Yesterday, as something of a joke, I came up with the term "youngest earth creationist." I woke up this morning inclined to formalize it into something more concrete, and because #insert <action contrary to proverb about dead horses, sleeping dogs, or a mixture of metaphors>, I have developed the following. Suggestions for improvement are welcome.
You might be familiar with Young Earth Creationism (YEC). Its members claim to base their calculations of the earth's age on a strictly literal interpretation of the Bible. I won't spend too much time questioning what they mean when they say "Bible", since there is more than one version considered canonical by any number of groups; suffice it to say they've picked one such version and assumed its translations into their preferred English vernacular can be taken at literal face value. Anyway, the age they often arrive at is somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 years, which at either end places the birth of our planet squarely within the timeframes of already existing and thriving human civilizations (or apparently so).
There is not a group, as far as I can tell, who call themselves Younger Earth Creationists. If there were, I imagine they would suggest that, in their interpretation, the earth is younger than the young earth creationists believe, and no matter how young a young-earther might consider the earth, a younger-earther is always going to aim for younger than that. But there is no such group, because that's absurd.
There is, as of today, a group (with me as its sole member) that calls itself the Youngest Earth Creationists (YestEC or, if you want to pronounce it, yest-eck). It posits that the earth is arbitrarily young, the absolute youngest it could possibly be, and not older than that. There are three main strains of thought in the YestEC branch.
Those of the group who are most aligned with traditional Young Earth Creationism (there are, as yet, none) suggest that the earth was created in our subjective past, at a point between moments ago and 6-10,000 years ago, but we cannot be certain precisely when.
The second strain, to which I belong, suggests that the earth was created at most mere moments ago, and that all sensation of memory has been simulated to reassure us.
The third strain, which is almost heretical, is that the earth has yet to be created, and we are the simulation that will be inserted into it to reassure those who will be created within it.
In all cases, it is accepted that the earth is younger than it has been made to appear. The evidence we have apparently amassed detailing an age orders of magnitude greater than our Great Book(s) have taught us, we believe, has been fabricated by Satan, the deceiver, for the sole purpose of deceiving us. This is why the third strain of YestEC is a potential heresy. If we are the simulation elements that will populate the eventual youngest earth, then we have not, in fact, been fabricated by the deceiver. And if we are certain we have not been fabricated by the deceiver, how can we be similarly certain that what we think we know of the past was fabricated by the deceiver? The problem, as you can see, is that the third strain gives way fairly quickly to uncomfortable considerations, which we will hastily discard because we hate discomfort. Apparently.
And so, we members of the Youngest Earth Creationists tend to greet each other in the following manner: "Welcome to the newly created world, fellow traveler."
I like that the quiz allows you to take more questions in any given category, as well as rate your answer as being more or less important overall.
This was pretty close, for me: I lean NDP/Green, usually.
At the end of the game, I think two things most stood out. One was the difficulty of maintaining a consistent strategy in a dynamic, multi-actor environment. No matter how much one tried to plan several turns out, things would simply happen that altered your calculations. When they did, one was forced with an often difficult decision whether it would be better to stay the course (despite changed circumstances), or revise one’s approach (thereby having possibly wasted a turn or two of preparation). This is a useful antidote to those who see political-military strategy, whether in wargames or real wars, as something akin to a cake recipe. It is far more uncertain than that, at times as much Kenny Rogers as Clausewitz.
The second real take-away from the game was the path-dependency noted earlier, and the ways in which capabilities influenced strategy and tactics. Both of the insurgent players clearly feared the Coalition’s growing ability to use drones and airstrikes, a capability into which we had invested considerable effort through acquiring the relevant event cards. However, in retrospect, I am painfully aware of the ways in which our low-risk counter-insurgency-by-remote-control tactics came at the expense of other actions. We had been slow to push a Coalition presence out into the countryside. We had been slow to train the Afghan military. We had depended too much, perhaps, on UAVs in the sky rather than boots on the ground. We had done too much on behalf of our allies, instead of building their capacity to do more themselves. Cognitively, we had somewhat fallen prey to the “law of the tool”: “if you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”— or, in this remotely-piloted case, “if you have a Reaper, every problem looks like a target”. True, we had done well in the game—had we been able to pull our troops out quickly, we might have even won. But could we have done even better if we had been less seduced by new gadgets?
I suppose answering that question will have to await our next game of A Distant Plain.
The Idyll is so attainable for nonaristocracy because it is located within a deeply troubled city. It requires a relatively healthy local economy for its sustenance. But if Baltimore’s economy were stronger, if its poorer neighborhoods were not so racked by violence and despair, and if the notoriety of that violence and despair did not so shadow the city’s national reputation, the Baltimore Idyll would not be so affordable for the shabbily genteel—it’s as simple as that.
"In a matter of seconds, the brain merges the sensation of touch and visual input from the new perspective, resulting in the illusion of owning the stranger's body and being located in that body's position in the room, outside the participant's physical body," says Arvid Guterstam, lead author of the present study.
In the most important part of the study, the scientists used the out-of-body illusion to perceptually 'teleport' the participants between different places in the scanner room. They then employed pattern recognition techniques to analyze the brain activity and show that the perceived self-location can be decoded from activity patterns in specific areas in the temporal and parietal lobes. Furthermore, the scientists could demonstrate a systematic relationship between the information content in these patterns and the participants' perceived vividness of the illusion of being located in a specific out-of-body position.
"The problem with fundamentalists is not that we consider them inferior to us, but, rather, that they themselves secretly consider themselves inferior. This is why our condescending politically correct assurances that we feel no superiority towards them only makes them more furious and feeds their resentment. The problem is not cultural difference (their effort to preserve their identity), but the opposite fact that the fundamentalists are already like us, that, secretly, they have already internalized our standards and measure themselves by them. Paradoxically, what the fundamentalists really lack is precisely a dose of that true ‘racist’ conviction of their own superiority."
- Bertrand Russel
I blog regularly at hewhocutsdown.net.
"You cannot banish unreason simply by believing correct things."
"A Thousand Years Of Nonlinear History"
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