Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Irony, Distinguished Professor Bart D Ehrman!

There are epoch-making books, which even when they are still very recent make readers feel as if the time before their appearance were very long ago. Bart Ehrman's Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth,published just last spring, is definitely such a book. And not because it argues its case for historicism well, but, on the contrary, because Ehrman is such a highly-respected figure in the field of the study of the New Testament and early Christianity, and here he argued the case so surprisingly poorly. Or to put it more plainly, because he did not argue the case at all so much as state it and insult whoever might not agree.

In the light of the brouhaha over Did Jesus Exist? it is very interesting to read something published just a short while before it, a passage from the Afterword to the 2011 2nd edition of Ehrman's The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament,a book originally published in 1993, which seemingly everyone still regards quite highly, including all of those who were disappointed, or worse, by Did Jesus Exist? which, again, seems to include just about everybody.

Dixit Ehrman in said Afterward:

"But that is the way of scholarship. Sometimes the most obvious problems escape our notice. We ourselves should not be overly smug about the unquestioned assumptions of our predecessors. Our day, too, will come."

And so their day, Ehrman's and other historicists', has come with a fearful promptness. Some obvious problems do not escape so much as they are repeatedly set free, or banished only to reappear again and again at the gates, never having wanted to escape at all. It is time at long last for the question of Jesus' existence to be discussed at the center of academic study of early Christianity, and no longer at its fringes while being sneered at form the center. Is it really so convincingly plain to any expert that Jesus existed? Fine, then convince us, the public. Sneers are not convincing, and we're having the discussion anyway. The experts really should take part. It's only proper.

Friday, September 28, 2012

My First Food Blog Post. (Everybody's Doin' It!)

Okay, but this is a little different from a typical blog entry by a sophisticated foodie, which I am not: It's a review of a pre-prepared frozen food item.

Okay, now that all the pretentious foodies have gotten the vapors and left in horror, it's just us regular folks who enjoy the occasional -- or more than occasional -- TV dinner or frozen pizza. (If you're at work and you only pretend to be more sophisticated than that, just be ready to close the screen quickly if anyone looks over your shoulder, and claim you were looking at porn.) What we've got here today is a main-course item which serves 7: a Boneless Stuffed Chicken from Big Easy Foods, Stuffed with Broccoli, Cheese & Rice. They took all of the bones out of a chicken, and all of the organ meat too, but left the skin on. Then they stuffed it and put it in a bag that looks like waxed paper.

Whatever it is, waxed paper or something else, it's not very flammable, because you leave the chicken in the bag, cut a 1-inch slit in the bag, put the bag in a pan and put the pan in a 400-degree oven. You can either let it thaw in the fridge for 24 hours first and then bake it for 45 minutes (recommended), or put it in the oven while it's still frozen and bake it for 1 hour and 20 minutes. I put it in the oven frozen, because by my calculations this allowed me to eat it 23 hours and 25 minutes sooner.

The picture on the box shows a chicken with appetizingly brown skin. I may try the thaw-first method next time to see whether it yields crisp brown skin. The way I did it the chicken came out all pretty greyish, and the skin was pretty much the same color as the meat, and not crispy. Which no doubt is a problem for some people. But for gross unsophisticated people like me, the limp grey skin is just fine.

Apart from the uninspiring greyish appearance, you gotta love the meat. (Unless you're really, really sophisticated. But maybe even then.) Generally speaking, I dislike chicken white meat, unless some combination of breading, sauce and/or processing completely hides what it is. White meat by itself, even if it's well cooked, is too dry for me. But not on this chicken. The white meat is as moist as dark meat usually is, and the dark meat? Fuggetaboutit. This is outstanding chicken. And the stuffing is great, too. I mean, more delicious than you might think something which is mostly rice and broccoli could be. The package says "Stuffed with Broccoli, Cheese & Rice." What I got was less cheesy and more buttery than the package led me to expect.

Laissez les bons temps rouler! (That's French for "Yummy!") I will definitely be checking out some other products from Big Easy Foods, because if this one is any indication, they do your stomach-belly up right, Ah guar-own-tee!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Public Reactions To the Gospel of Jesus' Wife

"Even tiny fragments of papyrus can offer surprises with the potential to significantly enrich our historical reconstruction of the range of ancient Christian theological imagination and practice."

That is the conclusion of a paper, Jesus said to them, My wife… A New Coptic Gospel Papyrus, written by Harvard Professor Karen L. King, with contributions by Princeton professor AnneMarie Luijendijk, concerning a recently-discovered papyrus manuscript which, King says, appears to have been made in the 4th century, with a Coptic text copying and/or translating a text from the 2nd century in which Jesus refers to his wife. There had been some hints before in other New Testament apocrypha that Jesus might have been married, but this would be the first text in which Jesus himself says so. I say "would be," because the manuscript has yet to undergo some tests to make sure it isn't a modern forgery. I would be surprised if it is found not to be as old as King estimates. This is not like that "1500 year old" Syriac gospel of Barnabas recently discovered on a shelf in a Turkish courthouse, which rapidly turned out to bee 500 years old or younger; nor like the now-infamous "James Ossuary," purported for a short time to have originally stored the bones of the brother of Jesus, which furthered the career of a fake archaeologist who has his own TV show, while tarnishing the reputations of a few archaeologists who were either taken in or incorrectly cited by the fake archaeologist as believing that the things had not been crudely tampered with by someone whose knowledge of 1st century Jews in general and the state of the art of research into Jesus' life in particular had several serious deficiencies. This Coptic manuscript is either real, or an exceptionally good forgery.

The reactions from the general public have been many, varied and interesting. Not surprisingly, many people have been turned off by things like the "1500 year old" Gospel of Barnabas and the "James Ossuary" and other frauds, and assume that this is just another fraud. Others are confused about the dates of the manuscript and of the original text. Mainstream media outlets, as usual in stories about finds or possible finds of ancient artifacts, are contributing to this confusion with stories by laypeople full of inaccuracies -- although I must draw the reader's attention to one great exception among the mainstream media in this case: the Washington Post has published at least one story by an actual scholar, with competence in related fields, about King's discovery. Nice! Dare one hope that this is the start of a trend?

Many fundamentalists and other strictly traditionalistic Christians are rejecting this story out of hand, often without even noticing that Prof King is very careful to point out that she is making no claims about Jesus himself, but merely saying that this manuscript, if authenticated -- she's careful to include that reservation as well -- would shed some light on what some 2nd century Christians believed. A surprising number of others, on the other hand, both Chrisitna and non-, say that they had already assumed that Jesus was married, because, they say, all Jewish men of that time were married.

Say what?! Where did this meme come from? I labor mightily to put down one widely-held misconception after another, such as that the Old Testament was written in the Bronze age or that the New Testament was written at the Council of Nicea by Constantine and the Pope, only to see other ones pop up. Of course not all Jewish men were married. In some cases the misconception is limited to thinking that all Jewish men who had devoted their lives to religion were required to marry, but of course this was not the case either. For example, many of the Essenes were celibate.

Another common reaction to the news of the discovery of this Coptic manuscript wherein Jesus says, "My wife[...]" is, "Ah, so Dan Brown was right after all!" Well, one, a stopped clock is right twice a day, and if ever anyone was due to be right about something completely by accident, it's Dan Brown; and two, to parrot Professor King, this manuscript says something about the beliefs of some 2nd century Christians, and not necessarily anything at all of substance about Jesus himself.

As faithful readers of this blog know, I'd much rather see an old manuscript by Livy turn up than yet another old Christian manuscript, but still, I'm fascinated by textual transmission and old manuscripts to the point that any newly-discovered 4th century manuscript at all, or even a reasonably well-made forgery of one, regardless of its contents, will interest me greatly. (Not, let me make this perfectly clear, that I sympathize with forgers in the slightest. On the contrary: forgers are the natural enemies of people such as myself. They are The Right Monkeys.) My interest leads many people who are not paying close attention at the moment, or who do not ever pay close attention to anything, to assume, judging from my reaction when the conversation turns to old Christian manuscripts, that I must be Christian. These people also tend to assume that Professors of Religious Studies and biblical archaeologists must be religious. I'm getting used to such reactions. Whaddayagonnado? They're not paying attention. Anyway, by all means, read Professor King's paper, linked at the beginning of the 2nd paragraph above! It's good stuff!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Election-Season Math

Bill has 40-some dollars left on his food-stamp card, and between 9 days and two weeks to go before he gets his October food stamps. He's 12 pounds overweight. 45 years ago Bill got some shrapnel in his left leg in Vietnam. He has had surgery on that leg four times. The most recent time was 12 years ago and removed the last remaining shrapnel embedded in Bill's bones. 9 years ago Bill tore his right ACL, and it's been 2 years since his limp (both legs) decreased enough that only 3 percent of the people who see him walking notice it. Bill ran 1/2 mile yesterday and plans to do it again tomorrow. Bill has 3 kids, 2 daughters-in-law, 3 grandchildren, 1 wife and 2 part-time jobs. One of these jobs pays $7.25 per hour. On Friday, Mitt Romney released his 2011 Federal tax return. If one train leaves Chicago at 9 PM traveling westward at 45 miles per hour, and another train leaves Dallas traveling northward at 35 miles per hour, how many times does Bill want to punch Mitt Romney in the head?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Open Letter to R Joseph Hoffmann

(Originallly posted on Dr Hoffmann's blog, as a comment on these collected remarks of his. Reprinted here with slight corrections)

You have much to say about Terry Jones that is very illuminating. And it was very tempting at first to go along with your suggestion of arresting him. But only at first, and the more I think about it the more opposed I am to it. You say “no one realistically” believes that a USA is coming where it would be a crime to burn Bibles. But because the law is a great stupid lumbering beast, and not an ethereal spirit with all of the wisdom of Oliver Wendell Holmes, arresting Terry Jones for his hateful stunts would be a big lurching step in the direction of that USA. That’s how this beast works: crack down on expression you don’t like, and it makes it easier for them to crack down on yours. Sauce for both goose and gander. Blind justice, a stupid lumbering beast, a Brontosaurus disguised as a pretty blindfolded lady.

And if we’re going to arrest people for inciting Muslims, we really need to arrest W and many members of his administration before we get around to relatively small fry like Jones. They did much, much more damage than Jones, and holding them accountable for their crimes would do much, much more to show Muslims that we respect them.

Although it would involve chiming in to some degree with people we find quite ghastly — indeed, although it would involve to some degree chiming in with Terry Jones himself instead of arresting him as we would like to do — we need to address those mostly young men who are angry and falsely pious enough to kill for any real or perceived insult to their religion. Yes, Jones is inciting them. But it’s a problem which must be addressed that they are so easily incited that an empty-headed bumpkin like Jones, or the mention of a stupid YouTube video which I’m sure most of them have never seen — have you seen it? I haven’t — or the pronouncement of one of their leaders about a fine novel by an Indian-British-American novelist which neither the leader nor they have read, will induce them to murder. Something needs to get their attention. Just as Western bumpkins need to be educated about crucial facts such as that the great majority of Muslims, even including the duly-elected heads of state of the Arab Spring, condemned with the usual ignorant haste by Western bumpkins great and small, really do condemn the actions of those mostly-young fanatics.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Probably My Last Comments For a While About Karl Barth's Einfuehrung in die evangelische Theologie

My third post about this book, following this post and this one.

If you know more than a dozen Christians personally, chances are that the main thrust of this book will be quite familiar to you: an embodiment of Nietzsche's definition of faith as "Nicht-wissen-wollen, was wahr ist;" nonstop elaboration of the dimensions and qualities and implications and effects of that which is not, accompanied by a stubborn refusal to consider even for a moment the reality of anything which is real, and frequent childish denunciations of reality and its fans. With Bible verses cited occasionally. What makes Barth unusual is that this everyday, thoroughly pedestrian, utterly mediocre content is transmitted in elegantly convoluted prose employing a large vocabulary and frequent sprinklings of Latin and occasional references to Greek. Barth is a fine example of someone who received an excellent education which didn't work. Much like William F Buckley in that regard.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

National Security

A day before the 11th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, former Vice President Dick Cheney jabbed President Barack Obama over a new report that he opted not to attend a number of presidential daily briefings, a decision that Cheney claims is indicative of his aloofness on national security.

(Trying to imagine possible reasons why security briefings with W may have been scheduled more often and lasted longer than with Obama: "Mr President, today in Pakistan... no, over here, Mr President. Pakisten is over here on the map... No, over here, Mr President. It's this big blue country on the map... No, Sir, that's Madagascar... No, that's Canada... [aside] Jesus Christ! Well, it's a living. Do you have any keys on you? Keys on a chain, something like that. Something shiny and jingly I can use to get his attention... Thanks... [full voice again] Over here! See? Over here! Over here! Yes! that's Pakistan, Mr President! Yaaaaay, Mr President! Now, Mr President, as I was saying, today in Pakistan...")

Monday, September 10, 2012

Karl Barth's Einfuehrung in die evangelische Theologie up to page 18

This might be my last post on Barth's book. Not only has it been hugely disappointing so far, but it's extremely familiar: I'm finding in this book many of the harebrained assertions currently en vogue in Christian and also Jewish theology, or at least in the versions of those disciplines or undisciplines (How disciplined is it to make things up willy-nilly in order to defend one's preconceived notions?) which make it onto the Huffington Post. Either HP's theologians have been greatly influenced directly or indirectly by Barth, or else they and Barth share important influences.

Or maybe this is actually as close as theology can come to making sense. (Not close!)

As I mentioned in my first post on this book of Barth's, Barth wastes no time in making the untenable and insulting assertion that everyone has a God or gods, and that therefore everyone is a theologian, the only question is: what kind of theologian? From this point he rushes, as any sensible German would agree, "von einem Kurzschluss zum naechsten," from one premature conclusion to the next. He describes the God of the progressive person and of the "deified progressiveness" as a human being with all sorts of nasty qualities: aloofness, contempt, deadliness, a God of No, bringing Bad News directly opposed to the Good News of the Gospels, from which people would flee if only they could, and he throws in terms such as "Uebermensch" just in case anyone might have any doubt that he was implying that progressivism, humanism and National Socialism are all one and the same.

Nazis may have referred to themselves as "progressive." That doesn't mean that it made any sense at all when they did, any more than when Barth implied that German progressives in the 1960's were like Nazis. The Nazis were of course thoroughly regressive, regressing back to a time when the primary occupation of the Germanic times was war. Barth is also regressive, harkening back to a time of unquestioning belief in the fairy tales of the New Testament. Of course I greatly prefer Barth's regression to that of the Nazis, and of course Barth resisted the Nazis in a very courageous manner. But still he's building an entirely fictitious world here and insisting that it's real. And perpetuating the fiction of the Nazis that they were Nietzscheans, when in fact Nietzsche despised antisemitism and did all that he could to keep his sister from associating his name with it. But Nietzsche suddenly went insane in 1889, leaving his sister in charge of his estate, and she published altered editions of his work and actively associated his name with so much that he despised, and in 1935 Hitler attended her funeral. The false association of Nietzsche and the Nazis persisted for quite a while, but one expects to find it mostly among non-German non-academics. To find it in the work of a German professor who is considered to represent the twentieth-century epitome of his field is downright discouraging, even if that field is only Protestant theology.

And by the way, yes, I am referring to Barth's theology as Protestant, not Evangelical. Yes, the German words "protestantisch" and "evangelisch" look very much like the English words "Protestant" and "Evangelical," but they do not mean exactly the same. There is no exact English equivalent for either of those German terms, but "Protestant" is much closer than "Evangelical" to "evangelisch." Thst's how these things go sometimes. Yes, I know that other English translations of Barth say "Evangelical." They're wrong.

So, Barth says that everyone has a God. He goes on to say that the God of progressives is horrible, cold, distant, negating -- basically either a Nazi or potentially a Nazi -- and then compares this imaginary God to his equally-imaginary friend, "the God who is the subject of Protestant theology," who in and with mankind wishes to accomplish a helpful, healing, correcting work which will bring joy and peace. How nice! And what a stark contrast to that awful, awful God of progressivism which doesn't exist outside of his imagination any more than his own wonderful Protestant God does.

This is the sort of gibberish which is considered by many Christian theologians to represent the very best any of them has ever accomplished. And perhaps they're right.

The (Real) Universe

Regarding "The Purpose of the Universe" by Rabbi David Wolpe on Huffington Post, and also in reply to these silly, silly statements by so many contemporary Christian theologians claiming that fundamentalism and the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture are no more than two centuries old:

I recently obtained a reprint copy of the 1617 edition of Copernicus' De revolutionisbus. Here is the same edition on Google Books. It's very science-y, with a lot of diagrams and a lot of tables of astronomical observations, which is not usually my thing in reading material. But this book caused such a furor for so long and was at the heart of so much conflict between science and religion that I wanted to get back to the source of the ruckus and see what caused so many people to flip out, in both positive and negative reactions. I wanted to study the original untranslated text.

It knocks me out, the extremely painstaking, methodical way in which Copernicus -- a priest -- lays out his case and turns the mental world of his day upside-down -- or right-side-up, if you will.

And the response to all this careful observation of the movements of the objects in the sky and careful reading of thousands of years' worth of other scholars' observations on the subject? Luther's response, and Melanchthon's response, and the Holy See's response -- for once the Lutherans and the Vatican were in perfect agreement -- was: this contradicts Holy Scripture, therefore it is false and wicked and must be suppressed. As one reads Copernicus -- even a lay reader like myself -- one's admiration for him and one's anger against his dull-witted, all-powerful opponents grows and grows.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The First Couple of Pages of Karl Barth's Einfuehrung in die evangelische Theologie

I received my copy of Karl Barth's Einführung in die evangelische Theologiein the mail yesterday and began reading it right away. I began writing notes about it, and it occurred to me that I might want to write a review of the book here in The Wrong Monkey after I was done reading. But then I decided not to wait that long, because I don't know how long it will take me to read the entire book, and because I already have quite a few notes. Maybe I won't have much to say about the rest of the book. (Or maybe I'll write many blog posts about it, who knows.)

The first thing to say is that I hate this simple-minded crap, as I have hated all of the theology I've read so far in my life. So why am I reading Barth if I hate him? Same reason I've read some -- not all. Shuddering at the very thought -- of Augustine and Aquinas and other Christian "thinkers" -- because Christianity continues to rule a very large portion of the Earth. Perhaps I will actually like some parts of this book by Barth. I continue to hope that someday I'll find some theological writing, Christian or otherwise, which I find interesting. But to be frank, that hope is fading.

Well no, that's not entirely true, not if you consider the writing of Hesiod and some of that of Homer and Ovid to be theological -- and why shouldn't you? I love that stuff. But it's so very different from Christianity. It's true that Christians were sometimes systematically persecuted by some ancient pagan Roman Emperors, who tried to stamp them out. One of the chief recurring pagan charges against the Christians was impiety. Christian apologists have pointed to this as evidence that the pagans simply didn't understand Christianity, but these apologists, most of them, don't understand what piety was to the Romans: it was a respect for every religion and every deity on the face of the Earth. Don't worry, I'm not about to become a pagan. I don't agree with any concept of piety, but I find this pagan inclusiveness much more sympathetic than any monotheism. It has a lot in common with the multiculturalism of today, and, if I have not been misinformed, with some strains of Hinduism and Buddhism. Naturally, Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians and every other sort of monotheist flew straight in the face of piety as the Romans defined it.

Back to Barth. Right off the bat, at the very beginning of Einführung in die evangelische Theologie, he offends me by making a very familiar assertion: that everyone has a God or gods and that therefore everyone is a theologian. Over and over again in "modern," "enlightened" Christianity there's this attempt to drag everyone down to their level. Is this sort of thing familiar to me because the contemporary theologians I know are all, directly or indirectly, influenced by Barth? Or does Barth merely swim in the same putrid stream as they? What about apes, Karl? Are they all theologians too? And dogs and cats?

I don't want to assume things and then believe them -- I'll leave that to Barth and his ilk -- but I wonder whether Barth would entertain for a moment my question about apes and cats and dogs and whether they, too, are all theologians. Most theologians, of course, would dismiss such a thought with a contemptuous snort, betraying that their image of mankind comes not from science, because of course science tells us that we share our DNA with other species, and they evolve just as we do (some of us anyway), but from the Genesis legend, which portrays man as a thing apart. (Unfortunately many biologists obviously still follow the Genesis legend rather than science inasmuch as they reject out of hand, in the face of ever-mounting evidence, the very possibility that animals may possess certain qualities and states of consciousness traditionally -- at least in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition -- thought to belong to mankind alone.)

Barth says that "we" -- presumably "we humans" -- are all theologians, and then he loses me even more thoroughly by revealing that the theology he follows has all to do with the Bible and particularly with the Gospels, the Evangelium, that God Himself, the Creator of All, the Infinite, has expressed Himself most clearly in Bible, and in the Bible especially in the New Testament, and in the New Testament especially in the Gospels. (Note the complete contrast to pagan Roman piety or modern multiculturalism.) He wrote that in 1962, after centuries of textual criticism of the Old and New Testaments, after the discoveries of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi library and thousands of scraps of papyrii at Oxyrhynchus, and he is considered by many Christian theologians to still represent the state of the art of theology, and that's just about the most damning thing I can think of to say about Christian theology. So many books in this world, such a big world, so many discoveries piling up concerning the world around us and things long ago, and we can see so far and ever farther beyond this Earth into regions which make it look tiny indeed, and the man many Christian theologians call the greatest philosopher of the 20th century insisted that the key to understanding Everything is distilled into Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It was a pretty silly notion when those four books were freshly written, and the more we learn the sillier, the more infuriatingly, arbitrarily narrow-minded it becomes.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

...and maybe 400

At ElectoralVote.com they have a Rasmussen-free electoral-vote map which shows 332 electoral votes going for Obama and 206 for Romney. But they consider only 138 of those electoral votes to be "solidly" for Romney. Six states are only pink instead of red, and a seventh, North Cackalacky Its Dangself, is only outlined in pink. Seven states where Romney's lead is less than lead-pipe-cinch certain. If Obama takes all the blue states on that map plus those seven he will have a nice round 400 electoral votes. In my opinion Missouri and and Arizona should be pink too, so make it 421.

What? All the "experts" are doing this all the time, except in the opposite direction, talking about how Romney could win if he won in all the red and pinks state plus every state that isn't dark blue. All except for Nate Silver at the New Times' 538.com. Everybody calls him a genius. But none of the other pundits seem to listen to him, let alone benefit from his good sense. Nope. It's just Nate and me, all alone in a sea of rubes.

Will 421 be enough for all of you people out there to stand up to those of your friends, families and neighbors who have embraced the bagger/birther/everything's-Obama-fault horseshit, and firmly tell them that they are stupid and that enough's enough and it's time for them to listen to the grownups and the brighter ones among the children? Would 421 give you balls enough to talk sense right out in public?

It's not enough for Obama to win. They have to really, really lose, once and for all.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

350+

Is how many electoral votes Obama will take on November 6. Take that to the bank. Bet the farm.

There seem to be very few "experts" on the subject who can see that Obama is way ahead of Romney.

Okay, for one thing, is it really so hard to see that nationwide polls are completely useless in predicting an election which will be decided by electoral vote? These news stories claiming that the race is close keep pointing to nationwide polls and ignoring state-by-state polls. That kind of story defines the term "useless" about as well as anything I can think of. Not one electoral-vote projection based on current polling shows Romney ahead -- Huffington Post's Speculatron electoral-vote map is based on what Speculatron Boy has pulled out of his butt -- and some show Obama with as many as 332 electoral votes. The latter seem like the most sensible projections to me. I think there's widespread bias and/or incompetence among the "experts" who are calling this thing close.

Romney didn't get a bounce from the RNC convention. This doesn't surprise me. I know, my claim of not having anticipated a bump would have been much more impressive if I had posted it before the Republican convention. It seems to have surprised a lot of "experts," but don't expect a lot of articles and editorials with headlines like "OK, WE'RE IDIOTS!" Idiots can't admit to themselves that they're idiots. This is one of the reasons they stay idiots.

The "experts" predicted small post-convention bumps for both Romney and Obama. I'm predicting a big bump for Obama, big enough that the projection of 332 electoral votes will have to be adjusted upward. Maybe much higher.

And I predict that after Obama's big post-convention bump, the "experts" will continue to find a way to claim that this thing is close. I predict that they will predict that the bump will melt away quickly. I predict it won't.

Why are the predictions of the "experts" so far off, and why will they continue to be? I don't know. Straight-up stupidity, maybe. Maybe they don't care whether people will look at their performance as prognosticators when considering in the future to hire them.

Maybe there's some grand conspiracy here which would be easier for me to see if I were neurologically-typical. Anyway, what I'm predicting is that enough voters will be able to see the difference between a highly-intelligent centrist powerfully motivated to do the country good, and a pathological liar who chose another pathological liar as his running mate, and the difference between a campaign based on good ideas and one based on lies and irrational fear, to make this thing lopsided. Maybe more like 380 than 350.