Tuesday, March 25, 2014

End of the world prediction from INTELLIGENT DESIGNER


Politically active creationists have managed to keep the word “evolution” in the center of the debate over human origins, which to be honest is an entirely political one, that is, a culture war, but one with very real consequences for our nation. Scientists have established, unequivocally, that humans evolved from non-human primate ancestors. We may not know exactly which one of these ancestral species was our progenitor, but based on the scientific evidence, it is abundantly clear that there are several good candidates among the now-extinct primates that inhabited Africa five to ten million years ago. Those discoveries have not done much to erode the belief, among conservative Christians and those who are scientifically illiterate, that we the people are not “descended from monkeys” but instead made by God in God’s image.
Belief may trump knowledge in the political arena, but never in the arena of life on Earth. We will, eventually, live out our species’ destiny as really smart apes, whether that destiny be obliteration by nuclear weapons of mass destruction, starvation and genetic bottleneck once our population reaches its so-called stable limits, or destruction of the biosphere to the point that our populations are no longer sustainable. The time when we get our biological comeuppance cannot be predicted accurately, but it can certainly be estimated, based on per-capita water use and the global petroleum supply. Most scientists estimate that time somewhere near the end of the current century, that is, 2060-2100.
Scientists also estimate that the global population will level off about that same time. That estimate actually is a testable hypothesis, an assertion, although not necessarily one that can be considered an “experiment” as we usually define the term. Nevertheless, humans, including most American children born from 1990 to 2010, that is those currently old enough to vote, or who will become old enough to vote before many current politicians are up for re-election, will get to see the result of humanity’s test of the scientific hypothesis that exponential growth can be sustained forever, especially when sustained by fixed an diminishing resources. The fact is that we already know the result (it cannot). The general principle that exponential growth cannot be sustained indefinitely against fixed resources is so well known that our collective vision of the future ought to be a no-brainer.
Unfortunately, for the species and our nation, our nation’s leaders simply do not understand this principle, and certainly are not equipped to explain it to an electorate that believes otherwise. We are a nation that depends, like life’s blood itself, on science literacy.

INTELLIGENT DESIGNER is available on kindle, smashwords, and as a paperback from createspace. Feel free to get your copy, study it, then act accordingly. Cheers. - JJ

Monday, March 24, 2014

Excerpt from a work in progress, soon to be available on smashwords and kindle


We have no information on why they selected this place to live, in the neighborhood slightly north of the St. Louis—San Francisco Railway tracks and Union Station, what they paid for rent or what kind of furnishings they may have owned, although given their moves over the next few years, it’s doubtful they owned much more than could be carried in a suitcase. But once in Oklahoma, well-employed or not, they started rearing daughters, none of whom, it turned out, were the kind of model girls—obedient, devout, and quiet—that men like Edgar Locke anticipate springing from their loins, growing up undereducated, servile, and belligerently religious, and marrying men exactly like themselves.
In 1910, houses along West Frisco Street were simple frame structures with small rooms, cold in winter, sweltering hot in summer, and jammed against one another in shade-less neighborhoods patrolled by dogs and ice men riding horse-drawn wagons, because that’s what houses in that general part of Oklahoma City were like in the 1940s, although urban forest had grown up somewhat during those ensuing thirty years, and, except for ice wagons, are still like today more than a century after statehood wherever urban renewal efforts have failed to obliterate them. Thus when trying to unravel the mysterious origin of a supremely intelligent, liberal, and determinedly self-educated woman from the depths of a supremely disadvantaged and itinerant childhood lorded over by a religious fanatic, her physical environment—neighborhood and real estate—is relatively easy to reconstruct. It’s the mental and emotional part—the part that actually shapes us as humans—that must be built from scraps of evidence, knowing all the while that the result must be at least partly fictitious.

Several other Janovy books are available on smashwords.com, kindle, and as print-on-demand from createspace.com.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Clip from the great American novel (= work in progress)

“Any person taken into custody has the right to remain silent and must be informed that anything that he or she says may be used against him or her in court. You have the right to consult with an attorney and that attorney may be present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one for you at no cost.” He returns the card to his shirt pocket. “Do you understand your rights, Dr. Marshall?”
“I’m being arrested and taken somewhere for questioning?”
“It’s just a precaution, Dr. Marshall. Would you please sign this receipt?”
The other officer hands me a small clipboard with a form. By signing it, I’m acknowledging that I have indeed been read my Miranda rights. I sign and return the form; the officer, Michael Bradshaw, according to his name tag, signs it, passes the clipboard to Grimes, who also signs, then rips off the top copy. Mykala reaches around me and takes it. I didn’t realize she was standing there, listening.
“Do I get to put on my shoes?”
“One of us will accompany you, Dr. Marshall.” This is Grimes speaking. “Sorry about the snow, sorry about tracking water through your house, Mrs. Marshall, but we really don’t have a choice. We need to stay with you now. We assume you will come with us without having to be restrained.”
“He does not need to be restrained,” Mykala assures them, but then can’t resist adding “except maybe when he starts talking.”
“Anything he says may be used against him in court, Mrs. Marshall.”
“Just don’t get him started on fossils,” she warns; “or on the current state of American higher education.”

(Feel free to check out the Janovy books on smashwords.com, kindle, nook, and createspace.com; just do a search on the name and start buying. THE GINKGO: AN INTELLECTUAL AND VISIONARY COMING-OF-AGE is free from smashwords.com until mid-April.)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Response to a Facebook posting of a cartoon re women's health

Re-posting of an earlier blog.
This modest proposal is re-posted in response to a Rachel Maddow item from Facebook today:

A Modest Proposal in response to one of my Facebook friend’s commentary about former Republican Senator Alan Simpson’s assertion that male elected representatives should not vote on abortion laws. See:
John Janovy, Jr.
So here’s a modest proposal, based on the premise that it’s irrational to demand that a public health problem be solved but at the same time be adamantly opposed to the methods of solving it. The public health problem in this case is one we know how to solve, namely, unwanted pregnancy. The methods of solving it are readily available, safe, extensively tested, and found to be effective, at least at the individual level. It’s a well-known and widely-accepted fact that long-term effects of this particular public health problem fall unequally on the sexes, with the female being physically affected, subjected to potential medical complications, and traditionally burdened with nearly two decades of direct responsibility for the care, feeding, and education of another human being, whereas the male’s participation in this responsibility is largely voluntary or, when involuntary, limited to financial contribution. Because the large majority of state legislators are male and claim to understand public policy, my modest proposal is perfectly capable of being carried out at the state level, at least, and should be carried out in those states imposing severe restrictions on elective abortions. The main points are:
(1) Immediately enact a so-called “life tax” to provide for public funding of “life services,” defined as prenatal health care, treatment for medical conditions arising from pregnancy, and care, including medical care, clothing, food, shelter, and both education and special education as needed, for any infant born to a mother who would otherwise have chosen to abort it. Life services would continue until the child is 18 years old.
(2) Establish residency requirements, for access to such support, similar to those already established, for example, for tuition at a state’s post-secondary institutions.
(3) Establish a means test for access to such support. The federal government already has established guidelines for access to other social services, and means testing is already in place for Medicare premiums, so enacting such a test for “life tax” services should be easy to accomplish.
(4) Require DNA testing of mother, infant, and father (when the father can be ascertained) when an infant is born to a mother who would otherwise have aborted it. Costs of such testing would be paid by life tax revenues. If necessary, use test results to identify the father. Require, by law, the father to contribute half of the costs incurred in providing life services to mother and infant, and provide for an 18-year lien on the father’s earnings if necessary, with an extension to such time as the state is re-paid half of the life services costs by the father. Include in this law a provision that the father’s parents are liable for this contribution if the father is a minor.
(5) Immediately establish sex-education programs in all public schools, the curriculum to include effective contraception. Withhold certification from private schools that do not institute such a curriculum.
(6) Immediately provide birth control services for all individuals who want them but are unable to afford them. Pay for these services through the life tax. Services would include oral contraceptives, Plan B, condoms, patches, injections, and all other forms of artificial birth control to individuals over the age of 14. These services would be available in school health centers.
(7) In the event that an infant born to a mother who would otherwise have obtained an abortion requires long-term care or services due to a congenital condition, then such care and services would be provided by the state and funded by life tax revenues.
(8) In the event that pregnancy results from rape or incest, the mother would receive a lifetime stipend for carrying the fetus to term and the state would fund all services resulting from this birth, including counseling, adoptive services, and treatment of any medical conditions, including mental or emotional ones, resulting from the conception and delivery of this infant. In the case of rape or incest, residency and means requirements do not apply.
(10) The overall impact of this program, including life tax and life services, will be reviewed every ten years by qualified consultants from outside the state. Life tax will be adjusted annually to ensure revenues adequate to support life services programs.
I don’t know what the tax base is for North Dakota, but a VERY rough estimate, based on the widely available information on costs of rearing children in the United States, and North Dakota’s population, would fall in the range of $500,000 per non-aborted fetus, if you add in the overhead costs of administering the above program. North Dakota reported 1,290 abortions in 2009, so we’re looking at somewhere in the vicinity of $645 billion over the next 18-20 years to provide life services as part of this male legislative action to deal with the problem of unwanted pregnancy. Alternatively, of course, that $645 billion would be paid by those who would have had an elective abortion but could not because of the law or other de facto restrictions on reproductive services, and that’s assuming that the individuals involved actually had the resources to pay these bills.
We have, of course, not even started to consider the social costs of unwanted pregnancy brought to term, and I’m not sure there is any real way to calculate those costs so that the public in general, and male legislators in particular, appreciate their impact on society. We do know that social factors such as lack of education, poverty, and crime are linked at least to some degree, and that “quality of life” factors are important for the attraction of business to a particular region. So in essence, the $645 billion should probably be considered a conservative estimate of the overall impact of unwanted pregnancy on the State of North Dakota.