Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. – Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

Sunday, October 31, 2021

‘The Internet Remains Undefeated’ Must Be Defeated


PHOTO-ILLUSTRATION: SAM WHITNEY; GETTY IMAGES; SECRET LAB INSTITUTE



“The internet remains undefeated” glorifies
the removal of context, nuance, and thought.


‘The Internet Remains Undefeated’ 
Must Be Defeated

by Zak Jason
September 24, 2021


The classic comment and caption has become a meme in its own right.
Harmless as it may seem, a close study reveals dark undertones.


THE BIG BOAT stuck in the Suez Canal, Oprah waving off Meghan and Harry with her “Stop it” hands, all the Teletubbies boinking one another blue as the sun baby watches approvingly, a photo bashing trans athletes shared by Donald Trump Jr. These memes are unified not only in encapsulating the lunacy of 2021, but in the four words that have consistently appeared beside them and countless others, in captions as well as comments: “The internet remains undefeated.”

Surely you’ve seen these words, but maybe you haven’t read them. (Congratulations on your sanity.) An apolitical, amoral stand-in equally for lol, and thank you, used for both schadenfreude and firgun, “The internet remains undefeated” is the internet of phrases about the internet, existing everywhere and nowhere, meaning everything and nothing. A seemingly benign expression—until you say it back.

The internet remains undefeated.
The internet remains undefeated.
The internet remains undefeated.

The more I encounter these words, the more they pierce me with mortal dread. It’s not just the rotten onion of their ambiguity: When did the internet’s winning streak begin? What, or who, is it undefeated against? Ourselves, maybe. But then why are so many of us so jubilant about reminding ourselves that we’ve defeated ourselves? And what would, could, should defeating the internet look like? But my disdain for the saying is also because of its underlying sentiment. The true terror of “The internet remains undefeated” is that it’s most often used in lighthearted contexts, yet exposes the deepest darkness of our lives online, a darkness that we’ve become either blind to or numb to.

SEARCHES ON THE term “undefeated internet” suggest that the oldest extant usage of the ghastly phrase might belong to Timothy Hall (@peoplescrtic), a film critic and meme lord from Seattle. On the morning of August 12, 2013, he posted on Instagram a meme of a scowling Russell Westbrook, the mercurial NBA dynamo, photoshopped into a character selection screen from the arcade classic Mortal Kombat, with the caption “The internet remains undefeated.” It’s a textbook usage, the kind Hall says he’s been deploying on social media and in group chats in the years since. To him, the saying epitomizes the internet as the world’s great equalizer. “You can be POTUS,” he says, “or you can be a soccer mom yelling at a game, not knowing you’re being filmed. Everyone is fair game to become a meme. Maybe it’s POTUS who makes you into a meme, or maybe it’s my 14-year-old nephew. You may not know it’s your day, you just have to ride the wave and let the internet defeat you until it’s someone else’s turn.”

But Hall can’t take credit for coining the phrase; he says he must’ve picked it up from someone on the internet along the way. “If someone ever claimed to have invented it,” he adds, “the internet would defeat them. That’s the beauty of it.”

To a wide-ranging group of social media users like Hall, “The internet remains undefeated” is, on its face, a simple expression of joy, or nostalgia for a more joyous era of the internet. Ryan Milner, a professor of internet culture at the College of Charleston and author of The World Made Meme, says the phrase harkens back to a time, between roughly 2003 and 2013, when the internet was “still kind of this other place that didn’t operate by and could maybe transcend real-world rules.” This was the heyday of early YouTube and message boards like Something Awful, 4chan, and Reddit, “when you saw a flurry of subcultural activity and content creation that became kind of a tone setter for people who are still extremely online.” So in 2021, people comment “The internet remains undefeated” to a flourishing of memes about Bernie Sanders and his mittens or the discord between your fall plans and the Delta variant, because it recalls when life online seemed less about livestreamed mass murders and the algorithmically driven death of democracy and more about rickrolling and lolcats. At the surface level, says Milner, the phrase “is a way to kind of appreciate when the early spirit of collective creativity online resurfaces.”

People also use the phrase, Milner adds, as a way of “reacting to the randomness of what they encounter online.” Every piece of content “is made by a real person at the other end of the tubes. But we just see the funny picture. So instead of saying ‘Tim from Madison, Wisconsin, remains undefeated,’ we tend to collapse everything from everyone as being from ‘the internet,’ as if it’s this singular mystical being.” In that sense, the saying is a collectivist antivenom to unhinged individualism online.

“The internet remains undefeated” glorifies the removal of context, nuance, and thought.

But exuberant and egalitarian as the expression may appear, its undertones are much darker. For one thing, “The internet remains undefeated” is also a symptom of what Milner and fellow internet culture scholar Whitney Phillips call fetishistic flattening. This is the tendency for internet users to fixate on a meme or tweet itself, and not consider how or why it was created, the backstory of who or what’s being depicted and shared, or who may be harmed in the process. (The “Hide your kids, hide your wife” song, which belittles the man in the original clip, and deepfaked drunk Nancy Pelosi are all standard examples of fetishization.) In this way, “The internet remains undefeated” glorifies the removal of context, nuance, and thought. “Undefeated” in particular also captures how on social media, context is subsumed by combativeness. Beneath the surface, says Milner, the phrase is often “antagonistic and barbed,” and of “an atmosphere where how funny you are about what you produce and say, and how many people respond no matter what you say, is seen as a competition.”

Of course, context removal and ruthless competitiveness are embedded in dozens of other popular memes and replies to memes: Distracted Boyfriend, Galaxy Brain, Swole Doge vs. Meek Doge, so and so “woke up and chose violence.” But whereas those all celebrate the defeat of a single common enemy or idea lampooned in the meme itself, what makes “The internet remains undefeated” so deflating is that it celebrates our own collective defeat of ourselves. The internet’s unstated, vanquished opponent is us, the users who both consume and are the butts of the memes that phrase is often a response to. But deep down we all understand that we are also the internet, as the ones who populate it, generate its content, and created it in the first place. As Jeffrey Bloechl, a philosophy professor and phenomenologist at Boston College, told me, any problems that appear on the internet “can be traced back to things we human beings either did or failed to do when we made the thing.” After all, he adds, humans designed the internet to be boundless. “If the internet, strictly as internet, is fundamentally mathematical, it cannot itself be the source of any limits.” By that logic, “there is no way not to wonder whether in unleashing a power that is undefeated,” one that can transcend the limits of our own bodies and minds, we’ve also unleashed “a power to change what we are,” a power to defeat the human condition.

That is the horrifying economy of Those Four Words: There is no more haunting a distillation of the unstoppable seepage of technology into every fabric of our being than “The internet remains undefeated.” These words are a glaring reminder that the internet, of which I am a part, is defeating me. That in the moment I am reading them, I am devoting my attention not to my wife, infant daughter, friends, family, colleagues, wind rattling the window pane, or my breathing, but to what faceless strangers are saying about Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friends’ balls, and to what quippy things I should be saying to faceless strangers about Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friends balls. That gif of the Teletubbies having tantric sex? It exists only in my smooth, broken brain, a brain the internet broke so that I think in the way the internet wants me to think.

THE SUBTEXT OF “The internet remains undefeated” is a vaguely Zen koan: “We remain undefeated against ourselves.” Yes, it speaks to humanity’s ability to harness the internet to conquer individuals with collective humor. But it also speaks to how we’ve been harnessed by the internet’s power—a power we bestowed— and feel powerless to do anything about. Saying those four words only seems to perpetuate that unfortunate reality.

But recognizing this can also be a first step in taking power back. It’s telling that we often use these words in the silliest of circumstances—that even when we can all seem to set aside our many polarized differences and come together to laugh about someone hiding a testicle-swelling STD with fake symptoms of the Covid vaccine, someone still says “The internet remains undefeated” as a reminder that we are constantly fraying our humanity online. In that sense, the act of saying that “the internet remains undefeated” is an act of condemning what the saying itself celebrates. A human typed those words, words that can attune fellow humans to just how very online we are, but can also remind us that we have a choice. We can either fall right back into the unthinking slipstream and let the internet remain undefeated, or take our raised awareness and step away.

---

Zak Jason runs WIRED's research team, overseeing the fact-checking of stories for print, web, and video. He also edits WIRED's op-eds. He has written about everything from terrorism to Kidz Bop for the New York Times Magazine, Slate, and The Guardian. Before WIRED, he was a writer and fact-checker for... Read more


Index - Process Sciences: Biology, Physics, Computing




Index - Process Sciences:
Biology, Physics, Computing
(listed in chronological order)






Quantum Eras of a Very Early Universe





Quantum Physics and Questions of Time











Process Quantum Physics
by Tim Eastman, Plasma Physicist





Untying the Gordian Knot: Process, Reality, and Context - Session 6 - under construction

Untying the Gordian Knot: Process, Reality, and Context - Session 7 - under construction

Untying the Gordian Knot: Process, Reality, and Context - Session 8 - under construction





Process Quantum Computing

x

Matt Segall & John Cobb - Whither Science? - unpublished

x





Process (Quantum) Biology

Tuesday, June 8, 2021


x



Process-Based Evolution














The Evolution of the Earth's Atmosphere


x



Untying the Gordian Knot: Process, Reality, and Context - Session 1

Untying the Gordian Knot:
Process, Reality, and Context

What an honor it is to hear from the second generation of process theologians and philosophers now in their late 80s and 90s still able to share their journey with us of the third and fourth generations. The Cobb Institute, as well as many other process organizations and websites like Relevancy22, have been dissecting and weaving together their dialogues, discussions, books, journals, and podcasts over the years so that they are not lost to history, and quite open for exploration and discovery by future generations of process Whiteheadians.

Do take advantage of these living souls in their late years. It is with great honor that these several process theologians continue to share their personal journeys into the realms of the biological, quantum and psychological/sociological sciences.

Lastly, thank you to all those in the process community who have been willing to make time and effort to share their separate process insights from their respective disciplines! Each thought, each soul, helps create depth to a very complex philosophy of cosmology.

As introduction to these series, earlier this past summer the Cobb Institute began an 8-part series discussing and distinguishing substantive philosophies and sciences from those of the process variety. Hosted by Matt Segall, John Cobb, and Tim Eastman each explore Eastman's book written in December 2020 on untying the Gordian Knot of physics. Enjoy.

R.E. Slater
October 31, 2021



Untying the Gordian Knot: Process, Reality, and Context



* * * * * * * * *



Amazon Link


Untying the Gordian Knot
Process, Reality, and Context

by Timothy Eastman
In Untying the Gordian Knot: Process, Reality, and Context, Timothy E. Eastman proposes a new creative synthesis, the Logoi framework - which is radically inclusive and incorporates both actuality and potentiality - (1) to show how the fundamental notions of process, logic, and relations, woven with triads of input-output-context and quantum logical distinctions, can resolve a baker’s dozen of age-old philosophic problems.
Further, (2) Eastman leverages a century of advances in quantum physics and the Relational Realism interpretation pioneered by Michael Epperson and Elias Zafiris and augmented by the independent research of Ruth Kastner and Hans Primas to resolve long-standing issues in understanding quantum physics. 
Adding to this, (3) Eastman makes use of advances in information and complex systems, semiotics, and process philosophy to show how multiple levels of context, combined with relations—including potential relations—both local and local-global, can provide a grounding for causation, emergence, and physical law. 
Finally, (4) the Logoi framework goes beyond standard ways of knowing—that of context independence (science) and context focus (arts, humanities)—to demonstrate the inevitable role of ultimate context (meaning, spiritual dimension) as part of a transformative ecological vision, which is urgently needed in these times of human and environmental crises.


* * * * * * * * *


The Gordian Knot
Aug 9, 2021



The Gordian Knot is an intractable problem (untying an impossibly tangled knot) solved easily by finding an approach to the problem that renders the perceived constraints of the problem moot ("cutting the Gordian knot"). - Wikipedia

Tim Eastman Unties the Gordian Knot - Session 1
Jun 18, 2021



THE COBB INSTITUTE
In this session Tim Eastman, provides an introduction to the book and the first chapter, and Mikhail Epstein and Jude Jones offer a response. 
00:00:00 - 00:06:27 - Introduction

00:06:28 - 00:13:50 - Welcome from John Cobb

00:16:27 - 00:41:14 - Presentation by Tim Eastman

00:42:16 - 00:52:14 - Response by Mikhail Epstein

00:53:35 - 01:07:01 - Response by Jude Jones

01:07:02 - 01:18:05 - Conversation between Tim and respondents

01:18:06 - Open Conversation Meeting Chat Text: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KDjr...
This series of conversations is provided by the Cobb Institute. Please consider supporting this program and others like it by giving. https://cobb.institute/donate/


CHAT TEXT

00:44:08 Angela于思群: 来啦

00:51:44 George Lucas: Tim, your approach distinguishes actuality from possibility (potentiality).  But what about probability?  All things are (in principle) possible, but not all are equally probable.  Shouldn't you use probability as your contrast with actuality, giving credence to those states of matter/energy that are "likely alternatives" to what is actual?

00:52:34 Matt Segall: Good question, George. We’ll return to this later.

00:52:44 Matt Segall: To everyone: please do continue to populate the chat with your questions!

01:02:42 Rick Doherty QUUF Port Townsend: How do the concepts of the criticality of TIME, which is eliminated in much of current physics,  Lee Smolin in his recent book Time Reborn relate to your current thoughts, Dr. Eastman?

01:04:29 Wolfgang Leidhold: Tim: do I unterstand you correctly: you always equate experience and sensory, right? Or are there other forms of experience, e.g. imagination? And might these various forms, if they exist, go through a process of development as well?

01:16:15 Gary Herstein: Or Whitehead's own poetic reflections on his childhood in the Kentish countryside.

01:16:34 Farzad Mahootian: Building on George’s question, Tim, you bring in probability when you mention the “unravelling of every kind of necessity” (p.8)— the “new” kind of reasoning introduced powerfully in the 19th century with the population and statistical thinking as it is applied in thermodynamics, evolutionary theory, genetics etc) by Darwinian theory and statistical mechanics. So my question is (with tongue in cheek)  which is more important: possibility of probability, or the possibility of probability? In other words, which if either, is more fundamental?

01:27:49 Farzad Mahootian: Loving Judith’s comparison of Tim’s approach with the Alexandrian way of attacking the knot, and evolving it into a Wordsorthian inspiration.  Knots as answers! Subduers of imagination and understanding!  Celtic knottingly-repetitive, but not obscure. Never resist a good metaphor! Knotty metaphors as living building materials. Thanks Jude!

01:28:15 John Fahey / Cobb Institute / Claremont CA: Thank you Jude!

01:30:21 Benjamin Snyder: I'm interested in the questions about possibility and probability since it also then seems to involve distinguishing Peirce's categories of firstness and thirndess ("may-be" and "would-be").

01:30:35 Randall Auxier: I love the poetry but I worry it invites people on the fence to dismiss us as a bunch of dreamers.

01:30:42 Alexei: Continueing the narrative by Jude Jones, I would like to peronalize the "knots" that get propagated in nature, and they can be called "agency", more precisely "semiotic agency". This is the topic of a new interdisciplinary area of biosemiotics which assumes that semiotic agency and semiosis are coextensive with life. In addition to input, output, and context, we need to consider agency that integrates these three. Charles Morris proposed that agency or interpreter is a key component of semiotic process.

01:32:48 George Lucas: I have to pick up grandkids for afternoon babysitting in a few minutes.  Sorry to depart, b/c this was a great opening session.  Thanks Tim, Jude and Mikhail, and to John, Matt and Richard for sponsoring and organizing.  Great to see everyone.

01:34:46 Matt Segall: On Boolean Logic (the logic of actuality, as Tim suggests) for those note familiar: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boolean_algebra

01:36:43 Jude Jones: Farzad your summary is so much more perspicuous than my verbiage lol! Thank you!

01:38:05 Gary Nelson: Also see Wikipedia Intuitionist Logic

01:38:27 Farzad Mahootian: Thanks! Just riffing on your tune!

01:38:46 Kevin Clark: "To be", "to know", AND "potentiology" ! I like it!

01:38:47 jonmeyer: Isn’t probability theory a specialized technique / high abstraction within the field of mathematics, and not a metaphysical distinction related to possible/actual?

01:42:02 Guadalupe: probability accounts for the actual possibility or potentiality

01:42:36 Guadalupe: Agree

01:42:45 Jude Jones: Maybe looking at probability’s metaphysical bite via Peirce’s ideas of “habit” in nature would be appropriate?

01:44:17 Randall Auxier: An observation: logically we are not obliged to start with actuality in a coordinate analysis. So long as we are not proposing to divide what is indivisible, we can analyze actual and possible and relational entities starting with any of these. This is the value of coordinate analysis. Thus we can begin with what is possible and follow its train to the actual (what Kant called a hypothetical logic), or begin with what is actual and follow its implications for what may be actual (what Kant called assertoric logic, and this includes probability theories), or we can begin with what is actual abstracted from its actuality and follow it to the possible (what Kant called problematic logic).

01:45:06 Randall Auxier: Pdeirce’s triads derive from Kant’s logic.

01:46:13 Gary Nelson: According to Robert Goldblatt in his book Topoi, the natural logic of SET theory is propositional, whereas Heyting’s intuitionist logic is appropriate for Category theory

01:48:32 Gary Herstein: Dummett also viewed Heyting logic as the base logic of metaphysics. I've argued for applying the categorical approach over the set theoretic one to ideas of basic metaphysical thinking.

01:53:16 Gary Nelson: Heating logic omits the Excluded Middle and Double Negation.

01:53:27 Gary Nelson: Heyting

01:55:46 Randall Auxier: Whitehead is in no way committed to non-contradiction and/or excluded middle, That is a very narrow ideology he always rejected.

01:56:48 Jude Jones: I’m intrigued by the possibility of defending Einstein’s Spinozism

02:01:25 Randall Auxier: I agree with Tim —leave General Relativity to its well-earned actuals grave.

02:01:36 Randall Auxier: actualist

02:02:46 Matt Switzer: To the esteemed Jungian scholar next to Tim: how do you see this Peircean and Whiteheadian framework as benefitting from or contributing to C. G. Jung’s cosmology and the relevance of dreams, especially in terms of the dreams for social transformation and the integration or repression of these dreams from or back into the personal and collective unconscious?

02:07:48 Jude Jones: That’s what I was suggesting with the reference to Levy Bruhl, who saw the spirit of “magic” in culture as a participatory comportment toward the cosmos

02:08:05 Jude Jones: Not toward, ‘in’!

02:10:09 Farzad Mahootian: @Jude and @Wolfgang. It is also the missing fourth that follows from the triadic view: it is matter (hyle) and magic.

02:10:13 Guadalupe: Is there a relationship between potentiality and final cause?

02:14:39 Farzad Mahootian: @Alexei: not just i/o not just input but agency; output is construction, context is [all other actualities]; acting anticipatorily… syymbolization is what agents do and this creates “the future”

02:15:06 Anderson Weekes: please include the chat in the recording that you post

02:17:03 Farzad Mahootian: Tim on Plato and Socrates: Socratic pointing to the good, Plato’s symbolization of Socrates pointing to the good life.

02:19:31 Jude Jones: I’m comfortable with panpsychism ;)

02:20:01 Farzad Mahootian: @TIm: I agree with  potential agency all the way down



Thursday, October 28, 2021

America Divided: What the Surveys Say...




As both a Progressive Christian and Process-based Christian this website here does stand on the side of equal civil rights for all regardless of sex, gender, race, culture, religion, or nationality. Either we are at the beginning of a better democracy than America has ever known before as its pluralistic culture unites itself with the United States Constitution to observe liberty and equality for all its peoples. Or, we are at the very end of Jeffersonian democracy as it shatters under the weight of white Christian nationalists, white supremacists, and social media propagandists seeking to remake America into their own monolithic image of intolerance for all, to all, and by all. Thus today's belated survey bookending the civil rights protests begun in the 1950s and 60s seventy years earlier....

R.E. Slater
October 28, 2021






* * * * * * * * *




Dramatic Partisan Differences On Blame
for January 6 Riots

09.15.2021


Majorities of Americans Place Blame for January 6 Insurrection on White Supremacist Groups, Donald Trump, and Conservative Media Platforms, But Dramatic Partisan Differences Persist.

According to new data from PRRI, majorities of Americans say white supremacist groups (59%), former president Donald Trump (56%), and conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (55%) shoulder a lot of responsibility for the violent actions of the rioters who took over the U.S. Capitol on January 6. These views have stayed remarkably stable since mid-January, when 62% placed a lot of blame on white supremacist groups, 57% on Trump, and 57% on conservative media platforms that spread misinformation. There are not significant differences between these numbers and January data within subgroups, either.

Additionally, about four in ten Americans put a lot of the blame for the Capitol riot on Republican leaders (41%), and 29% put a lot of the blame on white conservative Christian groups. Despite the lack of any credible evidence that substantial numbers of liberal or left-wing groups participated in the riot, 38% put a lot of blame on these groups.

Blame Attribution by Party Affiliation

Republicans assign blame for the Capitol riots very differently from most Americans. About three in ten Republicans hold white supremacist groups (30%) and conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (27%) responsible for the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Only 15% of Republicans place a lot of blame on Donald Trump, and less than one in ten say Republican leaders (9%) and white conservative Christian groups (8%) hold a lot of responsibility for the Capitol riots. Strikingly, six in ten (61%) Republicans place a lot of responsibility for the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on liberal or left-wing activists. Liberal activists are the only group a majority of Republicans say bear a lot of responsibility for this event.

Republicans’ blame attributions vary by which media sources they trust most to provide accurate information about politics and current events. Only a sliver of Republicans who most trust Fox News and far-right sources such as Newsmax and One America News Network say Trump holds a lot of the blame (3% each), and similarly few place a lot of blame on white conservative Christian groups (2% and 1%, respectively) and Republican leaders (2% and 0%, respectively). Fox News viewers are more likely than far-right news viewers to say a lot of blame goes to white supremacist groups (25% and 17%, respectively) and conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (21% and 15%, respectively). Not surprisingly, far-right news viewers are more likely than Fox News viewers to falsely assert that a lot of blame goes to liberal or left-wing activists for the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol (76% and 69%, respectively), though both groups overwhelmingly hold this view.

By contrast, Republicans who most trust broadcast network news, such as NBC, ABC, and CBS, are much more likely to place a lot of blame with white supremacist groups (61%), Donald Trump (50%), conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (46%), Republican leaders (23%), and white conservative Christian groups (21%). Still, a majority (53%) also assign a lot of blame to liberal and left-wing activists.


The vast majority of Democrats assign a lot of responsibility for the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 to Donald Trump (89%), white supremacist groups (83%), conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (78%), and Republican leaders (70%). About half of Democrats say white conservative Christian groups (48%) hold a lot of blame, and nearly three in ten (27%) hold liberal or left-wing activists responsible.

Independents fall in between Republicans and Democrats, with majorities saying white supremacist groups (59%), Donald Trump (57%), and conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (55%) hold a lot of the blame for January 6. Fewer place a lot of the blame on Republicans leaders (37%), liberal or left-wing activists (34%), and white conservative Christian groups (27%).

Blame Attribution by Religion

White Christian groups are much less likely to blame right-leaning people or groups than other religious groups. White evangelical Protestants’ attitudes closely resemble those of Republicans in that few place a lot of blame for the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 on Donald Trump (26%), Republican leaders (16%), and white Christian conservative groups (8%). More than one-third say white supremacist groups (37%) and conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (34%) hold a lot of the blame. The only group a majority of white evangelical Protestants blame for the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is liberal or left-wing activists (57%).

Nearly half of white mainline (non-evangelical) Protestants put a lot of blame on white supremacist groups (49%), conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (45%), liberal or left-wing activists (44%), and Donald Trump (43%). A majority of white Catholics place a lot of blame with white supremacist groups (54%) and conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (54%), while half (50%) attribute a lot of blame to Trump and 44% say liberal or left-wing activists hold a lot of the blame for the violent attack.

By contrast, eight in ten Black Protestants (80%) say white supremacist groups hold a lot of the blame, as do 73% of Hispanic Catholics, 69% of Jewish Americans, 65% of religiously unaffiliated Americans, 65% of other Protestants of color, 63% of other Christians, 62% of other non-Christian religious Americans, 59% of Hispanic Protestants, and 56% of Latter-day Saints. Similarly, about two-thirds of religiously unaffiliated Americans (67%), Black Protestants (66%), and other Christians (65%) place a lot of blame on conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation, as do 59% of Hispanic Catholics, 58% of other Protestants of color, 55% of Jewish Americans, and 51% of Latter-day Saints. Less than half of Hispanic Protestants (48%) say the same.

Black Protestants are most likely to put a lot of the blame on Trump (79%), as are majorities of other Christians (74%), religiously unaffiliated Americans (69%), Hispanic Catholics (69%), other Protestants of color (65%), Hispanic Protestants (64%), other non-Christian religious Americans (64%), and Jewish Americans (57%). Less than half of Latter-day Saints (48%) say Trump shoulders a lot of the blame.


Blame Attribution by Views of Trump

Trump Favorability

Donald Trump’s favorability ratings remain about the same as they were in January: 34% of Americans hold favorable views of the former president, while 64% hold unfavorable views of him, including a 51% majority of Americans who hold very unfavorable views of him. In January, 31% of Americans viewed Trump favorably and 67% unfavorably, with 54% who viewed him very unfavorably.

Not surprisingly, only 8% of those who view Trump favorably blame him a lot for the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, compared to 83% of those who view him unfavorably.

About one in four Americans who view Trump favorably blame white supremacist groups (27%) and conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (24%) a lot for the violence on January 6, and fewer assign a lot of blame to Republican leaders (7%) and white conservative Christian groups (7%). Among Americans who view Trump favorably, six in ten (60%) assign a lot of responsibility for the attack on the U.S. Capitol to liberal or left-wing activists.

By contrast, majorities of Americans who view Trump unfavorably assign a lot of responsibility to white supremacist groups (77%), conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (73%), and Republican leaders (60%). They are less likely to blame white conservative Christian groups (42%) and liberal or left-wing activists (27%).


Belief That Trump Is a “True Patriot”

About one-third of Americans agree that “President Trump is a true patriot” (34%), compared to 63% who disagree, including nearly half (49%) who completely disagree. These views have not changed since January 2021. Not surprisingly, Republicans (79%) are substantially more likely to think that Trump is a true patriot than independents (34%) and Democrats (7%).

Views of Trump as a true patriot are highly correlated with low blame attribution for the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Among those who view Trump as a true patriot, only 10% blame him for the attack on the Capitol, compared to 83% of those who disagree that Trump is a true patriot.

White evangelical Protestants are the only religious group among whom a majority agree that Trump is a true patriot (68%). The only other religious groups among whom more than four in ten agree are white mainline Protestants (45%) and white Catholics (45%). Strong majorities of all other religious groups reject this idea.

Few Americans who think Trump is a true patriot place a lot of blame for January 6 on white supremacist groups (27%), conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (25%), white conservative Christian groups (8%), or Republican leaders (7%). Most Americans who view Trump as a true patriot assign a lot of responsibility for the attack on the U.S. Capitol to liberal or left-wing activists (59%).

By contrast, majorities of Americans who disagree that Trump is a true patriot assign a lot of responsibility to white supremacist groups (77%), conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (72%), and Republican leaders (60%). They are less likely to blame white conservative Christian groups (41%) and liberal or left-wing activists (27%) for the violent actions of the rioters who took over the U.S. Capitol building on January 6.

Blame Attribution by the Belief That the 2020 Election
Was Stolen From Donald Trump

Less than three in ten Americans (29%) agree that “The 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump,” compared to 69% who disagree, including 58% who completely disagree. These views have remained stable since March 2021. But Republicans hold views that are far outliers compared to the opinions of other Americans. More than seven in ten Republicans (71%) report that they believe the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, compared to 23% of independents and only 5% of Democrats.

The only religious group among whom a majority believes the election was stolen are white evangelical Protestants (61%). About four in ten white mainline Protestants (40%) and white Catholics (39%) agree, but less than one in three of every other religious group say the election was stolen.

Not surprisingly, given the goal of the January 6 rioters was to keep Trump in the White House, only 7% of Americans who agree that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump blame him a lot for the violence that took place that day, compared to 78% among those who disagree that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

Among those who agree that the election was stolen from Trump, few blame white supremacist groups (24%), conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (23%), white conservative Christian groups (7%), or Republican leaders (7%). Most Americans who agree that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump place a lot of blame on liberal or left-wing activists (63%) for the violent actions of the rioters who took over the Capitol.


By contrast, majorities of Americans who disagree that the election was stolen from Donald Trump assign a lot of responsibility to white supremacist groups (74%), conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (70%), and Republican leaders (56%). They are less likely to blame white conservative Christian groups (39%) and liberal or left-wing activists (28%) for the violent actions of the rioters who took over the U.S. Capitol building on January 6.

Blame Attribution by QAnon Beliefs

Many believers of QAnon conspiracy theories participated in the Capitol siege that disrupted the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.

In this analysis, QAnon beliefs are measured based on respondents’ feelings about three statements: (1) The government, media, and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex-trafficking operation; (2) There is a storm coming soon that will sweep away the elites in power and restore the rightful leaders; and (3) Because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country. QAnon believers (17% of Americans) mostly agree with these statements, whereas doubters (48% of Americans) are generally negative toward them and rejecters (35% of Americans) strongly disagree with all three statements.[1]

Belief in QAnon conspiracies is correlated with blame attribution for the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Only about one-third or less of QAnon believers assign a lot of responsibility for the January 6 attack to white supremacist groups (36%), conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (36%), Donald Trump (30%), Republican leaders (23%), and white conservative Christian groups (18%). The only group the majority of QAnon believers hold responsible for the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 is liberal or left-wing activists (59%).

By contrast, strong majorities of QAnon rejecters assign a lot of responsibility for the violent actions of the rioters who took over the Capitol to Donald Trump (83%), white supremacist groups (78%), conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (78%), and Republican leaders (61%). Only 20% of QAnon rejecters assign a lot of responsibility for the attacks on the Capitol building to liberal or left-wing activists.


Blame Attribution by Views of the Impact of Violent Rhetoric

Nine months after the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, opinions about how much harsh and violent language in politics contributes to violent actions in society remain stable. Nearly six in ten Americans (56%) say that harsh and violent language in politics contributes “a lot” to violent actions in society today, compared to 60% in January 2021. An additional 33% say it contributes a little, slightly up from 30% in January, and only 10% say harsh and violent political language does not contribute at all to violent action, virtually the same as in January (9%).

Democrats are significantly more likely than Republicans to say that harsh and violent language contributes a lot to violent actions (75% vs. 40%), views that have not shifted significantly since January (79% and 37%, respectively). A slightly smaller majority of independents (54%) think that violent language contributes a lot to violent action today than in January (61%).

Majorities of Americans who think that harsh and violent language contributes a lot to violent actions today assign a lot of responsibility to white supremacist groups (74%), Donald Trump (74%), conservative media platforms that spread conspiracy theories and misinformation (72%), and Republican leaders (57%) for the violent actions of the rioters who took over the Capitol. Fewer assign a lot of responsibility to white conservative Christian groups (41%) or liberal or left-wing activists (37%). By contrast, among Americans who think that harsh and violent language has no influence on violent actions today, one in five or less blame any of these groups, except for liberal or left-wing activists, for the events of January 2021.


The Chasm Between Our Political Parties Revealed by the January 6 Insurrection

As the above analysis indicates, not only on specific issues related to the January 6 insurrection but also on perceptions of the link between harsh rhetoric and violent actions, we see strong asymmetric partisan polarization. Increasingly, Republicans hold views on these issues that are outliers compared to the views of other Americans. In partisan terms, political independents hold views much closer to those of Democrats than Republicans.

The chart below shows the distance between partisans and independents on several of the attitudes measured in this report: assigning blame to Donald Trump for the violent January 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol, belief that Trump is a true patriot, belief that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, belief in QAnon conspiracy theories, and beliefs in the links between harsh rhetoric and violent actions.


The gap between Democrats and Republicans on these measures is best described as a canyon. There is a 74-percentage-point difference in placing a lot of blame for violent attacks on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 on Donald Trump between Democrats (89%) and Republicans (15%). Similarly, the difference in thinking Trump is a true patriot is 72 percentage points between partisans (79% Republicans, 7% Democrats), and an astonishing 71% of Republicans think the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, compared to only 5% of Democrats. A smaller gap exists on how violent language affects violent actions, but the 35-percentage-point difference between Democrats (75%) and Republicans (40%) is still quite large. Perhaps most frightening, although the smallest gap in terms of percentage differences, nearly three times more Republicans (29%) than Democrats (9%) believe QAnon conspiracy theories. There seems to be little chance for cross-party agreement on issues involving Trump and the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Survey Methodology

The survey was designed and conducted by PRRI among a representative sample of 5,415 adults (age 18 and up) living in all 50 states in the United States, including 5,032 who are part of Ipsos’s Knowledge Panel and an additional 383 who were recruited by Ipsos using opt-in survey panels to increase the sample sizes in smaller states. Interviews were conducted online between August 9 and 30, 2021.


Respondents are recruited to the KnowledgePanel using an addressed-based sampling methodology from the Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery addresses in the U.S. As such, it covers all households regardless of their phone status, providing a representative online sample. Unlike opt-in panels, households are not permitted to “self-select” into the panel; and are generally limited to how many surveys they can take within a given time period.

The initial sample drawn from the KnowledgePanel was adjusted using pre-stratification weights so that it approximates the adult U.S. population defined by the latest March supplement of the Current Population Survey. Next, a probability proportional to size (PPS) sampling scheme was used to select a representative sample.

To reduce the effects of any non-response bias, a post-stratification adjustment was applied based on demographic distributions from the most recent American Community Survey (ACS). The post-stratification weight rebalanced the sample based on the following benchmarks: age, race and ethnicity, gender, Census division, metro area, education, and income. The sample weighting was accomplished using an iterative proportional fitting (IFP) process that simultaneously balances the distributions of all variables. Weights were trimmed to prevent individual interviews from having too much influence on the final results. In addition to an overall national weight, separate weights were computed for each state to ensure that the demographic characteristics of the sample closely approximate the demographic characteristics of the target populations. The state-level post-stratification weights rebalanced the sample based on the following benchmarks: age, race and ethnicity, gender, education, and income.

These weights from the KnowledgePanel cases were then used as the benchmarks for the additional opt-in sample in a process called “calibration.” This calibration process is used to correct for inherent biases associated with nonprobability opt-in panels. The calibration methodology aims to realign respondents from nonprobability samples with respect to a multidimensional set of measures to improve their representation.

The margin of error for the national survey is +/- 1.86 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence, including the design effect for the survey of 1.96. In addition to sampling error, surveys may also be subject to error or bias due to question wording, context, and order effects. Additional details about the KnowledgePanel can be found on the Ipsos website: https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/solution/knowledgepanel

Endnotes

[1] For more on QAnon beliefs, see PRRI’s previous report:

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