Effect Measure

A pandemic is an outbreak that’s world wide. Usually it’s a single strain of some pathogen. But it doesn’t have to be. There can be multiple strains, each intent on reproducing itself but adapted to its own niche:


  1. #1 Pierce R. Butler
    August 23, 2009

    How do they train themselves to be so impervious to reality? It begins, I suspect, with religion. They are taught from a young age that it is good to have “faith” – which is, by definition, a belief without any evidence to back it up. You don’t have “faith” that Australia exists, or that fire burns: you have evidence. You only need “faith” to believe the untrue or unprovable. Indeed, they are taught that faith is the highest aspiration and most noble cause. Is it any surprise this then percolates into their political views? Faith-based thinking spreads and contaminates the rational.

  2. #2 paul
    August 23, 2009

    I say, Revere, this is the first I’ve witnessed such an anomaly on this, or for that matter, any other worthwhile blog.

    The entire train of comments to your post of yesterday, “Feces for Dinner,” has VANISHED today. I believe there were posted about 13, the last of which (to my knowledge) was mine. And I fancy it was one of my better decimations of your own preceding comment attacking my hypocritical condescension, and my ignorance of the Special and General Theories of Relativity, mine being posted about 4:30 this morning.

    I did notice throughout the evolution (love that word) of the thread, that the home page introductory posting of “Feces for Dinner,” continued to display “0 comments.”

    My only reaction on discovering this today (try as I might not to think such of you), was that my last post was so devastating, that in your desperation, you panicked, and caused all the comments associated with your yesterday’s posting to simply disappear – similar to the manipulative shenanigans of the former Soviet Union, which airbrushed undesirable people and events out of their presentation of history – causing those to similarly disappear in their entirety.

    Please, if you would, assure me that this miraculous (if I may call it such) disappearance had nothing to do with a wholesale act of censorship, arising from you exasperation, or inability to address all the challenges I posed to you in my repartee, but rather was a freak of Nature (virtually speaking) and that such disappearances only occur when certain crop circles overlap one another in some critical geographic location.

    Would you *condescend* to offer an explanation as to why my, and my fellow commenters’ contributions to that thread, does not represent a total waste of our otherwise, better utilization of time?

  3. #3 Paul
    August 23, 2009

    I hope I can get this follow-up posted before anyone has to point out to me my mistake.

    First off: rever, I humbly offer you sincerest appology for what I just posted. Ironically, I wish *I* could airbrush my public display of paranoia, accusing you of wholesale censorship.

    It was an honest mistake. If you click on “0 comments” on your home page posting of yersterday’s article, you will indeed come to the continuation of your article, with no comments present (which is what I apparently did).

    However, if you click on your actual titled hyperlink to your article’s continuation, there the comments appear in all their glory.

    Again, I am very sorry for the mistaken conclusion, and my undeserved accusation. If it’s of any consolation, I really had hard time convincing myself that you would do such a thing, so I kept rechecking myself, by repeatedly clickin on the “o comments” hyperlink.

  4. #4 revere
    August 23, 2009

    Paul: No problem. It can be confusing. Don’t give it another thought. I am leaving it up to alert others to the possibility that their comments might be on the original.

  5. #5 River
    August 23, 2009


    You wrote, “If it’s of any consolation, I really had hard time convincing myself that you would do such a thing, so I kept rechecking myself, by repeatedly clickin (sic) on the “o comments” hyperlink.”

    You do realize, don’t you, that a symptom of mental illness is to repeatedly do something while expecting different results?

    Just a (humorous) thought…

  6. #6 Paul
    August 24, 2009


    Even more irony in the aphorism you chose to quote. I believe it is attributed to none other than Einstein (attribution somewhat apocryphal, but most do attribute to him). Quite a coincidence considering he was one of the subjects of the disputation between revere and myself.

  7. #7 K
    August 24, 2009

    Pierce, while the specifics of religion are taught just as specific languages are taught, it may be that we have some brain software that makes us vulnerable to religion. Perhaps groups or individuals with religion have some greater survival or perhaps our penchant to look for causation gets co-opted into looking for ultimate causation. I am in the midst of reading Human by Michael Gazzaniga http://www.harpercollins.com/books/9780060892883/Human/index.aspx in which various ideas about how we got religion are explored.

    But since we can learn the actual causation of things like the flu and mostly act on that knowledge it is hopeful that one day we can remove all causation from the realm of religion and keep Joseph and His Dreamcoat along with tales of Zeus and Hera as historical artifacts.

    Of course one day may not come. While many BELIEVE that industrial civilization is immortal it is not, and like all previous civilizations will likely crash – since it depends so heavily on growth and growth has to end on a finite planet something has to give. I think the operative maladaptive brain program is the one that predicts that tomorrow will be very much like today. Mostly it is….

  8. #8 pft
    August 25, 2009

    If you look at the history of religion going back to ancient times, you can see how it and the belief in god (s)have evolved, but there is one constant, religion and other instititions have always been controlled by the state and ruling elites. It has been a tool to control the people.
    Religions and science worked hand in hand to better understand the nature of God and his creation.

    Religion still exists, and for those non-believers, it exists under other names, be it social science, football or politics. During the last election I was struck by how believers in both parties supported their party as a matter of faith and loyalty. “Obama in the highest. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of Gaia.” Party politics has become a religion, as nationalism has been for sometime.

    Having 2 parties at each others throat is kind of like how the Protestants and Catholics went at it following the Reformation, which served to divide Europe and weaken it enough to give birth to the enlightenment and ultimately freedom of the elite from religions influence over politics.

    The result was 400 years of wars on a global scale never imagined, under the name of Free Trade and spreading Democracy and liberty (while in reality it spread Communism and free trade was forced under the threat of war, military or economic).

    Another meaning of enlightenment depicted by the statue of liberty is freedom of the ruling elite from moral laws (stuff like love thy neighbour, though shalt not kill, excessive usury, etc), which makes wars and human rights abuses easier for strategic reasons and resources (while saying it is for security) easier to sell.

    Slavery was abolished, true, only to be replaced by an economic system which made all people slaves, regardless of color. It’s called wage slavery, and it is much more economical, owning slaves was too darn expensive (food, clothes, housing, security (to protect the owners), health care, etc).

    Freedom from religion, ain’t it great (and I don’t even go to church or believe).

  9. #9 K
    August 25, 2009

    Religion has been used by the state but not always controlled by the state. It has a life of its own and new religions pop up from time to time sometimes specifically opposed to the state. At any rate hunter-gatherers are stateless people and they have religion.

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