“Doom” and Boom

Rob’s out in an interview with Greg Gutfield, so it’s just Peter and James this week. Even so we’ve got a packed podcast-full of wonders and terrors. First up is Niall Ferguson to discuss his brand new book, Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe. He and the hosts explore our fascination with disaster. (Be sure to catch his interview with Peter on Uncommon Knowledge as well!) Then they’re joined by Stephen Meyer, who has a new book of his own: Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal The Mind Behind The Universe. (We’ve got UK episode for that as well!) Also, Peter is shocked to learn Biden’s economy is sputtering and James sets the record straight-on what, you ask? Listen to find out.

Music from this week’s episode: God Only Knows by the Beach Boys.

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  1. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    Please, give us more experimental genetic vaccines that skip several stages of testing and lack FDA approval. Thank goodness we can be sure such new genetic vaccines have no negative longterm consequences. The relevant authorities have a solid history of accuracy. Whew!

    • #1
  2. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Star Trek is somewhat optimistic, but people forget that all the great stuff in Star Trek comes AFTER – and perhaps in some ways BECAUSE OF – World War III.

    • #2
  3. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    “The U.S. did not become a slave state… “ Hmmm. I suppose the classic definition of a slave is one who is forced to labor and keeps zero percent of the fruits.

    Does that mean that if I get 1% of the fruits, I’m not a slave? 5%? 10%?

    At what point am I no longer a slave? 25%? 49%?

    Some gut feeling tells me that I have to keep at minimum 50% of the fruits of my labor to claim I am not a slave.

    But… when I add up both Fed and state income taxes, property taxes, all the required “licenses” and fees and surcharges and excises (especially hidden in utility bills), and all the time (time=money) sucked up by bureaucratic requirements and costs for mandated this and supplemental that…

    Not to mention all the people who live off of taxpayers and are slaves of another sort…

    Yeah, we are living in a slave state, but not of the obvious communist variety… but give it space enough and time…

    (Don’t wash your hands of me, James… I have much to recommend me. 😷)

    • #3
  4. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    I think James is wrong to say that observing the light of a star while a planet passes in front of it, is “information.”  That’s just an observation, “information” is what we derive from it   Or one could say that the observation itself is “information,” but that requires an intelligence to observe it.  Without that, nobody would even notice the change in light.

    • #4
  5. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    Did anyone else notice the show get more intelligent and erudite this week for some reason?  Perhaps its just me.

    • #5
  6. SParker Member
    SParker
    @SParker

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I think James is wrong to say that observing the light of a star while a planet passes in front of it, is “information.” That’s just an observation, “information” is what we derive from it Or one could say that the observation itself is “information,” but that requires an intelligence to observe it. Without that, nobody would even notice the change in light.

    So that’s a solid +1 for the tree falling in the forest, and no one there to hear it, not making a sound?  (Less controversial is the answer to “if a husband is alone in a forest, is he still wrong?”  Which, of course, is “of course.”)

    • #6
  7. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    SParker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I think James is wrong to say that observing the light of a star while a planet passes in front of it, is “information.” That’s just an observation, “information” is what we derive from it Or one could say that the observation itself is “information,” but that requires an intelligence to observe it. Without that, nobody would even notice the change in light.

    So that’s a solid +1 for the tree falling in the forest, and no one there to hear it, not making a sound? (Less controversial is the answer to “if a husband is alone in a forest, is he still wrong?” Which, of course, is “of course.”)

    It produces air vibrations, but it’s not “sound” unless something hears it.

    • #7
  8. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Star Trek is somewhat optimistic, but people forget that all the great stuff in Star Trek comes AFTER – and perhaps in some ways BECAUSE OF – World War III.

    It used to be. Star Trek Discovery, Picard are none of those things. It has become a violent, vulgar display of thoughtless socialist propaganda without any redeeming value. Its heros have fallen to the cultural vandalism that has taken Star Wars, and in the next year will take over James Bond and Indiana Jones.

    All of our heroes must be bad people, because we’re bad people.

    • #8
  9. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    Early detection and action? We were denied that opportunity by official belief in the lies of China. While Chinese commercial agents were racing around the world, scooping up all the PPE that they could find. China was still denying that human to human transmission had been observed. China’s early actions in this pandemic prove China’s untrustworthiness as responsible partner in the community of nations. These actions when properly understood in historic context should be considered a hostile act.

    The whole policy of opening China with trade has not worked and must be re-examined. China has become rich, while rejecting the culture of liberal democracy. China has been successful in exporting its racial and cultural Marxism. NBA and MLB stars are terrified to criticize China on any topic. Super Stars like LeBron James have become free propagandists to the Chinese Communist regime.

    The Chinese vaccine was stolen from Canada.

     

    • #9
  10. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    Please, give us more experimental vaccines that skip several stages of testing and lack FDA approval. Thank goodness we can be sure such vaccines have no negative longterm consequences. The relevant authorities have a solid history of accuracy. Whew!

    The NR article to which I referred is here. Worth a look. 

    • #10
  11. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I think James is wrong to say that observing the light of a star while a planet passes in front of it, is “information.” That’s just an observation, “information” is what we derive from it Or one could say that the observation itself is “information,” but that requires an intelligence to observe it. Without that, nobody would even notice the change in light.

    Hmmm . . . maybe. If I see a dog, that is observation. If the dog alerts and points in a certain direction, that is information. 

    But yes, it depends; a FRB to us, right now, is observation. If we find a message in the signal, then it’s information. (Hope it’s not a video of Hitler.)

    • #11
  12. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    Star Trek Discovery, Picard are none of those things. It has become a violent, vulgar display of thoughtless socialist propaganda without any redeeming value.

    C’mon, man, drop the whole civility schtick and tell me what you really think. ;)

    I share the Disco hatred, but let’s not forget that Roddenberry’s ideal world was hardly a culture of robust capitalism. Why, money was no longer needed! I think Picard made that point in ST: First Contact, although in ST III, when Bones is trying to get a ship to Vulcan, I think there’s talk of “credits.” And IIRC one of the prerequisites for membership in the Federation was a unified planetary government. Utopian socialism of a sort is in the DNA of the show, at least in its vague backstory. 

    • #12
  13. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    Star Trek Discovery, Picard are none of those things. It has become a violent, vulgar display of thoughtless socialist propaganda without any redeeming value.

    C’mon, man, drop the whole civility schtick and tell me what you really think. ;)

    I share the Disco hatred, but let’s not forget that Roddenberry’s ideal world was hardly a culture of robust capitalism. Why, money was no longer needed! I think Picard made that point in ST: First Contact, although in ST III, when Bones is trying to get a ship to Vulcan, I think there’s talk of “credits.” And IIRC one of the prerequisites for membership in the Federation was a unified planetary government. Utopian socialism of a sort is in the DNA of the show, at least in its vague backstory.

    Of course, Kirk told Dr Gillian that they don’t have money in the 23rd century.

    • #13
  14. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    Star Trek Discovery, Picard are none of those things. It has become a violent, vulgar display of thoughtless socialist propaganda without any redeeming value.

    C’mon, man, drop the whole civility schtick and tell me what you really think. ;)

    I share the Disco hatred, but let’s not forget that Roddenberry’s ideal world was hardly a culture of robust capitalism. Why, money was no longer needed! I think Picard made that point in ST: First Contact, although in ST III, when Bones is trying to get a ship to Vulcan, I think there’s talk of “credits.” And IIRC one of the prerequisites for membership in the Federation was a unified planetary government. Utopian socialism of a sort is in the DNA of the show, at least in its vague backstory.

    Sure, the original Star Trek was Kennedy liberalism married to gun boat diplomacy – which by the 1980s became the Reagan Revolution. 

    I dont understand why Patrick Stewart hates Picard so much – a character he spent 20 years playing – that he’d gleefully participate in his own character’s character assassination – although by the end – it becomes a literal assassination.

    • #14
  15. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    Star Trek Discovery, Picard are none of those things. It has become a violent, vulgar display of thoughtless socialist propaganda without any redeeming value.

    C’mon, man, drop the whole civility schtick and tell me what you really think. ;)

    I share the Disco hatred, but let’s not forget that Roddenberry’s ideal world was hardly a culture of robust capitalism. Why, money was no longer needed! I think Picard made that point in ST: First Contact, although in ST III, when Bones is trying to get a ship to Vulcan, I think there’s talk of “credits.” And IIRC one of the prerequisites for membership in the Federation was a unified planetary government. Utopian socialism of a sort is in the DNA of the show, at least in its vague backstory.

    Sure, the original Star Trek was Kennedy liberalism married to gun boat diplomacy – which by the 1980s became the Reagan Revolution.

    I dont understand why Patrick Stewart hates Picard so much – a character he spent 20 years playing – that he’d gleefully participate in his own character’s character assassination – although by the end – it becomes a literal assassination.

    Didn’t Stewart say he was doing it, at least at one point, to show how awful Trump was?

    • #15
  16. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    kedavis (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    Star Trek Discovery, Picard are none of those things. It has become a violent, vulgar display of thoughtless socialist propaganda without any redeeming value.

    C’mon, man, drop the whole civility schtick and tell me what you really think. ;)

    I share the Disco hatred, but let’s not forget that Roddenberry’s ideal world was hardly a culture of robust capitalism. Why, money was no longer needed! I think Picard made that point in ST: First Contact, although in ST III, when Bones is trying to get a ship to Vulcan, I think there’s talk of “credits.” And IIRC one of the prerequisites for membership in the Federation was a unified planetary government. Utopian socialism of a sort is in the DNA of the show, at least in its vague backstory.

    Sure, the original Star Trek was Kennedy liberalism married to gun boat diplomacy – which by the 1980s became the Reagan Revolution.

    I dont understand why Patrick Stewart hates Picard so much – a character he spent 20 years playing – that he’d gleefully participate in his own character’s character assassination – although by the end – it becomes a literal assassination.

    Didn’t Stewart say he was doing it, at least at one point, to show how awful Trump was?

    Yes, he wanted to see the federation through the lens of Trumpism or at least the liberal caricature of Trump. 

    • #16
  17. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    Star Trek Discovery, Picard are none of those things. It has become a violent, vulgar display of thoughtless socialist propaganda without any redeeming value.

    C’mon, man, drop the whole civility schtick and tell me what you really think. ;)

    I share the Disco hatred, but let’s not forget that Roddenberry’s ideal world was hardly a culture of robust capitalism. Why, money was no longer needed! I think Picard made that point in ST: First Contact, although in ST III, when Bones is trying to get a ship to Vulcan, I think there’s talk of “credits.” And IIRC one of the prerequisites for membership in the Federation was a unified planetary government. Utopian socialism of a sort is in the DNA of the show, at least in its vague backstory.

    Sure, the original Star Trek was Kennedy liberalism married to gun boat diplomacy – which by the 1980s became the Reagan Revolution.

    I dont understand why Patrick Stewart hates Picard so much – a character he spent 20 years playing – that he’d gleefully participate in his own character’s character assassination – although by the end – it becomes a literal assassination.

    Didn’t Stewart say he was doing it, at least at one point, to show how awful Trump was?

    Yes, he wanted to see the federation through the lens of Trumpism or at least the liberal caricature of Trump.

    Did he want to claim that people like Trump wouldn’t have tried to save the Romulans when their sun was exploding?  As I recall, it was the Democrats who cut off aid to Vietnam which resulted in the communist takeover.

    • #17
  18. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    kedavis (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    Star Trek Discovery, Picard are none of those things. It has become a violent, vulgar display of thoughtless socialist propaganda without any redeeming value.

    C’mon, man, drop the whole civility schtick and tell me what you really think. ;)

    I share the Disco hatred, but let’s not forget that Roddenberry’s ideal world was hardly a culture of robust capitalism. Why, money was no longer needed! I think Picard made that point in ST: First Contact, although in ST III, when Bones is trying to get a ship to Vulcan, I think there’s talk of “credits.” And IIRC one of the prerequisites for membership in the Federation was a unified planetary government. Utopian socialism of a sort is in the DNA of the show, at least in its vague backstory.

    Sure, the original Star Trek was Kennedy liberalism married to gun boat diplomacy – which by the 1980s became the Reagan Revolution.

    I dont understand why Patrick Stewart hates Picard so much – a character he spent 20 years playing – that he’d gleefully participate in his own character’s character assassination – although by the end – it becomes a literal assassination.

    Didn’t Stewart say he was doing it, at least at one point, to show how awful Trump was?

    Yes, he wanted to see the federation through the lens of Trumpism or at least the liberal caricature of Trump.

    Did he want to claim that people like Trump wouldn’t have tried to save the Romulans when their sun was exploding? As I recall, it was the Democrats who cut off aid to Vietnam which resulted in the communist takeover.

    I am not sure how this point of the story was going to be Trump’s fault, maybe they lost their nerve and changed the plot before filming.

    Yes, Democrats in congress cut funding to the South Vietnam Army, leaving them unsupplied and unable to continue to fight. Its funny, that Vietnam was a terrible place to live for decades – but the boat people who started to flee in the mid 70s, lived through all manner of attack, terror campaigns, high crime… But it wasnt until the communists took over that they fled en masse.

    • #18
  19. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    “The U.S. did not become a slave state… “ Hmmm. I suppose the classic definition of a slave is one who is forced to labor and keeps zero percent of the fruits.

    Does that mean that if I get 1% of the fruits, I’m not a slave? 5%? 10%?

    Slaves in the South could earn money and even buy their freedom. They didn’t have the definition you’re using.

    • #19
  20. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Prof. Ferguson was a good guest. Thanks for bringing him on.

    • #20
  21. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Prof. Meyer seems to show a great lack of faith in God in his approach to science. The realm of science is not really the who, but the how. Even if science proves there is a who there, the materialistic atheists are not going to believe any more than they have to. The question will recurse just as much, who created the “god” who created this universe? What was the “god” that added information to this universe? Can that “god” be observed and analyzed from this universe?

    I also think it’s a very large leap to say, this system shows an encoding system, and other such encoding systems were encoded by intelligence, so the best explanation is an intelligence coded this system. (Yes, I know this is simplifying his argument.) Couldn’t “intelligence” (if there be such a thing) arise from the fact that it is encoded from chemicals? In other words, couldn’t the recursiveness work the other direction that we code because we are encoded? Computer programs came from Jacquard looms. Did Jacquard’s inspirations come from nature? Is our soi disant intelligence real or just patterns built on patterns?

    All of these questions come back to recursion eventually. None are as answered or as cut-and-dried as your guest makes out.

    • #21
  22. Boney Cole Member
    Boney Cole
    @BoneyCole

    I had a comment that was apparently deleted. Any reason for that?  I am pretty sure it was there yesterday. 

    • #22
  23. Boney Cole Member
    Boney Cole
    @BoneyCole

    It was really nice not having Rob Long’s boorish behavior on the show.  In fact, I listened because I saw that Mr. Long would not be present. Then, at the end, Mr. Lileks turned into Rob Long.  The combination of borishness and , I think, inaccuracy, mimicked the Rob Long persona.  Hopefully it won’t continue. 

    • #23
  24. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    Great interview with Ferguson.

    Regarding Snow Crash, which is a fantastic novel, you’d do well to understand that although the subject matter is weighty, it frequently reads as a comedy, and sometimes because although the settings are exaggerated and satirical, they’re believable within the construct of the story.  

    It’s also funny because Stephenson can be hilarious, when he doesn’t get bogged down in world-building (as he does in some future novels, several of which I’ve started and then just put down out of boredom).

    I will never get tired of Snow Crash.  I’ve probably read it half a dozen times, minimum, but not read it in at least a decade.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Crash

    • #24
  25. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    I enjoyed Stephen Meyer’s way of making a case well enough to buy his ebook on Barnes and Noble, slowly weaning myself off of Amazon.

    • #25
  26. George Savage Contributor
    George Savage
    @GeorgeSavage

    I think James got it wrong today on the podcast regarding vaccine adverse events. The point Tucker is making is that we are being infantilized by the media and Biden Administration. Tucker stresses at least twice a segment that vaccines are wonderful in general and for COVID in particular. However, he correctly points out that all medical products have risks; every single one. When people point out alarming VAERS statistics, the proper response is a reasoned analysis from CDC explaining the bias inherent in VAERS reporting, followed by a presentation of the latest reliable data showing the vaccine’s superior risk/benefit ratio. Instead, our officials give us outrage and ad hominem attacks.

    This is not the way a democratic republic is supposed to function.

    • #26
  27. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    I hate almost everybody involved in “public health”. I have no interest in communications about any of this stuff unless it’s from a doctor or other medical professional that isn’t part of the government in that sense. 

    • #27
  28. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    I just don’t get the huge push to get vaccinated. I won’t do it. Many reasons: cells from an aborted fetus used in testing, experimental gene therapy, emergency use authorization only (how did this get approve when we have Ivermectin and Hydroxychloriquine?), and idiots like this (see below) telling me to get vaccinated and hoping to censor any information she doesn’t like.

    No thanks.

     

    • #28
  29. OwnedByDogs Coolidge
    OwnedByDogs
    @JuliaBlaschke

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    Please, give us more experimental genetic vaccines that skip several stages of testing and lack FDA approval. Thank goodness we can be sure such new genetic vaccines have no negative longterm consequences. The relevant authorities have a solid history of accuracy. Whew!

    But surely the vaccines are being tested, right now, all over the world. You would rather have waited for more testing when the testing that was done, showed great results? Ask someone in India.  Is it not possible that due to breakthroughs in method and accumulated knowledge, that it is now possible to produce vaccines more quickly?

    China was trying to make a Corona virus that easily infected people. They tested it by releasing it all over the world. Now they are selling bad vaccines to desperate people in exchange for Huawei contracts and other things. 

    I’d rather be a test subject for a vaccine made by reputable companies, than a test subject for the Chinese on the effects of Covid in the longterm. 

    No vaccine is perfect, but vaccines have saved millions of lives. Not sure that the FDA, a bunch of bureaucrats like the CDC, is some sort of gold standard either.

     

    • #29
  30. Thursby Member
    Thursby
    @Thursby

    Boney Cole (View Comment):

    It was really nice not having Rob Long’s boorish behavior on the show. In fact, I listened because I saw that Mr. Long would not be present. Then, at the end, Mr. Lileks turned into Rob Long. The combination of borishness and , I think, inaccuracy, mimicked the Rob Long persona. Hopefully it won’t continue.

    Nobody tell James about Delingpole.

     

    • #30