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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The Inner Struggle

Christ … Antichrist … Cold & Winter Storms (part 1)

Mother of Sorrows”, Benedictines of Mary Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent At Ephesus”, (2014)

Writing this on Friday morning … thinking about my life … of sin … and self indulgence, the places and times when self sacrifice was not in the ascendance. Lots of food for thought there, lots of decades of self. Lots of reasons for contrition and amendment. When and why did I start to diverge from the spirit of our times?

Outside my head, WOW! What a morning, quite in keeping with my state of mind! It’s cold here and snowing heavily, blowing also, about 6 inches down now and more coming, first snow since November 2017 and the first heavy snow of this winter.

Lots of shoveling now and probably all day, and making sure everything is cleared before folks start coming in, in an hour or so depending on how long it takes them to dig out and get their trucks running.

Finding crosses, suffering and sacrifice in the daily duties of our station in life, where God put us. Finding the will of God in the myriad minutia of the duties of my state in life.

Enough navel gazing for now, I have to start digging out, so I will stop writing for a while.

Wow, that day went fast, 12 hours later and it is still snowing, it’s about -10 degrees Celsius, that’s about 14 degrees Fahrenheit, but it is blowing harder and drifting now. I’m real glad there is no reason to be on the roads tonight or tomorrow. I bet there will be a lot of shoveling tomorrow. It’s a good thing we don’t open our doors until 10:00 AM on Saturdays.

Anyway, … the inner struggle … that’s what I was getting on about in this post. I have noticed that from time to time discussion arises and articles appear and the topic of the “Antichrist” comes up more or less frequently. “Antichrist” seems to be a favorite pejorative amongst certain groups, and it is at least as meaningful and helpful as “knuckledragger” and “Neanderthal” are amongst other groups.

I suppose the clique’s “group think” defines the pejorative favored, with one group seeing things in terms of good and evil and another group seeing things in terms of smart or stupid, the implication always being that “the other” is the bad one or the stupid one. At first blush, my reflexive reaction is “A pox on both your houses!” Upon further reflection I then find myself asking “What would Jesus do?” and then a bit further on “Does this bring me closer to God?”

Whenever the mudslinging starts, whichever gang starts slinging, it seems always to be in the context of some particularly egregious insanity or inanity, proposed or committed, by some other group or some powerful individual who is disagreed with, or some collection of individuals moving the narrative in a direction disruptive of the sacred views espoused by the narrator of the moment.

Alternatively, one specific public figure or another, George Soros, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Justin Trudeau,  Rachel Notley, Pope Francis, Cardinal Kaspar, Vlad Putin, Kim Jong-un, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,  even Barry Obama, … I mean … seriously … pick your favorite target to hate, you get my drift.

There are literally thousands, maybe even millions, of high profile people pontificating about their views, and what is wrong with the world, and what they are going to do about it.

Obama as Satan

Seriously folks … Obama as Satan … what Kool-Aid are you drinking?

When humanity starts to believe that there is no-one in charge, no one responsible for the “strategic” big picture things in life humans are very quick to turn to golden idols and self proclaimed messiahs.

And any self proclaimed messiah who is not our favorite choice receives a rising tide of speculative negative attention depending upon the day, or the tides, or the level of confusion, frequently along the lines of he/she/it must be the Antichrist.

Thomas Cranmer

Thomas Cranmer, 1489 – 1556

This is especially true if that individual is the target of vilification from many directions at once by many disenchanted narrators. These unhappy narrators, narrowly focused on preaching their own gospel, and defending their own position.

These vocal, “important”, narrators who have picked their chosen hill to die on, and are now understandably hungry, highly motivated to convince their followers, their power base, their meal ticket,  of the truth of their gospel.

They need someone to contribute, to “drop the offering in the collection plate”.  And the target demographic is comprised of some group or other or perhaps many groups, perhaps the equivalent of our modern notion of the “low information voter”.

These narrators do a dog pile on the chosen target, perhaps under the assumption that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. For example, along these lines for several centuries now, many Protestant writers and leaders have identified the Roman Catholic Pope as “The Antichrist”.

However that may be, over the centuries many folks have assigned the status of “Antichrist” to any number of other folks who were on their personal dirt list for any reason but mainly for political reasons. Claiming this seems to be nothing more than a desperate “Ad Hominum” attack when they have nothing factual or truthful, that is “substantive truth”, upon which to base their argument.

"What would Jesus do?"

“What would Jesus do?”

It’s all pride and personal ambition. My razor when reading these diatribes is to ask the questions: “What would Jesus do?” and “Does this bring me closer to God?”

I don’t see the Antichrist as an individual, it just doesn’t line up with my current personal  understanding of reality. Yes, there are outliers of evil and standout perpetrators throughout history, and these persons, these figures in history, seem to be fairly evenly distributed amongst all cultures and religions all over the world.

It appears to me that this sort of behaviour, this sort of personal “character” is more attributable to their sheer humanness than to any particular system of beliefs.  But from my point of view, I just don’t see the idea of “Antichrist” as a specific, living, substantial being, that is to say, one individual encompassing all evil and directing the whole thing as an articulated individual with a master plan.

Yes, we believe in Jesus Christ as the Head, in the Christian understanding. Given the obvious vagaries of human free will apparent in the world over time, it seems reasonable that there must then be, necessarily, the “not Christ” … the absence of Christ … the Antichrist.  I think so anyway, the “Antichrist” is the “Not Christ”, the absence of Christ. I think that the “Antichrist” is in effect “the mystical body of Satan”, in a kind of analog of “the Mystical Body of Christ” in the Christian Tradition.

I guess that some explanation might be necessary in understanding of the concept of “The Mystical Body of Christ”, within the context of Roman Catholicism. As most of my readers probably are aware, I am a Roman Catholic. That is the filter through which I understand reality.

My understanding of the Mystical Body of Christ is one of the real existence of a mystical union of all Christians into a spiritual body with Jesus Christ as their head. This belief grows, in our Tradition, from the New Testament and Christianity’s roots in Judaism.

In Christian Scripture, St. Paul’s letters to the Corinthians and the Romans both use the image of a body, with a head that is Christ and many bodily members, with many abilities and talents, namely we Christian believers. The belief in the Mystical Body describes the relationship between Christ and Christians, namely the Head and the body of believers. Wow, it’s getting late … gotta go eat to keep body and soul together.

blizzard? by WizKids ...

When does a snow storm become a blizzard?

Well, now it’s tomorrow morning, Saturday, even colder now, still snowing, -21 degrees Celsius, that’s -5.8 Fahrenheit, and it’s blowing hard, driving the new snow into hard packed drifts.

When does a “Snowstorm” become a “Blizzard”? Maybe it’s when it is widespread, maybe the amount of snow, or the temperature, or the wind-speed, or perhaps even the dramatic license of the weather reporters? Who knows really what makes a snow storm into a blizzard.

Talking to customers yesterday and reports that an hour away in some directions they had no snow but three hours to the west everyone there and in between got lots of snow. Whatever … lots more shoveling today I guess, off and on, as circumstances permit and the demands of customers allow.

Well, another day just blew by in a twinkling of my eye. It’s Saturday night, time for bed, it’s -14 degrees Celsius, it’s still blowing and it’s still snowing lightly. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

More to follow on Christ and Antichrist and the spirit of the times …

Cheers

Joe

Putting away the roaring worship of the “Self” in all it’s manifestations … is the first step back towards a sense of sin, remorse, contrition and repentance …

 

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