AIG Merges with AIG to Form AIG

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According to recent press reports, the creationist organization Answers in Genesis will merge with the troubled insurance giant American International Group. The new corporation will be named AIG, for American Indulgences Group.

AIG chairman Edward Liddy will become the chairman of AIG. AIG chairman Ken Ham will be second in command and will continue to direct the Creation Museum, which will be renamed Credit Management. CM will rate bonds that are based on credit-default swaps on a scale from AAA to aaa. AIG will also subcontract with the Vatican to market indulgences in the United States. These indulgences are expected to become AIG’s major product. The Vatican, in an ecumenical gesture, agreed that it would not impose a religious test on those who purchased its indulgences.

Ham argues that redirecting his organization from young-earth creationism to voodoo economics is not as much of a leap as it might appear at first glance. Like creationism, free-market economics is wholly unsupported by the evidence: boom-and-bust cycles like the present cycle, for example, followed a failed experiment in deregulation. Ham maintains, however, that faith is superior to intellect, and the economy gods must have put those booms and busts in there for a reason. Economic theory, he says, is entirely faith based anyway, and he will from now on put his faith in derivatives.

Distinguished first-amendment scholar Reed Cartwright argues that the US taxpayer owns over 79 % of AIG. Because AIG is a religious organization, the merger could be construed as an establishment of religion by the government and will require a waiver from the Justice Department. Cartwright anticipates that the American Civil Liberties Union will file suit to block the merger.

Liddy observes that AIG is, in fact, a nonprofit organization, and merging with AIG merely acknowledges its status as such. He will continue to receive his salary of $1 per year, but will be eligible for a retention bonus equal to whatever is required to maintain AIG’s status as a nonprofit. Ham, by contrast, will accept payment in the form of options based on credit-default swaps. “You could say I am testing my faith,” he says; “God is my counterparty.”

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You just can't trust anything posted to the web today. Take, for instance, this story about Howard Ahmanson. In case you don't know who he is, he is an extremely wealthy Californian who also happens to be one of those... Read More

106 Comments

Ha ha.

I am reminded of Dogbert exorcising the demons of economic rationalism. Perfectly reasonable, if you have the right mindset.

You had me for a couple of seconds. Happy Monkey!!

I think I’m partly to blame. For years I would hear of “AIG” on the news and for a split second forget that it was “the other AIG.” But when the story of the bonuses broke I thought of proposing the merger as “one made in heaven.” One that doesn’t even require the dreaded name change that invariably displeases one of the parties. I never got around to contacting them, but apparently “someone upstairs” heard my “prayers”. ;-)

I thought that in order to modernize his organization to the 21st century Ken Ham was going to change the name to “Answers in Exodus.”

I am sure that Bernie Madoff will be CEO of this fine organization. Can a religious institution apply for a bail-out?

Nice. Like the one a few years back when it was announced that Tim McGraw and Faith Hill had bought McGraw-Hill publishing.

Hmmm, don’t Hamm and crowd think of the Vatican as Satan’s vacation home? Or maybe its just Jack Chick (isn’t he the one with the website proving the Pope is evil?)

Haha. April Fool’s Day!

So, will our OTHER set of fundies descend on this, now?

If you haven’t read this book by Albert Ellis, the pioneering cognitive therapist, you should. It’s an updated edition of his early critique of market fundamentalism as inventing a new religion complete with unrealistic demands, dogmatic doctrine, and attacks on rationality.

Originally Ellis was fighting a palooka - the obviously weak Objectivist brand of fetishized capitalism. The updated edition is more of a heavyweight bout.

“In business news, 3M and Eminem have merged to form, get this, Ultradyne Systems. And speaking of news stories, here’s.. another. Springfield spelling phenom has qualified for spellings answer to the Olympics, the Spellympics. In a related story, the Spellympics is being sued by the Olympics for the use of the suffix.. lympics. Ugh. This has got to be the slowest news day ever! Ah that’s better. Paris is no more! The legendary city of lights has been extinguished forever as a massive…”

Very nicely done. The fact that I immediately recognised what it was didn’t diminish the pleasure of reading it at all.

Matt,

I heard that they will be promoting primarily Klingon Cosmology according to some contacts I have on Q’onos. I’ve intercepted a top secret message from Klingon Chancellor Martok to an orbiting cloaked Klingon Bird of Prey, authorizing a team of Klingon warriors to apprehend a certain William A. Dembski, who will be subjected to rendition and waterboarding. They hope to persuade him that Intelligent Design creationism is mendacious intellectual pornography.

Cheers,

John

To me AiG and AIG is one and the same when it comes to how they handle money. I have a blog post about this you’re more than welcome to come look at.

Two AIGs: One thing in Common

At least AiG is many billions ahead of AIG in finances, and hasn’t sucked similar amounts out of taxpayers.

Considering the abilities of both to spin fanciful scenarios disconnected from evidence and reality, the merger appears a blessed one.

Glen D

http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

Or to follow Behe’s terminology they are now AIG squared!

Mark Farmer said:

Or to follow Behe’s terminology they are now AIG squared!

Or, at least, AIG“Higher Power”.

Like creationism, free-market economics is wholly unsupported by the evidence: boom-and-bust cycles like the present cycle, for example, followed a failed experiment in deregulation.

The free market has been vindicated by its performance since the time of at least Adam Smith actually. Allowing people to choose, government holding itself in check regarding cartelization (cartels being a favorite form of protectionism going back to the classical world*), generally diminishing protectionism, etc. are the major reason why we live in a world of plenty as compared to any other generation of human beings on the planet.

As far as deregulation is concerned, regulation (across the board) grew significantly under the Bush administration just as it has done under past administrations. This is not a defense of the Bush administration so much as a dig against the notion that the lack of regulation is at the heart of our current economic problems; if anything it was the political class’ obsession with making housing our chief national industry that explains much of why we are here.

As for boom and bust cycles, it would seem to me that the efforts to control them by say monetary policy or economic regulation or fiscal policy have proven to be rather fruitless, largely because people adapt (they evolve individually and collectively) to such or because they plug into unanticipated incentives which those who run the political economy don’t really anticipate. Government efforts are always running behind what is happening in the real world, in other words.

Now, no one is suggesting that free markets (be they in religion, science, speech or economics*) are perfect; but IMHO they lead to far more satisfactory outcomes over the short and long term than centralized, top-down control of such do.

*People do tend to forget that free market types are interested in more than merely economic activity; the demands for choice extend past such, and I think this is generally what bewilders and confuses those of the traditional left and right re: free market types.

Free market speech can hurt someone’s feelings. Free market economics can hurt someone’s livelihood. Do you not appreciate the difference? Or do you just not care?

Glen Davidson said:

At least AiG is many billions ahead of AIG in finances, and hasn’t sucked similar amounts out of taxpayers.

No, but think about the enormous amount of intelligence that has been sucked out of the fundamentalist followers of AiG. Gosh, their pre-AiG IQs have probably plummeted from highs in the 40s probably down into the 20s.

Marion Delgado,

If not capitalism, then what exactly? Socialism pretty clearly doesn’t work. Neither do any of the other systems which do not look to the individual as the locus of analysis, rights, etc.

As for objectivism, I would recommend this: http://www.amazon.com/Objectivism-C[…]p/0595267335

Most free market types are for the record not objectivists; they are Hayekians or Friedmanites or Schumpetarians (or, like myself, a combination of those three and others).

Seward -

Your latest post is an excellent analysis of free market economics (It is ironic that, as I write this, European “socialist” heads of state are condemning our president’s desire for a strong government stimulus via over regulation and printing money for more than a trillion dollars worth of new spending, whose economic reprecussions will be felt by all of us for years to come.).

Some of those here at PT may forget that Darwin was influenced strongly by Adam Smith’s thinking of an “invisible hand”, using that as a perfect metaphor to explain the “economy of nature”. Several recent books, most notably Michael Shermer’s “Why Darwin Matters” and Mark Pallen’s just published “Rough Guide to Evolution” have made this very point.

Regards,

John

fnxtr,

“Free market speech can hurt someone’s feelings.”

A lot of people of course argue that free speech hurts more than this; and thus we see efforts to control such.

“Free market economics can hurt someone’s livelihood.”

Are you talking about job guarantees? If so… People stopped being guaranteed a job when we got rid of the guild system. Fluidity in employment is fairly key to the operation of economic development and growth. Indeed, job guarantees are unsustainable largely because states or industries which engage in such cannot compete in the long run with states or industries which have fewer or lack such employment protection. You can only put a stop on social evolution for so long; and there will be a great deal of pain associated with the period where that stoppage is undone.

fnxtr,

BTW, it isn’t that I don’t care; I care a lot in fact.

John Kwok,

Thank you.

Thanks, Seward and John,

I wanted to address Matt’s reference to “free-market economics” but figured that others would do it better. Regardless of who is right about economics I think we can all agree that both AIGs are quite detrimental to US competitiveness.

So where’s the joke? Makes as much sense as anything else in intelligent design creationism.

Glen Davidson said:

At least AiG is many billions ahead of AIG in finances, and hasn’t sucked similar amounts out of taxpayers.

Considering the abilities of both to spin fanciful scenarios disconnected from evidence and reality, the merger appears a blessed one.

Glen D

http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

Ah, but AIG is a 501(c)3 and therefore does suck at least some dollars away from taxpayers.

Frank J.,

Well, even more to the point; there are numerous economists who have won Nobel prizes in their field who advocate free markets (obviously what they mean by the latter can vary at the margins, but I would guess that they would generally agree on things like robust property rights, free trade, lack of government ownership and cartelization etc.). However, I can’t recall any creationists winning Nobel prizes in medicine, physics or chemistry.

Stephen said:

Very nicely done. The fact that I immediately recognised what it was didn’t diminish the pleasure of reading it at all.

Ditto that… I only wished it had been longer!

RE: Seward. An honest question. When has capitalism ever functioned and been sustainable without its socialistic safety net? All we’re seeing now is the outright handover of taxpayer money (preceded by the Bush Administration’s attempt to hand over to Wall St. all the Social Security funds collected from workers, remember that?). In the past, American capitalism’s feeding from the taxpayer trough has only been more subtle (example: R&D in the biomedical industry subsidized by govt. money resulting in significantly reduced initial investment of capital on the part of private companies). One need not pass judgement on whether this is right or wrong – the fact remains that the completely “free market” is a mythological creature. Kind of like a seven-headed, ten-horned dragon that you might see in the AiG (or is it AIG???) creation museum (There! Managed to get it back on topic!)…

John Kwok said:

Stanton and Seward,

I have PZ pegged right. He’s acting like Dembski now, having posted at Pharyngula a private e-mail that I had sent to him earlier today. Don’t bother to take a look at his latest inane thread (I’m not reading it.).

John

You mean this? http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/[…]ks_amuck.php

What if you get banned from Panda’s Thumb as well? I don’t agree with P Z Myers’ banning you from his blog, but he does not owe you any favors either. Start your own blog to compete with him instead!

Dale,

What he owes me is an apology for being a jerk and a creep. He’s gone on a little campaign online elsewhere, especially over at Facebook, against me and it has to stop. Now. I am seriously tempted to sue him for harassment and defamation of character:

Dale Husband said:

John Kwok said:

Stanton and Seward,

I have PZ pegged right. He’s acting like Dembski now, having posted at Pharyngula a private e-mail that I had sent to him earlier today. Don’t bother to take a look at his latest inane thread (I’m not reading it.).

John

You mean this? http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/[…]ks_amuck.php

What if you get banned from Panda’s Thumb as well? I don’t agree with P Z Myers’ banning you from his blog, but he does not owe you any favors either. Start your own blog to compete with him instead!

John

Is there proof of this:

He’s gone on a little campaign online elsewhere, especially over at Facebook, against me and it has to stop.

I thought the number of both of your ff friends increased since your falling out.

GuyeFaux -

Actually, most of those who have recently “friended” me are long-lost friends from high school and, in one instance, graudate school! Thanks to PZ’s inane comments over at Pharyngula, I have lost at least twenty friends due to him (And this isn’t just his latest screed, but others, starting with his Survivor: Pharyngula thread):

GuyeFaux said:

Is there proof of this:

He’s gone on a little campaign online elsewhere, especially over at Facebook, against me and it has to stop.

I thought the number of both of your ff friends increased since your falling out.

It’s really hysterical that he gets bent out of shape after I sent him a few e-mails, mostly to criticize inane comments written by some about me over at Pharyngula. I guess he has some kind of “death wish”, since I advised him to leave Muslims alone and he’s now going after them, with as much vehemence as he has done towards Roman Catholic Christanity.

Best,

John

P. S. It is especially ironic how all of this is playing out now, when, philosophically, I probably have more in common with him than I do with, for example, Ken Miller. However, unlike PZ, I don’t accuse Ken of being a “creationist” or stage a risible incident like the “cracker incident” last summer.

I meant Roman Catholic Christianity, not what I misspelled below:

John Kwok said:

GuyeFaux -

Actually, most of those who have recently “friended” me are long-lost friends from high school and, in one instance, graudate school! Thanks to PZ’s inane comments over at Pharyngula, I have lost at least twenty friends due to him (And this isn’t just his latest screed, but others, starting with his Survivor: Pharyngula thread):

GuyeFaux said:

Is there proof of this:

He’s gone on a little campaign online elsewhere, especially over at Facebook, against me and it has to stop.

I thought the number of both of your ff friends increased since your falling out.

It’s really hysterical that he gets bent out of shape after I sent him a few e-mails, mostly to criticize inane comments written by some about me over at Pharyngula. I guess he has some kind of “death wish”, since I advised him to leave Muslims alone and he’s now going after them, with as much vehemence as he has done towards Roman Catholic Christanity.

Best,

John

P. S. It is especially ironic how all of this is playing out now, when, philosophically, I probably have more in common with him than I do with, for example, Ken Miller. However, unlike PZ, I don’t accuse Ken of being a “creationist” or stage a risible incident like the “cracker incident” last summer.

Kwok, if you want to show the world how loopy PZ really is, why don’t you link to the thread where you assert that, due to his “campaign” against you, he somehow owes you a camera?

Oh yeah, all that thread shows is how loopy you are.

ben,

After I write an e-mail demanding an apology from PZ for his absurd behavior towards me (in which I noted that I had been “testing” him with my demand for a camera), he goes ahead and posts it:

ben said:

Kwok, if you want to show the world how loopy PZ really is, why don’t you link to the thread where you assert that, due to his “campaign” against you, he somehow owes you a camera?

Oh yeah, all that thread shows is how loopy you are.

I also told him to leave Islam alone, and just today he’s posted two posts critical of it (I wish him well in avoiding potential terrorist attack(s) by radical Muslims. He’s looking for trouble from CAIR and other “moderate” Muslim-American and Muslim groups.

A prominent evolutionary biologist agrees with me - I won’t disclose who that is, but no, it’s not Ken Miller - that PZ’s “cracker incident” was bizarre and quite distasteful.

So who’s really the “loopy” one? I think the better bet is with PZ Myers than yours truly.

John

John,

Honestly, why are you surprised that a vocal atheist is “after” Islam as fervently as he is “after” Christianity or any other theism? It doesn’t strike me as any more “loopy” than his atheism — which you can consider loopy or not —, which you surely knew about?

GuyeFaux said:

Is there proof of this:

He’s gone on a little campaign online elsewhere, especially over at Facebook, against me and it has to stop.

I thought the number of both of your ff friends increased since your falling out.

Actually, John Wilkes Kwok was the one who threatened the Facebook campaign. It failed miserably. Kwok’s generally been going to great lengths to make a total fool of himself. And here’s the camera thread.

John Wilkes Kwok said:

So who’s really the “loopy” one? I think the better bet is with PZ Myers than yours truly.

A man banned from Amazon.com for advocating the assassination of the President of the United States is not well qualified to judge the “loopiness” of others.

A prominent evolutionary biologist agrees with me - I won’t disclose who that is

Your well-known propensity for name-dropping is quite remarkable. You name-drop even when you won’t tell us what the name is. PZ Myers, Glenn Beck, Wayne Gretzky and all the teachers at my famous high school agree with me on this.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123[…]1793559.html

Zomg! The foolish Japanese are not even LISTENING to John Quack! Are they blind?

Mammon is not mocked, and His Invisible Hand shall surely smite them!

There is no God but Mammon and Mises was His true profit.

My theory: The evil PZ got to them.

John Kwok said:

Seward,

With regards to your recent reply to Marion Delgado, I would note that the Japanese tried a massive economic stimulus package for themselves back in the 1990s, and it didn’t trigger an economic recovery. Instead, the country was in an economic doldrum until the early part of this decade, when market forces finally lifted the country upward.

What happened to Japan may be our fate if Obama’s economic stimulus package isn’t overturned soon.

John

You guys build a lot of model planes out of straw and sticks in Wingnuttia, don’t you, John. I bet that cargo is coming back any day now! What’s the weather like there? Clearly, you have a radically altered history in your universe.

Sorry Marion, but the Japanese did try their own version of an economic stimulus back in the 1990s and didn’t work. Only countries this time that seem so hell bent on doing this are ours and the United Kingdom’s; the rest of world thinks stronger regulation would work better than economic stimulus:

Marion Delgado said:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123[…]1793559.html

Zomg! The foolish Japanese are not even LISTENING to John Quack! Are they blind?

Mammon is not mocked, and His Invisible Hand shall surely smite them!

There is no God but Mammon and Mises was His true profit.

My theory: The evil PZ got to them.

John Kwok said:

Seward,

With regards to your recent reply to Marion Delgado, I would note that the Japanese tried a massive economic stimulus package for themselves back in the 1990s, and it didn’t trigger an economic recovery. Instead, the country was in an economic doldrum until the early part of this decade, when market forces finally lifted the country upward.

What happened to Japan may be our fate if Obama’s economic stimulus package isn’t overturned soon.

John

You guys build a lot of model planes out of straw and sticks in Wingnuttia, don’t you, John. I bet that cargo is coming back any day now! What’s the weather like there? Clearly, you have a radically altered history in your universe.

Marion,

Instead of acting like a delusional creationist IDiot, why don’t you read Michael Shermer’s “Why Darwin Matters” and Mark Pallen’s “The Rough Guide to Evolution”, since they both explain how Adam Smith’s conception of an “invisible hand” inspired Darwin’s thinking on the “economy of nature”.

Anyway, the only god I believe in is a Klingon one.….

Qap’la,

John

The man you speak of DID NOT ADVOCATE the assassination of a democratic president, and suggested such a possibility only if he decided to become a Marxist - Leninist totalitarian dictator. Last time I checked, this president is my president, and will remain so until the end of his current term in office, even though I disagree strongly with his economic policies. Only delusional nuts like you jumped to the conclusion that I wanted him assassinated, waged a fear-mongering campaign at Amazon, and had me banned. Those who are far more sane recognized that I was guilty only of exaggeration, and have since welcomed me back into the fold as a reasonable commentator as noted here:

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2009 1:33 AM PST Elliott Bignell says:

John has suggested I pass on some comments pertaining to the discussion in question. They are taken from an e-mail exchange occurring off-forum and devolving from this thread of discussion and I think it best under the circumstances to post them verbatim rather than attempt to paraphrase, which might introduce biases of my own:

“…I must strongly beg to differ with your interpretation. I didn’t threaten nor promise to ‘behave’, period. All I’ve said is that I accept Obama as my president and will suspend criticism of him (though there’s potentially a lot for me to be critical of, especially with his economic stimulus package). Don’t mind at all if you mention that.”

“However, I did say that I am pleased with his cabinet picks for the most part, especially in science and technology. I should also note too that two of his key advisors, Axelrod and Attorney General Holder, are fellow alums of my high school.”

While I have my differences with John on political matters, I can only echo this sentiment. All who are interested in the success of science must be breathing a sigh of relief that the new administration appear to be reversing the anti-science part of the Bush agenda. More than that I do not wish to say!

That’s a comment posted by Elliott after my review of Jerry Coyne’s “Why Evolution is True”.

Sorry ben, but PZ does a much better job of name dropping than I do. After all, he wants everyone to know that he’s a good pal - and in fact, the best American pal - of Richard Dawkins:

ben said:

A prominent evolutionary biologist agrees with me - I won’t disclose who that is

Your well-known propensity for name-dropping is quite remarkable. You name-drop even when you won’t tell us what the name is. PZ Myers, Glenn Beck, Wayne Gretzky and all the teachers at my famous high school agree with me on this.

Who the “prominent evolutionary biologist” is an answer which shall remain nameless.

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