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

 

 

Standard
The Inner Struggle

Go And Sin No More … coattails again …

“En Priere”, Bill Douglas, from the album “Kaleidoscope”, (1993)

Fr. Hunwicke

Fr. Hunwicke

Back a couple of years ago I wrote and quoted from other sources to the effect that “Liberalism is a sin“.  The following quote is from a post on Fr Hunwicke’s blog , about the dangers of Liberalism, which I stumbled upon while studying the modern corruption of the Latin phrase “argumentum ad hominem”. On that front, just in passing, I touch on a big boo-boo in modern discourse, at least in some circles.

The notion that “argumentum ad hominem” somehow equates in English to  “A personal attack”, as found commonly in current usage across a spectrum of pseudo-intellectual pontifications by players indulging in personal and maliciously slanderous attacks on those who disagree with them, all dressed up as if they were a legitimate logical argument.

The current notion is that “ad hominum” is not a legitimate debating technique because it is “just a personal attack” and in our current moral quagmire we are expected to accept that morality or even the notion of right and wrong are nothing more than personal opinions and views and all such views are equivalent.

I have always abominated bullies and especially those of any stripe or occupation who attack the innocent from their respective podiums and pulpits whilst hectoring their captive audiences. It does not follow that the individual with the loudest bully pulpit defines what is truth and what is good or even that they are automatically on the side of the angels. (see “Useful Idiots” in a previous post)

“Argumentum ad hominem” is defined by Locke as “Pressing a man with the Consequences of his own Principles or Concessions.” … that is to say pointing out to or otherwise leading the man (or woman) with whom one is debating into understanding the logical fallacy of the mutually exclusive principles which they may have just enunciated in the debate, in consequence of which they must either change one or the other or both principles or simply surrender the point in order to retain any debating credibility going forward.

At least, that is what I understand it to mean, however, gentle reader might favor the modern corruption, or as I have said before, your mileage may vary. After all, “I don’t care about your damned facts, Joe, I just want to have a pleasant conversation with my friends”.

Anyway, here is the quoted material, a quote from Fr. Hunwicke  containing a quote from Blessed John Henry Newman, on Liberalism …

Blessed John Henry Newman

Blessed John Henry Newman

“When (Blessed John Henry) Newman received the biglietto signifying his elevation to the rank of Cardinal, he made a speech which has often been quoted; and I am going to quote it yet again and not least because it beautifully enunciates the essential continuity of his life as a Catholic with his years as an Anglican.

But, at the end, I wish to draw attention to a very important realisation of Newman’s which is not so often quoted or appreciated. So here he goes:

For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religion. … the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily.

It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are a matter of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy. …

As to Religion, it is a private luxury which a man may have if he will; but which of course he must pay for, and which he must not intrude upon others, or indulge in to their annoyance.”

[Note the deft, almost imperceptible skill – so characteristic – with which Newman points to us the paradox that this ‘liberalism’ is itself a doctrine, an imposed and inexorable dogma. But it is his next observation which, I feel, gives us tremendous material for thought; when he adds that:]

There is much in the liberalistic theory which is good and true … justice, truthfulness, sobriety, self-command, benevolence ….’

Cardinal Farrell

Cardinal Farrell

[Ah, we incautiously surmise, Liberalism isn’t too bad after all; he admits that Liberalism has its Good Side. But no. Newman has tricked us. He is playing exactly the opposite game. In the spirit of the argumentum ad hominem, he is about to pounce. Let us watch carefully, and analyse, how the cat jumps.

Remember that in his earlier years Newman had been preoccupied with the concept of Antichrist. At the heart of this biblical notion, there is a realisation that the greater an evil and the closer it comes to Ultimate Evil, the more sumptuously the Enemy adorns it with rags and tatters of the good and the true and the noble. An error will be so much more dangerous precisely because it has been made to look so beautiful. So … Blessed John Henry goes on:]

“There never was a device of the Enemy, so cleverly framed, and with such promise of success.”

Snap! Gotcha!

“Despite its superficial charms, indeed, because of its apparent beauties, Liberalism is diabolical, a trick of Satan.”

Cardinal Kasper

Cardinal Kasper

There is a great warning for us as we, more than a century later, face the devices of the Enemy in our own time.

Just one modern example of this will be enough for today: our blessed Lord did not say to the woman in the Johannine pericope de adulteraGo; and sin some more“.

Whenever, whoever, decks out encouragement or tolerance of adultery in nobly coloured biblical garments, whether ‘Mercy’ or any other scriptural tags, we know that the Spirit of the Antichrist is abroad.”

Cheers

Joe

with patience and charity for all …

Standard