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Welcome

  • At launch, Artgainz will be providing daily speedpaint videos and blog posts on a variety of topics

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Alphas in Film: Professor Bruttenholm


Any fan of the Hellboy comics by Mike Mignola was almost certainly disappointed by the 2019 Hellboy film, which completely failed to capture the tone of the comics, turning a Shakespeare-laden masterpiece into the goriest film I have ever seen.

Guillermo Del Toro’s unfinished film trilogy, although it may not have been as faithful in terms of story line, did a much better job capturing the spirit of the comic books.

When I think of Hellboy, I think of Shakespearean allusions and hilarious slapstick comedy. In the comics, Hellboy is constantly interacting with ghosts in period garb quoting Shakespeare and other literary luminaries. There is a hilarious segment where he accidentally blows up half a mountain because he can’t remember which of the two types of grenades on his utility belt to use. There is a segment where his “foolproof” rocket pack won’t engage after he’s jumped out of an airplane, prompting him to repeatedly mash the On button, and an absolutely genius panel where the thing explodes. Hellboy is unharmed, of course. He’s fireproof.

The 2019 film has some humour and some old-timey allusions, but most of the film is completely unwatchable because of how gory it is. Whoever made the film did not understand the audience. Any gore that appears in the comics is stylized.

What I found fascinating about the film, however, was the portrayal of Professor Bruttenholm, who was seriously miscast as Ian McShane. Now, Ian McShane is a great actor, and I suppose he was cast in the film because he always plays characters with vaguely defined supernatural or quasi-supernatural powers or arcane knowledge, but the problem is that Ian McShane is an alpha---or he only portray alphas---and Professor Bruttenholm is not an alpha.

It’s not that a professor cannot be an alpha. Professor Challenger in The Lost World, both the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the film starring John Rhys Davies, is an alpha. But in the comics, “Broom” is not an alpha. I might describe him as an alpha nerd, but there is a world of difference between an alpha and an alpha nerd.

The character of Professor Broom was captured perfectly by John Hurt in the Guillermo del Toro films, in my opinion. He played the character so well that he essentially became the character in my mind: a wise old man and a good father. He has some authority in the Bureau, but he is ultimately an advisor. He lets others lead. I’m not sure where he falls on the socio-sexual hierarchy, but I suspect he’s a delta.

In contrast, Ian McShane’s character is totally in charge of everything. His self-confidence radiates from him like the blinding beams of light that shot out Moses’ face. Rather than giving advice to those who ask, he gives commands. The real Professor Broom has an unwavering faith in God, and faith that he has raised his son right. McShane’s version has an unshakeable faith in himself.

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What would the founders have done differently if they could see the future?

When the United States was created, the founders—most of whom were Bible-believing Christians— avoided establishing a state church, something never before conceivable. I’m not entirely sure why they did this except that they must have had been influenced by Enlightenment philosophy. Perhaps they thought it would limit internecine conflict between different kinds of Christians. It was certainly not because they were attempting to prevent the Church from interfering in politics as many people today mistakenly assume.

The founders presumed that the principles of Christianity would remain a predominant force in government even without officially granting the Christian church a place at the table of government. Every other Christian nation that has ever existed allowed the Church to have a prominent role in the operations of state, but the United States made no provision for it, despite being one of the most Christian nations ever established. Christianity was so preeminent in their day that the Founders did not feel the urgency to cement its authority by giving its representatives a place in government. There were no other serious contenders: no Jews, no Muslims, no Buddhists. They took Christianity’s continuing preeminence in America for granted.

What the founders did not realize was that secular humanism lurked amongst them in the shadows, waiting for the opportunity to evolve from a deceptively tantalizing idea into a full-fledged religion, complete with official ensconcement in the halls of power.

In retrospect, it is clear that the lack of an official state church in America is what allowed Secular Humanism to become the de facto state religion. This filthy cult---the faith that pretends to not be a faith---has now evolved far beyond whatever the Founders thought it was, and you can be certain that most of them would reject it and its fruits entirely if they could see it today.

The secular humanists of today have concocted a creation myth for themselves that the United States was founded on Enlightenment philosophy, that “Separation of Church and State” has always meant what they think it does. Even many Christians have fallen for this lie, thinking that the Enlightenment and Christianity can be synthesized somehow.

The reality is that Enlightenment philosophy slipped into the Founding like a thief through an unlocked window. If the Founders (perhaps even those few secular humanists among them) could have seen the state of American society in our day and how western society as a whole has followed America’s lead into many kinds of insanity, they would have established a state church in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.
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These days, university degrees provide you with all the qualifications you’ll need for a stimulating career as a barista, and it’s a miracle that anyone comes out of the public schools anything other than a mindless slave of the state, indoctrinated into the precepts of secular humanism.

The problem with the universities is obvious. They’re run by blithering Marxists. Ten years ago I myself heard my professors say things like, “Real Communism has never been tried."

Milo Yiannopoulos famously says that people come out of modern universities dumber than when they went in, and he’s probably not wrong.

The purpose of the modern public school system, as you’ll learn by reading John Dewey, is to create good obedient citizens, not to teach people how to think for themselves. Dewey’s ideal graduate of the public school system would probably be someone like David Hogg, who parrots back the opinions of would-be totalitarians with all the naïve conviction of an automaton who has no doubts about the righteousness of his cause and has no conception that anyone of intelligence or goodwill might have a different opinion.

Unless you happen to have a truly exceptional private school in your vicinity, homeschooling is the only option if you want a real education.

The number of universities that provide useful training and don’t attempt to indoctrinate students into secular humanism is vanishingly small.

***

One complaint I hear repeatedly is that the public schools try to force students to learn a wide range of subject matter that most of them will never use in their adult life. For example, I took calculus in high school, but I’ve never used it as a professional. I barely used it in university. Sometimes I wonder if I could have used that time I spent learning calculus to learn something that would actually help me as an adult.

Why are public schools compelled to teach anything more than the basics, especially since they’re failing even in that? They just want butts in seats, to keep the federal tax dollars rolling in. I suppose schools should try to provide a rounded education, but not everyone has to sit through advanced courses, especially if they don’t have the aptitude for it. It is a waste of their precious time, which they could be using to learn productive skills. 

Whoever came up with the curriculum for the public schools must have been influenced by the hallucinatory dreams of the New Atheists, who fantasize about a coming generation of enlightened philosopher kings. The reality is that not everyone can be or wants to be educated into the deeper mysteries. Most people would be better off just learning productive skills which they can use to make money and support a family.

Many people get started in their careers and families much too late in life, and the public school system is largely to blame. Throughout most of history, people have started learning the direct skills they would need to support themselves at a much younger age.

You might object by pointing out that most people don’t live on farms anymore, that it is more common for people to go into a different profession than their parents, professions that require specialized training that mere parents cannot provide, but this is irrelevant. Even in the “old days” when apprenticeship was more common, those apprenticeships often began when a person was still fairly young.

***

I would suggest that young people consider going into the same profession as their parents. They will probably be better career counselors than any professional “career counselor”, many of whom are probably only qualified to help you get into the career of career counseling.

Your parents have an insider’s view into their professions. They can tell you how hard you’ll have to work and what sort of obstacles you’ll have to overcome.

***

I think the collapse of the modern education system (both the universities and the public schools) will herald the return of apprenticeships and the rise of specialized high schools.

Specialized schools like the kind I am describing already exist, but they are not as common as they should be. I knew a guy who was taught oil painting in high school. I would have killed to go to a specialized high school like that. 

I can imagine specialized high schools focusing on the following subjects:
      Electrical engineering
      Automobile repair
      Computer programming
      Computer hardware
      Construction
      Fabrication and Manufacturing
      Military
      Fine Carpentry
      Art and Design

Specific industries or even specific companies could even operate or sponsor high schools to teach the specific skill sets they require, becoming their primary recruitment sources. 

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I am not an economist. These are just my musings on the potential of turning to investment rather than debt.

For a Christian, the issue of debt can be confusing, since the Bible repeatedly refers to the evils of debt and pronounces curses upon moneylenders, which might make you think that the Biblical approach to debt and money-lending would be to forbid both, but Old Testament law inexplicably assumes that God’s people will themselves engage in these practices. I say 'inexplicably' because this is how it must seem to a binary thinker. The OT laws concerning debt are of course intended as a means of limiting and mitigating the destruction that it can cause.

As I wrote in a previous post, I believe that Jubilee laws (debt forgiveness after a pre-determined length of time) would go a long way to solving the debt problems we currently face, at least as individuals. Another possible solution for personal debt occurred to me, though I am uncertain how it could be implemented. Rather than looking to borrow money, people could be encouraged to look for investors. This is not an original idea of course. Attracting investors is hard, but if society and government discouraged money-lending and debt, I think people would organically find ways to make investing easier.
Perhaps people would find a way to sell shares of themselves.

When you borrow money, the only thing the moneylender wants is their money back with interest, within a reasonable amount of time. They don’t care how you pay back the money, just so long as you do. An investor is different. An investor has a personal interest in your success and has incentive to help you succeed in any way he can. He will go out of his way to help you out if you’re struggling.

At the present time, a serious obstacle to this model (replacing widespread debt with widespread investing) is that most investors of the sort I envision would probably have to come from within one’s local community and social circle, and since most of us are increasingly unconnected from our communities and becoming more and more socially isolated, we would have difficulty attracting investors. Friends, neighbours, and mentors might provide greater accountability than a bank, but they have to exist in the first place. You can find a bank anywhere, but you might not find community.

A whole host of societal changes would have to occur for something like this investment model to really come to fruition. Primarily, people would have to stop moving around all over the country in search of work. Communities would have to be more like they were in the pre-industrial age, with deep multi-generational roots. I think this is likely to happen after a major war on the North American continent. 

This investment model, once it was  implemented, would serve as a catalyst for bonding community together, creating interconnected webs of goodwill, accountability, and trust.


“A Moneylender Visited by a Weeping Woman” (1654) by Gabriel Metsu. 
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“The Money Lender” (1842) by Charpentier Auguste.
One of the curses of the modern world is the debt epidemic. Almost everyone is in debt and live most, if not of all, of their adult lives in debt.  It grows faster than our ability to pay it back. The conspiracy theorists talk about us all being “debt slaves”, and they can’t be far off from the truth.

Most of us, I think, understand that debt is horrible, and building a society that runs on debt will probably result in huge problems at some point—larger problems than whatever we currently face. But any normal person who has sat down and thought about it has probably run up against a particular roadblock: the question of whether a modern capitalist economy could be created or sustain itself without debt. To go into business, most people—even highly intelligent people—borrow money. Business tycoon and President Donald Trump himself started out, as he said, with “a small loan of a million dollars”, which he then turned into a vast corporate empire.

Keynesian economists “solve” the problem of debt by pretending that it doesn’t exist. They suggest perpetually kicking the can of debt further and further down the road. Each generation leaves the debt problem to be dealt with by the next generation. This is insane, perverse, and historically illiterate. The bill will come due at some point, both for governments and individuals.

Communists “solved” the problem of debt by making everything “free” and paying for everything out of the public purse, which of course created infinitely more problems than existed in the first place.

Socialists and leftists would solve the problem of debt through various social programs, universal basic income, and providing various goods and services to the public for free. Like the Communist solution, this creates more problems than it solves: dis-incentivizing hard work, dis-incentivizing innovation, necessitating a bloated bureaucracy prone to corruption, propagating ugly attitudes among service providers, etc.

I have heard that one solution proposed by Christian theologians during the Middle Ages was “Jubilee laws”, named after the Old Testament “Jubilee” event. The idea was that no loan could be made without a clause in the contract stipulating that if the debt had not been paid off after a certain amount of time, the debt would be forgiven. The length of time a person had to pay off the loan could vary according to different factors, probably ranging between a few months to a few decades.

This idea never really caught on in the Western world due the influence of powerful moneylenders who did not want anything hampering their debt collection, but I think Jubilee laws are worth reconsidering as a solution to the debt problem. In my opinion, they should be written into constitutions.

But, hey! That’s ridiculous! No bank or moneylender would lend money under those conditions, because everyone would just borrow a billion dollars, wait out the Jubilee period, and then be let off scot free!

(I once knew a guy who said astoundingly insightful things like this whenever I talked to him about politics. He was a former staff member in a Liberal election campaign here in Canada.)

Would any bank be dumb enough to loan you a billion dollars if it didn't look like you could pay it back? No.



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"Cain and Able Offering Their Sacrifices" (19th Century) by Gustave Dore.

A recurring question posed to Creationists is some variation on how could the entire population of the world be descended from only two people? How could the descendants of Adam and Eve have so quickly established cities, nations, and civilizations? Where did all the people Cain was afraid would kill him come from?

I was recently challenged to look at the numbers for myself to determine if the Creationists’ math makes sense.

I quickly discovered there is no simple equation for population growth, so I started graphing and typing numbers into Excel using a small number of variables that seemed reasonable and very quickly established an exponential growth rate that easily explains the population boom---but looking back over my spreadsheet, I began to doubt my variables and realized that there were more of them than I was considering, many of which would limit the exponential growth pattern my spreadsheet indicated. Someone would have to write a computer program to account for them all.

Looking online, I found someone who had written just such a program, and even using what I think are extremely low estimates they achieved results that agreed with the Creationist framework.

***

From perusing the various links that came up when I googled the issue, I got a broad picture of both sides of the argument. In general, the argument flows like this:

1) Creationists point out that if the children of Adam and Eve reproduced exponentially at the same rate the world’s population is increasing today, they could have very quickly achieved population numbers that conform to the Creationist framework.  This would allow the appearance of enough people to form nations and cities in a very short amount of time --- time enough for the Genesis narrative.

2) Skeptics point out that the rules for population growth are different for small isolated groups of people than for large groups of people. According to modern studies, the population numbers of small isolated communities do not increase exponentially, but tend to remain relatively stagnant, so the early population boom required by Creationism is implausible.

3) The Creationists point out there were probably other factors and variables at play in ancient times that modern studies do not take into consideration, such as increased health and fertility, extended lifespan, extended child-bearing years, better nutrition, less degradation of the human genome, and a vast abundance of previously unoccupied territory into which excess population could relocate. This could tilt the scales and allow the sort of exponential growth necessary for the Creationist historical framework. [The computer model I mentioned earlier took some of these factors and variables into consideration.]

In other words, the mathematical plausibility of the Creationist model for population growth in ancient times depends on whether early man could quickly achieve an exponential rate of growth.

If you take uniformitarian assumptions for granted, the Creationist model appears ridiculous. However, if you assume certain non-uniformitarian conditions, exponential growth is quickly achievable and the Creationist model becomes plausible.

***

This fall outside the scope of this blog post, but I believe there is good reason to doubt uniformitarian assumptions about our ancient history.

As far as I can follow it, the math for the Creationist model appears plausible. Not being an expert, I am open to correction, however.

References:
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The only question is, How dumb are they, or how dumb do they think we are, that they think their agenda is rendered immune from criticism by adopting as their spokesman an indignant little girl throwing a tantrum?

What’s doubly absurd is how clever the people promoting Greta Thundberg must think themselves, supposing they are the first to use a child as a propaganda tool.

To sane people Greta Thundberg---with her round cherubic face and that strange thing she does with her mouth---resembles something straight out of George Orwell’s 1984, where brainwashed children were used to enforce ideological conformity. 

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ArtGainz

from October 06, 2019

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from October 05, 2019

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