Mass Hysteria / Collective Delusion

It is not a sound assumption to believe that mass hysteria and collective delusion problems come from or result from only the uneducated. All social life, be it among the educated or uneducated, is a manifestation of a will to power; there is no reason for assuming that mass hysteria or collective delusion as social actions are exceptions to this attribute of social life. If mass hysteria and collective delusion serve some social need for the educated, it will occur and historically has occurred among them just as it has among the uneducated. In Technological Society (“T.S.”), as the educated including those calling themselves scientists are quickly realizing that their lives will be spent in a random and arbitrary world of probability and statistics in which there will be no explanation for anything but just correlations in which truth and power will consist only in the control of probabilities, they will have a need for meaning and power that cannot be satisfied by such a reality; thus, there will be fertile ground for creation of mass delusional explanation and power. The last few months of the Chinese Virus collective delusion and mass hysteria are an example of how this process works for the educated classes of T.S.

Mass hysteria and collective delusion has been a historical concept for historians and for scientists ever since the Middle Ages. The first recorded analysis of such an event is the Dancing Plague of 1518 in which the population of many villages in the Western portion of the Holy Roman Empire all of a sudden started dancing for days, many supposedly danced until they died. Though such mass hysteria and collective delusion may seem to us now as crazy and as unlikely to occur, do not be so sure. In 1954, Seattle had its Windshield Pitting Epidemic in which the population of Seattle started to believe there was some strange unknown power that was going around pitting and chipping their windshields. Was it ghosts, visitors from out of space, a right-wing conspiracy, a left-wing conspiracy, doing all this damage? There were many explanations put out and all demanded the governor and President do something about them. Within a year, all such demand eventually died down allowing for real research and investigation. Turns out, it was just normal wear and tear on windshields that no one noticed until someone did notice it and used it to sell newspapers. Though these events might sound ridiculous now, but how much different from the Seattle Windshield Pitting Epidemic is the recent Seattle delusion that it could create a small utopia or Summer of love simply by letting a bunch of radicals with guns takeover its CHAZ district and run it as a commune? Neither the Pitting nor the CHAZ epidemics were limited to the uneducated.

 
How the educated including the very well educated get caught in mass hysteria and collective delusion was first brought out to me empirically and not just historically by the Child Day Care Sex Abuse Hysteria of the late 1980’s and 1990’s. I was involved directly or indirectly for the defense team of a couple of them — the McMartin Preschool debacle in California and the Fells Acre Day Care debacles here in Massachusetts. During this time period, highly educated and wealthy but busy parents were going through the cultural transition of no longer taking care of their preschool children nor of any longer have family to take care of them — everyone was simply too busy with their careers. So, they would send their preschool children at a very early age to day-care centers to get the education and attention their children needed but they the parents did not have the time to give. As expected, the children were all very agitated by such experience that they saw as a lack of love by their parents and many became behavioral problems and developed delusions of their own about life and love. Who was to blame for these behavioral problems? Not the parents of course. All of a sudden, there occurred an explosion of accusations and prosecutions for child abuse by workers at some of these day care centers. Many innocent persons were wrongly charged and even convicted of false charges solely because a bunch of educated and wealthy parents could not accept responsibility for their bad parenting.

 
Such mass hysteria and delusion are not limited to small social groups. The argument can be made and has been made by many historians that World War I is a case of hysteria and collective delusion by what remained of the European royalty and their loyalist worshipers still in power in Europe in the early 20th Century. Without doubt, government by royalty was on its way out throughout Europe and Russia in the early part of the 20th Century. The assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria — a possible heir to the throne of Austro-Hungarian Emperor — by Serbian separatists was an unfortunate event and an insult to the Austro-Hungarian Empire but was it a threat to its sovereignty or of any other country’s sovereignty? Was it any more of a threat than the social movements throughout Europe demanding the elimination of royalty? Was it such a threat that it warranted a World War and the deaths of tens of millions of lives? No. From what I have read, the real Emperor did not even like this Archduke nephew and did not want to see him inherit his throne, so the assassin kinda did him a favor. World War I is a case of mass hysteria and collective delusion by not only the ruling classes of many countries but by the highly educated and very intelligent ruling classes and their intelligentsia and bureaucracy — they were much more educated and intelligent than almost anyone running the present ruling classes of either Europe or the United States. Given that many historians blame World War I as the foundation for World War II, we can see that the results and effects of mass hysteria and delusion among the ruling classes who in T.S. control the massive power of its technology are not something to be taken lightly.

 
In fact, much of the history of the Twentieth Century can be argued to be a series of ruling class mass delusions and hysteria. World War I (as a foundation for World War II — someday they will simply be called the 20th Century World War); fascism; communism? Just these three collective delusions are responsible for 300 – 500 million deaths. No collective delusion or hysteria by the uneducated ever reached these levels of killing.

 
This problem of ruling class social delusion and hysteria and its results and effects are only going to get worse. As I wrote previously in other essays, one of the differences between the power of the old ruling classes and the ruling class power in T.S. is that in order to maintain their power the Powers-that-be (“PTB”) of the Ancients and even up to the Age of Enlightenment were expected to maintain their power by leading at the front not just by delegation and technique. If the Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Royalty of World War I had to actually be in the trenches to fight that War in the same way Caesar, Alexander the Great, and even George Washington and Napoleon had to be, it could be argued they would not have been in such a hurry to start it nor to fight it and history would have been very different. If politicians and government employees were laid off work without pay in the same way small business owners and working class employees were thrown out during the last few months, guaranteed the lock-outs or lockdowns would have lasted for maybe a couple of weeks at worse and not for months.

 
The handling of the Chinese Virus over the last few months is a perfect example of how the problem of mass hysteria and collective delusion among the ruling classes and PTB can and most lightly will get worse. As I have analyzed in other writings, during the last few decades, science has stopped being science in the classical sense of being a source of explanation for anything. Hard science now solely provides descriptions giving pragmatic value or truth: it gives predictions that can be empirically tested and falsified. The best example of this is physics. It has two major descriptive theories worshiped by scientism: quantum mechanics and relativity. These are great theories with enormous pragmatic truth in their wordgame arenas. They are inconsistent with each other and are riddled with internal inconsistencies. So, what is the only truth physicists know about them: through proof by contradiction, they and we know they are both false and are not truthful explanations of anything outside their pragmatic value. This gets worse for the soft sciences and for a pseudo-science like virology and even for most of biology. Most of biology and almost all of virology are now stuck in the statistical and data science world of genetics whose only descriptions consist of statistical models or probability models; biology has in essence become glorified bookmaking different in degree but not in substance to the bookies at the local track or the bookmakers in Las Vegas creating odds for horse racing or for anything. Like bookies, virologists and most biologists in genetics are never proven wrong nor proven right nor can they be — if something goes wrong or right, simply change the assumptions in the statistical model so it will hopefully look aesthetically better next time. If a 50-1 horse wins, the bookie is not falsified because there is always a chance of any horse winning; but the odds of winning must be changed next time. If a 1-2 horse losses, again, the bookie is not falsified; sometimes even winners lose. Simply change the odds next time.

 
Bookies can live in such an arbitrary and random world because their goal in the end is not to be truthgivers giving explanations of why some horses win and some lose but to make money — they live in a pragmatic world firmly grounded in reality. This is not true for scientism and especially not true for those scientists who see themselves as truthgivers of explanations. They do not and cannot admit to being bookies. They are gods explaining the universe. Thus when they create a statistical model, it must be taken seriously as truth and outright dogma that negates, supercedes, or cancels out all other wordgames of reality including any opposition to their models and especially purely normative concepts such as freedom that cannot be quantified. This is a will to power need. Like the assassination of what should have been an insignificant member of a disappearing royal family, this will to power need should be at most one of countless factors used in a holistic political decision-making process and not a dispositive one. However, when this need serves and satisfies an equally fervent need for power and explanation held by a political PTB or ruling class, there is a perfect foundation for ruling class hysteria and collective delusion. Such mass hysteria and collective delusion is as qualitatively detrimental to the human soul and its freedoms as World War I was quantitatively to human population.

 
In the last few months, I have watched the people of the United States and most of Western Civilization become a bunch of sheep. They have willingly tossed away their freedom of speech, assembly, religion, petitioning of the government, and much more including losing their jobs and seemingly their economic future solely to give a bunch of bookies and the politicians who pay them a source of meaning in their selfish will-to-power lives. How sad. Hopefully at least, these same PTB will soon invent Soma so as to keep these sheep happy in their pens. “All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects.” — Aldous Huxley, “Brave New World”.

“Scientists Say …”: Scientist or Technician?

The withdrawal of philosophy into a “professional” shell of its own has had disastrous consequences. The younger generation of physicists, the Feynmans, the Schwingers, etc., may be very bright; they may be more intelligent than their predecessors, than Bohr, Einstein, Schrodinger, Boltzmann, Mach and so on. But they are uncivilized savages, they lack in philosophical depth — and this is the fault of the very same idea of professionalism which you are now defending.
— Lakatos, Imre; Feyerabend, Paul. “For and Against Method: Including Lakatos’s Lectures on Scientific Method and the Lakatos-Feyerabend Correspondence”. University of Chicago Press: Chicago, Ill. (1999) at Appendix B, 1969 letter to Feyerabend’s Berkeley philosophy chair Wallace Matson.

Not sure if Feyerabend’s above criticism is directed at philosophers or at scientists; if at scientists, it is not warranted. Even if scientists are becoming “uncivilized” technicians in the sense they lack any holistic philosophy for their scientific wordgames, given the power of science in Technological Society (TS) and its potential for abuse by the Powers-that-be (PTB), such becoming of technicians is not necessarily a bad thing. It may in fact be the only option TS gives for continuing working class struggle against the PTB by scientists as they like everyone else in TS become wages slaves. What would make it disastrous and what most likely is happening is they are becoming not only wage slave technicians but technicians for whom the wordgame of science is a religion or at least a religious cult controlled by the PTB so as to control them. With such becoming, science is no longer science but a propaganda tool and what is supposed to be its pragmatic and instrumental truth instead becomes a dogma tool for the PTB to use for their power as an end-in-itself. As contemplated in other essays, the PTB through the normative power of their ethics and its monopoly on violence that is the law create a world in their image in which power is an end-in-itself. Because science is conceptually a descriptive and empirical instrumentalist wordgame concerned only with pragmatic power over nature and not over the supernatural, it lacks normative concepts of ultimate value and thus it is inherently open to the temptation of becoming a god for those seeking power on earth; at the same time it is not open to being directly subjugated to any normative wordgames (i.e., science is just as viable a wordgame under fascism as it is in a democracy). The only way to subjugate it is by converting its wordgame into a cult or religion having a normative form of life controlled by the PTB. We saw this at work in the recent Chinese Coronavirus debacle by the use of the phrase “scientists say” as justification by authority of whatever the PTB wanted be done (“Scientists Say …”).

 
Science was never intended to be either a cult or a religion. It demands skepticism toward all teleological views of life and at worse the only non-pragmatic limitation on its instrumentalist methodology is aesthetic: “[s]ince all models are [eventually] wrong, the scientist cannot obtain a ‘correct’ one by excessive elaboration. On the contrary following William of Occam he should seek an economical description of natural phenomena. Just as the ability to devise simple but evocative models is the signature of the great scientist so overelaboration and overparameterization are often the mark of mediocrity.” — Box, G.E.P. “Science and Statistics”. Journal of the American Statistical Association, Vol. 71, No. 356 (1976). p. 792. Conceptually, the religious can be scientific wordgame players but the scientific cannot be religious wordgame players because in the latter form of life science becomes as dogmatic as religion. The religious can place aside their religious beliefs and be total skeptics while doing science because to them science is simply a tool and not their meaning in life nor an end-in-itself. However, if science is your religion, one cannot put it aside without putting aside one’s meaning in life or the end-in-itself of being a scientist. Thus for one whose religion or meaning in life is science, one cannot be a total skeptic while doing science; instead one must accept scientific concepts as the dogma of one’s religion.

 
The recent worldwide Chinese Coronavirus debacle is the most recent example of the power of this scientific conversion: something known as statistical modeling calling itself a science and calling their conclusions “scientists say” was accepted on faith and by the authority of the PTB using the word “science” to generate dogma accepted as true without skepticism. Though statistical modeling is more of a gambling methodology similar to what bookies and Wall Street do than being a scientific wordgame, statistical modelers have been calling themselves “scientists” in order to establish their normative power within the PTB and are getting away with calling what they say as “scientists say”. The problem with calling statistical modeling a science is that like so many pseudo-sciences it does not limit itself to finding correlations as data science does nor in making predictions that can be falsified such as scientists and even bookies do with their instrumental statistical modeling nor does it deal in any type of holistic reasoning. Data science comes up with many potentially pragmatically useful correlations that can be used for normative decisionmaking but it cannot value one normative decision over another nor provide an explanation for any correlation; thus it does not need holistic reasoning. Those who use data science correlations to make normative arguments are supposed to be doing the holistic reasoning (i.e, there is a 99.79% correlation between spending on science, space, and technology and suicide by hanging, therefore we should reduce such spending to reduce suicide by hanging is a sound and valid normative argument based on data science but is still holistically irrational in terms of holistic social viability.) Bookies and Wall Street change the odds in their models as win, lost, place, and other data come in so when they lose the odds are then changed so they will win and they do this holistically (i.e., bookies set odds for the whole race not just one horse and change those odds so they will win for the whole race regardless of what individual horse wins or loses or places; Wall Street hedges their bets by creating hedge funds in case their modeling fails and incorporates those hedges into their modeling). The statistical modeling of the Chinese Coronavirus however sought to explain instead of just describing; it did not just give odds and the basis for those odds but gave explanations of what is occurring and then gave normative conclusions as to what ought to be occurring to avoid what their explanations say will occur; furthermore, statistical modeling explanations are not done holistically (i.e., hedging their conclusions of virus deaths against deaths that would correlate with the effects of their conclusions).

 
Unfortunately, any explanation and normative conclusion can be supported by statistical modeling if the necessary premises for that explanation and conclusion are assumed in the modeling. In statistical modeling as with all wordgames that want to explain instead of just describe, we can make 2+2=5 as long as we assume the premise that the first 2 in any equation equals 3 and hope no one notices in the convoluted mess of numbers and premises that will be given to hoi polloi. What really happens with statistical models that are treated as science is that if their explanations and conclusions are aesthetically pleasing and are presented so that the PTB can use them to generate fear and achieve more power, they are dogmatically accepted as truth through the authority of the PTB and its use of the words “scientists say”. Thus, what are supposed to be just wordgame models of what could happen if all the assumed premises are accurate are treated as scientific dogma in a religious sense based on authority without the chance or ability for anyone outside the PTB to review or challenge the soundness and validity of the modeling — i.e., the PTB shutdown the world in the name of “scientists say” and for the common good when really it was just a few scientists say and for power as an end-in-itself for the PTB. Most of the world complied with this shutdown order without even seeing the data let alone without analyzing it and actually doing the math — most likely the vast majority could not do the math even if they had seen the data and premises. The authority of “scientists say” and the PTB is accepted in the same way one accepts the religious dogma of a religion in which one has faith. See “Scientists Say …”

 
Conceptually, can we have science in TS without it also being a religion? Yes, we can. But, whether TS will allow for such or whether it can occur without acceptance of nihilism as a morality is an additional question. Consider the following statements:

It is a dogma of the Roman Church that the existence of God can be proved by natural reason. Now this dogma would make it impossible for me to be a Roman Catholic. If I thought of God as another being like myself, outside myself, only infinitely more powerful, then I would regard it as my duty to defy him.

If you want to quarrel with God, that means you have a false concept of God. You are superstitious. You have an incorrect concept when you get angry with fate. You should rearrange our concepts. Contentment with your fate ought to be the first command of wisdom.

— “Doubt, Ethics and Religion: Wittgenstein and the Counter-Enlightenment”. Edited by Luigi Perissinotto Ontos Verlag: New Brunswick, NJ. (2013) p. 45 & n. 4.

At first glance, these statements seem to have nothing to do with science in TS but this first impression is inaccurate. I place them here because they give a foundation for further contemplation by any reader of the essays here on the nature of science in its TS form in which its technicians are expected by the PTB to have science as their religion.

 
As with anything proposed by the PTB, if the PTB say that the nature of the universe, its beginning, its existence, and its future can be explained by the instrumentalist and reasoning of science or of anything pragmatic, working class wage slave technicians as with anything promoted by the PTB should immediately be suspicious — if they want to continue the working class struggle against the PTB that is. If they do not but are willing to accept the end of class struggle and thus of history, of course, it does not matter as nothing else about TS would matter if one does not care. Science as religion as with any religion does not change the nihilist nature of the universe: it is meaningless; there is no truth or knowledge other than knowing my existence; and it has no ultimate value until the nihilist gives it meaning and value by a leap to belief in meaning and value for it.

 

The PTB want their scientists to be religious: believing in the god of science and thus not seeing themselves as technicians but as followers and believers of a true faith. They control this true faith as they control all other faiths in TS. Forget them. Forget Feyerabend’s, Ellul’s, Sartre’s, and many other intellectuals’ ridicule of technicians as somehow uncivilized hoi polloi or as inauthentic waiters. Reject this religion they promote. Nihilistically reject it all and them. Go ahead and accept your fate of being an uncivilized technician free of secular religion and secular religious dogma and thus free to be skeptical of all who claim to know not only the nature of life and the universe but of what you ought to be doing with your life. If you are going to believe in something, let it be something to which you leap not something to which the PTB want you to leap so they can have power over you in their heaven on earth they seek to create in their image. With such freedom of skepticism you will be more of a scientist than any who accept by authority what “scientists say”. Remember, God is the ultimate nihilist.

 
I will end this essay with another statement that hopefully will promote thought on the present and future of the scientific language wordgame in TS:

Let them have their belief, if it gives them joy. Let them also give talks about that. ‘We touch the infinite!’ And some people say … ‘Ya ya, he says he touches the infinite.’ And some people say ‘Ya ya! He says he touches the infinite!’ But to tell the little children in school, ‘Now that is what the truth is,’ that is going much too far.

— (Horgan, J. (2016) “Was philosopher Paul Feyerabend really science’s “worst enemy”? Scientific American, Vol. 24, October. Retrieved from: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/was-philosopher-paul-feyerabend-really-science-s-worst-enemy/)

“Scientists Say …”

The truly apocalyptic view of the world is that things do not repeat themselves. It isn’t absurd, e.g., to believe that the age of science and technology is the beginning of the end for humanity; that the idea of great progress is a delusion; along with the idea that the truth will ultimately be known; that there is nothing good or desirable about scientific knowledge and that mankind, in seeking it, is falling into a trap. It is by no means obvious that this is not how things are. — Wittgenstein, Ludwig. “Culture and Value”. Trans., P. Winch. U. Of Chicago Press (Chicago, Ill. 1980) p. 56.

A common propaganda tool in TS (Technological Society) is to quote science or some scientist as support for whatever explicit or implicit normative values one may be proposing. This technique has become very obvious in the recent virus lock-down propaganda battles in which almost any soundbite or headline of value will begin with the phrase: “Scientists say …”. To anyone experienced in what scientists actually say, this phrase is immediate warning that whatever sentences follow this phrase should be viewed with skepticism at a minimum and perhaps with outright doubt. The reality of any so-called science that really is a science and not a pseudo-science pretending to be a science or an outright fraudulent science is that “scientists” do not “say” much of anything but “some scientists” say one thing and “some scientists” disagree with them often by concluding the exact opposite. Holistically, this disagreement through critical thought is used eventually to reach pragmatic truth: that is, not true or false propositions but sentences that solve the problem about which the scientists are arguing. The acceptance of this skeptical almost nihilist epistemic reality for science and then being able to continue doing science in a leap to hope of eventually achieving non-pragmatic knowledge is what makes the scientist more than just a technician.

 
As I have contemplated and argued in more detail elsewhere, scientific language is instrumentalist language. It does not deal in true or false sentences in the classical propositional sense but in sentences that are pragmatically true or false: they either work or do not work to solve a problem. Science does not give explanations of reality, it gives descriptions of reality that can be falsified and thus in a world lacking knowledge are used to achieve useful solutions to problems. As with reason, scientific language is a great tool and a great pragmatic improvement on normative descriptive language — especially that of ultimate value — which can only say what the world ought to be and gives no way of getting there nor even lets us know if there is a way of getting there. Though, ultimately, it is no more useful in giving life meaning than any other language. “We feel that even if all possible scientific questions be answered, the problems of life have still not been touched at all. Of course there is then no question left, and just this is the answer.” Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus at Prop. 6.52.

 
Real scientists disagree and are natural skeptics on everything. Everything that non-scientists assume as scientific truths are really only isolated sentences in a vast holistic collection of sets of inconsistent and incomplete hypotheses that are always subject to be proven false by the parameters of a future experiment. This is as true of the present so-called “hard” sciences as it is of the so-called “soft” sciences — many of which are not really sciences since many of their premises and descriptive sentences are tautologies that can never be falsified (i.e., evolution). The physicist Ernest Rutherford once said, “[a]ll science is either physics or stamp collecting.” Well, those glory days may be gone even for physics whose physicists are now stuck in a convoluted mess of contradictory and incomplete theories in which they must make up words such as “dark matter” and “dark energy” to hide the fact they do not know what makes up 95% of the universe. If pressed, most physicists at least would admit the mess in which they are. Such admission would most definitely not come from those who worship science (or concepts such as evolution) as the ultimate explanation of all that is life. The fact of the matter is that all science may become stamp collecting eventually if the technicians of science continue to have their way and allow propagandists to use them and scientists as tools in propaganda by allowing the propagandists to get away with saying “scientists say” as if they all say the same thing and by treating science either as dogmatic or worse as a discipline that is decided by consensus.

 
For an age that loves storytelling, there is an almost universally known and simple story that attacks this propaganda technique and shows it as the fraud it is: Galileo and his heliocentric theory of the solar system. In the 16th century, the almost universal consensus among scientists accepted an ergocentric model of the solar system in which everything revolved around the earth as first described by Ptolemy a couple of thousand years earlier. A small minority including Galileo argued for a heliocentric model in which the earth revolved around the sun as proposed by Aristarchus of Samos a couple of thousand years earlier. The Catholic Church had a trial; the scientists came to present their evidence; Galileo had no opposing evidence or experts since he lacked the necessary mathematics at that time; and thus deciding the science by scientific consensus, the Church ordered Galileo to stop teaching his heliocentric theory as foundational truth but allowed him to continue contemplation of it as theory — which eventually allowed him to develop the mathematics to make his heliocentric model become the dominant consensus. Thanks to Einstein, we now know they were all wrong and both theories have been falsified; space and motion are relative, either model would work but the heliocentric one is much simpler mathematically and thus it is accepted as true pragmatically. Now that the consensus of physicists accepts Einstein’s mathematical models as descriptive, are they foundationally true and not subject to doubt? They better not be so accepted or physics is no longer a science but stamp collecting.

 
Getting into serious analysis and contemplation of the nature of scientific language may be beyond the capabilities and skills of many who quote what “scientists say” but it should not be if one is going to go around treating such phrases as dogmatic authority. The Galileo story is a simple and readily available means to understand what is going on if there were a genuine desire to understand what is going on by those who propagate the “scientists say” propaganda and by those who blindly or dogmatically accept it as true. Even if one is not able to look up the data and do the math, if one is going to read any “scientists say” propaganda should one at least be honest enough to know there must be disagreement out there by opposing scientists and should one not be so lazy as to avoid finding it and contemplating it? As always, what should be and what is are very different and incompatible. The dishonesty and the laziness of accepting “scientists say” propaganda exists and is the norm, this is why the phrase is so powerful and omnipresent by the Powers-that-be (PTB). As I have contemplated elsewhere, this dishonesty and laziness are the unavoidable reality of TS because there is a need to make science a religion. I have argued that the only way to deal with this TS reality is by accepting nihilism as a morality. But, how would this work with scientists themselves? Can scientists avoid being used and useful as propaganda tools through nihilism?

 
The philosopher of science Paul Feyeraband wrote in a letter:

The withdrawal of philosophy into a “professional” shell of its own has had disastrous consequences. The younger generation of physicists, the Feynmans, the Schwingers, etc., may be very bright; they may be more intelligent than their predecessors, than Bohr, Einstein, Schrodinger, Boltzmann, Mach and so on. But they are uncivilised savages, they lack in philosophical depth – and this is the fault of the very same idea of professionalism which you are now defending.

Though I would not go as far as calling modern and post-modern physicists uncivilized savages; but, just as with philosophers, their need to make language — in the case of physicists, it would be the language of mathematics — more real than reality does threaten to convert them from scientists not only to technicians but to technicians who do not care if what they say becomes propaganda for the PTB. Is there a way to avoid such conversion? I will argue next — consistent with my arguments before — that acceptance by scientists of nihilism as a morality is the only way to avoid such conversion of a scientist to being a technician that worships science as one’s religion.

Why Does God Hate the Poor: Virus Supplemental Part IV

The creation of Man whom God in His foreknowledge knew doomed to sin was the awful index of God’s omnipotence. For it would have been a thing of trifling and contemptible ease for Perfection to create mere perfection. To do so would, to speak truth, be not creation but extension. Separateness is identity and the only way for God to create, truly create, man was to make him separate from God Himself, and to be separate from God is to be sinful. The creation of evil is therefore the index of God’s glory and His power. That had to be so that the creation of good might be the index of Man’s glory and power. But by God’s help. By His help and in His wisdom. Robert Penn Warren. “All The King’s Men” at pp. 658-59 (Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt: N.Y., N.Y. 1996).

As stated in Part I of this series of essays, the last few weeks of mass hysteria have given me an opportunity to re-read Robert Penn Warren’s magnum opus partly quoted above and to apply its conclusion and the mass hysteria to the original question of a previous longer series of essays in this blog: Why Does God Hate the Poor? Prologue / Part I? My original answer written several essays ago was:

He hates the poor because He can. He is the ultimate power and can do whatever He wants. In fact, since She acts by necessity, She must do whatever She wants. If you could choose your acts and had the power to do whatever you want, you would choose to exercise the power to do whatever you want. God acts by necessity, not from incompleteness requiring choice. He is what He is and can be. Why does God hate the Poor: The Answer

I then went on to ask and to decide if the answer matters or changes anything. My conclusion was that in the big scheme of things, it really does not. Why does God hate the Poor: Does the Answer matter?  As a result of the last few weeks, have my conclusions changed any?

 
Warren’s words are a true thing of beauty. In a few sentences, he has summarized libraries of theological verbiage. But, there are problems. The most relevant to the topic of this blog is that God may have created a God-less universe, but God most definitely did not create a god-less universe. Whatever help and wisdom She is granting creation, it appears to be limited or preferentially handed out only to the gods that make up a tiny portion of creation — by any measure they should be insignificant or at least of no greater power than anyone else but this is most certainly not the case. There is a hierarchy of help and wisdom resulting in a hierarchy of power that can be seen and described in words but not explained.

 
For the lifeless portion of the universe, be it made up of dark matter, dark energy, atomic particles that may or may not exist except when we observe them, numbers that are more real than the waves of nothing they describe, or whatever, in its benign inertness there is no “help” or “wisdom”. The non-living universe spends its entire existence exploding so that it can then come back together to explode again — unless it just explodes back into the nothingness from which it came. It created life so that immediately after this creation it can begin trying to kill it and life can begin trying to survive. Is a virus alive or a form of life or is it just one of the countless things in the universe seeking to kill life? More likely, a “virus” is an example of how words are a form of life by giving order and meaning through social construction of language to the meaningless inertness that is the universe.

 
What about whatever we can agree upon as being life or alive? Does it have help and wisdom in some form?

 

 

Things are not much better for non-human life than it is for the universe. Considering a virus either to be or not to be life would not do much to change its existence just as it does not do much for other non-human life. For non-human life, it spends its entire existence not much better than the universe: explodes into life, hunts and kills each other for life, and then dies. Fortunately, non-human life does not appear to be self-conscious that this is their existence so they are free of the pain of this existential knowing.

 
How about human lives? Is there any help or wisdom there? The last few weeks like all historic events prove there is some help and wisdom available to human life if you are one of the few with the power to define “help” and “wisdom” so as to maximize the power of the few doing the defining. As with any words, “help” and “wisdom” are socially constructed relevant to the needs of a social group. The social construction of the meanings of these words is ultimately controlled by a small proportion — more accurately described as a handful — of individuals who have the power recursively to define “help” and “wisdom” or at best randomly and arbitrarily to define them axiomatically. Both definitions are done through their will to power and not based on any objective truth that exists independently of their will to power. God’s help or wisdom is granted to a few and not to “Man” or to any significant portion of Man. Just as with everything from the first tribes on earth to the World Wars of the 20th Century and the pandemic of the last few weeks, a few decided what the rest of us ought to do and then we do it. If we do not like it, we used to be able to leave but even leaving is not allowed anymore. The gods speak about choice but that is all nonsense. For most of humanity, the choice is work or go to jail; in the last few weeks, for some the choice was stay home or go to jail. The will to power of these few gods not only defines what constitutes God’s help and wisdom but goes on to create the aesthetics allowing them to pretend they are not acting as gods in a hierarchy of power but with the consent of those over whom they exercise their random and arbitrary godly power. The aesthetics consist of words such as: rule of law, social contract, will of the people, universal rights, social justice, and all the other social constructions aesthetically created to keep our Heart of Darkness in check so that the gods may rule.

 
Is that what all of this is about? A God-less creation means we are all “sinful” with this Heart of Darkness but it would be easy to forget this if we were all in fact gods with a power to create a world in our image. Maybe there are only a few gods so that only a few have the temptation to forget they are God-less. Is this the help and wisdom provided for most of us: to deny us a temptation we would most certainly not be able to resist and thus deny us failure?

 

 

I do not know the answer. In the end, I am stuck with agnosia but I do not like it and most definitely do not love it. I hate it. I must accept it to survive but hate it with my whole heart, mind, and soul.  Given this agnosia and the act of will required to deal with it, the answer to my question does not really matter as at best it will be aesthetics as is Warren’s answer. At that point, even the question does not matter. Asking the question pretty much answers it as it is a dead end.

 

It is this new school agnosia that is the biggest problem with the beauty of Warren’s above epigram: the beauty created by Warren through the use and usefulness of words hides the ugliness of not knowing. As with all aesthetics, it is tempting to believe the words have something to do with a reality beyond the will to power of Warren or of any writer or other master of aesthetics but nihilists must resist this temptation. There is no “Man”, “creation”, “life”, “beauty”, “good”, “evil”, or any other words that can be used to ask my question or to answer it in reality other than in the reality of words. We created words, not God. There are six billion or so individual conscious lives on earth but there is no thing that is “life” on earth. For each, actual reality comes into existence when each individual soul becomes conscious of their existence and ceases when their consciousness ceases. Objective reality and truth may in fact exist before or after their consciousness and before and after my consciousness but it does not matter to the individual who is not around to be conscious of it; they also do not matter in a world of new school Technological Society agnosia lacking any non-pragmatic meaning for truth and most definitely lacking any for objective truth. Of objective reality and truth, all I know is nothing — not “nothingness” but actually nothing. There are six billion answers to my question — more accurately, there are six billion questions with six billion different answers. The answer to my question and even the question does not matter because both are an act of will by each of those six billion and not an act of reason. Whether one makes a leap to faith in the “glory and power of God” or a leap to the rejection of that faith, it is all a will to power leap to meaning in life as random and arbitrary as is life. Reason is a tool for making that leap work but it can give no reason for justifying any such leaps nor even for questioning them or answering any questioning of them.

Picking Your Battles

History is class struggle, but within this class struggle exist the individual struggles that make up our lives. In these individual struggles, one must pick and choose the right battles to fight or not to fight in order to have any chance to survive getting involved in the class struggle. There is an interesting historical anecdote about General Robert E. Lee regarding his life after the Civil War. At a mass at his local Southern Episcopal Church right after the War, at communion time the first person to get in line to receive communion was an elderly Black man recently freed from slavery as a result of the War; this was the congregation’s first encounter with the supposedly new integrated South and it simply sat in stunned silence with no one knowing what to do. Until, one elderly but distinguished man got up from his pew and got into line behind the Black man; then, others joined the communion line. According to the story, the man second in line was the recently discharged veteran General Lee. At some point, even after the greatest and most hateful of struggles, if one actually believes in life more than death as meaning in life, one has got to let go and get on with life. Unlike the concepts of race and racism, getting involved in language self-identity battles — be they sex, gender, feminist, or whatever — are not battles worth fighting and should be let go quickly if begun. Once one accepts that language including its words and the meaning of its words is a social construct, it is conceptually inconsistent, holistically illogical, and practically hypocritical and wasteful to engage in individual battles of self-identity either with the proverbial Self or any of the so-called Other or Others and to get involved with self-identity politics unless they have a class struggle component. Fighting worthless battles distracts and detracts from the class struggle that really does ultimately identify and define us.

 
I have contemplated elsewhere the reality of self-identity. The existential reason for one’s existence that makes up one’s soul or the spiritual reality of the proverbial Self precedes the social construction of language and is not something of which we can speak in language — except perhaps at best indirectly or implicitly through the illusions and delusions of aesthetics. The battle for one’s soul and its demons will always be a private battle fought in silence. But, the unfortunate or fortunate reality is also that the meaning of the words “one’s self-identity” or anything similar trying to mean the self-identity of the Self is a social construction created by social construction through the Self’s struggles with Others and by struggles among Others. It is fortunate that there is no self-identified purely private self-identity because if there really were a “self-identity” created only by the Self, there will be no way to avoid solipsism and the possibility that we spend our whole lives talking to ourselves — either as a mind of ideas or as a material brain in a vat. The unfortunate reality is that “one’s self-identity” is what society says it is; you are what Others say you are even if your Self disagrees with it. It is only through the social construction of language that we know we are not alone. Take away social behavior and its resulting language in either direct form or indirect form such as by the experience that makes up memory and there is nothing remaining of “self-identity”. The unfortunate and fortunate reality is that if society and its social construction of language call you or name your identity as a wimp, tomboy, feminine male, masculine female, A or B type personality, as Blackness or Whiteness or whatever race, or as whatever, regardless of how distasteful you find it or how much you dislike being called such words, those words are your identity including your self-identity.

 
Can you try to change your self-identity created by social construction? Yes, struggling for such change is an option. At one time, a social construct “feminine male” for example would start lifting weights, getting involved in physical sports, and be socially aggressive in order to change how social construction identifies them. Now, the option exists to do actual physical surgery converting the physical appearance of someone in order to avoid the “feminine male” identity. The same is true for the reverse. It may work, but it may not. It may occur, as is occurring now, that the concept of “feminine male” will be phased out, be considered bigoted, and replaced by concepts such as transgender or one of the many new socially constructed genders; or, the entire social construct process of assigning feminine and masculine attributes may eventually be phased out in favor of unisex attributes. This latter progression is not that unusual in English because English lacks the grammatical genders contained in Romance Languages such as Latin, French, Italian, and so forth. Unlike these languages, many of our English words and their meanings are and have always been unisex. (As always, the French post-modern and other continental intelligentsia and their worshipers here in American intelligentsia who are so quick to criticize and ridicule English and American language use and usefulness should look at their own glass houses first before throwing stones at ours.) In which case, your new social construct self-identity may be transgender or apparently whatever you want it to be seems to be the new language fad. Regardless, no one controls their self-identity, it is controlled by what social construction is willing to accept. It may be willing to accept only two genders, it may be willing to accept six billion genders; either way, your self-identity is what society and especially its ruling class says it is. Sure you can disagree with it and thus add to the struggle that is life, but is it worth the battle? Is it worth the battle for your Self to fight with the Others who are struggling with their self-identity?

 
Whether one needs or wants to fight their social construct self-identity is a personal struggle all individuals should be free to make. Frankly, if “acceptance” of your self-identity requires that you physically or surgically start cutting off or cutting out healthy parts of your healthy body, I would suggest that you would be better off in acceptance of your social construct self-identity and in the forgetting of whatever your Self’s self-identity may be; however, ultimately, it is your body and your decision to make and you will get no struggle from me on making it.

 
However, what about when this self-identity struggle becomes a public struggle? That is, what about when individuals start demanding social support and perhaps social expenditure upon their individual struggle to change their socially constructed self-identity? This is when intelligent choices need to be on what battles to fight and which not to fight. The guide to use is: first, determine how the battle will affect class struggle; then, if there will be no adverse effect or it will be minimal, go onto more important battles and let the individuals struggle and perhaps even change social construct self-identities.

 
Perfect examples of how this process ought to work are the present ongoing feminist demands and resulting disputes on whether transgenders and the like will be allowed to compete athletically with their social construct opposites or to use their bathrooms — such as allowing transgender females to compete in women’s sports and to use women’s bathrooms and the reverse though the reverse seems to be much less common. This is simply a battle not worth fighting. If feminists really want transgender females to compete in women’s sports, let them. The worse that can happen is that the transgender females will win. This is not a class struggle; if women have a problem with feminists advocating and successfully getting want they want in society, let them work it out among themselves. Similarly, there is the issue of bathroom use. Feminists want transgender females to use female bathrooms, fine, let them. If this is a problem, let them work it out among themselves, it is not a class struggle. I have no problem with a transgender male using a male bathroom with me; compared to some of the things I saw in public bathrooms growing up in the Chicago area and while in the Navy, I doubt this would even raise an eyebrow if I saw it (try imagining what a Navy shipboard crew’s head looks like after sanitary tanks were inadvertently blown inboard instead of outboard — not a pretty site or smell). If you are concerned about a daughter who might not feel safe in such a public bathroom with a transgender female, teach her to deal with it as necessary. A truly independent woman should be able to deal with and know how to feel and be safe in a lot worse things and experiences in life then what may be or may not be a dude using her public restroom. When the feminists start feeling unsafe in their bathrooms, they will quickly abandon the transgender source of their discomfort anyway and amend feminist dogma so as to oppose it.

 
The same is usually true of most feminist struggles: better just give them what they want and avoid the battle. Feminists want women to be treated equally as men treat each other? Fine, treat them so. Men treat each other very badly is the reality of the patriarchy; if feminists want the same treatment, fine. Such surrender to the feminist struggle is much better than the present state of affairs in which feminists want and usually get all the benefits of being in control of a patriarchy without any of the adversities. They want forced affirmative action so that 50% of all professions such as doctors, lawyers, and academics are women; fine, use the same force also to make 50% of all soldiers, sailors, and first responders women.

 
One self-identity battle that is worth fighting is the self-identity politics of Whiteness and Blackness. Here we are 150 years after General Lee got in line beyond someone identified at the time as a Black man; it is universally accepted that race defined by skin color is an unnecessary social construct so that no man or any person should any longer be identified as Black or White; and yet concepts such as Blackness and Whiteness are still fueling all sorts of trouble and racism. They do so because race and racism not only are social constructs maintaining a ruling class but are also economic social constructs that make money for the ruling class and its intelligentsia thus not only conceptually but materially are empowering the ruling class. As I have written in other essays, sycophants and intellectual proletariats such as Ta-Nehisi Coates get rich and become ruling class elitists by complaining about race and racism and would be nothing without them; thus, they have no incentive to eliminate them, and they promote new school race and racism as the source of meaning for their lives. “Race is more than a biological category or a social category. It has become an industry, with its own infrastructure, branches, incentives and agendas.” — Sowell, Thomas. Intellectuals and Race. p. 128. Fighting both the old school racism of the past and the new school racism of the present new school racists such as Coates and the like is not an individual struggle of self-identity but class struggle that must be fought.

Water As A Person, Huh?

I recently inadvertently came across an article in the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law arguing for treatment of water as a person under the law in order to give it many if not all of the protections granted persons under the law. I skimmed it and had a good laugh but it then occurred to me how this article is a good exemplification or microcosm of the nature of modern language and of various topics in the philosophy of language such as the absence of any “meaning” for words other than their use and usefulness in any given context.

 
For the moment, water most definitely does not fall into any meaning of “person” except in an aesthetic sense created by poets or rhetoric. However, the same could have been said at one time for entities, concepts, attributes, or things such as corporations, unincorporated companies and associations, trusts, municipalities, states, and even the European Union which is now considered a “person” under much of European law. Hell, even rivers are recognized as persons in some African national legal systems and in tribal legal systems in other countries — even New Zealand does it for one of their rivers in respect of Maori tribal law worshiping a specific river as an ancestor. So, why not add water to the list of human and non-human entities recognized as persons by the law? Why stop at water? Why not treat fire, mountains, the sky, or anything else needing legal protection as a person? The Maori culture historically also worships ritual warfare, slavery, cannibalism, sexual abuse of women, killing of female children, and revenge killings, why does not New Zealand recognize any of these as persons needing respect under the law? Obviously, the cultural process by which words change meaning is convoluted yet it is amazing and impressive how smoothly and quickly such changes can occur when those in power want to change the meaning of words — even when the changes encompass or assume radical changes both in the background and in the foundation metaphysics and physics of reality. An obvious example of such radical changes in both metaphysics and physical conceptualizations of reality is the recent popular and very powerful adoption of radical changes in both metaphysical and physical meanings of the words “gender” and “sex” over a period of only the last few years. Despite this convoluted process, there can be described two universal aspects to this process of meaning change brought out by this simple example of water beginning its path to becoming a person: 1) it results from an teleological act of a will to power not from logical reasoning nor is it derived from sense experience; 2) the resulting change in meaning though it relies upon physical and metaphysical assumptions does not embody either physical or metaphysical foreknowledge — that is regardless of how ethically and thus aesthetically pleasing the change in meaning may be, the change in meaning will not necessarily change reality to meet the teleological motivations for the change so as to be pragmatically or even naturally true.

 
Reasoning does not care what specific premises, axioms, or whatever assumptions are used to begin one’s reasoning. Reasoning is at best a process or methodology for preserving truth however one defines truth not for gaining knowledge of truth. If one starts with true premises, axioms, or assumption, sound reasoning will preserve that truth and valid reasoning will assure it is impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false. However, reasoning cannot guarantee one is starting the reasoning process with truth.

 
Nothing in reality or sense experience requires an axiom, premise, or assumption treating water as a person. If one believes water needs to be treated as a person, for whatever reasons one believes this, this set or context of beliefs gives one the teleological or normative goal of having the use and usefulness of the word “water” be the same as the use or usefulness of the word “person” within that context or set of beliefs. The ultimate goal is to give water the same power as a person in our reasoning. If this act of will has the power of violence upon others, especially a monopoly on violence such as the law, this act of will can be compelled upon others to force them to have the same belief in water as a person in order to achieve the teleological or normative goals for the change in meaning. For example, the argument for treating water as a person usually begins with the premises that water is necessary for all persons to live and to enjoy life and that the abundance and purity of water is being threatened by technological pollution of water thus threatening human life. These premises can be derived directly from sense experience. There are then an uncountable number of conceptual options for dealing with these empirical problems. One option is the teleological or normative goal of treating water as a person legally, ethically, or even pragmatically. This is a creative option that is both aesthetically and normative pleasing but is not derived from sense experience but derived existentially and conceptually in the same holistic way we derive “I am therefore I think” and “I think therefore I want more than just thinking” as I have contemplated in other essays. Acceptance of this creative option creates the law and ethics and even the facts to justify itself and not the other way around: the conclusion and supporting facts are created by the act of will wanting water to be a person in the same way any act of will is created. It is not the case that facts lead to the teleological normative goal but the facts are created to justify that goal. An explanation of the creation of this act of will is not something of which we can speak within any language wordgame other than that of intention and will because this existential act of will precedes language as I have contemplated in other essays

 

Even the simple act of will of raising my left arm at this precise moment cannot be explained empirically or conceptually in any way but as an act of will or intentional act. Science can talk all it wants about neurons in the brain being activated that then activate electrical and chemical signals in nerves that extend into my arm but none of these explanations describe why or how “I” activated the neurons to begin this process of raising my left arm nor the nature of this “I” that started this process of raising my hand.

 
Once our act of will successfully leads to a change in meaning, the change will not necessarily change reality so as to achieve the teleological or normative goal for making the change — though it might. Reality is still what it is and we cannot lose sight of this fact. Conceptually, at present “person” has more power than “water”. By making water a person, though this raises the power of water to equality with a person in our conceptualization of reality, because all power is relative this equality means reducing the power of person to the same as that of water in our conceptualization of reality. What effect this will to power for water at the expense of person will have on the pragmatics of our conceptualization of reality is an unknown. Just as when the Supremes in their wisdom made corporations “persons” for many constitutional purposes, this change in meaning strengthened the power of corporations but weakened that of persons in the sense that persons were no longer more powerful than corporations. Perhaps the best example of such distinction is abortion. Making a “fetus” mean the same as “choice” is a result of the teleological normative goal of giving a pregnant woman the power of life or death over a certain form of life. The reality of that form of life and its death have not changed by this change in meaning and the final effect of such a change in meaning upon a society that allows and enforces it by violence is unknown. As the philosopher Thomas Nagel said about evolutionary explanations for morality:

Even if we took the most optimistic view possible, and assumed that in general men’s consciences have been approximately molded by evolutionary forces, the best we could hope for is that they should lay down principles which have been useful. Unlike the God it has replaced, natural selection cannot be supposed to possess or to embody foreknowledge.

If the human race perishes in a nuclear war, it may well be (although there will be no one alive to say it) that scientific beliefs did not, in a sufficiently long time scale, promote “survival”. Yet that will not have been because the scientific theories were not rationally acceptable, but because our use of them was irrational. In fact, if rationality were measured by survival-value, then the proto-beliefs of the cockroach, who has been around for tens of millions of years longer than we, would have a far higher claim to rationality than the sum total of human knowledge.

 

We can see these two aspects present and being ignored in the recent and ongoing arguments for the meaning of “sex” and “gender”. Empirically, the word gender was taken from linguistics and incorporated into problems dealing with differences among the male and female sexes by psychiatrists dealing with individuals who were hermaphrodites, androgynous, or had other unusual sexual characteristics such as bodies that appear female but have XY chromosomes. As with all words, even the word “sex” commonly used to mean a distinct biological male/female distinction has some vagueness and ambiguity as is true of all words because language is a social construct whose meaning is dependent on the context of its use and usefulness. Empirically and scientifically, defining sex involves many factors of physical attributes, chemicals in the body, and even conceptual genetic combinations that are not as clear and distinct as is commonly assumed. We could have more than two biological sexes: 1) male; 2) female; 3) hermaphrodites; 4) intersex (androgynous); 5) gonadal dysgenesis (women with xy chromosomes); 6) infertile persons; and probably some more if we really wanted them.

 
No one wanted more than two and there was no reason to do so until the 1970’s when feminists picked up on this sex/gender distinction to try to break the association of what they considered to be socially constructed male behaviourial characteristics with the male sex and of what they considered to be socially constructed female behaviourial characteristics with the female sex. As with the water/person meaning change, this feminist theory had a teleological normative goal of empowering the female sex by eliminating what they considered to be an unequal power balance in favor of the male sex so as to supposedly equalize power between the sexes. Regardless of whether one disputes the soundness or validity of their arguments, in the last few years these arguments and their teleological normative goals have been accepted by the law, academia, and ethics along with the assumed metaphysics and physics that justifies the change in meaning of gender for now but eventually also for sex. As I wrote in my previous essay Not Utopian But Heavenly, the ultimate goal of this assumed dogmatic metaphysics and physics appears to be not a utopia but a heaven on earth socially constructed consisting of angelic humans equal sexually because there will be no sex. Thanks to this teleological process taking over the monopoly on violence called the law, such a genderless and sexless society in which everyone is their own gender creating their own sex seems to be our future for the foreseeable future absence some catastrophe or revolution.

 
What effect will these changes in meaning for sex and gender have upon reality? Despite everyone involved pretending to know, just as no one knows what the result of making water a person will be, no one really knows what the result will be of  changing the meanings of sex and gender will be. Despite our inability unambiguously to define “sex” empirically as is true for all definitions because all words are vague social constructs, in all known sense experience there are two and only two sexes for purposes of reproduction which is a fairly important aspect of reality. These two — male and female sexes — are necessary for persons to reproduce and thus for societies to continue living. Heaven may be sexless but heaven does not need physically to reproduce. Even for test tube babies we need a male and a female contribution to the tube. Of course, life was not always divided into male and female. For hundreds of millions of years and perhaps billions of years, life consisting of single cell and even multiple cell individual lives reproduced and prospered without two sexes or any sex, there was only individuals. This seems to be the future desired by those who presently control our social will to power to change meaning in the wordgame language of sex and gender: a world of individuals defining their own sex and gender. The Powers have the will to power to achieve this just as they soon will be doing with the wordgame language of water and person, but will this change in language succeed in changing reality? If reality does not go along with our language telling it what to do, what then? Maybe the proto-beliefs of the cockroach will give them the last laugh on all of us.

Evolution

One item left out of my last essay complaining about delusions that have taken over political debate is the concept of evolution. It is such an assumed part of life that even I assume it as a given that it is a useful concept. Everything from a single cell to the most convoluted questions of mind and body and of social and cultural states of affairs are described as having “evolved” or as the result of evolution. Except in esoteric areas of analytic philosophy dealing with epistemology and philosophy of science and among very abstract theoretic biologists and chemists, no one bothers to question why such a concept serves as a truly universal explanation of almost everything in life: the reason evolution is a god that can explain everything and anything is because the concept of “evolution” is a tautology. Tautologies are aesthetically beautiful and powerful because they are always necessarily true explanations of everything and can be used as premises in any argument because they will always be a true premise.

 

However, in science, tautologies are bad conceptually because they cannot be falsified. By any definition of science, something that cannot be falsified is not and cannot be a science regardless of its truth: i.e., “all bachelors are unmarried males” is undisputedly and clearly true, it is not science. Real scientists such as physicists are keenly aware of this problem. So for example, there is an ongoing dispute in physics presently as to whether the universal constant “c” that is the speed of light is a tautology. The present protocol for measuring time and distance are based on atomic oscillations within the cesium atom. The unit of time is defined by the frequency of atomic transitions in cesium atoms, and the unit of space is defined in terms of the distance traveled by light in that same unit of time. So, therefore c is essentially defined “one light-year per light-year”, i.e. The Physics Detective. Some philosophers of science have been making this argument since Newtonian physics were discovered or created (depends on your metaphysics). Since we measure the universe by distance and time with both measurements requiring parameters measured visually, the nature of vision must be a constant? Resolution of this issue is above my pay grade. But, this serves to exemplify the need to be aware of tautologies if one wants to call a concept “science” or to be a science.

 

In its humble beginnings, evolution was tautologically defined by “natural selection” in On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. Because “natural selection,” “preservation of favored races”, and “struggle for life” all reduce to the same concept once we accept that “struggle” includes reproduction as well as survival — as everyone does and must do for evolution to be an explanation. These humble beginnings were quickly forgotten as evolutionary biologists have tripped over themselves for decades trying to find a non-tautological definition of evolution including perhaps a workable recursive one but have failed miserably at these attempts. Popular attempts at doing so these days always include elements from formal logic to give them credibility. A typical attempt:

The Principle of Natural Selection: For all reproducing entities x and y, all environments E, and all generations n: if x is fitter than y in environment E at generation n, then probably there is some future generation n’, after which x has more descendants than y. — Godfrey-Smith, Peter. “Philosophy of Biology”. Princeton University Press: Princeton, N.J. (2014) p. 34.

 

Sounds good and no doubt such acceptable writing will help one get tenure in academia worshiping evolution, but the obvious question is how does one determine “fitter” — especially in humans. In the animal world, one can say that the “fitter” are those who survive and reproduce the most but this brings us back to a tautology. In the human world, even this definition of “fitter” fails miserably. Socrates, Alexander the Great, Jesus Christ, Julius Caesar, and on to Isaac Newton, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, and many more x’s were all fitter than the average y’s in any E by most definitions yet they had no descendants or none beyond their first generation n. In the human world, one can make an good argument that the actual principle of natural selection is that the less fit not the “fitter” are “probably” the ones with the most descendants.

 

The fact is that if the word “evolution” disappeared from biology including genetics, all of which are now based on the statistical and probabilistic analysis founded upon Mendel’s statistical studies, nothing would change or be lost pragmatically — only a secular god would be lost from the pantheon of secular gods we now have.

 

Instead of acknowledging this reality, the worshipers of the god of evolution deal with it by the common technique I call “assuming the contradiction”: they simply create another concept that assumes evolution as a truth under a different name so that the tautology and any contradictions it may cause nominally disappear. The present fad conceptualization is called “hyperadaptationism” or “Panglossian hyperadaptationism” that differentiates between serious evolutionary theory and comic evolutionary theory. The practitioners of this fad have their own conventions and blogs where they laugh at comic theories and of course take serious the serious theories, i.e.Panglossian Hyperadaptationism and Survival of the Funniest . How do they differentiate between comic and serious evolutionary theories? The same way psychologists differentiate between delusion and reality: they vote on them. If a majority agrees a theory is serious or real, then it is. If not, it is not. Pretty much as scientific as psychology or evolutionary theory can get.

 

So, again, if you want to hold or run a political office, get real:

Even if we took the most optimistic view possible, and assumed that in general men’s consciences have been approximately molded by evolutionary forces, the best we could hope for is that they should lay down principles which have been useful. Unlike the God it has replaced, natural selection cannot be supposed to possess or to embody foreknowledge.

If the human race perishes in a nuclear war, it may well be (although there will be no one alive to say it) that scientific beliefs did not, in a sufficiently long time scale, promote “survival”. Yet that will not have been because the scientific theories were not rationally acceptable, but because our use of them was irrational. In fact, if rationality were measured by survival-value, then the proto-beliefs of the cockroach, who has been around for tens of millions of years longer than we, would have a far higher claim to rationality than the sum total of human knowledge. — Putnam, Hilary. “Why Reason Can’t be Naturalized”. Synthese Vol. 52. pp. 3-23 (1982) at p. 5-6.

Ethics Is The Problem Not The Solution

The political writer Charles Krauthammer once said, “conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.” I guess my problem is that I think both are stupid and they both think I am evil. Funny word this “evil”. Except for suicidal or masochistic martyrs, it is a word individuals only apply to others. Even the worse persons I have met — such as murderers — always see themselves as good whereas everyone else is evil. According to the Dunning-Kruger Effect in statistics, the same may be true of stupidity: it is always the Other that is stupid, whereas I am smart. I have had it with both of them. They, conservatives and liberals, are both stupid and both evil. They are both because they are completely out of touch with reality due to their concern for what the world ought to be — the ruling class ideology of ethics — instead of what it is. Here are basic examples.

I.           Stop arguing and whining for or against socialism. The United States is a socialist state for a significant part of its population and will continue into socialism just as the rest of the world is doing unavoidably because Technological Society demands and needs it to take care of its wage slaves. Those over 65 years old in the United States live in the socialist world of Medicare, Social Security, subsidized elderly housing, and other government programs fiercely protected by their AARP lobbying. I remember a world before these socialist programs for the elderly; it sucked for the elderly. Those elderly without families that could afford to take care of them in their old age lived in miserable conditions both physically and mentally or died shortly after retiring. The poor in the United States live in a socialist world of Medicaid, food stamps, subsidized housing, and many other welfare programs. Again, I remember a world before welfare; it sucked for the poor also. They lived in miserable conditions both physically and mentally. A significant part of our population — more than any country in the world — lives in the socialist utopia called prison.

 
The only ones left out of this socialist world are the middle class and much of the working class. Both these groups now are made up of educated people working what were once called white collar jobs as distinct from blue collar jobs. The proletariat now includes teachers, middle management, educated professionals, and even intellectuals. Both of these groups now have children who expect a better life than what the poor or what their parents have or had. As wage slaves, this better future is not going to happen unless they unite and fight to take it from the Powers in the same way the working class and middle class unionized and fought and succeeded in fighting for a better life in the 20th Century. Those days are gone. There will be no unionizing, no unification of workers, and no rebellion. “Physical rebellion, or any preliminary move towards rebellion, is at present not possible”. — Orwell, George. 1984. Signet Classics Penguin Group: NY, NY (1977) at p. 210. The only option is to join the poor and the elderly in socialism; if you cannot fight them, join them is a rational strategy.

 

We need to find a way to preserve individual freedom in a socialist state to avoid an Orwellian 1984 future. Being in denial as to this reality or wasting energy on building something that will occur naturally by necessity in reality anyway is a waste and delusional. Doing either of these is both stupid and evil — viewed from my good. My good is as free and open a society as Technological Society can be. Unfortunately, that may not be that free or open. If so, we need to admit to it and start the historical material and spiritual struggle necessary for historical progress to continue into the next step — whatever that may be: anarchy or tyranny.

 

II.            Stop with the “correlation is not causation” nonsense. Causation is correlation with a correlation coefficient that approaches or is 1. Conservatives preach about the beauty and power of Western Civilization. Fine, then pull out a philosophy history book and read David Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature and all that has been written since including modern instrumentalist philosophy of science from Bertrand Russell to Bastiaan Cornelis van Fraassen on their being no logical relationship of truth or false in science or even an empirical relationship of cause and effect other than experience of frequent association between objects. The political liberal battle cry that all is a social construct cannot be limited solely to their dis-favored social constructs; it includes all social constructs including cause and effect and especially including their secular religion of evolution that they use to explain everything from the smallest cell to the largest social and cultural entities when it is to their benefit. Evolution is a tautology; as a tautology, it cannot be falsified and thus it is not a science but a religion that can be used to explain anything as is true of all tautologies. Forget causation and explanation. Go to real religion if you want life explained for you, do not turn my beloved science into a religion for you secular needs.

 
In the modern world of massive amounts of data that no human being is capable of synthesizing, “correlation supersedes causation”. — Anderson, C. (2008). “The end of theory: the data deluge makes the scientific method obsolete”. Wired, June. Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/2008/06/pb-theory/ ; and Grey, Jim. “Jim Grey on eScience: A Transformed Scientific Method”. The Fourth Paradigm. Ed. Tony Hey, Stewart Tansley, Kristin Tolle. Microsoft Research: Remond, Wash. (2009). All we can do is build models that have predictive value through algorithms that can be falsified. “Since all models are wrong the scientist cannot obtain a ‘correct’ one by excessive elaboration. On the contrary, following William of Occam he should seek an economical description of natural phenomena. Just as the ability to devise simple but evocative models is the signature of the great scientist so overelaboration and overparameterization is often the mark of mediocrity” Box, G.E.P. (1976). “Science and statistics”. Journal of the American Statistical Association, Vol. 71 (No. 356), pp. 791-799.

 

If you cannot deal with this reality, you have no business being conservative or liberal nor be anywhere near holding or running a political office regardless of how good and ethical you may be. Since ethics is ruling class ideology, if you are so delusional that you cannot deal with the above, you are as much a danger to your ruling class as you are to me and everyone else. (Maybe that is a good thing?) With this expectation, now I am being stupid though not evil.

Truth: Time For An alternative / Part II

In relation to my need to survive in life as a free person, the Powers-that-be are equivalent to a person who always lies. I and the individual worker bees of any society always speak the truth to ourselves — even when living a lie — so we are equivalent to a person who always tells the truth. This is getting somewhere and needs to be developed as an alternative to truth. The reasonable inference from the analogy I am using and reasoning is that when acting upon words that are the truth as told to me by the Powers, I should try do the opposite of what that truth implies doing. When acting upon the words of truth I am telling myself, I should try to act as action is implied by the truth I am telling myself. Will this work? There are a couple of problems.

 
In doing the opposite of the truth told to me, I seem to be ignoring or acting against truth which in turn seems to go against my simple goal of living in reality instead of living in ignorance of reality. Further, in acting in accordance with truth that is really a lie I am telling myself, it seems I am acting on a lie. However, these impressions are incorrect. The words “truth” or “falsehood” do not really add anything to reality other than normative implications. Saying “it is true the car is green” adds no reality to the statement “the car is green”. Saying “it is false the car is green” adds no reality to the statement “the car is not green”. The facts are the same in either case with or without the words “true” and “false”. In the case of the Powers, they are only using these words “true” and “false” to get and maintain power, they could not care less about the facts or of reality, they only care about what reality ought to be in order for them to maintain or raise their power not what it is. So, by trying to go against the truth of their statements, I am rejecting power as an end in itself and trying to insert reality and the truth of reality back into the meaning of language and back into action based on the language of truth. As far as acting on lies I tell myself, so what? Unless I know it is a lie, it is my truth and thus I am acting on truth. If I know it is a lie and I still act on it, I am proving my freedom by acting upon a lie with the knowledge it is a lie. Cannot be anymore free and honest than having true knowledge and the power to freely act or not act upon that true knowledge. Right? Supposedly, even the ultimate truth that is God has given us the complete freedom of rejecting that ultimate truth.

 

Also, if I am going against truth, I seem to be going against reality which goes against the purpose and goal of my seeking an alternative to truth. This impression is also incorrect. Notice that I said “try” to do the opposite and “try” to act as implied by your truth. As I have repeatedly concluded in my writings including in these blog essays, no one in Power — be it God or His anointed Powers-that-be — care what I think nor really care what I do. In the end, I will always have to act according to their truth; all I can do is believe the opposite and intend to act in opposition to it. Which is a significant accomplishment these days. Remember what I pointed out about the simplicity and honesty of Pilate and his Rome and also the warning of Orwell in his 1984:

By comparison with that existing today, all the tyrannies of the past were half-hearted and inefficient. The ruling groups were always infected to some extent by liberal ideas, and were content to leave loose ends everywhere, to regard only the overt act, and to be uninterested in what their subjects were thinking. … With the development of television and the personal computer, and the technical advances which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end. The possibility of enforcing not only complete obedience to the will of the State, but complete uniformity of opinion on all subjects, now existed for the first time.

The error of this impression is most obvious in the hard sciences. I may try to reject their truth that E = (1/2m)p2−(erE); F=ma; E=mc2; or whatever but I cannot. If I want to accomplish anything physical I have to trust them and act on faith in accordance with their truth — does not mean I have to like it and accept my bondage. Never know; someday I might be able to challenge these truths and prove they are false and create new math and a new physics. Remember the old school spirit of science and the humanities, this is what the scientific spirit and the spirit of the Enlightenment is supposed to be all about: rejection of argument and faith based purely on authority.

 
This impression of going against truth is more deceiving in the social sciences and the humanities. Starting with “a” for example. According to the normative supposed humanity of the law, abortion is not only ethical and moral but a natural right of the mother. By my alternative of contrariness, this is false but so what? No Power cares. As long as they want their daughters to be able to abort their children, they will allow their daughters this power — plus it allows them the power to get rid of a lot of unwanted poor kids. If I actually act to stop the infanticide, I will go to jail. The point of my alternative to truth is a free life and not a life of imprisonment nor of my death; it does not require I be a hero. So probably the best that my alternative will let me do and the only way that I can by action affect the elimination of abortion is by creating medical technology to make test tube babies, designer babies, and designer bodies (that only get pregnant when pregnancy is desired by the person) so as to have the material reality that no one gets a pregnancy unless they actually want it. At that point, abortion will fade away in the same way that bleed therapy by leeching has faded away: because it is technologically inefficient or does not work to solve the problem trying to be solved. The Powers will always let me mess with technology — we are a Technological Society, it is a requirement. Of course alternative action allowed by my alternative to truth and allowed by the Powers will result in other ethical and moral problems, but so what, everything in life and in living causes ethical and moral problems. F–k them.  One problem down and solved, on to the next one.

 

History is class struggle; no class struggle, no history — we become a stagnant and eventually a dead culture and society. My alternative to truth not only maintains this struggle and creates it but does so as an act of freedom instead of just an pretend struggle of words between individuals in the bondage of aesthetics. “In prison, dreams have no limits and reality is no curb. Intelligence in chains loses in lucidity what it gains in intensity”. — Albert Camus, The Rebel. As the poem goes, at least I will be or at least can pretend to be “the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul”. One thing I learned from the Navy, if you are going to die a miserable death in struggle, you are better off doing it as an officer on the bridge or at the helm than as a lowly snipe pushing the boat around and providing its power, water, and light in engineering with no clue as to where you are, where you are going, nor how or why you got there. At least at the helm or as “O’Captain! O’Captain!” you will have some control over your “fearful trip” and its demise.

 
I have my alternative. In honor of the philosopher Nelson Goodman and his “New Problem of Induction” that inspired much of my reasoning in my life’s epistemology and never ending search for a theory of knowledge, I name this alternative “grue”. From now on, I will honor and respect truth — as I must or else — and I will pretend to seek it in all my endeavors — as I must or else. But, what I really will be doing when freely making  my beliefs or my rules of action for life and living is seeking, honoring, and respecting grue: when acting upon words that are the truth as told to me by the Powers, I should try do the opposite of what that truth implies doing. When acting upon the words of truth I am telling myself, I will try to act as action is implied by the truth I am telling myself.