Rebuilding and Repaying After Storms

first_imgHome / Daily Dose / Rebuilding and Repaying After Storms Tagged with: Conventional Loans Delinquency FHA Foreclosure HOUSING hurricane florence MBA mortgage VA Sign up for DS News Daily in Daily Dose, Featured, Foreclosure, News Subscribe Conventional Loans Delinquency FHA Foreclosure HOUSING hurricane florence MBA mortgage VA 2018-11-09 Seth Welborn Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago  Print This Post Rebuilding and Repaying After Storms Previous: AHP Servicing Unveils New $50 Million Regulation A Offering Next: MCT Moves to Secure Sensitive Borrower Data About Author: Seth Welborn Seth Welborn is a Reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Harding University, he has covered numerous topics across the real estate and default servicing industries. Additionally, he has written B2B marketing copy for Dallas-based companies such as AT&T. An East Texas Native, he also works part-time as a photographer. Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days agocenter_img The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Share Save Related Articles November 9, 2018 1,130 Views Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Recent natural disasters have pushed mortgage delinquencies up slightly, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) National Delinquency Survey. The report states that the delinquency rate rose to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.47 percent of all loans outstanding at the end of Q3 2018.“Despite the small uptick this quarter, the healthy economy is overall supporting low mortgage delinquencies and foreclosure inventories,” said Marina Walsh, VP of Industry Analysis at MBA. “Unemployment is at its lowest level since 1969, wages have grown 3.1 percent year-over-year—the biggest jump in almost a decade—and job growth is averaging over 212,000 jobs per month thus far.”Though delinquencies were up 11 basis point over the previous quarter, MBA notes that the rate is down 41 basis points year-over-year. The national uptick may be due in part to the significant increases in delinquency in states that were impacted by Hurricane Florence and Tropical Storm Gordon, such as North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama.These states all saw increases in non-seasonally-adjusted mortgage delinquency rates over the previous quarter by 50 basis points or more, with North Carolina increasing by 80 basis points.Walsh notes that Hurricane Michael made landfall after the survey reporting period, and its impact will not be reflected until at least the fourth quarter survey. Additionally, she notes it may take several more quarters for the impact of the more recent storms to fully dissipate.“The impact of the August and September 2017 hurricanes on several states, particularly Texas and Florida, continues to retreat,” said Walsh. “Primarily because of the declining effects of last fall’s hurricane-related spike, the overall mortgage delinquency rate in the third quarter was down 41 basis points on a year-over-year basis.”Across all loan types, delinquencies have dropped year-over-year, with conventional loans dropped by 41 basis points and FHA and VA delinquency rates dropped 44 basis points and 8 basis points, respectively.More information can be found here. Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days agolast_img read more

What next for once-dynamic Euro arm?

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Al Kaline dies at 85: Baseball greats remember the Detroit Tigers legend on social media

first_imgBut the legacy of Al Kaline is summarized far better by his Mr. Tiger monicker. It encompasses all of his well-earned honors on the field, but more so, what he meant to the city of Detroit. He made his debut for the Tigers as an 18-year-old kid near the end of the 1953 season without a minor league game under his belt, meaning he never stepped foot on a professional diamond as a member of any other team.Kaline finished third on the 1954 Rookie of the Year ballot. The next year, at the age of 20, he was the MVP runner-up, and he finished third the year after that. He stood out beyond the traditional measures, too. He walked 257 more times than he struck out and was a rare player known as much for his glove as his bat. Right field at Comerica Park is immortalized as  “Kaline’s corner.” He never won MVP, didn’t end his career with a .300 average or hit 400 home runs. He never even hit 30 home runs in a season. But while he wasn’t in the spotlight like Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays, he nonetheless became baseball royalty as a humble kid from Baltimore who focused on effort, discipline and defense. He was Mr. Tiger.Baseball community react to the passing of Al Kaline Baseball legend Al Kaline, considered “Mr. Tiger” for his profound impact on Detroit baseball, died Monday at the age of 85.Kaline’s Hall of Fame career began in 1953 and spanned 22 big league seasons all spent with the Tigers. His resume pops: 15 All-Star game appearances, 10 Gold Gloves and four top-five MVP finishes. The statistics are eye-catching, too: 3,007 hits, 399 home runs and a .297 career average. last_img read more

New Enterprise Centre officially opens in Glenties

first_imgA new state-of-the-art Business Enterprise Centre was officially opened in Glenties on Monday afternoon. The Glenties enterprise centre is on a 7,500 sq ft site leased from Donegal County Council and includes six industrial units, three of which have a mezzanine, as well as an administration and training facility of 1,500 sq ft.Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh was on site to officially open the new Business Centre. Speaking at the launch, McHugh said the site would be ‘big asset for the region’.“The project has been backed over the last number of years by Enterprise Ireland and the International Fund for Ireland and it was €200,000 Government funding as a Rural Economic Development Zone that brought it to where it is today,” McHugh said.“And it is fitting that it is opening as we mark Enterprise Week 2019.”The project was granted €200,000 from the Department of Community and Rural Development in order to complete the project.  The Donegal TD added: “I also want to thank Donegal County Enterprise Fund which took responsibility for the completion and management of the Enterprise Centre. “Huge effort has gone into getting the enterprise centre to where it is today with significant construction work completed on the units, doors, decoration, street lights, drainage and landscaping and bringing the whole place up to a high standard. “It is great to see local business here already and I understand some local businesses are interested in taking up space in the new facility.“I look forward to seeing all the units becoming home to Donegal firms and keeping busy.” New Enterprise Centre officially opens in Glenties was last modified: March 6th, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:GlentiesJoe McHughWest Donegallast_img read more

Lifford Credit Union present awards from colouring competitions

first_imgLIFFORD Credit Union held a presentation night for their Art and International Credit Union Day Colouring Competitions last Wednesday in the Old Courthouse Lifford. Paul Brolly began by welcoming all the parents, grandparents, boys and girls, and then proceeded to congratulate all the winners. He then introduced the Chairman, Mr Robert Brennan and invited him to address the audience.  Robert began by stating that they had entries from over 20 schools, with 122 entries in the Art Competition and 309 entries in the International Credit Union Day Colouring Competition. There were 17 prizes given out on the night, to the winning students from 11 different schools.Photos were taken as each person received their prize along with the Chairman Robert Brennan, CEO Mark McClay, and Directors Emma Peoples and Catherine McGlinchey. The night concluded with a great group photo and then a hot buffet was served for all present.  The winning entries in the Art Competition has been sent forward to Chapter level, for the next stage of the competition.Lifford Credit Union present awards from colouring competitions was last modified: November 25th, 2019 by Chris McNultyShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:LiffordLifford Credit UnionPaul BrollyRobert Brennanlast_img read more

Latest: Man Utd 4 QPR 0

first_imgQPR are being demolished at Old Trafford, where goals from Angel Di Maria, Ander Herrera, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata have put Manchester United in total control.Rangers threw in the towel after Di Maria’s 24th-minute free-kick – his first goal for United.Following a needless foul by Clint Hill, the Argentine whipped a great delivery in from the right flank that flashed past everyone, including Rob Green, and into the far corner of the net.Di Maria was also involved in United’s second, carrying the ball 50 yards before finding Rooney.The England captain’s shot was blocked but Herrera pounced on the loose ball and belted home from near the edge of the penalty area.Rooney fired past Green at his near post a minute before the break, taking full advantage after Steven Caulker was far too slow to challenge him.And more diabolical defending led to Mata making it four on 58 minutes, the former Chelsea man finishing easily after being left totally unmarked to collect Di Maria’s scuffed shot.QPR, thrashed 4-0 at Tottenham in their last away league match, had got men behind the ball and managed to keep United at bay in the opening 20 minutes.Rio Ferdinand, playing against the club he spent 12 years with, was given a rousing reception by the home fans and was presented with a special trinket by United legend Sir Bobby Charlton just before kick-off.But Ferdinand and the rest of the visiting defence were soon under pressure as United, full of optimism after a number of eye-catching signings, made a predictably high-tempo start to the game.Rangers, without injured midfielders Joey Barton and Jordon Mutch, and with Sandro making his debut, have barely threatened.However, after going behind they were gifted a chance to equalise out of nothing.David de Gea’s misjudgement left the United keeper in no man’s land, but Matt Phillips’ tame effort was easily cleared by Jonny Evans.Armand Traore, on as a half-time substitute, burst forward from left-back early in the second half and set up Niko Kranjcar.The Croatian, making his first appearance since returning to Rangers on loan, saw his effort saved by the legs of De Gea – a rare opening for Harry Redknapp’s side before United scored again. QPR: Green; Isla, Caulker, Ferdinand, Hill (Traore 45); Sandro, Kranjcar, Fer; Phillips, Hoilett; Austin (Vargas 59).Subs: McCarthy, Zamora, Onuoha, Taarabt, Henry.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Science Supports Proverb of Jesus

first_img(Visited 32 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 It is more blessed to give than to receive, said Jesus and a team of psychologists.The psychologists in New York were not setting out to confirm Jesus’ words, but the headline on Medical Xpress stated, almost with surprise, “Study finds it actually is better (and healthier) to give than to receive.”  Two decades of prior research had not found that recipients of help got the same benefits as the givers.  Now, a five-year study involving 846 individuals linked decreased mortality with the stress-releasing pleasure of giving.“These findings go beyond past analyses to indicate that the health benefits of helping behavior derive specifically from stress-buffering processes,” Poulin says, “and provide important guidance for understanding why helping behavior specifically may promote health and, potentially, for how social processes in general may influence health.”The words of Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” do not appear in the four gospels of the New Testament, but instead were quoted by Paul to the Ephesian elders in the book of Acts of the Apostles, chapter 20, verse 35.  This indicates that many of Jesus’ teachings were remembered decades later by other eyewitnesses besides Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  This should not be surprising, because many thousands heard Jesus teach.  As John ended his gospel (21:25), “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”It’s nice when science finally catches up to the Master Planner’s truths two millennia later, but once again, the thinking of scientists (if that’s what you can call psychologists) is orthogonal to the intent of Jesus’ words.  Jesus was not saying, “Behave this way for your own health and happiness.” He was encouraging the disciples to forget themselves and focus on others.  Not every selfless deed results in personal reward; look at soldiers who fell on grenades to protect their comrades.  When health and happiness do accrue from acts of helping others, fine; but anyone who engages in helping others for his own health misses the point. Psychology can only look at the “what,” not the “why,” the “is” not the “ought.”Wouldn’t it be something if the Creator built our brains so that righteous behavior would usually result in health and happiness as a by-product?  That would be like intelligent design.  (It doesn’t work with impure motives, though—that’s part of the design, too.)last_img read more

Anthropogenic Global Warming: A Consensus in Crisis

first_img(Visited 24 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Worries and debates emerge from supporters of human-caused global warming – not just skeptics.  How does this resemble the creation-evolution debate?Disclaimer:  This is not an entry about whether human-caused global warming is true or not, since the issue is off-topic for this site.  Instead, it takes a look at how “scientific consensus” is manufactured and publicized in the climate debate.  Something as complex as a global phenomenon is a good test case in philosophy of science.  The global warming debate has some similarities with evolutionism (hear discussion on ID the Future podcast).  It is overlain with huge political and economic ramifications, fraught with large uncertainties and contradictions, and maintained as scientific fact by the consensus yet fiercely criticized by a relentless group of skeptics.  Both show a rough fit with political views: the liberals tend to advocate evolution and global warming, but the conservatives tend to be skeptical of both.  Both issues have extremists calling the other extreme crazy.  Here, we will look at a few news reports from inside the consensus that reveal a strange mix of dogmatic certainty and empirical worries – another trait characteristic of the evolutionary consensus.The official word:  The IPCC issued its latest report on climate change in late September, but it didn’t seem to change the political climate.  Supporters still support the IPCC, and skeptics still criticize it.  Various reactions appeared in the press: Live Science asserted in an Op-Ed piece, “With IPCC report, climate change is settled science.”  Two authors appearing on PhysOrg asked a very different question: “Is it time to ditch the climate ‘bible’?”  They see the IPCC monstrosity in need of reforms and a break-up.  The IPCC authors claim they are 95% certain that humans are causing global warming, but how can such a subjective judgment be quantified without bias?  It really should hinge on the strength of the evidence itself, not the feelings of leaders of an organization whose jobs arguably depend on keeping the previous conclusions intact.  (Imagine the horror if they concluded, “Our previous conclusions were all wrong; humans are innocent.  There is no irreversible warming trend.  We can all stop worrying and go home now.”)  News of the IPCC report seemed less momentous this time – perhaps because of the IPCC’s history of scandal and the lack of cooperation by many governments to submit themselves to draconian carbon limits.Appeals to evidence:  In a PNAS Commentary, Gerald R. North wrote about “More evidence for anthropogenic influence on climate change.”  He dissected a study by Santer et al. who estimated air temperatures at three layers during the satellite era.  (This citation can be considered a within-consensus example of how observations are gathered and interpreted as evidence.)  North’s conclusion that Santer’s group provided empirical evidence was moderated by acknowledgement of the complexities involved:The dynamics of climate in the Arctic are very complex, and our present climate models may need significant adjustments in both the large-scale atmospheric dynamics and the air sea/sea ice, and of course the old nemesis: clouds. This last notwithstanding, the recent studies of Santer et al. show that there is a statistically significant anthropogenic signal that can be detected in the system over the last several decades. Of course, all statistical studies are dependent on a statistical-model construct or framework, but this one seems rather well tested and has been exposed to public scrutiny over several decades. The study by Santer et al. in PNAS joins the many other independent ones that have recently accumulated, all pointing to the significant role of human influences on climate change.In short, the article is all about North’s personal feelings.  The complexities and uncertainties “notwithstanding” (showing his value judgment on what evidence to keep and what to throw out), North believes Santer’s statistical model construct or framework “seems rather well tested” – another value judgment.  Should a public worried about economic costs just trust North’s feelings, or hear another side?  Where is the other side in PNAS?  It’s not there.  We might compare this offer of evidence with studies alleging support for Darwinian evolution, such as claiming to find a signature of natural selection among lizards on Caribbean islands.  An evolutionist might appeal to “many other independent” studies “all pointing” to the consensus view (an example of a glittering generality statement), supporting the grander position that humans evolved from bacteria.  Who would have the time to inquire into the reliability of all the other studies, even if they were listed?Untestable models:  “Without plants, earth would cook under billions of tons of additional carbon,” Science Daily said, based on a study at Princeton on the effectiveness of plants as carbon sinks.  That may help us all appreciate plants more, but how could such a statement be tested?  We can’t strip all the greenery off the planet to see what happens.  Even if studies show significance in local areas (such as deforested areas), how can one extrapolate the findings to the globe, without knowing all the feedbacks and compensating factors?  And isn’t global carbon roughly a constant?  Again, the conclusions were based on models – but models are simulations of reality, not reality itself, which is often much more complex than any model humans can devise.  It would seem the headline accomplishes in emotion what it fails to achieve in evidence.Causes or correlations?   Are moose deaths in northern American forests tied to global warming?  New Scientist teased with that puzzle.  Like an article on PhysOrg about microbes under the seafloor, many studies offered as evidence for global warming seem very difficult to prove.  Another PhysOrg article shows strong debate about whether global warming is increasing wildfires, but ends with a UN climate chief using scare tactics to argue we’re running out of time to take drastic action.  Matt McGrath noted on the BBC News that this lady, Christiana Figueres shed tears over how lack of action is condemning future generations, calling government inaction “completely unfair and immoral.”  Emotional outbursts are no substitute for convincing evidence.  Would it dry her tears to read a new report in Geology about carbon dioxide emissions from undersea volcanoes?  It says, “Thus, the contribution to the carbon cycle on Earth of the large amounts of CO2 that have been emitted from the deep-sea floor by petit-spot volcanism has not previously been recognized.”  Maybe she should vent her emotion on volcanoes instead of humans.Shifting evidence:  “Cows’ carbon hoofprint is smaller than thought” reads a headline on PhysOrg.  This is but one example of evolving weights given to factors affecting climate models.  It wasn’t long ago that cow methane emissions (essentially, cow farts) were viewed as a major factor affecting the climate.   Recall another uncertainty, too: Gerald North’s reference to “that old nemesis: clouds.”  Cloud effects on climate are very difficult to incorporate into models, but must certainly account for a lot.The uncooperative pause:  There’s trouble in the consensus camp.  Everyone acknowledges that global temperatures hit a plateau around 1998, and have not shown a warming trend for about 15 years now.  In addition, warming over the last 50 years has been lower than current models predict.  What does it mean?  Is it a temporary hiatus (a “speed bump” on the way to a warmer world) or a falsification of the consensus view?  PhysOrg acknowledged that the pause has occasioned thought for alarmists and skeptics, but gave pride of place to supporters of global warming, who criticize the “denialists” of using the data for political motives.  On September 19, Nature News sought to explain “The cause of the pause” as a normal decade-long oscillation within a long-term warming trend.  The BBC News, on the other hand, noted that skeptics are using the pause as support for their view.  In another BBC News article, Matt McGrath noted serious errors the IPCC made in previous reports.  He listed 5 key questions the IPCC needs to address to reinforce its credibility – number one being the 15-year pause.Information or manipulation:  Believers in human-caused global warming are often so concerned about the future of the planet, they are frustrated at the skeptics who don’t see things their way.  Like Science Daily says, “People don’t put a high value on climate protection,” even after more than a decade of information and warnings.  How can consensus scientists convince them?  One would hope they would present convincing evidence logically, considering criticisms fairly.  Instead, some are thinking of ways to manipulate the other side, controlling the conversation in strategic ways that deflate the skepticism.  Nature just favorably reviewed a book that was “strong on strategy” but light on evidence.  Another example of strategizing appeared on Science Daily: “How Do We Talk About Climate Change? The Need for Strategic Conversations.”  A look inside the short article reveals a bias toward winning the skeptics over to the warmist side.  Given that the advice comes from the journal “Environmental Education Research,” the conclusions are predictable:Arguing for the need to focus on “solutions rather than on catastrophic consequences of climate change,” Wibeck suggests effective methods for moving forward with climate change communication, emphasising a need for strategic interaction between communicators and educators, arguing that it is necessary if the public role in challenging global climate change is going to increase.This is a form of the “nudge” strategy Cass Sunstein made famous.  Don’t alarm or provoke your enemies; nudge them with gentle talk about solutions everyone can agree on (as long as “the public role in challenging global climate change is going to increase” in the end).  Like “Evolution for Everyone” (11/01/2005), this is manipulation, not education.  If a position is true, it ought to be able to withstand vigorous civil debate about the evidence.Forcing compliance:  As with evolution, the government sometimes wants to mandate compliance with one position.  It’s instructive that, worldwide, government investment in carbon reduction is lagging, according to PhysOrg, in spite of all the consensus warnings.  But in the US, the Supreme Court will be hearing a case about whether the EPA has authority to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant – a role the unelected EPA has arrogated to itself, causing grief to businesses.  Will they relent on news reported in Live Science that US carbon emissions have decreased by 3.8 percent?  Critics note that humans breathe out this “pollutant” and plants use it to grow and produce food.  Even so, the relative number of carbon dioxide molecules in the atmosphere is so low, it could be compared to 4 seats in a 10,000-seat stadium (0.035%).  On Mars, it would be 9,600 seats (96%), but Mars is freezing.  In Current Biology, Michael Gross shows more of the anti-business, anti-growth mentality of the left by fighting fracking in terms of global warming, with the scare title, “Dash for gas leaves Earth to fry.”  Scaring or nudging – neither is a substitute for convincing evidence.Let’s model the IPCC:  Jeff Tollefson at Nature News discussed something different: an initiative by social scientists to analyze how the IPCC arrives at its conclusions.  In a study reminiscent of the 1990-era social-constructivist investigations of science, a Princeton group wants to put the IPCC under a lens and study its processes of information manufacture.  The social scientists become the experimenters, and the IPCC experts the lab rats.  How ratty they behave remains to be seen, but the sociologists feel the public deserves to know what goes on inside the “black box” that formulates such sweeping conclusions.  Transparency will be healthy, they believe; for instance, they want to know why the IPCC decides to ignore large chunks of data to focus attention on other factors.  What goes into the sausage behind the kitchen doors before it is served?  Most outsiders have no idea.  “Clarifying the process might make the IPCC’s assessments seem a little less like magic — and a little more like sausage-making,” Tollefson ended.  Yes, real science is often like sausage-making.  The public deserves to read the label and give it a taste test.Who’s denying science?  In old-fashioned warfare mode, Stephan Lewandowsky aimed his guns at the science “deniers” (a handy loaded word, conjuring up a holocaust denier or other undesirable image; see how some Darwinists use it on Evolution News & Views).  Writing for The Conversation (posted also on PhysOrg), he said, “You’d be forgiven for thinking science is under attack.”  His first example: “Climate science has been challenged by deniers and sceptics” – implying that denying human-caused global warming is the same as attacking science itself.  A similar tactic is used by evolutionists who view anyone skeptical of Darwinism as a “science denier.”  Lewandowsky briefly considered the possibility that political leftists can be science deniers, but his verdict came down on right-wingers allegedly because of their worldview bias.  Using another tactic of lumping skepticism of evolution with “weird” beliefs (flat-earth, unicorns or whatever – the association fallacy), he ended by saying, “When worldviews and conspiracies determine people’s attitude towards science, it is perhaps unsurprising that simply providing more evidence isn’t enough to alert people to the risks they are facing—be it from smoking, HIV, or climate change.”  His propaganda tactics apparently didn’t nudge anyone.  The article was followed by dozens of hot-headed comments.You are welcome to argue whatever position on climate change you find best supported by the evidence, but we hope this look into an unrelated battle between supporters of a scientific consensus and its skeptics has been instructive on several levels: the manufacture of evidence and judgment of its validity, logical fallacies and propaganda tactics employed, political ramifications, educational strategies, the role of consensus (12/27/03), the sociology of science, and worldview effects on how issues are perceived.  It should be clear that the origins debate is not the only issue with non-empirical baggage.  Baggage is necessary, even unavoidable, but let’s leave as much unnecessary baggage behind as we can when evaluating evidence.  Why did the vulture have to drop one of its dead squirrels when boarding the plane?  It was only allowed one carrion.  Let’s all carry on our scientific reasoning as logically and evidence-guided as possible.last_img read more

Beware the Darwinian Moralists

first_img(Visited 294 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Darwinians want to take over the fields of ethics and psychology. Can they be trusted with such power?Psychological Gobbledygook in AcademiaAt The Conversation, psychologist Gregory Maio of the University of Bath makes a case for “Why society needs a more scientific understanding of human values.”When we talk about “human values” we tend to mean important abstract ideals. Things like freedom, equality, security, tradition and peace.Politicians mention values all the time, while all kinds of organisations claim to put “key values” at the heart of whatever business they are in. This makes perfect sense, as values are relevant to everything we do. They help us to choose careers, romantic partners, homes, consumer products and the broader ideologies by which we live.But public debate often focuses on perceived threats to different values – while rarely recognising the problem of really understanding the values themselves.What is it about science that offers better understanding of values than the understanding from ethicists, theologians and philosophers? Maio never answers that question. He never uses the word ‘science’ again in his article. He ends with vague, academic gobbledygook:This kind of blurring comes from a disconnect between the abstract meaning of values and the varied ways in which people apply them. In working to tackle environmental and social problems, we overlook the links between values and value instantiations at our own peril.Improving our understanding of the links will help us to better understand the role of values in our psychology and social lives – and where they fit into human character, morality, and culture.Moral Relativism from ScienceIf nobody can understand what exactly Maio means, we can look for clues from what secular science has done to values. Two psychologists from Princeton, for instance, write in PNAS that “Preferences for moral vs. immoral traits in others are conditional.” You guessed it; they promote relativism. They try to prove that what is moral in one situation is perceived as immoral in another, and vice versa. Eliminating any hint of conscience, they degrade values into mere preferences conditioned by the situation:These findings suggest that our preference for morality vs. immorality is conditional on the demands of our current goals and cannot be attributed solely to innate, “hardwired” links or personal learning experiences. They also suggest that immoral people sometimes win public adoration, and the power that comes with it, not in spite of but precisely because of their immorality.Is this a descriptive or prescriptive paper? If descriptive, it may be true of some people. But if prescriptive, it is disastrous. It would make Hitler’s immorality just fine, if it wins acceptance via “public adoration.” One might as well ask if they felt it was moral or immoral to write their own paper.Ape Foundations for Morals?Secular scientists also attribute everything about humans to ape ancestry. This is clear from another article at The Conversation by Bernard Wood and Michael Westaway, who illustrate their story of human origins with photos of apes. And yet in answer to their headline, “The origin of ‘us’: what we know so far about where we humans come from,” they indicate that opinions have changed repeatedly over the last century and a half. Controversy and debate have been the rule. The phrase “We do not know” peppers their article, which ends in a series of questions. Readers might do much better to study the critical analysis of paleoanthropology by Sanford and Rupe that we announced on January 4.Even so, under the best of Darwinian stories, belief in human evolution cannot provide any solid foundation for morality. Whatever served the purposes of alleged human ancestors for breeding becomes ‘good’ in that view. Is that the kind of foundation any society would want for its laws and courts?Another example in PNAS attributes ‘aggression’ to ape ancestry.Compared with many primates, humans have a high propensity for proactive aggression, a trait shared with chimpanzees but not bonobos. By contrast, humans have a low propensity for reactive aggression compared with chimpanzees, and in this respect humans are more bonobo-like.This paper is another ‘on-the-one-hand-this-but-on-the-other-hand-that’ type of academic waffle. In his elitist, academic way, Richard Wrangham discusses “Two types of aggression in human evolution” as if a human being is even capable of drawing conclusions from such a wobbly foundation as Darwinism. He thinks capital punishment was a behavior of hominins in the Pleistocene. He envisions aggression as a manifestation of “contrasting expression, eliciting factors, neural pathways, development, and function.” And yet the most basic questions a philosopher might ask about ethics and morals leave him with unsolved paradoxes. Would anyone appoint this man as a judge in a courtroom?Applying Scientific Methods to Foreign PolicyHere’s an example of what secular psychologists would advise on a critical issue of foreign policy. In PNAS, secular psychologists, presumably Darwinian in outlook, try to apply the scientific method to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Their paper, “Testing the impact and durability of a group malleability intervention in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict,” presumes to offer a superior “scientific” outlook:The importance of psychological factors in conflict resolution has been well established in laboratory experiments. However, these factors have rarely been examined in longitudinal field experiments. The goal of the current project was to address this gap by comparing the effectiveness of psychological interventions during a period of extensive violence in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. An intervention that spoke to the idea that groups can change and improve over time (a group malleability intervention) proved superior to a control intervention in improving attitudes, hope, and willingness to make concessions, even 6 months after the intervention. These findings provide evidence from a longitudinal field experiment that group malleability interventions can increase openness to conflict resolution. But these are exactly the people you don’t want in the policy room. Why? They have no grounds for evaluating right and wrong. What are they going to say to people on either side, ‘try to be nice’ or something? Their prescribed ‘malleability interventions’ rely on moral assumptions all the way down. While it seems reasonable to expect ‘hope’ and ‘willingness to make concessions’ to be more moral than their opposites, what if Churchill had taken that position against the advice from Chamberlain and the others advising appeasement and peace negotiations with Hitler? (See the current movie The Darkest Hour.) Sometimes an uncompromising stand against evil is what morality requires. Would these psychologists advise Israelis to be more malleable to terrorists who blow up buses and bomb restaurants filled with peaceful civilians? Even the question presupposes moral assumptions.Science’s Record in Medical EthicsLook what New Scientist just wrote: “Science helped cause the opioid crisis – now it must make amends.” One of the biggest crises in world health began with, this article claims, science. In a rare instance of this left-leaning rag’s advice, they actually make a right turn: “New Scientist rarely finds reason to approve of Trump, but on this occasion he deserves credit – not only for recognising the scale of the problem but also for appointing a non-partisan and scientifically literate commission capable of analysing the issue and formulating a detailed response.” They even approve of Trump’s comparison of the death toll from opioids to an act of terrorism. So what is their solution, granting that “scientific publications can be used for ignoble purposes, especially when they let opinion get in the way of fact”? Answer: “It is time to do anything, and everything.” Correction: everything except fake science.Science’s Record on EugenicsPhilosopher Stephen Fuller, who appeared in the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, has a new piece at The Conversation about eugenics. In “Progressive eugenics is hardly history – the science and politics have just evolved,” he argues that eugenics never disappeared, but ‘evolved’ into a more personal form, where decisions about “good genes” transitioned from the state to the individual. He makes no mention of the Darwinian connection to eugenics, and how many eminent scientists at prestigious universities supported forced sterilization and elimination of ‘imbeciles’ and ‘defectives.’ For that history, people should read Jerry Bergman‘s well-documented books like The Darwin Effect and How Darwinism Corrodes Morality and John West’s thorough treatise Darwin Day in America.‘Science’ has nothing to offer on such matters. Its neutrality is fake. Darwinian science has even less to offer than nothing. It offers evil. Don’t be fooled by the white lab coats; these guys are “wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever” (Jude 13). Keep these quacks out of government until they repent and trust the Prince of Peace.last_img read more