Life in a small town

Scientific Truth … and Assumptions

I am still thinking about how to write a couple of posts on the Reincarnation of our Lord and the Real Presence in the Eucharist. Obviously I would have to confine myself to what I believe and why I have come to believe it or the post would never end. There has been a lot of writing and debate on these items of faith over the centuries.

Pope Leo XIII

I may not actually get to writing anything if I keep on finding more and more interest in the extent Magisterium and various theological opinions from many faith streams. There are whole libraries worth of content out there worthy of consideration.

For example, I never thought of Pope Leo XIII as a Liberal but it seems, from reading old articles and opinion pieces that he might actually be said to be the “father or sponsor” of the heterodox Modernist heresy in the current  Catholic hierarchy. Who Knew … Leo XIII as a Liberal … hmmm.

On other fronts I subscribe to a Blog site written by a very interesting Doctor, Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, who writes mostly on Cardiac topics but sometimes wanders off into other very interesting areas and I am inspired to link to his latest blog post and also to quote largely from his latest and from a couple of others.

I share his concern for the radical attempts on the part of many established authorities to vilify, demean and silence anyone, literally by any means possible, who dares to disagree with them.

Dr Malcolm Kendrick

I have mentioned Kim Jong-un in a few posts but it is apparent that there are literally thousands of little “Kim Jong-un” fan boys and fan girls out there on the loose and many of them are in control of many of our various “Authorities”, Societies, Governing Bodies, Associations, and so on. These are the Illuminati who control or try to control what is allowed to transpire in our polite society, and woe to all those who fail to toe the line and make the appropriate obeisances to those authorities.

These days we find ourselves living in a culture and society where keeping control is more important than truth, than reality. Over decades I have come to believe that a truth can always be proven, a truth can be defended, even against a vigorous attack. But a lie will not hold up to scrutiny.

And anyone who refuses to allow vigorous debate is not on the side of truth. It is better to fight and re-fight the battle over truth, rather than let a single lie – or mis-truth – go unchallenged. Reality is somewhat different from social media memes despite the aims and desires of authority figures everywhere.

Everything we “know” to be true may be untrue tomorrow, our “assumptions” may be proven wrong at any moment. And when that happens we need to maintain the flexibility to adapt to a whole new world. If our culture fails to adapt, it will fail fatally and join the legions of failed nations, states, and cultures that fill the mass graves of history.

Unfortunately, even when the data support a hypothesis which goes against the currently accepted “truth” all right thinking people “know” that the accepted truth is the real truth and any different opinion or hypothesis is obviously wrong and the people who espouse that train of conjecture are obviously idiots who need their breathing problem fixed.

‘A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.’ Max Plank.

We assume that whatever we hear around the water cooler of at the coffee shop or amongst our “Friends” on Facebook is absolute truth, especially if it is a juicy tidbit about our neighbour or a competitor, unless it goes against what we already “Know”.

“Assume, as the saying goes, makes an ass out of you and me”. The assumptions you make, the assumptions you don’t think to question, will eventually get you into trouble. I think that just might be what is at the root of people expressing anger towards us because we are not angry about the same things they are angry about.

Here is a link to an interesting theory about oil as a “fossil” fuel, a non-renewable resource which we are using up too fast (“Peak Oil”?) and which is killing the planet (Global Warming?). Most of the proponents of the “anti-oil energy” religion don’t live anywhere with “winter” and also have disingenuously advocated “alternative” energy sources which invariably involve vast wealth transfers from taxpayers to their own interest groups.

However the unexamined premise has resulted in the proliferation of believers in regions where they would be dead in a week if their beliefs were ever put into practice. Such is the nature of humanity, we have a burning need to “belong” more than any need for our beliefs to show congruence with reality.

From the blog of Dr. Malcolm Kendrick:For many years it was taught that bacteria could not live in the human stomach. It was too hostile, too acidic. So, when it was proposed that a bacterium (H. Pylori), living in the stomach, could be an important cause of stomach ulcers, the idea was pretty much dismissed out of hand.

Warren and Marshall eventually proved that the scientific consensus on this matter was utter nonsense. This despite being attacked viciously from all sides. They eventually won the Nobel prize for their work where they were specifically praised for battling on in the face of implacable hostility. It is clear that had Warren not been a cussed swine, they could easily have given up, worn down by the opposition.

Had Max Plank not decided to publish some wild and whacky papers in his journal ‘Physics’, from a patent clerk, it is perfectly possible we may never have heard of a certain Albert Einstein.”

Why does “authority” have such a resistance to truth?

For years now, in the course of business, I have remarked many times that many people, perhaps even most people, would rather die than change their lifestyle, their diet, even their mind. I don’t think this is overstating the case.  And while it is a new understanding to me, this thought is not new:

 ‘No man can be forced to be healthful, whether he will or not. In a free society, individuals must judge for themselves what information they choose to heed and what they ignore.’ (John Locke. (1632 – 1704) ‘A letter concerning Toleration’)

So onward … I have found the next 2 links uplifting and vindicating in the same sense as the old joke about peeing in a dark suit. I have been personally vilified and ridiculed for my questioning the current use of vaccines even by a family member in my extended family, dismissed as a “crazy vaxer”, but here are the links.

You can decide for yourselves whether we suffer from “worship of authority” or have a genuine belief in the “scientific method”.

  1. https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2019/07/09/my-feelings-about-the-vaccine-debate/
  2. https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2019/07/29/a-second-look-at-vaccination-answers-that-cannot-be-questioned/

So, imagine a universe where authority can be wrong. Sometimes, a person in authority can be mistaken. A person who believes a lie, and who repeats the lie, does not do so out of malicious intent! And yet, he is repeating a lie! Sometimes people and authorities believe things that are later proven to be untrue and they act on those things with a clear conscience because it’s “for our own good”. If you forced these folks to take a lie detector test they would pass because they actually do not know it is a lie.

There are books, books written as recently as a few years years ago, books you can still find in the library, which include untruths. Did those writers lie to you? No, they’d told the truth, as they’d known it. But future generations discovered that their concept of the truth had been very limited, and knowledge is still advancing. And that is just the mild form of misinformation.

Jerry Pournelle,

Authority is also often more interested in maintaining itself than determining the truth. A person(s) who clings to his/her authority – which may or may not be based on a known lie – is unlikely to want to do anything to weaken it. This reminds me of Pournelle’s iron law of bureaucracy:

In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.

He eventually restated it as:

…in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representatives who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.

George Santayana

Also reminded of Santayana’s  “those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.” in the sense that the vaults of history are crammed full of “authorities” who viciously resisted any form of change when their beliefs were questioned, and in the end they turned out to be wrong, even dead wrong, but that didn’t stop them from making millions of people miserable, or even dead.

I think we are up against the same sort of situation now when dealing with our health care system, our government, our social programs, the “religion” of climate change and so on and so forth.

Cheers

(Crazy) Joe

 

 

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Life in a small town, Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

The vested interest in keeping people sick …

Snow”, by Kobudo, from the album “Ototabi”  (2013)

Good post this morning over at David Warren’s site…  Go read the whole thing.

Dr. Atul Gawande

Dr. Atul Gawande

He drew from Crisis Magazine (here) , which I subscribe to …”In a recent episode of the podcast Freakonomics, Dr. Atul Gawande contrasted the adoption rate in the 1800s of two new technologies: anesthesia and antisepsis. An anesthetic gas, which could be used in surgery, was discovered and first used in Boston, and “…within two months of publishing the result that a gas could render people insensible to pain, it was being used in every capital in Europe.

There’s no internet. You had to send news by boat and horse.  And within two months people were using it in the capitals of Europe, and by six years later there wasn’t a hospital in the country that was not delivering anesthesia care.

Compared to anesthesia, the adoption of antisepsis was very slow, even though sterilizing equipment and washing hands could cut the rate of infection by up to eighty percent. Since infections were often fatal, an eighty percent reduction meant a huge savings of lives. And yet, according to Dr. Gawande, “a generation later, you still haven’t gotten to half of the profession doing it.”

The difference in the adoption rates of the two new technologies was caused by the fact that anesthesia helped the doctors as much as it helped the patients: “Surgeons don’t like having a screaming patient on the table. They had to do their operations in 60 to 120 seconds because you just didn’t have that much time when the orderly is holding people down. And having a patient asleep meant you could be meticulous—you were so much happier as a surgeon. And so this was a win-win for both.”

By contrast, antiseptic protocols didn’t do anything for the doctors, they were just an added problem for doctors, and so they had no incentive to use them.”

And not much has changed amongst the medical establishment and the health industry in general here in the 21st century. There is no incentive to the system to actually help patients and to actually cure them because the medical and pharmaceutical bread and butter of the western world depends entirely on the continued existence of sick patients.

If the Department of Health and the medical Associations ever actually fulfilled their stated mandate of curing people and supporting a healthy population they would put themselves out of work. Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that “in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people”:

First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.”

Dr. Jerry Pournelle

Dr. Jerry Pournelle

Dr. Jerry Pournelle was a blogger of note before the internet was invented and before that in columns in Byte Magazine. He died last year in his 80’s. I followed him for many years. He will be greatly missed. Anyway … Health Departments and such …

Ergo, the mission of Health Departments, Medical Associations, and Pharmaceutical Research Companies everywhere is not (as stated) to get people healthy and keep them there but rather to encourage illness everywhere possible, both physical and mental, in the interest of continued existence, expansion, and an ever increasing revenue stream.

There once was a book I owned and readThe Organization of Hypocrisy” by a Swedish researcher, Nils Brunsson, who is (or maybe was) Professor of Management at the Stockholm School of Economics and Chairman of the Stockholm Center for Organizational Research. In his little book he laid out chapter and verse why such conduct occurs, and why it will continue to occur.

Unfortunately I loaned my copy to one of my college professors who never returned it. It is out of print and currently retails new for around $1200.00 U.S. Never trust your college professors, as they also fall under the Iron Rule of Bureaucracy. The ones in charge will always be corrupt.

Some say I am too cynical, but I prefer “realist”. If it walks like a duck, and all that stuff.

Cheers

Joe

Ready, Aye, Ready … Quid hoc ad aeternitatem

 

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