Archive for the ‘Science and Common Sense’ Category

Illusions of the Family: the Street Gang and the Marauding Clan

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Contrary to popular cultural debates, the greatest threat to the traditional family is not the child-raising same-sex household, which forms an infinitesimal, teeny, tiny sliver of a 1% segment of USA and world households, but the street gang, which claims tens of thousands of members in each major developed city.

There are more gang members in some individual major US urban regions than there are same-sex parents in the entire USA.

The claim that a street gang is a family is what I call The Gang Illusion.

In free societies, the Gang Illusion is arguably the greatest everyday danger to not only “The Family” as a concept or institution, but to the health, safety, and welfare of the greatest number of individuals and actual families.

The Big Lie of the Gang Illusion is that the gang is a family. This lie is fundamental to the coherence of the gang, which in other respects usually progresses from origins in mutual defense to a drug-selling, extortion, war-making, and/or vice enterprise.

Mutual aid, mutual defense, lifetime commitment, loyalty, intimate knowledge, and kinship are cited by gangs to appeal to similarity with a family. These appeals are especially persuasive to those whose real families are broken, or who have no family, or who are intimidated by fear of the gang into joining it.

Those who have no loving home are falsely drawn by the promised support of the “homies,” but many who do have loving homes also migrate to gangs for reasons including fear, identity, personal loyalty, adrenaline thrills, and ambition.

Having a father and a mother does not in itself guarantee a religious, Christian, or Catholic family, nor does simple adherence to religious ritual. The mythical Corleone family of The Godfather fame also had a paterfamilias and a materfamilias to an extended family. The Sacraments of the Catholic Church were ruthlessly appropriated into the Corleone gang rubric in a particularly blasphemous way, depicted in the famous scene where the baby was baptized with continual cutaways to assassination.

The mythical Corleones and the real gang-bangers of today, while perhaps meeting the Wikipedia definition of “consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence” do not represent true families as understood
by Catholic teaching
.

Nor should street gangs be represented as families under the law. But as long as developed societies continue to expand in law the definition of family beyond the natural law definition that begins with man-woman-child as the family’s foundation, not only will polygamous relationships gain family status, but also will street gang and other clan-like social structures gain, if not increased legal status, greatly increased social power.

By driving natural man-woman-child families from the legal marketplace, we will merely further empower the unregulated off-market violent gang and marauding clan. (I include the marauding clan in this analysis to link the analysis to developing societies).

Displacing the natural man-woman-child family is not effective, enduring, or stable social change, but merely another extension of the temporary Gresham’s Law phenomenon into the social structure, with violent gangs and clans filling the void.

Avant-garde legalists never cease to follow the 18th century French thinker Rousseau:

“He who dares to undertake the making of people’s laws ought to feel himself capable of changing human nature.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract and Discourses, NY, Dutton, 1973, pg. 194

Such hubris in reshaping and expanding the definition of the family by law will have an inevitable effect, not in the multiplication of same-sex parenting households, which are limited by the relatively small number of same-sex couples in society, but in the strengthening of violent clan-like structures like the street gang, which can grow exponentially as other more fundamental social structures decline.

The weakening of the natural man-woman-child family is a social problem primarily because it strengthens the street gang. We already have ample social evidence of this, and have not yet learned the lesson.

Perhaps we have been so entertained and distracted by false apocalypses on television and film, zombie and otherwise, that we do not see the true extent of human suffering caused by the violent gang or marauding clan which is ever around us.

The Rousseau-inspired social and legal engineers will continue to tinker away and redefine the family as they might. These elite social and legal engineers will never admit to their mistake, and will instead characteristically call for more and more radical measures along the same line, since for them “It is all about” their god-like powers to shape others. They will think that gangs grow solely because of lack of jobs and housing policy mishaps, and not family-saving policy disasters.

As this elite grows more and more radical, their numbers will shrink out of sheer public common sense, embarrassment, and other more pressing interests. This process may take the greater part of a century.

But in a sense, the actions of these elite social and legal engineers are irrelevant to the actual present human predicament: For millions worldwide, whether in the Americas, in Asia, in Europe, or in Africa, the family has been redefined as a some form of violent street gang or marauding clan.

In the end, as it was in the beginning, it will be up to pious non-violent religious believers to rebuild the natural man-woman-child family. To do this they will have to leap away from the tangle of every rejected revolutionary ideal since Rousseau and his forebears that has stumbled to its feet in a moaning, static chorus from across the Internet.

(Ideas do matter. And the Internet has exploded the ideas of past centuries across present humanity like clustered shrapnel.)

Those who attempt to change human nature, in this case the natural man-woman-child family, will in the end only unveil another manifestation of human nature, the violent and marauding gang or clan.

Those who wish to subdue the non-violent natural family will continue to unleash the Wolf in humanity, the homo homini lupus. So history is about to repeat itself again: Elite social and legal engineers are about to make Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents once again relevant. I’m just about to dust my copy off.

While our governments shift massive political capital to redefine the family, they generally ignore the street gang and the marauding clan which are problems world-wide for portions of the population much, much larger than the infinitesimal, teeny, tiny sliver of 1% of the population for which they are willing to expend political capital.

Perhaps our governments have realized that the much larger problem of street gangs and marauding clans are beyond their reach, and they must politically survive by pleasing coalitions of tinier and tinier constituencies.

So I suggest that natural man-woman-child families and their friends turn off the fake apocalypse shows and movies and watch the real violence on the news, and reflect on the origins of this violence.

Then, with some of the extra time gained, begin reading Blessed John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio.

I return again to Matthew 19:4-6:

He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”

The Divinely-blessed human union above, the natural man-woman-child family, is the foundation of a non-violent and complementary human society. To the extent that we try to re-invent and replace this family in law and society, we will only in the end further propagate the violent gang and the marauding clan.

© Copyright 2012, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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Aphorism LIV

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

Despite pretensions of a scientific mindset, contemporary atheism clings to at least three critical illusions:

1. Naive nineteenth-century materialism.

Contemporary atheism does not dwell intellectually within twenty-first century complexity and uncertainty as informed by modern physics and scientific economics, but within the illusory Victorian certainty and simplicity of Darwin, Marx, and Mill.

2. A Ptolemaic emotional universe.

Contemporary atheism fancies itself to be the intellectual heir of Galileo, but instead it is the emotional heir of Ptolemy: In the end, atheism assumes that the universe revolves around the atheist.

3. Puritanism without God.

Modern atheism has shed God but not Puritanism, and thus tends to assume a fractured perfectionism:

Such atheism goes to great lengths to care for the body, but then in the end alters the human metabolism with powerful birth-control or libido-enhancing drugs.

Such atheism will not let a politically incorrect thought enter its presence, yet demeans those with whom it disagrees in the coarsest of terms.

Since atheism does not believe in a soul, in the end it acts as if it has none.

Such atheism makes atheists the dry-drunks of Puritanism.

For a different view from that of atheism, see the work of Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, SJ.

© Copyright 2012, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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Why Catholic Nerds Rule, Chapter I

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Despite the stereotypical public image of the rock-jawed politician with the Big Hair, we know that it is the nerds who actually rule not only the universities, but seemingly the universe.

And speaking of both universities and the universe, I would like to introduce you to just about my favorite Catholic nerd (I hope he doesn’t mind the appellation, since it is meant as the highest compliment), Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, SJ, PhD.

Fr. Spitzer may look like your friendly neighborhood accountant, but don’t let that fool you. He actually is an accountant. Moreover he is a philosopher, a former university president, and an entrepreneur and founder of organizations.

I could go on and on about Fr. Spitzer, but I can sum it all up by saying, his message is the important thing. Do yourself a favor by reading his books, which are extremely clear, well-reasoned, and organized expositions of the Christian, Catholic viewpoint taking into account the latest in science and philosophy.

So far I’ve read large chunks of the following books by Fr. Spitzer:

Ten Universal Principals: A Brief Philosophy of the Life Issues (San Francisco; Ignatius Press, 2010)

Healing the Culture: A Commonsense Philosophy of Happiness, Freedom, and the Life Issues (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, October 2000).

New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010)

I’ve been meaning to get to:

Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life: A Practical Guide to Prayer for Active People (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008)

I also can’t wait for his forthcoming books on suffering and on ethics.

For more, please visit the Magis Center.

Here’s Fr. Spitzer on Larry King Live in 2010 responding to Prof. Stephen Hawking on the origins of the universe.

For the EWTN television series and appearances of Fr. Spitzer, please look here.

© Copyright 2012, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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What the Race Between Education and Technology Means for Higher Education

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

Recently I learned of a university faculty search in the area of women and gender studies that drew over 800 applications, which is not surprising considering the growing number of PhDs earned in this area and in those claiming connections to it.

However, what is not generally known is that some university departments of gender studies are not sustained by the tuition from the relatively small number of undergraduates majoring in this area, but are subsidized by other funds from within their universities. Undergraduate students are already voting with their feet against majoring in gender studies at some universities. But because of faculty and upper-level graduate student interest in gender studies as an untouchable or “hold-harmless” university interest, some such departments are propped up by their universities–sometimes with the tuition dollars paid by students studying in other areas. As a result, there are many more PhDs in the area of gender studies than could ever hope to earn a full-time university job teaching solely in this area. You may have noticed highly-educated baristas, retail clerks, and others in the service industries as a consequence.

In their important 2008 book, The Race Between Education and Technology, Harvard economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz outline the relationship between education in technological areas and the general welfare of the middle class. In their multi-generational analysis, Goldin and Katz found that when education produced more students expert in technology, the middle class thrived. Goldin and Katz thus explain the decline in middle-class welfare since 1980 in terms of technological competence and competitiveness, and point to a solution for middle class advancement in terms of technological mastery.

It is thus high time for technological fields at universities to be “held harmless” and subsidized, rather than the me-centric, “navel-studies” fields popular from the student days of faculty graduating in the 1960s and 1970s.

Only when educational institutions truly meet the needs of the many can they then afford to subsidize the interests of the few on a wide scale. To concentrate on the few, without serving the many effectively, leads to a growing erosion of human capital in society, and to doom for higher education that does not meet the general need.

© Copyright 2012, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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Aphorism L

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

In the spirit of putting dreams into action, we went to the Moon.

Then we asked, If we can go to the Moon, why can’t we resolve war, or poverty, or education?

Then we tried to resolve war, and poverty, and education, and didn’t.

Then we stopped going to the Moon.

Now we couldn’t go to the Moon any time soon, even if we wanted to do so.

(I thank one of my sons for the last line).

© Copyright 2012, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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Richard Dawkins Issues Anti-Catholic Fatwa

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

The Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Shaikh is not the only person issuing anti-Christian fatwas recently.

The prominent anti-Christian Richard Dawkins recently issued his own anti-Catholic fatwa at minute 13:15 forward of the following video, in which he said of Catholics who believe that the Eucharist is Christ’s Body and Blood: “Mock them! Ridicule them!”

Christians should not be intimidated by Mr. Dawkins. For a thorough set of reasoned answers to atheist and agnostic arguments, please see the Magis Center for Reason and Faith.

The strongest science-based arguments for the existence of God come from physics, which is not the primary expertise of biologist and rhetorician Richard Dawkins.

For a sample of the work of the Magis Center and its founder, Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, SJ, please see–

Atheists and agnostics who don’t consider Fr. Spitzer’s points take the easy way out.

===

Mockery and ridicule are steps on the road to dehumanization and to eventual outright persecution. For a rigorous description of this process, please see William Brennan’s book, Dehumanizing the Vulnerable: When Word Games Take Lives.

© Copyright 2012, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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An Important Review of Misleading Statistics on Homosexuality

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

There are few more contentious topics than statistics on same-sex behavior.

When popular truisms are questioned by professional scientists, as were Alfred C. Kinsey‘s statistics by the American Statistical Association in 1954, the response from the popular media is often dead silence. The general public is still not aware of the devastating debunking of Kinsey’s numbers by some of the world’s best statisticians:

“Critics are justified in their objections that many of the most interesting and provocative statements in the [Kinsey 1948] book are not based on the data presented therein, and it is not made clear to the reader on what evidence the statements are based. Further, the conclusions drawn from data presented in the book are often stated by KPM [Kinsey, Pomeroy, and Martin] in much too bold and confident a manner. Taken cumulatively, these objections amount to saying that much of the writing in the book falls below the level of good scientific writing.”

Cochran, William Gemmell, W. O. Jenkins, Frederick Mosteller, and John Wilder Tukey. 1954. Statistical problems of the Kinsey Report on Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. American Statistical Association, National Research Council (U.S.). Committee for Research in Problems of Sex – Psychology

Now Wheaton College provost Stanton L. Jones has published a comprehensive review and correction of misleading same-sex statistics. An abbreviated version of this article appeared in the February 2012 First Things. But here is the extended version, with references, from the Center for Applied Christian Ethics (CACE).

In his CACE article, Prof. Jones addresses what he calls “false beliefs about homosexuality”:

    “Being gay is just as healthy, both in terms of mental health and physical health, as being straight;
    sexual orientation, just like race, is a biologically determined given to which environmental variables such as family and culture contribute nothing and to which individuals make no voluntary contribution;
    sexual orientation cannot be changed, and thus the attempt to change is intrinsically harmful;
    homosexual relationships are equivalent to heterosexual marriage in all important characteristics; and
    identity is properly and legitimately constituted around sexual orientation.”

“Sexual Orientation and Reason: On the Implications of False Beliefs about Homosexuality,” by Stanton L. Jones, Center for Applied Christian Ethics, accessed 1/21/12

I thank Prof. Stanton L. Jones for his important and reasoned contribution to a topic too often ruled by mythology and propaganda.

Please see my earlier critique of Kinsey for further background on this question.

© Copyright 2012, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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Reasons for a Creator from Physics and Philosophy

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Is it too early to speak of post-atheism?

Move over, Prof. Dawkins. Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, SJ has written an amazing contemporary exposition, New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics.

To those who have read Richard Dawkins and are one step away from or two steps into becoming atheists, think again, if you wish to make a fully-informed and reasonable decision. Fr. Spitzer’s book comes as both a challenge and a very sophisticated alternative.

Along with Stephen M. Barr’s Modern Physics and Ancient Faith, Fr. Spitzer’s book joins in undermining the intellectual foundations of atheism.

If you have committed to atheism and not read these books, you may have jumped too soon.

© Copyright 2011, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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Miriam Grossman MD on the Window of Fertility, and on Sense and Sexuality

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Miriam Grossman, MD is a fully-accredited psychiatrist who worked for over 10 years at UCLA treating over 1,000 college students. She came to the conclusion that political correctness about sexual liberty worked against her patients’ best health interests, and thus began a journey that led her to author two books on the subject.

Here is a Google Books preview of Unprotected. Here’s a preview of You’re Teaching My Child What?

One of Dr. Grossman’s most persuasive presentations appeared on C-Span’s Book TV, during which she discussed the case of a female graduate student who waited too long to try to have children, and the toll this delay took upon this young woman. This story can speak to thousands of women in academic and professional life, and lead men to better understand the predicament of young women. For Dr. Grossman, reproductive freedom “includes the freedom to reproduce.”

Dr. Grossman backs up her presentations with multiple scientific references. She challenges the comfortable assumptions taught to children and young adults in our schools. She also prepared a pamphlet for college-age women on Sense and Sexuality.

Science by its very nature leads us to challenge our assumptions. If you already know all the answers, then perhaps you can ignore Dr. Grossman’s message. But if you are ready to be challenged and to learn something new, then click here.

© Copyright 2011, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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Film: Demographic Bomb

Friday, January 28th, 2011

The widespread belief in the threat of overpopulation is often more firmly held than religious faith, and persists throughout the developed world.

This belief has shifted across several elites in society over recent centuries, from the pious powerful seeking to eliminate the undeserving poor, to the progressives seeking to engineer a better society, to the eugenicists and their negative mirror image (and their sometime friends) the associated fanatics seeking to eliminate the weak and to grow a master race, to environmental idealists wishing to erase the human footprint from the earth, to enlightened and wealthy postmoderns seeking to incrementally reduce the sources of social dissonance as they shape a society to suit their fanciful self-image or their charitable foundation’s flavor of the week.

To all of these, the following film will come as something of a shock.

The 2009 film Demographic Bomb ran on EWTN on the evening of 1/26/11.

Demographic Bomb, written and directed by Rick Stout, who co-produced the film with Barry McLerran, includes top thinkers including Nobel Economics laureate Gary S. Becker of the University of Chicago, USC demographer and planning professor Dowell Myers, Columbia U. historian Matthew James Connelly, as well as partisans on opposing sides of the population debate such as Paul R. Ehrlich, the original author of The Population Bomb, and Nicholas Eberstadt.

The film’s most telling point from the standpoint of economic science was made by Prof. Becker, who cited Adam Smith’s insight that prosperity was associated with growing population, while declines in population were associated with declines in prosperity.

Indeed, the economic organization of our society is based upon the assumption of continued population growth. The outnumbering of the young by the old, which is implied by declining birth rates, places a great burden on the young, and can lead to economic decline. This is one of the basic arguments of the film, which notes a demographic trend underlying declines in real estate markets, where fewer buyers follow to acquire the homes built by the Baby Boom generation. This reduction in demand leads to declines in value, and thus also leads to economic decline.

Those political and social activists who believe that an economy can be legislated or regulated into existence might as well be trying to legislate the weather and the force of gravity. Underlying every economy are its markets. Underlying these markets are demographic forces, and underlying these demographic forces are tangible resources found in the land, the air, and the seas. Without exception, the underlying market, demographic, and physical forces eventually erupt and overcome foolish efforts to shape society that do not effectively acknowledge and harmonize with the powers of these underlying realities.

Demographic Bomb, the second film in a series preceded by Demographic Winter, lets the experts speak in their own words, but firmly draws its own conclusions that population decline, forced by misguided governments and organizations, is hurtful to human society.

Here is the trailer for Demographic Bomb.

Here is the trailer for Demographic Winter.

Please see my earlier post on the work of Prof. Dowell Myers for the importance of the advancement of immigrants to economic development.

© Copyright 2011, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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