Mr. Flotsam, meet Ms. Jetsam. I think you’ll like each other.

A small Sunday morning round-up….

The Navy:  doing the right thing and doing it right.

If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.  Not.  (It’s worth remembering that, by the time the Soviet Union collapsed, being a doctor there was a women-only job, with about as much cachet as dog-catcher.)

Kerry brings anti-semitism and incompetence to a new high, even by State Department standards.

Wesley J. Smith nails it:  Obama is the Vasa of our time.  We got to see the Vasa on our last vacation and I blogged about it briefly here.

And please, Open Thread away here.

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Comments

  1. Matt_SE says

    Numbers 8 and 10 are half-true: He’s for the environment and for peace, but never with any realistic calculation of the trade-offs he’s making. Wishful thinking doesn’t count as serious policy.
    Number 12 is definitely true, or he’d like it to be: entertaining the masses. Hmmm…maybe we should build a colosseum for the people’s entertainment?
     
    Notice the author’s degree: Ed.D.
    Not exactly know for their high standards, that field.
    And I’m sure the author’s race (black) has nothing to do with his positions.

  2. Matt_SE says

    While not nearly as obtuse, the dishonesty of this piece is notable: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/17/us/politics/in-fracas-on-health-coverage-some-democrats-feel-exposed.html?ref=international-home&pagewanted=all&_r=0
     
    Some of the literary turds contained within:
    –“In mid-October, as Republicans were contending with voter fury over a 16-day government shutdown, Democrats had the momentum.” Yeah…voter fury. Over a 16-day shutdown of 17% of the government marked by egregious misbehavior by the NPS, for which the furloughed workers were given back-pay and which almost nobody on the street noticed. Totally the equivalent of Obamacare. (opposition to which, coincidentally, was the reason the shutdown occured)
    –“Emboldened, a wave of strong recruits entered House contests.” I think the author means “sycophantic hangers-on and yes-men”
    –“Republicans found their voice.” Is this supposed to be some sort of pseudo-feminist-leftist compliment?
    –“The Tea Party-fueled legislature passed a law prohibiting the governor from setting up a state health insurance exchange, so the state must rely on the faulty federal government website, HealthCare.gov.” Yeah, if only the Tea Party had gotten out of the way things would be going swimmingly right now, huh?
    –And finally, from Senator Jeanne Shaheen: “This is not about partisan politics. This should not be about partisan politics,” she said. “This should be about fixing what has been a health care system in this country that for way too long has not worked.” This law was conceived and birthed in pure partisan politics. Now that it has become obvious that it’s a monster, the Democrats want Republicans to help take care of it. Instead, this is one case where I clearly support abortion.
     
    And this is what passes for journalism at the Times.

  3. JKB says

    To bad Obama and his staff aren’t trained lawyers.  Otherwise, they might have anticipated that Obama’s free pass wouldn’t excuse corporations from their social responsibility policies to comply with the law and the Dodd-Frank certifications
     
    Question about Corporate Social Responsibility Policies and Obamacare | The Volokh Conspiracy 
     
    First, under both Dodd-Frank and other provisions of federal and state law corporations are required to make various certifications about compliance with applicable law. How should companies deal with these certifications if they offer policies or take other actions that are illegal under the ACA but for which the President has said there will be no enforcement?

  4. JKB says

    What made the Anglosphere different? Foreign visitors through the centuries remarked on a number of peculiar characteristics: the profusion of nonstate organizations, clubs, charities and foundations; the cheerful materialism of the population; the strong county institutions, including locally chosen law officers and judges; the easy coexistence of different denominations (religious toleration wasn’t unique to the Anglosphere, but religious equality—that is, freedom for every sect to proselytize—was almost unknown in the rest of the world). They were struck by the weakness, in both law and custom, of the extended family, and by the converse emphasis on individualism. They wondered at the stubborn elevation of private property over raison d’état, of personal freedom over collective need.
    The World of English Freedoms – WSJ.com

    So here we have pretty much everything the Democratic party is trying to purge from American society, either by banning or usurpation.  Why does the party of the humanities majors hate what created so much freedom, health, wealth and long life in the world, not just for the well off but even for the poorest and most remote from the Anglosphere.  Early death comes by socialist action and domination at the hands of a crony government, not the free market

  5. jj says

    John Kerry is a stupid fellow.  Now – you don’t understand what I’m saying.  I know you don’t, because it’s a fairly common epithet for opponents to hurl at each other, and you figure “well, there he goes again” – but that’s not what I’m doing.  This is dispassionate.  I’m unemotionally asserting a plain truth.  John.  Kerry.  Is.  A.  Stupid.  Human.  Being.
     
    I have met John Kerry half a dozen times or so.  (I’m sure of and can precisely pin down three, vaguely remember a couple more.  Our backgrounds are similar enough – except I don’t do the rich women thing – that I encountered this guy before he was in government.)  We have a fair number of folks in the background – New England schools, acquaintances, etc. – in common.  The times I have met him, me being a polite sort of fellow noticing someone standing in front of me, I have attempted to engage him in at least passing conversation.  It can’t be done.  He’s DUMB!  He’s THICK!  He’s STUPID!  The last book he read was Curious George Uses the Potty, and whatever goes on between those ears there is no evidence of a mind remotely approaching the nimble.  Al Gore is a hell of a lot more engaging and faster on his feet – and he’s a goddam tree trunk! 
     
    Just keep that in mind whenever you’re talking about Kerry.  Your cat Bruno is smarter.

  6. Charles Martel says

    I was happy to learn that Obama is a president for the people. Glad to know that, at long last, after 40-something presidents before him, we finally have one who loves us all, especially whites, Jews, and Catholics.

  7. lee says

    That Matthew Lynch piece is brilliant satire! He makes Jonathan Swift look like a punter! I am not sure when I have ever laughed so hard! Still wiping my eyes–laughed so hard I cried!
     
    It has to be satire–because it’s so much b******t. And no one seriously can believe that much baloney.

  8. lee says

    Matt_SE–
     
    Alas! I know he very likely was serious. I think he–and his supportive readers–probably would’ve applauded Swift’s “solution” to the Irish Problem. And offer some recipes.
     
     

  9. says

    As this is an open thread, I have something I’d like to post. It is about something entirely different than what has already been posted on this thread, which is mostly about Obama and Kerry. 
     
    What I would like to add to this topic is more or less a question. My addition to this thread is related to the (ab)use of substances such as alcohol, tobacco and (mostly) illegal narcotics such as marijuana. This addition was sparked by some recent stories I heard, some things on television and stuff in the regional/national media where I live.
     
    It seems that, if one looks at human history, the use of mind-altering substances has existed for very many years and in many very different societies. For example, Indians in some regions were know to make use of the hallucinogenic properties of the mescaline in Lophophora williamsi (peyoté) or the alkaloids in nightshade-family plants such as Datura. In Central and Southern Asia Cannabis sativa  was smoked centuries before it became popular in the West. To an extent, the use of mind-altering and seemingly hazardous, even potentially lethal substances seems to be to an extent almost universal. Ethyl alcohol seems to be an especially common “poison” and alcoholic beverages have existed in many cultures and countries for many centuries. Here in Europe each country and within each country many regions seem to have typical alcoholic beverages and an associated consumption culture. In Belgium it is beer, while in France it is wine, and in Eastern Europe it often tends to be wodka.
     
    Now, perhaps I should get on with it and get to the question shortly. Maybe I should just place the question right here: can anyone explain to me, and I’ll accept a wide variety of trades here, WHY it seems that humankind seems to generally like ingesting, in some form or another, harmful, toxic, unhealthy and possibly lethal substances – substances which could rightly be labelled to be poison? Why has it been so prevalent throughout human history and why is it still so prevalent today? 
     
    Can somebody try to explain it to me? Because I’m just not getting it. Maybe it is because I abstain from alcohol, don’t smoke tobacco (or chew or snort it) and don’t do illegal narcotics. I have never understood the appeal of such substances and have never been able to understand why one would want to voluntarily ingest poison or by free will bring substances into their system that play with and alter the normal bodily and mental functions. To me, such a thing is just ridiculous. The only thing of this category that I have “sinned” with is alcohol and I have only consumed it in small quantities, and have every single time found the effects of even a very small amount of alcohol highly unpleasant. I cannot fathom anyone liking this. I do eat foods that contain alcoholic beverages, but have been cooked to remove the alcohol, though. 
     
    I just cannot fathom why people voluntarily ingest what is essentialy poison. The “big three” – ethyl alcohol, nicotin from tobacco and illegal narcotics – are all well-known to cause severe consequences on both the individual and societal level, and to be the source of many problems, costs and economic and societal damage. The consequences of these substances are a known and proven fact. For example, alcohol-related deaths run in the tens of thousands a year in the USA alone. Many people die from diseases related to smoking, and drug overdoses as well as death from drugs-related crime are not uncommon either. I tend to include cannabis/marijuana in the list of harmful substances – whatever people may say about it, from what I have seen and heard about it, it is insiduous poison and I like to call it an ‘evil weed’. All this to say that the consequences, at least to my mind, are crystal clear, both on the individual and the societal level. And still people choose to ingest such substances. Why?
     
    On the societal level, policy has varied widely throughout history, and while some substances have at times been or are still widely accepted (tobbaco and alcohol in the West being the prime examples), regulation or even prohibition of these substances (alcohol laws or the war on drugs being examples here) seem to have been rather common, and understandably so. However, regulation or prohibition always seem to unable to prevent abuse or to decrease or stop use of such substances. The United States, in response to the problems raised by an era pickled in alcohol abuse, instated Prohibition and tried to rid the country of alcohol. Prohibition was clearly a failure, as it assisted greatly in the creation and rise of gangsterism and organized crime syndicated, as well as leading to large-scale illegal production – moonshining, as it is called, a practice that exists to this day in parts of the USA and in other countries. Of course, alcohol laws in (parts of) the USA can still be stricter to this day, compared to European countries.Nor can the war on drugs be called a succes in any way.
     
    Perhaps it is the moralist or the puritan within me raising its head, but to me, it still doesn’t seem like we should just accept these poisons in our society, let alone say they are harmless or normal. I know that many people on this website may support marijuana legalization, but I cannot do but oppose it. In our society we already have two types of, albeit widely accepted and legal, poisons that have enormous consequences, namely alcohol and tobacco, and on top of that come the illegal narcotics and illegal trade in prescription drugs. That’s way more than enough on our plate already. I am a teetotaler that however is respectful and doesn’t force people to abstain, but I may speak about that or try to convince people.
     
    I don’t have answers when it comes to policy regarding alcohol (and tobacco – but I’m not really considering that in what follows) and feel as if many possible policies would  only amount to a government overstapping the limits of its power or intruding into people’s lives. That, however, and once again, that is the moralist and the puritan within me, probably, I feel as if something has to be done about alcohol and tobacco. These substances rub me the wrong way for many reasons. I do not feel as if moderation, however much it is preached, regarding alcohol works, and I do not feel good about the wide acceptance of social drinking.
    I do not believe now is a good time to do something about alcohol, as it could potentially play into the cards of the onslaught of Islam. But just because Islam is against alcohol, and I am against Islam, it doesn’t follow that I am for alcohol. I don’t like alcohol and I think our society should seriously reconsider its stance on it, but now doesn’t seem to me to be the time for a ‘new temperance movement.

  10. says

    That’s an interesting question, Kevin_B.  Children don’t eat greens because, when people were nomads, the kids who snatched greens from the ground were probably the ones who got poisoned and didn’t pass their genes on down.  We overeat because we’re programmed to fight previously-inevitable famines by eating food whenever it’s available.  But why hasn’t the gene for overindulgence in intoxicants died out, the same way the “toddlers who eat [poisonous] green plants” genes died out?  I’ve never seen anyone benefit from overindulgence in intoxicants, so at a Darwinian level, the overarching human craving and tolerance for drugs and alcohol makes no sense.

  11. says

    ” Children don’t eat greens because, when people were nomads, the kids who snatched greens from the ground were probably the ones who got poisoned and didn’t pass their genes on down. ”
     
    Children have highly sensitive taste buds, the better to detect stuff that doesn’t taste right (poison). Which is why beer, bitter stuff, is something people avoid it. It’s not just because they are picky, but because it also activates instincts that say “this doesn’t taste right” on a survival DNA level. As people grow older, their taste buds decrease in sensitivity, perhaps because they start learning “what is and isn’t” poison. Of course that also means children like sweets because they are really getting activated there via the stimulation. No such thing as a “poisoned thing that tastes sweet”, at least anything that makes sense on a biological level. Poison is designed to stop people from eating you, not the other way around.
    “We overeat because we’re programmed to fight previously-inevitable famines by eating food whenever it’s available.”
     
    The human body has a 24 hour cycle regulated by a gland that was originally, when lizard ancestors were around, a third eye or membrane on top of the head that detected sunlight. So people who stay indoors all the time, their body essentially thinks it is perpetually winter (starvation time). So the moment someone forgets a meal cause they are working overtime, the body immediately starts thinking it’s famine time or somebody is out to steal their resources. Most humans don’t have the self hypnotic or bio regulation control required to “reset” these kinds of flags. Others are just naturally weird biologically and metabolism wise.
     
    One of the simplest explanations for why Japanese and others have a slightly less difficult obesity issue is that they walk and bike around in their little villages all the time, being exposed to sunlight. Whereas American humans are lucky to see sunlight when they aren’t in their cars, homes, or indoor work place. When thunderclouds appear and the light shuts off, there’s a reason why some people feel depressed. There’s no light on the skin. The opposite problem, too much sun, makes the body think it’s got no shelter. A different kind of stress then builds (like heat stroke). But generally, a problem people can solve with healthy food (water) and entertainment.
     
    As for human love of weird chemicals and bio products, there’s been a several cultural benefits.
     
    1. Shinobi trained in the use of poison, and one defense against being poisoned by your own weapons is the continual exposure to poison, in order to develop a tolerance. So warriors have often used alcohol and other drugs to dull pain, fight harder, and achieve a better status as a warrior. Weaklings and cowards weren’t exactly given high social standing or resources back in the day.
     
    2. Social conditioning. Humans function as a sort of hierarchy and pack organization, in order to harvest resources based upon cooperation. Of course the solo hunter and lone wolf lifestyle did exist, but those guys were the top 1 percenters. Casualty rates were high. Drugs and rare substances have the benefit of allowing humans to bond and be conditioned for a single purpose. Alcohol, for example, makes people easier to command and can often make them tell the group what they are really feeling. Thus it serves as both a reward, a conditioning tool, and a social bond.
     
    3. Choice and fun. A life was not worth living without fun and doing interesting things. You might as well ask why people who lived in a life full of pain and hardship, why they chose to entertain themselves with rare substances as ask modern Westerners why they use their rich income for bungee cord drops and skydives. It’s not like people are completely safe there either. Yet when humans are given a choice between complete safety and risk, people will choose risk more times than not. A group of humans that will not choose risk… has been domesticated and is little different than a herd of sheep. Domesticated sheep were not that valuable in the Ancient Days, though the Moderns prefer more of them.

  12. says

    Genes, contrary to popular opinion, are not predetermined or even set in stone 100% of the time. A person is born with a set of genetic markers, but not all of it is active. It takes environmental stimuli to activate genes, especially the more dormant variety.
     
    In a modern analogy, a genius that never puts any work into developing their talents, is basically indistinguishable from a dumb person. Certainly they’ll have an edge, but that only goes so far.
     
    Twins with the same DNA marker, exposed to different environmental stimuli, internal thoughts, etc, can develop different preferences and talents. Generally though you have to divide the twins up and raise them apart from each other, which would be hard to replicate given human experimentation limits. Skinner took mice babies and gave them only a doll as a mother to touch (plus electricity shocks), but certain human limitations prevent us from doing the same with human children.
     
    This makes more survival sense, since humans that made the right decisions, not just had the right genes, passed those traits along to their children. But those traits only developed “when the parents were alive”.

  13. jj says

    I don’t find it to be as bad as all that, and suspect you may be a little harsh there, Kevin.  Moderation certainly works for alcohol: we don’t have 200 million drunks, now do we?  At least 200 million of our population of 315 million raise a glass now and then, I suspect; and they apparently manage to do so without the majority succumbing to the Demon Rum.  You don’t like alcohol, fine.  You’ve already discovered the solution: don’t have any.
     
    The ‘when’ and ‘why’ part of what you’ve posed is interesting.  The ‘when’ – at least insofar as wine is concerned – seems to have been the beginning of time.  Unpicked grapes will fall to the ground and ferment of their own accord.  Whatever comes along to eat them in that state runs a risk of getting smashed.  (Apples do this too.  Rural New England abounds in abandoned orchards that still produce fruit.  The wind blows, the fruit falls, it sits on the ground for a couple of days, and all of a sudden you have wasps and yellow-jackets crashing into each other, and hunters and people who walk in the woods are encountering drunken bears.  [A drunk bear is an interesting encounter, too, I'll tell you.])  Some caveman probably spotted this about the grapes.  He may further have noticed that when you squeeze the grapes you get grape juice.  If what you squeeze has enough grapes that have been lying on the ground fermenting for a few days, it has an interesting side effect, beyond quenching your thirst.
     
    Blame (or thank) the Sumerians for taking the next steps beyond wine.  After figuring out crop rotation, irrigation, and flood control, they turned their attention to fermentation of hops, and bingo: beer.  It was a pretty short step from taking the process and seeing how it worked with grains – wheat, rye, etc.  Now you got the basis of booze.  (Though I don’t know who the hell came up with the idea that you could distill potatoes…)
     
    The ‘why’ is probably the same reason for finding it necessary to swim the English Channel, climb all the mountains, explore the unknown, try to leave the planet altogether – or eat Fugu.  (I find a lot of what we do eat just as insane as the substances you’re talking about.  Imagine being the first guy who ever ate a raw clam, or oyster.  What do you get when you crack open a clam or an oyster?  A small heap of what has a tremendous visual and consistency resemblance to snot.  Who’s lunatic idea was it to stick this mess in his mouth?  Speaking of kids, most kids wouldn’t do it to this day, if they weren’t being egged on by their older – and highly amused – relatives.)
     
    I suspect that Mankind spent all his time so close to the edge of starvation that early Man was willing to try just about everything that fell under his eye.  How else did we arrive at clams, oysters, lobsters, peyote buttons, poppy milk, abalone, etc., etc.?  Stuff it would never occur to anyone to stick in their mouths?  They did stick it in their mouths: they had to.  I imagine a whole lot of our forbears conked out, too – but the majority didn’t.  They just said: “stay the hell away from that bush,” and moved on.  A lesson learned.
     
    The use of mind-altering and possibly lethal substances has been prevalent, as you say, throughout human history, right from the beginning.  Don’t know why, but both the prevalence and duration would seem to indicate it’s pretty basic.  A lot of people seem to like altering their minds, at least for a while.  Fewer like doing it permanently, but there are always a few.  I don’t know if this is a bad thing, or if it’s a good thing, but there can be little doubt that it is indeed a very human thing.  A very basic drive.  Very basic, original equipment.  I am unable to say why, but I’ll have a drink and a cigar and give it a think.

  14. Ron19 says

    Kevin_B #13:
     
    All this to say that the consequences, at least to my mind, are crystal clear, both on the individual and the societal level. And still people choose to ingest such substances. Why?
     
    Why, knowing the consequences?  Because the person perceives the availability of some benefit being greater than any known or admitted bad consequences.
     
    Decades ago, I took belladonna — a classic medieval poison; I took it because a trustworthy MD handed it to me to cure my symptoms of food poisoning.  It worked completely and almost instantaneously.
     
    About a decade ago, my wife finally consented to getting knee replacement surgery.  During her hospital stay, she and her doctor found out that she could not tolerate synthetic morphine, and nothing lesser worked very well for her post-surgical pain.  So he put her on a (real) morphine drip, and she could press a button to boost the dose occasionally.
     
    My evangelical Protestant daughter and her pastor husband absolutely forbid alcoholic beverages for their congregation; it is a teaching of their “Bible based” religious sect’s beliefs, even though the proper use of wine and other alcohol use is abundantly supported in the versions of the Christian Bibles that they claim to live by.
     
    Use of these and other substances, such as food, is not bad per say.  The usual problem is misuse and greed.  And as others have pointed out above, human nature is very susceptible to both.

  15. Ron19 says

    open Thread:
     
    From
    http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/johnransom/2013/11/18/in-the-name-of-the-humans-lets-separate-the-poor-from-their-shoe-boxes-n1748420?utm_source=thdaily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl
     
    In the Name of the Humans, Let’s Separate the Poor from Their Shoe Boxes
     
    Another public school is under attack for the dread crime of putting shoe-boxes with gifts under the Christmas tree for poor people with the assistance of Christian evangelicals.
    Schools around the country are running in a horror from Operation Christmas Child because humanists are now objecting to the insertion of Christ into Christmas. In Operation Christmas Child people who don’t “believe” in Christ see a fiendish plot by Christians to fill shoe boxes “with a variety of gifts that will bring delight to a child.”
    The horror!

  16. Ron19 says

    and from the same newsletter:
     
    http://townhall.com/columnists/katiekieffer/2013/11/18/obama-offers-high-school-seniors-30000-to-snoop-for-nsa-n1747547?utm_source=thdaily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl 
     
    Obama Offers High School Seniors $30,000+ to Snoop for NSA
     
    Obama is offering high school seniors $30,000 a year for college tuition, PLUS a job, housing, transportation and a galore of other benefits. Apparently, Obama is having a hard time finding youths willing to spy on their friends, so he’s upping the ante.
    NSA.Gov currently has a “job” posted for young people who are desperate for a job, thanks to Obama’s lackluster recovery. Under “Careers” and “Opportunities for You,” the NSA has this posting with a bold red alert notice at the top: “Notice: Stokes Scholarship Application Deadline extended until 30 November 2013.”
     
    ….

  17. lee says

    Kevin et al re: Intoxicants, etc.
     
    I have had four cats in my life. Thre were totally indifferent to catnip. One goes KUH-RAZEE over it–rolls in, rubs it on her head, her belly, gets in a dazed stupor, and sits for awhile looking odd. I had friends who had a cat who was addicted to it–he would YOWL at the cabinet where they kept it. Pretty much any time he wasn’t eating or using the litter box. He was a definited niphead. (They had to go cold turkey on him; he was NOT happy; they slept with ear plugs.)
     
    I bring this up because cats don’t do it out of peer pressure or slick advertising. They are or are not into the mind altering substance of their species. I guess there is a physiological element to it.
     
    I know some people (Indians, Asians) have issues with metabolizing alcohol. Some groups of people, for whatever reason, just don’t have as high an incidence of alcholism (that does NOT have a cultural connection.) But then there are some species of birds who love to partake of fermented fruit, and other who don’t.
     
    It’s not easy to say why or why not–a little nature, a little nurture. A little genetics, a little culture…

  18. Danny Lemieux says

     
    Ymar is spot-on with regard to kids and bitter tastes. Their high sensitivity to bitter tastes primes them to avoid poisonous bitter alkaloids in plants. Many of those bitter alkaloids are present in plants as as natural pesticides (against humans, other mammals, birds and insects). Interestingly, at lower doses (Paracelsus: “the dose makes the poison”), they can have powerful pharmacological properties, such as functioning as potent anti-carcinogens (e.g. in brocolli and other members of the cabbage family). This sensitivity to bitterness is why it is so hard to get kids to eat vegetables, even under the influence of cruel diet witches like Mooch.
    It has been well documented that bitterness sensitivity declines as kids age.
    JJ, I think that you meant fermenting barley, rather than hops (which is a flavorant). Your rendition is otherwise spot on, as per the best and most important science and culture documentary ever made: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/how-beer-saved-the-world/
    I suspect that people take mind altering drugs because it makes them feel good and de-stress, even for a moment. It’s not much more complicated than that. It’s a respite, especially when you live in stress and unhappiness. To JJ’s point, even wild animals indulge, probably for the same reasons: it feels good to them.
     
     

  19. says

    I’ve never outgrown my childhood sensitivity to bitterness.  During my pregnancies, I craved broccoli, but now I’ve reverted to my normal state, which is to eat it reluctantly.  I cannot abide brussel sprouts, trendy kale, or any other trendy greens that are bitter.  I do, however, love sour foods, especially yogurt, which I eat with fanatic fervor.

  20. says

    Women, due to gathering behavior and DNA specializations, have a higher bandwidth for taste and color perception.
     
    It’s a toss up between whether female children or male children need better poison detection. If amongst adult women who are gathering in field or at home, the children are relatively safe. If unsupervised or out on a roam with the hunters (that don’t know this stuff), they may get into more contact with foreign substances. If there was ever a case that young males went out on roams with the hunters, unsupervised by the women, then there would be a activation marker in favor of increased sensitivity to rare substances amongst male children.
     
    “I know some people (Indians, Asians) have issues with metabolizing alcohol. Some groups of people, for whatever reason, just don’t have as high an incidence of alcholism (that does NOT have a cultural connection.) But then there are some species of birds who love to partake of fermented fruit, and other who don’t.”
     
    One of the reasons and sources I believe in genetic activation, rather than predetermined genes manifesting plus/minus talents, is that in Russia there was an interesting breeding project for foxes. In only one to two generations of capturing wild foxes (those high pointed ear ones), an interesting phenomenon developed. In the beginning, the baby foxes were so afraid of humans that when you held them in an armored gauntlet, they would always be snarling and baring their fangs at the human. That’s how scared to death they were of humans, thinking we are going to eat them and being unable to run away. So without much selective breeding (inbreeding or crossbreeding), the foxes ended up being domesticated, their ears drooped, and they behaved like sheepdogs. How is this possible without genetic engineering? How is this possible without cross breeding? How is natural evolution going to make such a “leap” in only one generation? What conclusion they came up from that data, I can’t remember. My conclusion, once I finished analyzing their experimental data, was that the DNA markers and links were already present. All it took was an environmental and behavioral change which essentially changed the DNA databank for the first generation foxes, thus passing the same traits down to second generation and further. Which the once dominant genes, now active, mix together and have a side effect of producing droopy ears, like dogs.
     
    Now when applied against humans, that would imply that humanity, even if it didn’t like alcohol in the beginning, could have bred itself in the same fashion so that later generations did. Or that like certain sub cultural groups, they had a weakness or addiction to alcohol. That could be from when their ancestors overindulged, activated the wrong genes, or just never had conditioning against the substance. The science community announced some years ago that they had mapped the entire human genome. To normal people, that perhaps implies that the knowledge of what all genes do has been cataloged and defined. That is not close to the case. The reverse is actually true. Almost none of the human DNA markers and genes have been figured out, except the obvious ones which are linked via causality or correlation (to diseases). Correlation just tells you that if A moves, B also moves, it doesn’t tell you “why”.
     
    This is partially why Utopia and making a Deus Ex Machina is still unfeasible at the moment. People will fail. Why? Because they haven’t even figured themselves out, let alone figured out how to “improve humanity” or make a “perfect being”. You can’t create a god until you ascend to being a god. That’s what the old mythologies suggest. Sun Tzu’s “know your enemy and know yourself” claim applies to more than just warfare.
    One Japanese author used the theory in one of his novels that human abilities and talents in the modern day, descend from ancestors who specialized and refined hunting techniques over thousands of years. That we didn’t start from scratch with the DNA our parents had at birth, but that our DNA sequence comes from what our parents had at the point of conception. Implying that between the point of conception and the point of birth, our ancestors had changed and modified their DNA based upon hard work and specializing in jobs. This is a very different concept in evolutionary theory crafting than the normal one we expect. He also had some new ideas on environmental protection, which would piss off a lot of Gaians and Global Warmists, but that’s another topic.
    Making a full circle back to Kevin’s original, what this means for me is that if people want to get drunk and pass those “benefits” unto their descendants, they should be free to do so. Of course if they go around drunk and slam into me while driving and kill me, while getting away with just bruises because alcohol relaxes the human body to the point of elasticity, then there’ll be a problem. Evolution or Creation, should not be predetermined. We should all, in the past, present, and future determine what is “best” via competition and simulation based testing. Politics and scientists often do it in reverse, where they have a pet theory and do everything to make up data to fit that theory. This is not what pure experimentation and testing was for. If some people think it is to their benefit to provide talents to their children that will make them easier to kill in actuality due to drunken disorders, and there are people who believe that warriors should feel pain in order to fight for life and deliver death, then that experiment should be conducted. It should not be given to the state to “Allow” or “Disallow” what life has been doing for eons.
     

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