Cause an' Defect
Sam Aurelius Milam III
I've noted before, in my writing, some of the absurd conclusions at which scientists have arrived after making correct observations. I recently encountered another example. I had The History Channel running on the television behind me, while I worked. I was listening to an episode of How the Earth Was Made. Sure enough, I heard another absurd conclusion derived from correctly observed data.
The scientists had been studying the history of the eruptions of Vesuvius. They'd discovered a "statistically proven" relationship between significant earthquakes in the region, and eruptions. The earthquakes always preceded the eruptions. Yup. It was probably inevitable. They concluded that the earthquakes caused the eruptions.
I can suggest a better theory. The earthquakes and the eruptions might both be caused by something else. The earthquakes happen first because it's easier to cause an earthquake than it is to cause an eruption. What could be the something else? Suppose that there's a magma plume under Vesuvius. Magma plumes change from time to time. They grow. They shrink. So, the magma plume might be the something else. Changes in the magma plume would disturb the rocks above it. If the magma plume became increasingly active, then the rocks above it would move around. That might cause earthquakes. If the activity continued and increased, then it might cause eruptions. Thus, the earthquakes would precede the eruptions, but not cause them. The earthquakes and the eruptions would both be caused by the magma plume.
The most important question here isn't about earthquakes, eruptions, Vesuvius, or magma plumes. It's about the scientists. Is there a "statistically proven" relationship between the scientists and thinking?
Ancient of Ways
It's good if people have tolerant attitudes but if we try to enforce such attitudes, then we're only yielding to the lust for control. Forcing a bigot to behave like a civilized person doesn't make him a civilized person. It makes him a repressed bigot. If we punish him, then that doesn't make us virtuous. It makes us as bad as he is. Intolerance of bigotry is intolerance, the same as intolerance of anything else.
A person doesn't have any obligation to agree with currently fashionable ideas. He doesn't have to approve of homosexuality, support feminism, despise polygamy, buy Girl Scout cookies, rescue abused puppies, support the troops, condemn smokers, or hold to any other currently orthodox belief or behavior. He's as entitled to his numskull notions as the political correctness enforcers are to theirs.
However, political correctness has become a new orthodoxy. Its enforcers aren't yet as openly vicious as were the past perpetrators of such things as the Inquisitions, the Crusades, and the Witch-Hunts, but they're identical to them in spirit, and similar to them in their potential for violence and brutality. That makes them both wrong and dangerous. A person should never be punished for merely having politically incorrect beliefs. He shouldn't be punished even for politically incorrect behavior unless it can be proved that the behavior was harmful to somebody besides himself. A holy cause doesn't justify the use of unholy remedies but, instead, will always be corrupted by them.
It seems to me that intolerant behavior has always been a problem for us. I don't think that we'll eliminate it by criminalizing it, however noble that might make us feel. Repression of intolerance, even in the service of a worthy cause, is counterproductive. Maybe the problem can't be solved at all. If it can, then it seems to me that our best hope, maybe our only hope, is for each of us to solve it first in himself. That's an old and difficult objective.
Kings, Two Stories, Few Answers
Sam Aurelius Milam III
For centuries, people have been searching for archeological evidence of the existence of King Arthur. Other people have been searching for archeological evidence of the existence of Jesus of Nazareth. So far as I'm aware, the evidence is as fragmentary in one case as it is in the other. Conclusions reached might depend as much on preconceived notions, assumptions, opinions, interpretations, and faith, as on the actual evidence.
The same thing is true for the early writings. Such early writings about Jesus of Nazareth aren't necessarily any more reliable than are the writings about King Arthur. In either case, we must rely mostly on the claims of the writers, each of whom had an agenda, and on translations by other people, each of whom also had an agenda. It depends on who we want to believe. We can scarcely have confidence in reports of recent news. How can we rely on reports of events from 2000 or so years ago?
The two stories are similar. King Arthur resulted from an enchantment. Jesus of Nazareth resulted from something similar, although allegedly sacred rather than magical. The importance of that difference, and even its factuality, are matters of opinion. Both men spent their lives trying to do what was right, each as he understood it. Both men were misunderstood and their teachings were misconstrued. Both men were betrayed by people close to them, and killed by their enemies. Both men are expected to return, when the time is right, and when they're most needed.
Which story is more credible? I suggest that we should judge the past by our understanding of the present. The man who's more nearly similar to people that we see around us in the world today is more likely to have existed as described. There are, and have been, many more kings than holy men, and the behaviors of kings is, and has been, more commonplace. It might seem strange to suggest that King Arthur is more likely to have existed than Jesus of Nazareth, but that seems possible to me. In my own opinion, although the story of Jesus of Nazareth is regarded by many people as the greatest story ever told, I believe that the story of King Arthur is a better story, and that King Arthur is a more heroic figure, whether he's historical or fictional.
Mrs. Ockham's Razor
|Letters to the Editor
Greetings my friend. I write to you to let you know I will be relocating from this gated community to my old home of eastern [name withheld], in about [remaining time withheld]. The day I walk through the sally port the last time, I will have served [number withheld] of confinement. My father has found a house for me and I will be going there, as soon as I check with the sheriff to let them know there is a new ex-con in town. Such a shame that judgment has to follow us after we have served our time.
Sam, you have faithfully sent me the Frontiersman all these years and I wanted you to know that I will soon be in the position to pay your good deeds forward. I am not one to forget those who helped me through rough times. You have published many of my writings and I appreciate it. Once I get to my new digs, I will be contacting you with that address.
Please do not send the Frontiersman to me after [date withheld] as I will no longer be here to receive it. I just received the April issue and look forward to May and June. After that, they will be going to another address.
Thanking you for helping me to maintain my sanity.
—Sticky of San Diego
After you're released, you'll be able to get access to my websites. If you'll study them, then I'll be sufficiently rewarded for my efforts. The website addresses are presented on the last page of recent issues of this newsletter. Just so you're aware of it, I'll mention that visiting my websites might get you placed on a "list". An instance of that was reported in Letters to the Editor, in the February 2011 issue.
In my opinion, the April issue of frontiersman was the most interesting I remember ever reading. Every article and your responses to comments from others was thought provoking.
—Steve, of Wahiawa, Hawaii
Greetings to ya bro, about 30 years ago, on a bright clear sunny day, I was standing outside, way up high on the side of a big mountain ridge in Arkansas, and there was a vast open valley far below me, and I observed seeing this large round shadow on the valley floor, and this large perfectly round shadow was slowly steadily moving across the whole entire length of the valley. But whenever I looked up into the clear blue skies above it, I saw absolutely nothing in the open clear blue skies that would account for this shadow being cast down?
But I tell you, there was something flying up in those skies above this valley, and it had been perfectly round or saucer shaped, that could not have been seen by the human naked eye, and whatever it had been, made absolutely no noise at all?
But whatever the flying object had been, it had been obstructing the sun's rays, and it was casting down a perfectly round moving shadow onto the valley floor far below me.
So based upon this event, I now think that it is entirely possible, that for these past 30 years or so, that space aliens have evolved in their technology, by them developing much better cloaking equipment for their saucers, and this now explains that whenever space aliens are here visiting Earth, there is now a much less chance of them being detected by us humans, and this explains the reason why over the past 30 years or so, there have been far fewer reported UFO saucer sighting? What do you think of this theory?
—H. L., a prisoner
Here's an idea. Maybe a bubble floating on the surface of the water in a tank would be nearly invisible but still cast a visible shadow on the bottom of the tank. Maybe one of the other subscribers knows more about that kind of thing, and can educate us. Anyway, if the bubble idea is plausible, then maybe what you saw was the shadow of some kind of a large transparent bubble of water vapor, similar to a cloud, floating on a temperature inversion. Another idea is that it was a swarm of insects near the ground which, when viewed from your high vantage point, appeared to be a shadow. Or, maybe it was the shadow of an experimental, cloaked government aircraft, or the shadow of a cloaked flying saucer, or a portal to another dimension. Maybe it was electronic fog, like in the Bermuda Triangle. I'm only speculating. I don't know what it was.
I just recently read your Jan 2019 newsletter & it was "awesome". I'm sending this letter for me & my best friend who doesn't get no $ to purchase stamps, below is both mine & his mailing addresses. We both would love to be added onto your mailing list to start receiving copies of your newsletter. It was "real talk" straight to the point & no bullshitting around. I loved the "Stray Thoughts" part of it on page 5. Me & [name withheld] both copied it down. Your newsletter was shared with us from [name withheld]. Once again below is both of our addresses.
—L. L., a prisoner
We drown in a sea of ignorance. Only to be rescued by others' voices. You, are the concierge of the voiceless.
—R. O., a prisoner
My thanks to the following: El Dorado Bob; Betty; Eric, of Ione, California; Steve, of Wahiawa, Hawaii; and Robert, of Stockton, California.
Supposed Fact About 1500's England
Availability — Assuming the availability of sufficient funds, subscriptions to this newsletter in print, copies of past issues in print, and copies of the website on CDs are available upon request. Funding for this newsletter is from sources over which I don't have any control, so it might become necessary for me to terminate these offers or to cancel one or more subscriptions at any time, without notice. All past issues are presently available for free download at the internet address shown below. Contributions are welcome.
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— Sam Aurelius Milam III, editor