because approximately 30,000 of them were laid off during Carly’s tenure, and they walked away with not much money at all.
Because entrepreneurial risk is mostly diversifiable and not correlated with systemic risk, the CAPM actually teaches us that there would be no return for such risk. And, of course, CEOs and other high-level corporate executives don’t take any risk at all. The higher your job level in corporate America, the all-around better and less risky your job is.
Regarding entrepreneurial risk, because people tend to have an optimism bias and the longshot bias , it’s more likely than not that people are taking too much risk rather than not enough risk. Entrepreneurial risk may be like the risk of the roulette wheel, where 38 people go in and one person wins 35 times their investment while the other 37 lose. (It should be noted that people play roulette despite the fact that it’s known to be rigged in favor of the house, and the same with the massively more popular lottery, but people have an optimism bias and a longshot bias.)
Continuing with the same theme, a big article in the NY Times claims that blacks are more often the victim of traffic stops because of racist discrimination by the police (without actually stating it quite that explicitly).
This article is part of a recent trend by the MSM which has the effect of inciting blacks to riot in places like Ferguson and Detroit. The MSM is constantly telling black people that they should hate the police, which is a very bad message to be sending.
There are many contributing reasons for why blacks are stopped and arrested more often than whites:
1. Perhaps they commit more traffic infractions. Blacks disproportionately commit other crimes, so it’s logical that they would disproportionately commit traffic offenses.
2. When stopped, it’s my impression that blacks are much more likely to be confrontational and aggressive with the police officer (partially because articles like this teach blacks to hate the police).
I do concede that the police discriminate against vehicles which look low class. What do low-class vehicles look like? They tend to be jalopies, or decorated in a manner that no middle-aged middle-class white person would ever do. If black people all read Dale Carson’s book, which teaches you to drive nondescript cars (imagine the kind of car a 60-year-old white woman would drive) and to behave in a passive manner with the police (and of course you should avoid violating traffic laws if at all possible), then they wouldn’t be stopped as often.
In the comments, some people claimed that the people would be better off without aggressive policing, or that aggressive policing violates the Constitution and we just need to accept the consequences.
Well there is one city without aggressive policing, that city is Detroit. Detroit has so few police they don’t even have enough to respond to 911 calls.
There are currently fewer officers patrolling the city than at any time since the 1920s. At one point, the Detroit police force was over 5,000. Today, the force is just 1,590 officers strong — and not all of those are on the street.
The city has lost nearly half its patrol officers since 2000 and ranks have shrunk by 37 percent in the past three years alone, according to the Detroit News. It’s so bad that precincts are reportedly left with only one squad car at times.
With only one squad car per precinct, I doubt they are using any manpower on aggressive policing like stop-and-frisk and traffic stops for burnt-out tail lights.
So is Detroit a better place to live because of its more laid-back policing?
The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said on Friday that the additional scrutiny and criticism of police officers in the wake of highly publicized episodes of police brutality may have led to an increase in violent crime in some cities as officers have become less aggressive.
With his remarks, Mr. Comey lent the prestige of the F.B.I., the nation’s most prominent law enforcement agency, to a theory that is far from settled: that the increased attention on the police has made officers less aggressive and emboldened criminals.
Exactly what I’ve been saying.
I’ve also written a lot about one particular type of aggressive police behavior, stop-and-frisk. I believe that put the fear of the law into the people they stopped and frisk, and the abolishment of that policy has emboldened the criminal element who are now more likely to carry handguns.
Also, a few days ago, there was another NY Times article about the soaring murder rate in Baltimore, where the police have especially backed down from being aggressive after the murder prosecution of police officers for just doing their job.
Latest poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers now has Ben Carson leading Trump.
In the previous two Iowa caucuses, a candidate representing the hardcore religious right won or tied in Iowa and then went on to lose the nomination: Huckabee in 2008 and Santorum in 2012. So this doesn’t mean that Carson is going to win the nomination. But this is still bad news for Trump who would be unstoppable if he wins both Iowa and New Hampshire.
My enthusiasm for Trump has waned since he came out with a tax plan that’s a massive tax cut for the rich, after he had previously went on for two months saying that rich Wall Street people are getting away without paying their fair share of taxes.