Form, Function, and Beauty

It is aesthetics week here in the NRx-sphere. Here’s my contribution.

Beauty is objective in the main, subjective in the margins. Some broken relativists, for whatever reason, despise beauty and truth, seeing only the margins. They argue that all beauty is subjective. Yet, we all know how they would answer if given the choice of whether to have their faces shoved in Christina Hendrick’s bosom or in pig shit.

Objective attractiveness comes from where form and function meet. An object is attractive if its form signals the appearence of the object meeting its function. Beauty is something more than simple attractiveness, it has a a transcendence to it. Beauty is where form and function combine to illustrate truth.

To illustrate:

Local book shops are often attractive. The colouring, facade, and architecture of these shops is aligned to show that this is where quality books can be purchased from people who love books as much as you do. Yet local bookshops are rarely described as beautiful, because selling quality books is not transcendent in itself. It does not point to a higher truth.

On the other hand, houses are often described as beautiful, even if they are no more architectural pleasing than then the local book shop. This is because a house intrinsically points towards the higher truths of family, love, and home. Houses are beautiful because they embody transcendental truths beyond the mere materials and plans they are created from.

Functionality is in its own way its own form of truth. So, an object pointing to no other higher truths may still be beautiful if it embodies fully its own function, if it approaches its own platonic form in form. If form and function synchronize perfectly, beauty will appear. For example, a grandfather clock or Swiss watch may be beautiful even if it points to no higher truths, simply because the craftsmanship of the timepiece embodies the inherent truth of timepieces itself.

Ugliness is the opposite of beauty, it occurs when an object’s form signals that the object is either failing in its function, is otherwise unhealthy, or does not embody the higher truths it should embody. To be attractive is to signal functionality, to be beautiful is to signal functionality and truth, to be ugly is to signal neither.

To illustrate:

Some houses are ugly because they are signalling an inability to perform the basic functions of a house, such as keeping rain and cold air out.

On the other hand, some functional houses may still be ugly because they do not embody the higher truths they should. Due to a lack of care or upkeep, they do not point towards the transcendent ideals of home, love, and neighbourliness which they should.

To be beautiful is signal healthiness, ugliness signals sickness, yet we have to be careful, beauty and ugliness are signals, and signals can be faked. Something may signalling functionality and truth but have neither, and signals of sickness or dysfunction may not always be accurate.

Despite this, beauty and ugliness are not only signals. Beauty and ugliness are objective truths in themselves. Beauty is true, healthy, and functioning and ugliness is falsehood, unhealthy, and dysfunctional. Beauty can be faked and ugliness may be an accident, but both generally flow from an object’s essence. Beauty flows naturally from health, truth, and function, ugliness from dysfunction and falsehood.

Besides beauty appearing from the transcendent merger of form and function, form itself naturally flows from function. An object will naturally take on the form of its intended function.

To illustrate:

Local bookstores come in many types. Some bookstores have a function of discovery. They are mess, yet still have their own attractiveness, the sheer volume of books hastily assembled signals a store where books are loved. Digging through the piles of books looking for that perfect find is the function.

Other bookstores are more carefully organized. The function is to find what you’re looking for from a curated selection of books.

Despite the different forms and functions of local bookstores, when compare the big box store to the local book store we can instantly tell which is which. The big box store’s function is apparent in its form, flows naturally from its form. It is attractive, in some ways even more so than the messy bookshop above, but in other ways less attractive. Its function is an easily searchable, impersonal warehouse for books, and it function shows in the form. It is large, sterile, wide open, and efficient but it lacks the charm of the local stores which flow from functions that are more personal.

Finally, we will look at an example where everything comes together.

A Cathedral is beautiful, I have yet to see one that is not; they are always beautiful. They were created to promote the awe of God, which they do. You can’t help but feel awe and reverence as stone arches tower above you. Cathedrals point to the truths of God’ glory and greatness, hence we they are always so beautiful.

We can compare this to old-fashioned country churches, which were designed as humble places for country-folk to gather to worship. Their function is pedestrian, give people a warm, dry place to worship. They are attractive in their own way as they fill their function, but you can’t really call them beautiful as the function and the form which follows from it lack any transcendent value.

Next we have the megachurch. It has a function of gathering many people together, which it fulfills. It’s kind of attractive, in its own way, yet it feels off. There’s a slight hint of ugliness to it. It’s a bit too impersonal.

Finally, there’s modern churches. They all look different, but they all are unattractive, sometimes they even just plain ugly. Why? Because their function and form don’t align. They are not awe-inspiring, time-defying buildings like a cathedral designed to humble you before God, yet they are not simple gathering places like the country church; they don’t even have the strict functionality of the business-like megachurch.

It’s obvious from their design that their function was not decided upon, they were just built. They were built too plain and with too much modern ugliness to impress God’s greatness upon others, yet they are far more ostentatious then is necessary for a meeting place. They were built luke-warm and we spit them out.

The function informs the form, so by correctly analyzing an object’s form you can determine its function. It’s attractiveness and beauty can tell you how well it is functioning.

Lightning Round – 2015/05/06

An alternative business education plan to the MBA.
Counterpoint: Maybe college does help the average person.

How to avoid being an average married chump.

A couple posts on overcoming the anger phase.

About the griping in the manosphere.

Aesthetics Week:
Cities need aesthetic harmony.
Government-funded art doesn’t have to be crap.

Follow the lady.

The middle class is exhausting itself.
Related: Kicking the can: the inventory build-up.

Federal terror against local peace.
Related: On counter-terrorism.
Related: On the police question.

Some of NRx’s big problems.

The four planks of a dissident party.

No enemies on the right.
Related: AltRight conflicts.

The last observations of an overeducated A/C repair man.

Kinds, classes, and No True Scotsman.

Swords and shields.

Antifa psychodrama.

Does US 2015 = Rome 44BC or Rome 440AD?

A few things from Sailer on income and geography.

Your choice: Racism (ie: civilization) or burnt-down cities.
Related: The corruption of a Baltimore paper.
Related: The matriarchy is now.

On being a tribal Christian.

The Soviets created liberation theology.

Frequent denial of sex breaks the marriage covenant.

It is not the right to marry being decided, but the definition of marriage.

The pope goes off on the pay gap.

Some women on child support.

You can trust the moderates, yes you can.

Puppie’s strategy.
Related: Two reviews illustrate the why of the Puppies’ campaigns.
Related: The enemies of puppies and #GG are in retreat.
Related: SJW’s always lie.
Related: John Ringo on SJB’s.
Related: Another example of why you should never apologize to SJWs.
Related: The mob turns on Joss Whedon.

In-depth on interview shenanigans.

How to argue like a liberal.

An apology to GamerGate.

GoFundMe shuts down fundraising for persecuted bakery and florist.

Holier than thou.

The findings of the Neanderthal project.

The effects of SF’s minimum wage on a comic book store.

Why CEO pay is increasing.
Related: Why billionaires buy so many paintings.

Protein World being investigated.

Searching for the soul of America.

Who supports free speech?

The Clinton Foundation lied? How shocking.

Modernity: Toronto is losing the raccoon war.

H/T: Land, Citadel, NBS, TRS

The Bookshelf – A Troublesome Inheritance

I finally finished A Troublesome Inheritance. I started reading it last year, then for no discernable reason it fell to the wayside with only a half-chapter left. I finally got around to finishing the last chapter this month, so I figured I’d talk of it a little here. Sadly, given how long ago it was that I started the book, I only remember general impressions of most of it, but I need a post, and don’t have much time to write on anything else, so I’ll give my general impressions.

The book is essentially a mainstream-friendly primer on HBD. Most of the information presented within will not be much of a surprise to anyone who has spent much time reading in the Steveosphere. The essential thesis is that human evolution has been recent, copious, and regional. Humans have evolved recently and the different races having evolved seperately and in different conditions have probably evolved somewhat differently.

Some in our little sphere object to some of the arguments presented within. I do not remember having any major issues with the book myself, but that I am not really an expert on these issues. As a moderately informed layman already inclined to agree with Wade, I found his arguments were good.

The book was decently well-written. The writing served it’s purpose, but it wasn’t particularly engaging. Although, he did have what has got to be the best burn I can remember reading in a while, if only for how subtle it is.

Lewontin’s argument has other problems, including the subtle error of statistical reasoning named Lewontin’s fallacy.

Anyhow, my impressions of Wade’s book were somewhat similar to one of the impressions I had of Men On Strike. The ideas presented within were nothing particularly new or informative. I’ve absorbed most of the important things Wade wrote during my travels around the Steveopshere. If you’ve been around these parts for a while, you’ve probably absorbed and accepted the general ideas Wade presents as well. Although, it is nice to have a systematized volume of the basic knowledge.

But, on the other hand, if you are unfamiliar with HBD or are new around these parts, I would highly recommend giving it a read. It will provide a good, coherent introduction to the ideas that are implicitly accepted around these part and it will provide a counter-point to the “genes don’t matter” crowd.

The true strength of the book though, is that it is an NYT writer writing it. Someone with Cathedral-approval actually wrote a book challenging the Cathedral’s position on race and genetics. This is something you can recommend to others (who aren’t completely off the SJW deep-end) without it being rejected as crazy racist propaganda.

Sadly, I don’t think it has had as much an impact as some around here were hoping when it was first released. When it was released I had thought it might have indicated a lessening of mainstream hostility to genetic explanations of human behaviour and greater openness to discussions of the same, but after the first round of buzz, I haven’t seen much in the way of references to it. It doesn’t seem to have had much of a noticeable effect on such discussion either, which is somewhat disappointing.

Recommendation:

If you’ve been reading HBD blogs for a while, you probably won’t get too much out of this book. But if you don’t know much about HBD or want something on the issue to recommend to your liberal friends, I’d recommend picking A Troublesome Inheritance up.

Cracked’s Gay “Marriage” Article

I read this article on “5 Reasons ‘Traditional Marriage’ Would Shock Your Ancestors” by one Kathy Benjamin on Cracked, considered responding and decided against it, because ‘what’s the point?’ Then somebody asked me on Ask.FM to respond, so here it goes.

The article’s main flaw (other than it being obvious left-wing evangelization with a complete dearth of humour on a supposed humour site) was that it cherry-picked every small edge case in Western history to draw a pattern for the gullible while ignoring larger realities.

Now onto something more thorough.

#5. People Didn’t Marry Young

First, yes they did, even if we accept the author’s own misrepresented data. In the US the average age of first marriage is 27 for women and 29 for men. This is actually younger than Western Europe where age of first marriage is almost invariably over 30 for both men and women. The highest age Kathy cites are: 23-24 years old and grooms 26-27 (in England, where the average age is now 32.1 & 30), a difference of 2-4 years. Her other link points to a 1890 high of 22 for women and 26 for men, a difference of 3-5 years. 2-5 years is a rather significant difference.

Other than this Kathy simply distorts what the links say:

In general, the marriage age in Western Europe has stayed constant. English records from the 1600s show that brides were usually 23-24 years old and grooms 26-27.

Click the link:

Age of First Marriage

The mode (ie. ‘usually’) for women is given as 22, the median as 22.75. The mean was 23.5. So, 22 was the usual age and half of women married at 22 or earlier; there were just some outliers who married later pulling the average above. Bu even if we use the mean, women in Britain in the 1600s still married 4 years earlier than the US today (and 6.5 years earlier than the UK today).

For men the relative situation is much the same Mode: 24, Median: 25.5, Mean: 26.5.

We can see Kathy doesn’t really understand statistics.

When colonists in early America started getting married slightly younger, it was considered odd enough that Benjamin Franklin commented on it.

Here she gives the impression that Franklin was like ‘wow man, those Yankees are like so far out there.’ If you follow the link, you see that Benjamin Franklin simply looked at the subject and found that yes, Americans had earlier marriages and that settled European cities were not naturally replacing themselves due to low wages preventing family formation. If anything, he’s commenting on the self-destruction caused by the (conditions causing) later marriages of the settled European cities. (Side note for NRx: Franklin noticed that cities are demographic shredders back in 1814).

But the marriage age in America soon settled back into the normal pattern, and by 1890, most couples were getting married in their mid-to-late-20s again.

Again read the link. Marriage age rose from 20 to 22. After which it shrunk again.

If you read the earlier .pdf (Table 2, p. 28), female marriage age peaked in 1880-1900 at 23 (after a civil war which pretty much destroyed an entire generation of young men) after which it declined steadily reaching a low of 20 in 1960. It wasn’t until 1980 that the marriage age again reached what it was in the post-bellum period. So, by “the normal pattern” she means an anomalously high few decades around the turn of the century following a civil war which destroyed the supply of single young men.

Also, notice that this high was the age of 23, which is still almost a half-decade lower than the average age is now.

Also, notice that the earliest time here is the 1600’s. So, she’s ignoring millennia of Western Civilization prior to this; not to mention she ignores anything outside of England. You can read about the uniqueness of Germanic marriage patterns here.

As can be seen, Kathy is simply incorrect across the board.

#4. Marriages Were Short

Ancient Greece and Rome both allowed divorce, and the most famous divorcee of all time is certainly Henry VIII, whose first one occurred in 1534.

Yes, the Pagans did divorce, but in Rome, it was not at-will, it was at-fault and solely the right of the husband, at least for the first few centuries (ie. before Rome declined). Once Rome began declining, calls to end easy divorce were implemented. In Greece, while divorce was allowed, monogamy was still the rule.

Are these really the models Kathy wants to hold up as an example?

King Henry was one person. Anecdotes /=data, especially when said anecdote is a historically significant king because of his divorces.

John Milton, the poet most famous for Paradise Lost, also wrote four books on how awesome divorce was in the 1640s… Inevitably, religious figures freaked out and tried to ban them.

First, she undermines her own point here; she says that Milton was the exception at the time not the rule. But beyond that, read the link:

To Milton, canon law was just another weapon used by the “Great Whore” against men, and since the English church continued to enforce such laws governing marriage and divorce, she was the whore’s accomplice. Milton wants to restore manly dignity to the practice of marriage, first by restoring the power of divorce exclusively to husbands, and second by insisting that marriage is principally a kind of friendship much like the manly friendships described by Socrates in the Symposium and Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics–a kind of enlightened heteroerotic pederasty. Milton’s zeal against canon law is the same as his zeal against bishops–the goal is to restore manliness to English Christianity. This is why he has no patience with the widespread European Protestant notion that divorce should be allowed to wives as a protection from abusive husbands. Milton wants to liberalize divorce, but for men, not for women.

Milton was closer to an extreme MRA than anything. I wonder why Kathy would hold him up as a model?

In America, the 1870 census revealed such a high number of divorces that the government ordered a report on the subject.

She’s being very disingenuous here. Read the link, flip to p. 138. This crisis of divorce was caused by a increase (157% increase over 20 years) in divorce that was still a low rate of divorce. New Hampshire had the highest average divorce rate, at 1 divorce per 10 marriages, meanwhile Maryland had 1 divorce per 62 marriages.

The divorce crisis was caused by divorce rates ranging from < 1% to 10%. A far cry from today’s 40-50%.

By the 1920s, divorce was so common that society was convinced marriage would soon be a thing of the past.

By “so common“, she means a peak rate of 16% (1/6) during 1929, which you might remember as the year of Black Friday and the start of the Great Depression. So even when the economy was being annihilated, the high divorce rate was still only 16%, as compared to 40-50% today.

And yet here we are almost 100 years later, and people are still fighting for the chance to get hitched.

Actually, marriage rates have been in free-fall since the 1970’s or so. Marriage is dying.

#3. Single-Parent And Blended Families Were Always Normal

Here she makes the argument that because people in the past experienced the tragedy of the deaths of spouses we should be fine with destroyed families. I don’t think I need to comment too much on that.

Her concluding argument is this:

And in the 1950s, those halcyon days of supposedly perfect families? Between divorce, death, and sex outside of marriage, 22 percent of kids were still being raised by a single parent. If being raised by one gender ruins children, our ancestors were screwed.

Yes, because the boomers are the models of health. That’s why the 60’s were such a peaceful time, and that’s why they have such healthy families, never use drugs, never commit suicide, and are never depressed.

#2. Procreation Wasn’t Everything

People much smarter than me have pointed out how ridiculous this is. What about couples where one partner is infertile? Or couples where the woman has gone through menopause? Are those marriages also totally invalid?

Her argument is literally that because we don’t police edge cases we should therefore overthrow our our entire understanding of and tradition of marriage.

In the Middle Ages, some couples took this to the extreme. Catholic men and women could enter “Josephite marriages” where they lived together as husband and wife, but never got it on.

Some people make deep, extraordinary spiritual commitments to dedicate their lives to God while denying themselves sex therefore sex and marriage have nothing to do with procreation.

Her next argument is literally a lot of people have murdered their children, therefore marriage has nothing to do with procreation.

Then it is that people use contraception therefore marriage has nothing to do with procreation.

These arguments aren’t even worth refuting. They aren’t even really arguments, just random, barely unconnected statements designed to elicit emotional impressions in the gullible.

#1. Gay Marriage Has Always Existed

Gay marriage was not uncommon in Ancient Rome; even the Emperor Nero publicly married at least two men.

Neither were raping slave boys and pederasty. Also, is Nero really the role model you want to look up to here?

But even among the people fine with raping young boys, gay marriage a joke and not officially recognized:

Same-sex weddings are reported by sources that mock them; the feelings of the participants are not recorded. Both Martial and Juvenal refer to marriage between men as something that occurs not infrequently, although they disapprove of it. Roman law did not recognize marriage between men, but one of the grounds for disapproval expressed in Juvenal’s satire is that celebrating the rites would lead to expectations for such marriages to be registered officially.

She goes on:

During the Ming Dynasty in China, it was not uncommon for older men to marry young men and bring them into their families as official sons-in-law.

Not Western civilization.

Both the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic church allowed “brother-making” in which two totally straight single guys had an official ceremony telling everyone what good friends they were and how they were going to live together and pray together but totally not do any guy-on-guy stuff.

Mark Yuray was right. Kathy has been so indoctrinated in homosexuality that she can’t even conceive that men may have close friendships, even formalized ones. Here’s more on why this is nonsense.

Single women living together has always been more acceptable than men cohabiting (because women don’t have sex drives, right?), but that doesn’t mean that all female “roommates” tried to hide their bean-flicking activities from their neighbors. Many of them were open about their relationships, and both the women involved and their friends considered the couples married, whether they had gone through a ceremony or not. In the late 1800s, these relationships were called Boston Marriages. In at least one case, Sylvia Drake and Charity Bryant were considered a “common household” under the law for tax purposes. In Spain in 1901, Elisa Sanchez Loriga pretended to be a man in order to marry Marcela Gracia Ibeas. Despite needing to use deception, after they were found out, the marriage was still allowed to stand.

Her argument is really: ‘because women could live with friends, everybody loved lesbianism’. She then finds 2 cases were may have been accepted. Two. Do I really even need to comment on the extreme cherry-picking being done here?

If you want to admit you don’t like the idea of same-sex marriage because it makes you think of sex that makes you feel icky, feel free to say it. I’m sure everyone would feel better knowing how much you fixate on their bedroom antic?

I am highlighting this merely to show how ignorant this woman is. Oh yes, not wanting to destroy 2 millennia of tradition and engage in a massive court-forced social engineering experiment is because ‘yuck!’. Not wanting the persecutions of Christians and Christian churches who refuse to recognize this farce (and even homosexuals know it is a farce given that half of their “marriages” are open) is because ‘icky’. Not wanting to condone the behaviour that leads to deadly plagues is all about “eww’. And that’s not even touching religious reasons as I know those won’t mean anything to leftist nihilists.

I know modern leftists don’t have deep reasons for their beliefs and mostly just base it on whatever emotions the most recent Gawker article stirred in their shallow hearts, but they should at least have the common decency not to project their emotion-driven shallowness on everybody else.

Do the right thing. Make America as progressive in civil rights as South Africa.

Yes, let us emulate this self-destructing land of rape and murder.

****

To put to death this topic, gay marriage would be, at best, shocking to anybody in Western Civilization from the fall of Rome up until a couple decades ago.

For an example, let’s just take the cause de jeur: gay “marriage”, which is now, in 2015, supported by “moderate” “conservatives” and is currently illegal to oppose in any real way in some states. In 2008, just 7 years ago, “moderate” liberal Obama opposed it. In 1996, less than 20 years ago, “moderate” liberal Clinton signed a law banning gay “marriage”. In the 1980’s, only gay radicals were pressing for “marriage”, in the 1970’s not even most gay activists were for gay “marriage”. Before that, it was hardly ever even mentioned. In 1962, just 50 years ago, sodomy was itself illegal in every state. In 1953, less than seven decades ago, just mentioning gay marriage or writing about homosexuality was considered obscene. Just over two centuries ago sodomy merited a death penalty (although these laws were rarely enforced and went beyond just homosexuality). In the 1500’s, the debate was between whether the church or the king would execute homosexuals. Talking of homosexual “marriage” at this time would have been seen as insanity.

Leftists can make up whatever bullshit emotionally-driven arguments they want when they force their social engineering experiments on normal people, but the least they could do is stop lying about our ancestors. There has been no place for homosexual “marriage” in Western Civilization since the church shut down the Roman’s anal rape of slave boys.

Lightning Round – 2015/04/29

Observations of the over-educated AC man: the HVAC man, the mystic, and the gamer.
Related: Some snippets of wisdom for millennials.
Related: Let God sort it out.

DS asks what is masculinity?

Some thoughts on marriage.

Jack Donovan reviews Professor in the Cage.

Homosexuality destroys male bonds.

SoBL’s weekly NRx reads.

NRx’s stock/flow problem.

The sanity of the king.
Related: On power and divine right: Aemon is the greatest villain in GoT.
Related: What of a Bush-Clinton monarchy?

Revolution.
Related: Charles Murray’s anti-big government idea.

The cultural differences between Europe and America. Part 2.

The left owns the universities; manning up is pointless.
Related: Critical thinking on campus.

The neoreactionary inquisition.

The cleansing instinct.

The middle is disappearing, you’ll have to pick a team.
Related: Black riots as proxies for cowardly leftists.
Related: Tales from the United Way and Head Start.
Related: Baltimore falling apart.
Related: Free speech space to burn.

On difference.

NBS is done with Anissimov. Related.

Some alt-right events.

The media’s lies on Russian economics.

Child support is debt slavery and debtors prisons are an essential public policy tool.

If Adelson bought Maxim.
Related: Sweden’s pop-culture influence due to cultural conservatives.

 Breed to win.

The state’s triumph over religion.

Kicking puppies.
Related: Eric Flint, a socialist author I enjoy, on the Hugos.
Related: Vox responds to Scalzi on Sad Puppies.
Related: The death of SF parts 1 & 2.
Related: An anti-puppy caught falsely reviewing.
Related: SJW’s, like Mary Robinette Kowal, always lie.

Vox Day on the Pakman show.
Related: The cowardice of talking of, not to.
Related: A clarification.

A TRP success story.

Benevolent sexism.

Man falsely accused of rape suing university. Related.

The real gender bias in hiring.

Roosh goes on Dr. Oz. Goes exactly as one would expect.

Idaho town forcing Christians to perform gay marriages.

Public schools getting your child young.
Related: 3-year-olds told to sign contract on sexual orientation.

Company stands up to SJW attacks, makes cash.

The liberal bubble in Silicon valley.

Stephen Jay Gould performing SJW science.

The usefulness of the lottery as a social experiment.

Enlisting in the military is mostly genetic.

Why people are skeptical of redistribution.

Petitions for “nonhuman” right for animals.

On cop cams.

High IQ outsiders.

Jewish humour is only for Jews.

How much is the US worth?

H/T: SDA, CC, File770, Pollack, Wright

Public Waste

Walpole talks of “a man and his price.”
List to a ditty queer —
The sale of a Deputy-Acting-Vice-
Resident-Engineer,
Bought like a bullock, hoof and hide,
By the Little Tin Gods on the Mountain Side.

By the Laws of the Family Circle ’tis written in letters of brass
That only a Colonel from Chatham can manage the Railways of State,
Because of the gold on his breeks, and the subjects wherein he must pass;
Because in all matters that deal not with Railways his knowledge is great.

Now Exeter Battleby Tring had laboured from boyhood to eld
On the Lines of the East and the West, and eke of the North and South;
Many Lines had he built and surveyed — important the posts which he held;
And the Lords of the Iron Horse were dumb when he opened his mouth.

Black as the raven his garb, and his heresies jettier still —
Hinting that Railways required lifetimes of study and knowledge —
Never clanked sword by his side — Vauban he knew not nor drill —
Nor was his name on the list of the men who had passed through the “College.”

Wherefore the Little Tin Gods harried their little tin souls,
Seeing he came not from Chatham, jingled no spurs at his heels,
Knowing that, nevertheless, was he first on the Government rolls
For the billet of “Railway Instructor to Little Tin Gods on Wheels.”

Letters not seldom they wrote him, “having the honour to state,”
It would be better for all men if he were laid on the shelf.
Much would accrue to his bank-book, an he consented to wait
Until the Little Tin Gods built him a berth for himself,

“Special, well paid, and exempt from the Law of the Fifty and Five,
Even to Ninety and Nine” — these were the terms of the pact:
Thus did the Little Tin Gods (lon may Their Highnesses thrive!)
Silence his mouth with rupees, keeping their Circle intact;

Appointing a Colonel from Chatham who managed the Bhamo State Line
(The wich was on mile and one furlong — a guaranteed twenty-inch gauge),
So Exeter Battleby Tring consented his claims to resign,
And died, on four thousand a month, in the ninetieth year of his age!

Kipling

What Is and What Should Be

During the ongoing Rabid Puppies fun (join now), Vox’s many critics have taken to falsely accusing him of approving of the Taliban throwing acid in girls’ faces and ashooting them through the use of out-of-context quotes.

What Vox has actually said is that maybe the Taliban are not just insane, but may have a rational reason for their behavior:

Ironically, in light of the strong correlation between female education and demographic decline, a purely empirical perspective on Malala Yousafzai, the poster girl for global female education, may indicate that the Taliban’s attempt to silence her was perfectly rational and scientifically justifiable.

And that according to strict utilitarianism, acid-throwing might benefit women as a whole and the scientific attitude would be to test this rather:

Because female independence is strongly correlated with a whole host of social ills. Using the utilitarian metric favored by most atheists, a few acid-burned faces is a small price to pay for lasting marriages, stable families, legitimate children, low levels of debt, strong currencies, affordable housing, homogenous populations, low levels of crime, and demographic stability. If PZ has turned against utilitarianism or the concept of the collective welfare trumping the interests of the individual, I should be fascinated to hear it.

The scientific attitude would be to develop a hypothesis and test it as best one is able. But it’s quite clear that PZ doesn’t want to consider the possibility of anything beyond his philosophical commitment to the unicorn of so-called “equality”. Wilson is right to observe that PZ’s behavior with regards to these matters is entirely unscientific, indeed, one might even surmise that it is outright anti-scientific.

Given that Vox is neither part of the Taliban nor a utilitarian, it is obvious to anybody who’s not a brain-dead liberal that this is not vouching support of said policies. I’m not writing this as a defence of Vox, he can defend himself better than I can, rather I want to point out something that is probably obvious to most reading my blog, but I’ll state anyway.

The base assumption Vox’s critics is that rational and scientifically justifiable are equivalent to right. Because Vox says something may rational and scientifically justifiable, he must therefore approve of it. This is, of course, stupid.

Rationality is morally neutral, as is science. Neither have moral value in themselves, they can only be used as tools discover, elucidate, or develop pre-existing truths.

Just because something is does not mean it that it ought to be. Vice versa also stands, any ought should fully take into consideration what is. Confusion of is for ought leads to a moral-stuntedness, confusion of ought for is leads to inhumanity.

We can see the former in extreme utilitarianism: Yudkowsky’s specks of dust specks vs. torture argument is the substitution of reason for moral value. Only someone morally broken can think the mathematical comparison of units of pain and pleasure can be substitutes for morality.

A ‘good’ case of the latter is communism: the left thought man is not what he is, but rather what he ought to be, leading to the failure of their inhuman system designed for their idealistic and false conception of man.

Is and ought are distinct and must remain so.