Extra-Solar Planet Update: March 2020

Creationists don’t have much to say today, so we’ll return to a topic that always provides entertainment — because it drives them crazy. It’s time for an update in our ongoing series about planets beyond our own solar system.

Our last post in this series was Extra-Solar Planet Update: January 2020. Almost two months have passed since then, and it delights us as much as it horrifies the creationists to report that the new numbers are bigger than ever. But first, we’ll repeat some background material you’ve seen before, because it sends the creationists into a frenzy.

The picture above this post illustrates the universe described in Genesis, written around 1,000 BC at the time of the Babylonian empire. Immovable in the center of the universe is the flat Earth, which was created as the abode of man. It’s supported by pillars. The Sun orbits the Earth, as does the Moon. Above them are the stars. They’re not suns, they’re lights embedded in a presumably solid firmament, which also revolves around the Earth. Above the firmament is heaven, the glorious realm of Yahweh. Below Earth is the lake of fire, described later in scripture. That’s the universe and we’re in the center — the focus of divine attention. No other worlds are mentioned in Genesis — or anywhere else in the bible. There’s no place for them.

Creationists believe that the universe described in Genesis is The Truth. However, virtually everything learned since then seems to contradict that primitive universe. Creationists don’t like any of it, but to avoid looking too crazy they’ve accepted some of it. Most of them are no longer flat-Earthers. Although many passages in the bible say that The Earth Is Flat!, and none say otherwise, most creationists now deny that the bible is a flat-Earth book. And since Galileo, creationists have reluctantly accepted that the Earth is merely one of several planets in our solar system — but that’s where they drew the line.

Until very recently, they insisted that ours was the only planetary system in existence. Why? Because the bible doesn’t mention any others. We keep reminding you of this oldie-goldie from the 1970s at the Institute for Creation Research: The Stars of Heaven. It was written by Henry Morris himself, who said:

[T]he earth is unique in the solar system and, for all we know, the solar system is unique in the universe. So far as we can observe, there are not even any planets anywhere else, let alone a planet equipped to sustain biological life.

With a lot of grumbling, most creationists have accepted that there are other planetary systems out there — but no life! That’s important. Although some are now hedging their bets and saying, “Well, okay, maybe primitive life — but no intelligent life!” We haven’t found any life out there yet, but the search has only begun. Meanwhile, just the number of planets out there is enough to drive creationists crazy — and the number keeps growing!

Our information comes from NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration — see Exoplanet Exploration. For each statistic, we’ll give you the latest figure as well as the figure we reported two months ago, which will show you how things are progressing:

Confirmed planets: 4,135 (old figure: 4,108) 27 more!
Planets awaiting confirmation: 5,075 (old figure: 4,920) 155 more!
Planetary systems beyond our own: 3,067 (old figure: 3,051) 16 more!

Remember — our observations are only of nearby stars (relatively speaking), so it’s generally accepted that most of the stars in our galaxy have planetary systems — which means that the odds against a life bearing world out there are getting slimmer by the day.

And so we leave the creationists — writhing in both pain and anger. Whether they’re Hambo-type creationists or Discoveroids, it makes no difference. They all insist that Earth is unique, and there’s no life — certainly no intelligent life — anywhere else. And every day the facts keep piling up against them. That’s why we like to bring you these updates, and it’s why the creationists don’t like us. They don’t like reality either, but that’s their problem, not ours.

Copyright © 2020. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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31 responses to “Extra-Solar Planet Update: March 2020

  1. There are passages in the Bible which say that the stars are singing and praising the Lord. Everybody today takes that figuratively. But in ancient times the motion of the stars was taken as showing that they were living. And the Bible had to counter the idea that they were competing gods.

  2. Dave Luckett

    Well, there’s the title “Lucifer”, originally a translation of the Hebrew “hel-el”, “shining one”, oddly enough one of the titles of the King of Babylon. The Vulgate translated it into Latin as “lucifer”, which means “light-bearer”, and it was also an epithet for Venus in its aspect as “morning star”. Hence, as “Lucifer”, capitalised in English as a proper name, it becomes the personal name of the Devil.

    In popular culture, he has been known as “Lucifer Morningstar”, after the original Isaiah 14:12 reference, “How you are fallen, lucifer son of the morning…” but the prophet was certainly not thinking of Venus, nor of the Hebrew “Shaitan”, which means “accuser”, a member of God’s Heavenly Court in the Book of Job, who had the function of accusing and testing mortals, with God’s permission. Like a lot of prophetic writing, the Isaiah passage is a reference to political events in the writer’s own time. The same is true of Revelation.

    So the Devil is identified with a planet, at least, if not a star – although as far as the ancients were concerned the only difference between the two was that the planets moved while stars did not. Monotheism being what it is, he can’t be a god, and Deuteronomy 4:19 specifically forbids worship; but the Greeks and others would have recognised him as an Immortal, and divine for that reason.

    Personification of anything that seems perennial is risky, like that.

  3. @TomS: Pythagoras (and/or his pupils) also saw a relation between the movement of celestial bodies and musical harmony.

  4. Great news from Dutch creacrap outfit Logos.nl! A documentary! Finally we get an answer to a question that has bugged us our entire lives!

    https://logos.nl/moderne-wetenschap-in-de-bijbel-verfilmd/

    “Science in the Bible – if there ain’t no science anymore, can the Bible save us?”
    A bit further the director adds “…. and keep us alive?”

    Face it folks, with the corona pandemy going on we all have to stay home. What could be more useful to learn Dutch, so that you can watch this thrilling documentary? You can order it at the webshop of Logos.nl – or that’s what the article says. When I clicked it I couldn’t find it.

  5. Oops, I almost forgot why I consulted that source of reliable knowledge in the first place – what does Logos.nl write about exoplanets?

    https://logos.nl/nieuwe-aanwijzingen-voor-exoplaneten/

    “Deze stofschijven wijzen op een recent ontstaan. Als ze al vele miljoenen jaren oud zouden zijn, zou het gas en stof door de ster en planeten verstoord en opgeslokt zijn.”

    “These disks of dust point at a recent origin. Had they been many millions of years young, the gas and dust would have been affected and devoured by the star and planets.”

  6. FrankB asks

    What could be more useful to learn Dutch, so that you can watch this thrilling documentary?

    Hey, I once tried to learn some Dutch some years ago while working for a Dutch-owned firm. And although my Dutch colleagues (who made up the vast majority of my fellows there) accepted my badly-pronounced alstublieft and hartelijk dank as polite courtesies, they actively discouraged me from learning any more.

    “We like to be able to talk amongst ourselves without anyone else understanding,” they told me.

    A similar attitude may be found amongst many Welsh speakers…

  7. …and not to mention the mine-field of learning ‘Dutch’ phrases from a Vlaming! Dutch colleagues frequently corrected me: “Not ‘u’, say ‘je’!”

    It was foolish endeavour on my part. I have deferred ever since to the superior linguistic powers of the Dutch.

  8. “We like to be able to talk amongst ourselves without anyone else understanding,” they told me.

    I used to work for a German company with a subsidiary in the Netherlands. I attended a meeting to discus a joint project with an American company. The main discussion was in English. Sometimes we had little company-internal side-discussions in German. But sometimes the Dutch had little private discussions of their own.

  9. jimroberts notes:

    sometimes the Dutch had little private discussions of their own.

    Indeed. Most likely discussing secret plans for Total World Domination. And that would be a world in which it is a capital offence to serve french fries with anything other than mayonnaise…

  10. Hm, Mega, obviously your Dutch colleagues haven taught you properly the subtleties of Dutch cuisine.

    Most important: French fries are in The Netherlands those tasteless sticks from McDonalds. The British counterpart is chips. Unfortunately chips is Dutch for baked, thin slices of potato.

    North of the three big rivers Rijn, Waal and Maas the correct name is patat. South (including Flanders) it’s frites (pronounced freet). In case of doubt: patat frites.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/46/Kaart_patat_friet_frieten.svg

    There are many ways to dress a portion of patat frites. Indeed just patat mayonaise is most normal. Some other options are:

    patat special – with mayonaise and tomatoketchup;
    patat Joppiesaus (untranslatable) – with Joppiesaus (look up in the English Wikipedia);
    patatje oorlog (war chips) – with mayonaise and peanut sauce;
    patatje nuclear war – with mayonaise, curry, peanut sauce and sliced onions.

    The best patat I know of is available at Snackbar Eiburgh. Travel to Amsterdam Central Station, take tram 26, descend at stop Zuiderzeeweg, cross the sometimes busy road, walk about 100 m (past the busstop) and then it’s immediately at your left.

    While there is no doubt that we Dutch learned to eat patat from our neighbours across the southern border it’s in my entirely subjective view indisputable that the best patat is baken in The Netherlands.

  11. But you’re still partially right, hadn’t it been for the alert policy of Bojo the Clown within a couple of years the evil habit of eating chips with fish would have been banned in the UK too. Then you would have had to beg for instance DaveL to smuggle some.
    If you by all means need some animal food at your patat frites the proper choice is either a meatball (with abovementioned sauces) or a frikandel (my preference).

  12. And then there is poutine (see Wikipedia) fries with gravy and curds.

  13. Dave Luckett

    In my experience, the best fish and chips on three continents is served at Costa’s at the Sydney Fish Markets on Blackwattle Bay.

    As for the vigilance of Boris Johnson, at least he has indicated that the problems of bye catch and gross understatement will be tackled by the UK government when the UK takes its waters back, as opposed to being mentioned at page eleven of reports like this one: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2019/629202/IPOL_STU(2019)629202_EN.pdf.

    A quote: “But, the implementation of regulations on fisheries management, Common Market Organisation (CMO), and external dimension measures have, in many cases, resulted in uneven outcomes, and in some cases failure to achieve the general objectives of the (Common Fisheries Policy).”

    – which is an excessively polite way of saying that corruption and collusion has resulted in gross misrepresentation of what EU fishers are taking. The reaction of the EU to this is, of course, ritual handwringing and more regulations, equally toothless. There is no prospect whatsoever of realistic enforcement by the EU, not when the converse is a good thing for the Spanish – and Dutch, among others. When Britain takes its waters back, the catch will be effectively policed. By the Royal Navy, if necessary.

  14. Dave Luckett, despite having previously chastised me for thread drift, bemoans here the problem of fishery bycatches in European waters:

    The reaction of the EU to this is, of course, ritual handwringing and more regulations, equally toothless. There is no prospect whatsoever of realistic enforcement by the EU

    …But…but…you have previously assured us that the EU is possessed of almighty military forces for “enforcement” of its tyrannical rule, and that its excessive regulations dictate all aspects of life of its hapless vassals? Now you’re complaining because the EU is “toothless” and its legislation unenforceable. So which is it? The only thing consistent among your contradictory characterisations of the EU is your irrational antipathy to Johnny Foreigner—which is your prerogative, of course, but doesn’t persuade anyone who does not share your a priori prejudice.

    When Britain takes its waters back, the catch will be effectively policed. By the Royal Navy, if necessary.

    The Admiralty Board and Defence Council of the UK look forward to receiving your detailed plan for 24/7 naval surveillance of fishing vessels in order to prevent dumping of bycatches.

    Unless, that is, such an impractical measure would be unnecessary if only British fishermen are permitted in British territorial waters because everyone knows that British fishermen would never ever ever engage in such a practise?

    I respectfully suggest you leave quote-mining to the Creationists, who are far more experienced in that dark art. But if, in the unlikely event this technical issue is of genuine concern to you, perhaps a more detailed study of the EC’s Discarding and the landing obligation (Summary) is in order?

    But take it up elsewhere. Or better, now that ‘Brexit has been done’, let’s just see what results a year from now.

  15. Dave Luckett

    The quote was: “There is no prospect whatsoever of realistic enforcement by the EU, not when the converse is a good thing for the Spanish – and Dutch, among others.”

    That is, the EU lacks the will to enforce its own regulations. It also lacks the force – so far. But Britain evidently has both.

    And you have the neck to accuse me of quote mining?

  16. “By the Royal Navy, if necessary.”
    That reminds me of the series of Cod Wars of the early 1970’s against that other evil country, Iceland. I mean, they are descendants of Viking Marauders!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cod_Wars

    “Territorial changes: Iceland expands its territorial waters to 12 nmi (22 km).”
    “Result: Icelandic victory.”

    Of course it’s well known that Wikipedia is under firm and strict control of the EU Commissioner for Propaganda and thus serves the main purpose of producing fake news about the Glorious Empire of Albion and Ulster. There is no way the Royal Navy could have failed to protect the interests of honest and noble English fishermen. Add the vigilance of Bojo the Clown and it’s clear: all Brexiteers can sleep quietly and safely – even down under.

  17. Dave Luckett

    Ah, yes, the Cod Wars. Only wars in history where nobody died, and the worst damage was to nets, cut by the Icelanders. You know, most people would have said that a major power refraining from armed reaction against a small nation in the face of provocation like that was admirable – evidence of restraint and moderation. But not you.

    You don’t dislike the British, though. You say as much yourself.

    And you’re right. Brexiteers can sleep quietly and safely, knowing that those few Europeans who do wish ill on the British no longer wield authority over them. The English Channel and the Royal Navy have some relevance to that happy situation – just as in times past.

  18. Dave Luckett asks:

    And you have the neck to accuse me of quote mining?

    My bad: I forgot that you don’t do irony.

    [A joke explained is a joke ruined, but here’s a hint for the ironically-impaired: I was illustrating the quote-mining technique (beloved of Creationists) you had yourself deployed in your post as your fanciful ‘evidence’ of EU ‘corruption’ — all part of the Brexiteers’ reactionary programme to restore to us the ‘happy situation’ of ‘times past’]

  19. oops! I don’t do html tag thingies very well! Apologies!

    [Voice from above:] You’ve done worse. Oook, oook!

  20. @Megalonyx
    Irony doesn’t work on the net.

  21. Dave Luckett

    Sigh. You’re right, Megalonyx. You were illustrating the quote-mining technique by employing it yourself – with great skill, if I may say so. But of course, you were only joshing. Sure you were.

    Unfortunately for you, my quote from the EP document – which I cited in full, as well – was an accurate and fair quote, not a quote-mine. That report was in fact lamenting that the EU fisheries policy had failed.

    Of course its terms were as roundabout as possible, and its authors would have recoiled in horror from calling a spade a spade. But what it meant – although no EU official would ever state anything as baldly as this – is that not only is bye-catch ignored by EU fishers, but the actual catch limits are also routinely exceeded, because they are not effectively enforced. Of course this never would be said, but one probable cause for this is corrupt or negligent local authorities, who don’t give a hang for British waters or fish stocks anyhow.

    When British fishing waters are used primarily by British fishers, those boats will return to British ports, where both catch and gear will be inspected. Corruption is still possible, but at least a British inspectorate will generally care somewhat more about their own waters. Fisheries – including foreign vessels using them – will be policed by a nation-state with the means, the will and the interest to do it, all of which the EU lacks. And British catch limits, gear regulations and methods will be prescribed by British authorities overseen by an elected Parliament, not by a court of distant functionaries concerned only with getting paper through a polyglot talk-shop of 28 nations, 27 of which couldn’t care less about British fish stocks, and three or four at least have a strong interest in over-exploiting them.

  22. Jeepers! Here’s some shocking news from Down Under at news.com.au: Calls for changes to publication of statistics around violent deaths of women and children:

    This week Hannah Clarke, 31, became the eighth woman violently killed in Australia this year but this statistic was not updated by an official government agency.
    The horrific death of Ms Clarke and her three children after her estranged husband Rowan Baxter set fire to their car, has already marked itself on the nation’s consciousness but it will take years for their deaths to be acknowledged in official statistics, or to be classified as filicide.

    Of course its terms were as roundabout as possible, and its authors would have recoiled in horror from calling a spade a spade. But what it meant – although no Australian official would ever state anything as baldly as this – is that not only is the law against homicide ignored by Australians, but when a woman or children are murdered, the law is not effectively enforced. Of course this never would be said, but one probable cause for this is corrupt or negligent local authorities, who don’t give a hang for women and children anyhow.

    […Do you see what I did there?…]

    And I can speak with enormous authority on all matters Australian, for in the 1970’s I once visited the King’s Head pub in London’s Earl’s Court and found it full of Aussies knocking back tinnies of Fosters and raucously complaining about “Pommie pooftahs.” And, thanks to Youtube, I have been able to watch lectures by Les Patterson, Australian Cultural Attaché to the Court of St James, which of course qualifies me as an unimpeachable expert.

    […and there, did you see what I did?]

    My friend, the above really is at the silly level you keep pitching the discussion. You demand that your proffered ‘evidence’ must be read with your magical eyes, for without them one cannot detect “what it meant”—e.g. the invisible evil intentions and ‘probable corruption’ that your prejudice just knows in advance must be there.

    So, although the exercise is as pointless as explaining to a Creationist that ‘theory’ is not a synonym for “wild-assed guess”, here goes:

    But what it meant – although no EU official would ever state anything as baldly as this – is that not only is bye-catch ignored by EU fishers, but the actual catch limits are also routinely exceeded, because they are not effectively enforced.

    You do not appear to realise that

    • The “EU fishers” referred to includes UK fishermen (who have the 2nd highest catch quota in the EU)

    • Enforcement of catch limits and restrictions on dumping by-catches has always been the responsibility of the State in the territorial waters of which the fishing is conducted?

    • The difficulty of enforcing by-catch dumping is because it occurs at sea, where there is no effective surveillance: your solution to this problem is eagerly awaited.

    Of course this never would be said, but one probable cause for this is corrupt or negligent local authorities, who don’t give a hang for British waters or fish stocks anyhow.

    Do you really believe your own codswallop here? Do you really think that the EU fisheries policies (in which the UK previously had a major hand in crafting) are some kind of conspiracy against Britain, even if those policies have no regard for fish stocks? Where is your head stuck, mate? How do you explain this recent report in PhysOrg about a study by the ICES and University of Aberdeen: European fish stocks on the move (my emphasis):

    Over the past decade, some fish stocks have expanded the area they occupy with the success of fisheries management under the European Common Fisheries Policy, which has led to the recovery of many fish stocks. In particular, populations of mackerel have more than doubled in the last 15 years, whilst the amount of hake has increased fivefold in the same period.

    But wait! Let’s don our tin-foil hats and find the secret conspiracy lurking in this report, which was conducted by a team

    which consists of 12 researchers from around Europe and the U.S., received funding from the European funded projects ClimeFish and CERES to carry out the study. This was part of a major effort to assess how fish distributions have changed over the last 30 years and saw the team assess over 19 different species from 73 commercial fish “stocks.”

    Ah ha! Those pesky and corrupt Europeans funded this study! It’s fake news! How could PhysOrg have been conned like that?

    [And did you see what I did there?]

    Let’s continue:

    When British fishing waters are used primarily by British fishers–

    Which is a possible outcome of the current negotiations—and would doubtless entail ending access of UK fishermen to EU and Norwegian waters, from which they currently harvest 20% of their annual catch.

    –those boats will return to British ports, where both catch and gear will be inspected.

    Which is precisely what happens now, and always has—unless you are suggesting (surely not?) that somehow non-British fishermen permitted, by agreement, to fish in British territorial waters will be obliged to land their catches at British ports?

    Corruption is still possible, but at least a British inspectorate will generally care somewhat more about their own waters. Fisheries – including foreign vessels using them – will be policed by a nation-state with the means, the will and the interest to do it, all of which the EU lacks.

    Precisely as at present, in fact.

    And British catch limits, gear regulations and methods will be prescribed by British authorities overseen by an elected Parliament, not by a court of distant functionaries concerned only with getting paper through a polyglot talk-shop of 28 nations, 27 of which couldn’t care less about British fish stocks, and three or four at least have a strong interest in over-exploiting them.

    Yes, prior to joint creation of the EU fisheries policy, there never ever was any over-fishing, least of all by British fishermen. This is very easy to demonstrate from landing records from the early and middle 20th century. …. NOT!

    But enough: there’s no point in arguing with prejudice. And there’s no need: Brexit is being done, purportedly, so it is now simply a matter of seeing what the UK government will actually do to take back control and protect the 0.1% of the British economy that is the fishing industry.

    But empirical reality is not altered simply by looking at it through the filter of ones prejudice and reading things ‘between the lines’ which are only visible to those who share the same a priori. The truth remains that Australia has an enviably-low (and declining!) homicide rate, though doubtless your society, though greatly admirable on so many counts, is not entirely perfect.

    And it remains true that fish take no notice of national boundaries and that without international co-operation (even with a UK withdrawn from the EU) fish stocks can be wiped out or dangerously depleted by zealous over-fishing for short-term profits—and fishermen of both the UK and continental Europe have certainly done so in the past. And that, whatever its imperfections, was the raison d’etre and continuing purpose of the EU fisheries policy, and not—as you seem to believe—some fanciful European hostility to the UK.

  23. Dave Luckett

    Ah. So, what was wrong with fishery policy before the EU took it over was the nation-state itself. Bring the nation-state back as the policy-maker, and exactly the same thing must happen again.

    As for Spanish or Portuguese or Dutch or Greek fisheries inspectors looking the other way or not existing at all, when their fishing fleets unload after using British waters – that can’t happen.

    A curious mixture of suspicion and innocence, this. It simply neglects the power of self-interest.

    You’re probably right to say that the unscrupulous will dump bye-catch at sea anyway, but bye-catch can be minimised with careful attention to the gear. This can only be achieved by a proper inspection regime. The EU can draught all the regulations it likes. Whether from lack of means or lack of will, it doesn’t enforce them. Britain can, though, once it has its waters back. After all, it will stand to benefit more from its own fisheries, so will have more reason to sustain them. It is in its interest to do so.

    I’m glad to see that that some fish stocks are improving. A more effective inspection regime and policing of regulations designed to establish long-term sustainability can only help. The EU report I quoted resorts to excessive bureaucratese, but it states plainly enough that there has been “in some cases failure to achieve the general objectives of the (Common Fisheries Policy).” The words “failure to achieve the general objectives” are rather intractable, even when hedged.

    The first of those general objectives is stated in https://www.europarl.europa.eu/factsheets/en/sheet/114/the-common-fisheries-policy-origins-and-development as “to ensure sustainable fisheries and guarantee incomes and stable jobs for fishermen.”
    Those are fine words, but like many of the EU’s laudable policies, the EU is not in a position, nor is it much in the interests of a simple majority of its members, to devote resources to their achievement. They have, accordingly, not been achieved. Achieving them is, however, very much in Britain’s interest. I hope – I cannot guarantee, but I hope – that Britain will act in accordance with that interest.

  24. “it is now simply a matter of seeing what the UK government will actually do to take back control”
    “fish take no notice of national boundaries”
    I have no doubt that Bojo the Clown, as the strong leader he is, will introduce strong measures against this scandal. Surely he will find a way to introduce border control for fish. We can’t tolerate Scots and fish having their own perverted versions of Brexit – who is a resident (no matter which species) of the Glorious Empire of Albion and Unster will remain one from now ’til eternity, Amen!

  25. Dave Luckett

    FrankB, if my country were run by somebody called Rutte, pronounced (gurgle)Rooter, whose party was the VVD, I would be a little more circumspect about attaching amusing soubriquets to the names of foreign heads of government.

  26. Dave Luckett attempts an ironic riposte:

    Ah. So, what was wrong with fishery policy before the EU took it over was the nation-state itself. Bring the nation-state back as the policy-maker, and exactly the same thing must happen again.

    No, ‘causes’ of the problem are a different discussion; my perspective here is on how to solve it. Specifically: management of global resources which cannot be effectively performed by nation states acting alone, but only by concerted co-operation. For example (if one is really needed), the Netherlands can pass all the legislation it likes to stop manufacturers from dumping industrial effluvia in the Rhine, but that would be utterly ineffective if their upstream neighbours in Germany do not adopt similarly stringent regulations. It’s basically no different when it comes to rational husbandry of a global resource such as fish: however much or how little you regulate activities within your own territorial waters, the success of your efforts is dependent upon the regulations applied, not only to immediately proximate waters, but beyond as well.

    That much really shouldn’t be controversial! Despite the question-begging of your phrasing (“fishery policy before the EU took it over”), members of the EU agreed to replace previous bilateral agreements (which generally reflected the relative power of the agreeing parties without regard to long term management of the resource) with a comprehensive and science-based approach to ensure sustainability.

    Long, long before the EU, the centuries-old fishing sector was being transformed (and often brutally) by technology, which enabled catches of an unprecedented and sometimes devastating scale. In short, it became more industrialised, with massive impact on whole communities built around traditional practices. This is no less lamentable for being inevitable. The nostalgia for a previous era is certainly understandable, but that era is gone—and, far from being to blame for that, the EU is part of Europe’s endeavours to build a future rather than harken back to an unobtainable past.
    And yes, there may be imperfections in the current allocations of catches, which were originally based on historical pre-EU levels; that’s a different argument, one I leave to the experts.

    More ironic riposting:

    As for Spanish or Portuguese or Dutch or Greek fisheries inspectors looking the other way or not existing at all, when their fishing fleets unload after using British waters – that can’t happen.

    And nobody ever gets murdered in Australia, where homicide is illegal.

    You do not need to keep emphasising your xenophobic bigotry; you have previously made that very clear. And it would be pointless to ask for any evidence that British inspectors are of any greater probity than any other, or indeed any evidence that any such inspectors are corrupt. You know what you know, regardless.

    But of my view, you state

    It simply neglects the power of self-interest.

    Quite the reverse.

    From 1947, the European Movement (and Churchill was among the founders) is based on the recognition of precisely the destructive potential of unbridled self-interest and the existential need to harness it within a framework of enlightened co-operation.

    In simple terms: pre-war Europe had for centuries been playing endless rounds of the Prisoner’s Dilemma Paradox; when each nation state pursues its own narrow self-interest, everybody loses—as attested by countless wars and economic busts. The EM is the continuing effort to develop a supra-national framework to enable nation states to achieve the optimal outcomes only available through co-operation.

    There’s much more that could be said on that, of course, but the only other point I would make here is that such a supra-national framework does not replace or impair the nation state as a polity, though it is clear that is your contention.

    We know what a world looks like when it is composed of nation states each pursuing its own narrow ‘best’ interests: competition over resources favours short-term gains over long-term husbandry, and conflicts between nation states, which are necessarily baked in to relations, readily escalate from trade disputes to shooting wars. And everybody loses.

    In our intimately interconnected world, that 19th century model is no longer fit for purpose. The reactionary political programme to return to that world would, if it succeeds, only ensure we all again lose the next round of the Prisoner’s Dilemma—and quite possibly, the very last round…

  27. From BBC news feed:

    The European Union may never recover if the bloc leaves Italy to fend for itself during the coronavirus pandemic, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has warned, saying member states have to come together.

    “If it’s everyone for themselves, if we let down some states, if we say to Italy, for example, ‘do it alone’, Europe will not recover,” he told French TV.

    The European Central Bank has earmarked funding to support the economy, but the EU has not harmonised practical measures to stop the spread of the virus.

    No one said co-operation was easy… 🙂

  28. “The EM is the continuing effort to develop a supra-national framework to enable nation states to achieve the optimal outcomes only available through co-operation.”
    This is just what I wrote many weeks ago, when the discussion started ….
    Up to 1945 the diplomatic playing field of intra-European politics was the battlefield, as you correctly pointed out. Nowadays it’s the conference room. The game essentially is the same; the means are different. The Brexit is the modern version of England withdrawing from the Spanish Succession War, the Napoleontic Wars, WW-1 and WW-2.
    Consulting English Wikipedia taught me that

    “Splendid isolation is the term used at the time for the 19th-century British diplomatic practice of avoiding permanent alliances”
    Brexit instead is Stupid Isolation – the diplomatic practice of disabling yourself of making any temporary alliance.
    Dutch foreign policy already has changed. For many years The Netherlands sided with the UK in the arena of Brussels/Strasbourg, which resulted in the heaviest counterweight against the French/German axis. Now this has become impossible the Dutch government seeks rapprochement to Germany.
    Smart policy, abandoning a pretty strong and reliable ally against your main rivals. Perhaps this is the latest English political tradition? Chamberlain did about the same with Czechoslovakia in 1938.

  29. FrankB notes:

    Up to 1945 the diplomatic playing field of intra-European politics was the battlefield, as you correctly pointed out. Nowadays it’s the conference room. The game essentially is the same; the means are different.

    “Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war.”
    — Winston Churchill

  30. Dave Luckett

    Megalonyx, it is at least unprofitable, and more likely impossible, to consider solutions to a problem without first understanding its cause. You clearly think the nation-state is the root cause of the problem, however unwilling you are to say as much. I would agree within limits, but insist that despite the problem, the nation-state is the only proper decision-maker because it is clearly the repository of the allegiance of its people, who alone wield authority. The EU has no such allegiance and hence no claim to authority, except that it wrongly asserts it for itself.

    There certainly may be international agreements and a place for international bodies with specific functions and no authority over the sovereign institutions of nation-states, but the EU is now not such a body. It might have been one, once, when it was a trading bloc and customs union, but it has gradually taken over many other functions, and crucially, demanded and wrongly received actual sovereignty – the power to make laws on its own behalf that its members must follow. That is intolerable. It cannot stand. In Britain, at least, it does not stand any more.

    Question-begging? The EU has enacted a Common Fisheries Policy. That’s a fact. It writes regulations that its members must follow – or at least, nod to. Actually, because it doesn’t enforce them, anybody who can profit by using another member’s grounds or stocks, uses them in practice as it wishes, a situation worse than if its members regulated and policed their own waters and fleets in their own national interests. It does not beg any question to assert that despite that, the EU continues to insist on that power. It has that power – but no longer over Britain.

    As for the rest of your abuse, I was tempted to remark that I have no idea what has impelled you to such seething hatred of your own nation and people, and to advise you to take up FrankB’s invitation to decamp to the Netherlands, but I reflected that that is only repaying you in your own coin. Call me all the names you like, deplore as much as you wish the decision of the British not to accept foreign sovereign authority over them, all you are doing is shouting at the rain, and looking ridiculous.