Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘paradigm shifts

Efficiency of the human cognitive power or mind

Written in March 6, 2006

Cognitively, human is excellent in simple detection tasks or null indicator such as whether a sensation exist or not;.

The mind is fairly good in differentiating the direction of strength of a sensation such as bigger or smaller than a standard, but he is bad in evaluating whether a sensation is twice or three times stronger, and he is worst as a meter for exact measurements.

Human is more accurate in feeling than when relying on his mind. That is why a subject is forced to make a choice between two stimuli rather than responding that the sensation between a standard and a variable stimulus is equally strong.

Man is Not a good observer of complex events;.

Even when viewers are forewarned that they are to see a movie about a crime and that they are to answer questions about details later on, the accuracy of the observers are very low.

The mind is unable to be an objective recorder of the events that transpire because he gets involved in the scene actions.

The mind has a very narrow range of attention and barely can satisfactorily attend to a couple of stimuli.

This observation deficiency is compounded by our sensory differences and illusions. For example, one in sixteen subjects is color blind, many suffer from tone deafness, taste blindness and so on.

The mind does Not think of himself objectively but rather has convictions, feelings, and explanations based on very restricted experiences, hearsays, memories and he tends to generalize and develop a set of beliefs concerning the operation of the mind.

The human usually expects to see and then see what he wants to see and hardly deviates from his beliefs, and sometimes, even when faced with facts.

Many scientists have overlooked obvious data because they clanged to their hypotheses and theories.

Human has to generate an abundance of reliable information and assimilate them before he could eliminate a few systematic biases that he acquired from previous generations and his personal experiences.

This lack of objectivity in human is referred to by the term “common sense”.

The fact is common sense ideas change and are undergoing continual revision, mainly because of the results of research and controlled experimentations and paradigm shifts. away from traditional knowledge

For example, common sense says heavy objects cannot fly until airplanes are common realities.

Common sense says that human cannot see in the dark until infrared goggles have been tested.

Common sense says that it is laughable to use earplugs in order to hear people talking in very noisy backgrounds, until it is experimented and proven to be correct.

The fact that your father or forerunners have always done something in a particular way does not prove that this is the best way of doing it.

The fact that famous people purchase a product from the best known firm does not permit the manufacturer to state that there cannot be very much wrong with the product since the famous people have bought it.

Current technology processes: Anathema to religious and scientific consensus procedures?

Is fearing death a catalyst to struggle for life?

The initial draft of this article was first written in January 4, 2008.

What we may discern is that cultural transformation is the byproduct of practical necessities.

For example, by the time humankind got conscious of the ephemeral of life and that death is a certainty. Then religion and the sacred were created to cope with the consequences that resulted from that conscious fear, on the ground that otherwise no security or peace could prevail within any organized society.

Religion might not have been invented right after we got conscious of our mortality, but necessarily when modern man recognized his individuality and stopped producing mass hand tools for the tribe and took special care for individual designs, specialty carved symbols on the tools, particular color combinations and drawing and painting that reflected feelings and awe toward the environment and the forces of nature.

Painting and sculpting and drawing symbols were the precursors for establishing language as a practical necessity, first verbally and then the written language.

I believe that institutionalized religions grew after verbal communication was feasible by means of languages to harangue communities against the other infidels.

Death is chaos and life is a struggle to feed on death and restructuring a semblance of spiritual cohesion.   Metaphysics, the precursor to religion, is but this longing to providing continuity between life and death so that our logical mind does not breakdown to smithereens: Even now, sciences cannot provide definite and exact answers to everything.

Metaphysics must have been substantiated because many people experienced a few supernatural events and realized that what is being sensed is not the whole story.

Religion, as a conscious culture, utilized the metaphysical potentials in man to codify its system of beliefs and then codifying a system of daily behavior, rules, and regulations.

Unfortunately, what was necessary at a period was utilized necessarily to dominate other tribes that believed or adopted
different totems or sacred rites.

This irreversible trend that practical necessities generate cultures with necessary counter productive results to
our evolution is the foundation to our mental shortcomings to progress ethically and morally.

Religion and science have the same roots in the conscious and, though they evolved with different methodologies, they
adopted the same procedure for impacting on the mind.

First, they both established consensus on a few premises, struggled hard not change their system of beliefs and then waited for a paradigm shift to transform the traditional culture.

The revolution of Luther and Calvin against the concept of Papal infallibility left intact the core obscurantist culture of Catholicism which is viewing knowledge with suspicion, and specifically scientific knowledge, as the work of the devil.

In fact Protestantism went as far as considering philosophy as compromising the human mind.

The fundamental revolution came when people realized that if the Pope is fallible then religion is consequently fallible and the quest for answers to fill the void in knowledge was resurrected with sciences.

Hence, this frenzy in Europe, at about that period, to translating the Arabic books and relying on the Arab scholars to re-translate the Greek classical work into Latin was the beginning of the Renaissance period in Europe.

Thus, the period of the Renaissance in Europe was a revolution against the failure of the Christian religion to satisfying the cultural transformation after the crusading campaigns and the affinity of the Arabic culture in Spain.

Second, most paradigm shifts could be classified as cultural transformations, but a few could be conceived as cultural evolution: a qualitative jump in our knowledge of nature and man such as using symbols, verbal communications as a language, the written language, the concept that man and earth are not the center of the universe, that time is an intrinsic element of space such that no two events can be said to occur simultaneously, that man is not wholly master of his decisions, and that man is neither the crown of creation nor the peek of evolution.

If there is paradise, an after death phase, it must be located within our universe where matters and energy interact and transfer. However, if there is hell, it must be within our mind: there is no hell more terrible and more powerful than our conscious feeling of having committed an egregious sin or guilt.

Since nature does not provide a moral order to observe and emulate, then even all our power for abstraction cannot
generate the concept of evil.

I believe that the notion of evil is a culture inherited by osmosis to our subconscious by the uninterrupted religious
culture that constituted the fundamental basis to organized communities through the millennia.

Sin is a concrete notion because it is associated with punishment and ostracism but the notion of doing good remains relatively abstract and any remuneration is not immediate and not palpable.

That is why many religions tried to great extent to emphasize the reward of commendable actions in their teachings but the institutions had to revert to admonitions and focus on the negative deeds because fear has a much more efficient impact on the mind of the believers and long lasting effects.

Can anyone comprehend the state of an Alzheimer patient who lost all his memory and even his identity and the meaning of his environment?

And yet, the Alzheimer patient carries energies to keep him alive. Though for what use and what purpose?

Can we conceive of a paradise without prior memories of feelings, senses and experiences?

Thousands of the early Christians faced their martyrdom boldly simply because they were convinced that they will be resurrected in the third day as Christ did and in the flesh!

Do Muslims go to martyrdom without the conviction of immediate rewards?

The same process is taking place with technological breakthroughs. While we experienced some of the benefits and
the many harms of religion, we are at the beginning phase for experiencing the benefits and harms of technologies that we can invent and produce but do not comprehend or grasp the consequences.

We are traversing a dangerous period without adequate check and balance on the production of new inventions and tampering with human genome and agricultural and animal cloning.

Thus the consequences might be irreversible this time around on our survival.

We have created enough tools, processes, and know-how to invent all kind of products without the need of thorough
theoretical foundations. It is like a machine that invents new machines with what it already knows and the vast array of tools it has in its arsenal so that theory is becoming an after thought because science requires a rational model.

Furthermore, experiments require abundance of time, financial and human resources that validation and testing on consequences to human health, safety and survival is dragging a long backlog that can never catch up with what is thrown in the market place.

For example, developed States have realized that a process for testing and validating the consequences of pharmaceutical products before marketing them was a must to safeguard health and safety of the consumers; but even that process was not adequate enough or ethically stringently applied when pharmaceutical new products were
tested in the third world populations.

Technology is the new metaphysical ideology for defining youth.

You are as young as you can keep up with new updates.  How fast and how readily you can manipulate and use new gadgets is the main criterion for youthfulness, for keeping your membership in the new cult.

The technology cult means that you should have faith in what the market is providing you in updates and inventions because ultimately it is you who is testing, validating and selling the technology at your own risk.

Technology is basically a cultural revolution against abstract or theoretical works, whether in religion, metaphysics, or sciences, and its motto is “There is no good or evil in technology. Let us keep inventing and let the less expensive and quicker trial and error method sort out what is beneficial to mankind.

Let youth, these flexible and adaptable mind, these spiritually and culturally ignorant spirits, and these energetically undaunted and bold souls, be our guinea pigs as they used to be historically”.

The institutional organizations that have the responsibility of reviewing and testing the consequences of any invention and discussing the ethical foundations are feeling the squeeze of mass revolts on any attempt to tampering with the new technological and marketing trend.

At this junction, religious fundamentalism from all kinds, have reacted to the slow process of civic organizations to confronting vigorously the new technological cult.

Religious fundamentalism is raising the banner for fighting any breakthrough that is practically overrunning all the red
lines erected by religions.

The technological cult feels unstoppable and mondialization is its vehicle and many institutionalized tyrants will come
to power, under the guise of confronting dangerous technologies, and backed by the impotent minds, scared and lazy, only to use it in order to sustain and spread this reign of terror.

Technology is running wild and fast and becoming utterly non affordable by its frequent updates. The best check is a
moratorium on the greed of the multinationals to slow down this process for humankind to assimilate and digest this drastic and worldwide cultural transformation.

On a lighter note, I believe that there is a dichotomy of how the two genders view the meaning of life; man thinks that life is a problem that needs to be solved while woman view life as a secret to be uncovered.

Woman whispers into the ears of her lover the mysterious clue “love is everything” and then the man picks up on that clue and starts singing “All we need is love; love is all we need”.

Woman whispers “I need to feel protected” and then man gets all rattled figuring how to resolve the practical difficulties for survival.

 

Peter Higgs criticises Richard Dawkins over anti-religious ‘fundamentalism’

, science correspondent. The Guardian, Wednesday 26 December 2012 18.58 GMT

As public disagreements go, few can have boasted such heavy-hitting antagonists.

Richard Dawkins, the celebrated biologist, has made a second career demonstrating his epic disdain for religion.

The theoretical physicist Peter Higgs (Higgs boson particle) who this year became a shoo-in for a future Nobel prize after scientists at Cern in Geneva showed that his theory about how fundamental particles get their mass was correct.

(Can’t figure out this allegation or conclusion attributed to Cern: It’s None of its business)

Their argument is over nothing less than the coexistence of religion and science.

(That’s Not a new argument: Science and religion did Not Co-exist: they were anathema and harvested thousands of lives by the religious clerics)

Higgs has chosen to cap his remarkable 2012 with another bang by criticising the “fundamentalist” approach taken by Dawkins in dealing with religious believers.

“What Dawkins does too often is to concentrate his attack on fundamentalists. But there are many believers who are just not fundamentalists,” Higgs said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. “Fundamentalism is another problem. I mean, Dawkins in a way is almost a fundamentalist himself, of another kind.”

He agreed with some of Dawkins’ thoughts on the unfortunate consequences that have resulted from religious belief, but he was unhappy with the evolutionary biologist’s approach to dealing with believers and said he agreed with those who found Dawkins’ approach “embarrassing”.

Dawkins, author of the best-selling book The God Delusion, has been accused many times in the past of adopting fundamentalist positions..

In a 2007 post on his website titled “How dare you call me a fundamentalist“, Dawkins wrote: “No, please, do not mistake passion, which can change its mind, for fundamentalism, which never will. Passion for passion, an evangelical Christian and I may be evenly matched. But we are not equally fundamentalist. The true scientist, however passionately he may ‘believe’, in evolution for example, knows exactly what would change his mind: evidence! The fundamentalist knows that nothing will.”

(Actually, paradigm shifts in sciences or other rooted common belief among “professionals” demand decades of struggles , producing “evidences” before change in mentality occur”. For example, the climate change, the depletion of potable water…)

The criticisms have not led the biologist to soften his stance on religion.

In a recent interview with al-Jazeera, he implied that being raised a Catholic was worse for a child than physical abuse by a priest.

Responding to a direct question from the interviewer Mehdi Hassan, Dawkins related the story of a woman in America who had written to him about abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of a priest, and the mental anguish of being told that one of her friends, a Protestant girl, would burn in hell.

“She told me that, of those two abuses, she got over the physical abuse, it was yucky but she got over it. But the mental abuse of being told about hell, she took years to get over,” said Dawkins.

Telling children such that they really believe that people who sin are going to go to hell and roast forever, that your skin grows again when it peels off, it seems to me intuitively entirely reasonable that is a worse form of child abuse, that will give more nightmares because they really believe it.”

Dawkins did not respond to a request to comment directly on Higgs’s “fundamentalist” charge.

In the El Mundo interview, Higgs argued that although he was not a believer, he thought science and religion were not incompatible. “The growth of our understanding of the world through science weakens some of the motivation which makes people believers. But that’s not the same thing as saying they’re incompatible. It’s just that I think some of the traditional reasons for belief, going back thousands of years, are rather undermined.

“But that doesn’t end the whole thing. Anybody who is a convinced, but not a dogmatic believer, can continue to hold his belief. It means I think you have to be rather more careful about the whole debate between science and religion than some people have been in the past.”

He said a lot of scientists in his field were religious believers. “I don’t happen to be one myself, but maybe that’s just more a matter of my family background than that there’s any fundamental difficulty about reconciling the two.”

The Higgs boson explained. Link to this video

In 1963 Higgs predicted the existence of a force-carrying particle, part of an invisible energy field that filled the vacuum throughout the observable universe.

Without the field, or something like it, we would not be here. The field clings to the smallest fundamental particles and gives them mass. The field, which switched on moments after the big bang, allowed particles to come together and form all the atoms and molecules around today.

In the interview, the physicist spoke about the announcement on 4 July that the Higgs boson had finally been found. He said he had received a call from a colleague at Cern a few days earlier who had told him he would regret it if he did not come along. At the announcement, Higgs began to cry.

“What was so overwhelming really was the response of the audience at Cern. It wasn’t like a scientific seminar, it was like the end of a football match when the home team has won, and that was what was overwhelming to me, to be a part of that … Bursting into tears was a reaction to the emotions around me and the feeling that, well, it’s arrived at last! That was hard to deal with.”

Many scientist believe that the discovery means that Higgs is odds on for a future Nobel prize. He was relieved, however, that the Nobel committee had skipped over the discovery for the physics award this year. “I was relieved, simply because since the beginning of July I’ve been so busy dealing with requests to do this and that, that I was glad not to have that on my schedule as well, so I have described it as a reprieve.”

• The original interview is copyright Pablo Jáuregui/El Mundo

 

Overflow your Enemy with massive pieces of intelligence and information

Why we fail to grasp the critical facts that are available and prefer to rely on massive analysis of data?

It is well known that the biggest investment in energy and time of secret services in any major State is to disseminate pieces of intelligence to the enemy, many are correct so that the critical false information are believed. The tactics of disseminating redundant information in order to overflow the party with erroneous critical pieces of facts is as old as time.

Though the multinational financial institutions don’t mind any piece of intelligence: They have the means to sort out what they want in a moment notice since the kind of data are mostly facts gathered by machines.

The same goes with the State’s intelligence gathering institutions to “monitor” the Affairs of the State.

Only the few in these institutions think they know what exactly they are searching for in order to destabilize the markets and be the first to exploit even the air we breath.

If you never heard of San Antonio and heard something of the city of San Diego, you are inclined to believe that San Diego is more populous than San Antonio, and you’ll be correct. If an information is a household name, such as Chicago people who are familiar with both cities (due to basketball games?), they guessed this fact right 66% of the time, though German people guessed right over 90% of the time. That’s not a proper example for this topic, I just couldn’t help interjecting this fact.

The vast library of research, studies, expert opinions, comments, PowerPoint presentations on the financial state before 2008…. where they all Hot Air?  None of these pieces of intelligence could predict the crisis, and least of all the timing of the financial crash.

My opinion is that the timing was mostly political in nature since the advent of the crisis was confirmed to be unavoidable by the US administration as well as a few major superpowers.

And the timing for declaring the crisis was also known by the major leaders of the economic superpowers that the US had close interest with, economically and politically, such as China, Canada and England, and the preparations were planned and the major critical decisions of “after the crisis” were decided upon.

Daniel J. Boorstin wrote: “The greatest obstacle to discovery is the illusion of knowledge” and the successive paradigm shifts in all disciplines are keeping knowledge on its toes.

The effects you can feel and observe. The doubtful causes are within the rational realm…

If you scratch deeper in any experiment, you discover there are higher or superimposed causes to the initial  “identified cause” . And we claim that the initial causes to be the reasons for the effects we are feeling or observing.

Fact is, I believe only in the interrelationships or interactions among the “identified causes” (factors, independent variables) and not in the causative notion, a dichotomy  or binary situation (cause and effect) that our mind is trained to invent in order to make sense for our logical and rational system we learned.

Cause is a rational invention that is imposed on our mind since there are no ways to sense it.

Although the mathematical concept of correlation (an equation) is not similar to the notion of cause, I find that correlation among variables to make sense: At least you can observe the trends (positive or negative), an observation that is far more useful and applicable than the abstract concept of “cause”.

The fact that for every cause there are higher level causes or many other causes interfering with an initial cause, I feel that the notion of cause is moot and disturbing.

It is the many “identified causes” that brought so many calamities to mankind.

Even today, many identified causes have turned out to be false, confounding, ill-conceived, simplistic…

Paradigm shifts are the demonstrations of “flawed causes” in every discipline. cases that affected generations that spanned centuries in many civilizations around the world.

One of the worst of “identified cause” is what “a God or supreme being made people to follow their designated destinies”.

A God is far more dangerous the more reduced is the pantheon of Gods.

From hundreds, to dozens, to three, to two and ending up to just a single God, calamities and indignities increased as the number of Gods diminished.

During the periods of vaster roster of Gods, civilizations prospered, and enjoyed prolonged periods of peace, security, and richer continuous communication among communities.

Fact is, the concept of cause is so difficult to scientifically assimilate that it requires several years of education in experimental design, setting up experiment and controlling the numerous interfering variables (causes).  And flawed experiments are being churned out faster than peer reviewed experts can review and comment on.

You can learn to acquire an experimental mind and be capable of critiquing scientific articles for flawed designs and analysis, but setting up an experiment and running it require a different set of attitudes.

Actually, product are being tested live on customers, and companies wait for legal complaints to react and redesign for health and safety.

The French monthly “Sciences Humaines” was published 20 years ago. A special issue was designed to recapitulate and compare ideas and theories prevalent years ago with current paradigms in human sciences.  How  the current scientific community view mankind, nature, the universe, and the interactions among the three entities?

Thus, the 300 issues were studied and analyzed to review topics that range from culture/nature, emotions, environment, family, genders, history recounting, identity, individualism, intelligences, market, globalization, neuro-sciences, philosophy, institutional power, religion, society, work, violence, and the web. I will develop on most topics in later articles.

“We have thought that…Now, we know or we believe that…”

The previous 20-year was called the “Golden Age” of human sciences and many paradigm shifts displaced and challenged previous concepts and theories.  A review of the foundations of structuralism, Freud methodology, Marxism ideology, forms of capitalism, hybrid concepts, newer scientific tools, multilateral theories, crisis of identity, power organization, new emerging powerful nations, tag clouds interpretations, cluster analysis procedures, dominant trends such as West versus East, or North versus South hemispheres…are approached.

It is interesting to get into the context of technology 20 years ago.  There were no cellular phones or internet.  Faxing documents was the magical medium to quick transfer of written materials, sort of fax to fax interviews.  Soon, Tim Berners-Lee inaugurated the information highway age of the web.

The “golden age” of the “great stories”, oriented toward progress and modernization, is inching to the new era of multi-culture communities and the relative evaluation of value systems.  The world is no longer viewed from the perspective of pure categories and universal truths, but moving to attitudes of hybrid approaches and admitting that complexity is the reality of the universe and mankind behaviors.

Dominant ideologies are making rooms for diversity of opinions, silent revolutions, and mass youth non-violent revolutions (current Arab people uprising). For example, globalization is not simply and generally referred to in keywords such as developing nations, international commerce, neoliberalism, networking, the end of history, the fading away of nationalist sentiments or aspirations… New keywords referring to globalization are superseding the previous keywords such as financial crisis, food subsidies, emerging nations, China, India, economic power poles, southern hemisphere,…

Growth rate is currently viewed in different perspectives such as sustainable development, conservation of biodiversity, cleaner environment, climatic changes problems,… People are more concerned with financial crashes, collapsing of computer systems, power grid outages, nuclear power plant disasters, disappearance of thousands of original languages, dislocation of family fabrics, monoparent and homoparent (same sex) trends…

The debate of nurture versus nature is supplanted by the hybrid notion of natural mankind, very affected by external forces altering his neuron connectivity and regeneration; animals are viewed as endowed with emotions, intelligence and even moral behaviors.  Emotions are playing central stage and gradually displacing the cherished logical rational paradigm in influencing decisions, social communication, and economic trends…Keywords such as links, network, flux, fluid, risk are invading descriptions of social association and communication…

History has shifted from total history concepts and stories to very local history of regions, towns,  community, family history,particular feudal and sectarian types of organizations…Emancipation of women at specific time period, struggle and fights of women for equal rights, job opportunities, roles and function in society…

Diversification of cultural identities within a State and determined opposition to total integration and fusion in a single social fabric  are pressuring government to review alternative frameworks to defining the concept of citizenship and human rights obligations according to the UN Charters…

How power is represented through the Big Brothers dominion of information, intelligence gathering, and control of private life, and through the multinational companies value systems for altering fundamental moral values and ethical standards…

Macro economics is of the past, even micro economics is making room to neuro-economics.

Technology has moved from micro to nano-technology.

All these transformations happened within two decades span. How could you predict the future 20 years from now? Would you feel comfortable envisioning a world getting tinier, smaller dwelling places, overpopulated megalopolis, fewer green spaces, restricted communities, faster pace life-style, diminishing open space entertainment events, education requiring fluency in many languages, and empatizing with many cultures living in your neighborhood…

 

Is it the “human factor” behind credibility of an expert opinion?

J. Krishnamurti wrote: “If you depend on books (of the left, of the right or on sacred books), then you depend on mere opinion, whether of Buddha, of Christ, of capitalism, communism or what you will. They are ideas, not truth. A fact can never be denied. Opinion about fact can be denied. If we can discover what the truth of the matter is, we shall be able to act independently of opinion.”

The last sentence key opinion is “If we can discover what the truth…” and in my opinion, we cannot discover truth of anything: We have an idea or a feeling of what opinion means, but can we ever know what truth is?

This article is NOT about discriminating among: Fact, observation, experience, experiment, expert opinion, consensus opinion,truth… I have already published several posts on that interesting topic.  This post is about differentiating among “expert opinion” types.

We can differentiate between expert opinions delivered in court of justice and expert opinions disseminated by the “talking heads” in the news media; you know those in the rosters of the news media who are supposedly considered experts in particular political, financial, economic, or social “Hot Topics”.

Both kinds of experts earn a living from their opinions and they have a long CV of credentials, but they differ in their levels of “professionalism” and activism.

For example, the courts admit forensic experts (professional in engineering related fields) because their opinions resolve 90% of the cases before they are brought to justice:  Those expert mediators help reduce congestions and backlogs in courts.

What contribution could talking heads bring to mankind?

For example, most will agree that the expert opinions of Egyptians who are demonstrating and marching in the last two weeks, in every city  of Egypt, are far more convincing and carry higher weights and values than the opinions of Mubarak, his oligarchy, the western media, or the “moderate Arab” dictators, monarchs, theocrats, and one party regimes.

You can also agree that a forensic expert, ready to face examinations and cross-examinations in court is more convincing than a talking head opinion who is not willing to face the firing squad of a dictator for his opinions.

It boils down to the equation: “How much an expert is willing to challenge opinion takers by his actions, perseverance, activities for a cause, and versatile knowledge?”  It is a matter of “human factor” behind the opinion that makes a difference in credibility and acceptance of an expert opinion.

For example, if a community decides to have a blackout on cosmology, in learning, and pictures of planets and stars, then you can be assured that the new generation will believe as Facts that earth is the center of the universe, that the sun revolves around earth, and that earth is evidently FLAT.  The horrifying part of my conjecture is:  “It is very easy to test it“.

What we already know for facts are related to institutions transmitting these facts on a consistent basis.

Institutions, even oral customs for educating children in communities with dying languages, are purposely established to disseminate consensus opinions by the standing power that is running the community.

Professional organizations in all fields of leaning and practices are examples of institutions with objectives of  keeping alive opinions agreed upon to be facts.

Professional organizations and institutions are the last defensive barriers or bastions against the onslaught of paradigm shifts in the fields of knowledge.

Even personal experiences are not immune to changes and to be revisited, as life progresses in varied experience and knowledge:  Experiences that were considered to leave landmark impacts on our impressions, our views, and opinions could be toned down later on, and even literally forgotten. And vice versa with personal experiences that were not judged of much impact in matter of lasting impressions and effects.

Anyone who believes that facts are “stand alone” truths (not in a legal sense) is missing the powerful reality of how life processes can change and alter most of everything, in our knowledge and sets of facts and opinions.

In general, it is the youth and the lazy in the mind who hold absolute conviction in their positions and opinions.

Statistics are not facts and are not neutral:  They are funded and backed by interested parties.

Statistics are fundamentally biased, no matter how “scientifically conducted” the technique is claimed.   You have to realize that the scientific community has set up rigorous rules and set of regulations on how to conduct “peer-reviewed” experiments or research.

Basically, a consensus opinion among the majority of the professionals who have standing power established the scientific procedures and rules to claim which results are facts.

Not only the design of the experiment has to be satisfactory, but the procedures and processes of running the experiment, collecting data, and controlling the confounding variables that may affect the results.  You have to use a statistical computer package to statistically analyze the data, which means you have to agree that the mathematical model is representative of the intended research, you have to take account of the level of significance relative to the seriousness of research, and then you have interpretations that are expert opinions in the final analysis. 

Tell me, how many research can pass all these stringent guidelines in order to claim that the results express facts?

There is a controversy for selecting the 5% significance level to claim that results cannot deny the hypothesis to be very plausible.  It appears that the notion of level of significant is very complex and demanding that researchers include a section explaining their selection of level of significance would be troublesome.

What if the “Claim is extraordinary”, wouldn’t it require extraordinary evidences?  We know that the most dangerous and important events are those falling at the extreme end of the bell-shaped probability:  Thus, if the claim is extraordinary then, the level of significance should be in the 1% range and a special section in the research paper must explain it.

All it takes is a biased step in the experiment in order to have doubt on a proclaimed fact.

Who is to investigate every experiments?

What profession can claim to have the means and the will to double-check the procedures of every experiment or repeat the experiment with an independent team of researchers?  In that case, it is a matter of expert opinions, even if the results were supposed to be accepted as facts.

If you cause is to support the rights of people, you better test again the methods used to taking the statistics and formulate your own framework for controlling the variability.

No facts come the easy way; and they are not “stand alone” immutable facts that time and effort cannot alter. It takes purposeful efforts, time, and determination to untangle complex interactions among human associations.

Facts are the work of willing people in their drive to change current opinions and consensus that disfavor the majority of people in their survival and dignity.

Someone commented on Krishnamurti quote saying: “My view is that all books are written from a point of view, movies are worse, but books telling us about Christ, Buddha, Krishna… Teachings were not written by them, so there’s truth in their teachings but the books can add or delete some views.” This comment is confusing and not standing up properly; since when teachings, not written by the concerned people, may harbor truth, particularly since teaching is a point of view? Most probably, the comment was meant to be read “so there isn’t truth in their teaching…”

Facts are too boring and uninteresting to people; besides, even when someone claims that what he stated is a fact or an observation, people do not believe him unless he shows his “credentials”, meaning that he is close to be recognized as a prophet…

People are far more interested in opinions so that discussions are heated up.

People want to communicate impressions and feeling.

People throw around pieces of facts just to start a dialogue and impress the audience.

There are no “stand alone” facts and opinions:  They are dependent on the “human factors”.

It takes bribing a “credible” eminent personality to express some hesitation to a fact and then enticing an ignorant to vehemently second the credible person for doubt to taking roots.

Professionals who disseminate falsehoods appreciate this technique and apply it consistently.

How many people have the necessary knowledge to read research studies and criticize them judiciously as appropriate for enhancing knowledge?

Who has the patience to critique every article stating that “it is based on facts”?

The Sacred Practical Necessities; (October 25, 2009)

Cultural transformation is the byproduct of practical necessities: Struggling for life and fearing of death.  For example, by the time mankind got conscious of his ephemeral life (for many millennia, people didn’t get to live beyond the age of 30 at best) and that death is a certainty then, religion (the eminently among the sacred practical necessities) was created to cope with the consequences that resulted from that conscious fear, on the ground that, otherwise, no security or peace of mind could prevail within any organized society.

Religion might not have been invented right after we got conscious of our mortality, but necessarily as modern man realized that he is a special individuality.  Then modern man got wary of producing mass hand tools for the tribe and took special care for individual designs such as specialty carved symbols on the tools, particular color combinations, drawing and painting that reflected feelings and awe toward the environment and the forces of nature.  Painting, sculpting, and drawing symbols were the precursors for inventing a language as a practical necessity, first verbally and then, by written medium.

Death is chaos and life is a struggle to feed on death:  a constant semblance of restructuring spiritual cohesion.   Metaphysic, the precursor to religion, is but this longing to providing continuity between life and death so that our logical mind does not breakdown to smithereens: Sciences and technologies cannot provide definite and exact answers to everything.  Metaphysics must have been substantiated because many people experienced a few supernatural events and realized that what is being physically sensed is not the whole story.

I believe that institutionalized religions grew after verbal communication was feasible by means of languages to harangue communities against the other infidel tribes.  Religion, as a conscious culture, utilized the metaphysical potentials in man to codify its system of beliefs and then codifying a system of daily behavior, rules, and regulations.

Unfortunately, what was necessary at a period was utilized inevitably to dominate other tribes that believed or adopted different totems or sacred rites.  An irreversible trend was set in motion: practical necessities generate cultures with counter productive results (theorized as necessary) to our evolution.  That mental process is the foundation to our spiritual shortcomings to progress ethically and morally.

Religion and sciences have the same roots in the conscious and, though they evolved with different methodologies, they adopted the same procedure for impacting on the mind: They established consensus based on a few premises, struggled hard not change their system of beliefs and then, waited for a paradigm shift to transforming the traditional culture.  The revolution of Luther and Calvin against the concept of Papal infallibility left intact the core obscurantist culture of Catholicism and Christianity which is viewing knowledge with suspicion, and specifically scientific knowledge, as the work of the devil. In fact, Protestantism went as far as considering philosophy as compromising the human mind.

The fundamental revolution came when people realized that if the Pope is fallible then, religion is consequently fallible and the quest for answers to fill the void in knowledge was resurrected with sciences.  Cultural Revolution in Europe was made feasible because of three basic developments: the weakening of the central religious power in Rome, the invention of mass printing, and the focus on local languages such as German, French, and Italian instead of Latin (the language of central power). Hence, this frenzy in Europe of the 16th century Renaissance to translating the Islamic books (then the most advanced in sciences).

Historically, the Arab conquerors of the Near East region (that was part of the Byzantium Empire in Constantinople) relied on scholars in the Near East who wrote in the Greek language to re-translating the Greek classical work into Arabic and Syriac (also called Aramaic, the written language of the Land).  Aramaic was the spoken language of the people and of Jesus. Damascus was selected to be the first Capital of the Arabic Dynasty of the Umayyad and Damascus saved the Greek language from oblivion.

The scholars of the Renaissance in Europe mastered both the Greek and Latin languages and could eventually refer to the original Greek manuscripts.  Thus, the period of the Renaissance in Europe was a revolution against the failure of the Christian religion to satisfying the cultural transformation after the failure of the crusading campaigns to circumvent the essential trade routes (through Egypt) and the affinity of the Arabic/Islamic culture in Spain (from 800 to 1400 AC).

Most paradigm shifts could be classified as cultural transformations but a few could be conceived as cultural evolution; a qualitative jump in our knowledge of nature and man are related to concepts such as using symbols, verbal communications as a language, the written language, the concept that man and earth are not the center of the universe, that time is an intrinsic element of space such that no two events can be said to occur simultaneously, that man is not wholly master of his decisions, and that man is neither the crown of creation nor the peak of evolution.

“The catalytic manuscripts that cleaved the ancient off the modern times” (August 31, 2008)

Manuscripts in themselves do not necessarily generate revolutions or change habits and thinking in societies, but they are used as sources and the foundation for drastic changes at the appropriate conditions and moments in social upheavals.

This article will focus on the main published manuscripts since the 16th century that had the potential to cleave the ancient perspectives on the world off the modern times.

Who were the catalyst thinkers that changed the perceptions and beliefs in values, politics, economy, sciences, and theology (paradigm shifts)?

This article is to encourage free thinkers who can read to go to the original manuscripts with a renewed critical approach of modern development, instead of relying on the interpretations of “representatives” of knowledge.  Delegating truth and meaning of the authors by others is pure laziness of the mind, camouflaged by countless excuses that permit ignorance and ideological positions to distort opinions and well founded mental development.

Erasmus (1469-1536) translated the Bibles from Latin into the German language which aided greatly Martin Luther to spread his brand of Protestantism like wild fire in the Germanophone countries. The Catholic clergies were thus denied the privilege of being the sole interpreters of the Bibles;. And the power shifted to the people who could not before read or write in the Latin language of the elites.  This period is considered the beginning of the Renaissance.

In the 16th century Martin Luther regained the free will for the new Protestants who challenged the Popes in Rome.

Luther activity was of very limited theological objective which meant to remind the Popes and the archbishops that whatever decrees for the individual absolution of sins they have been selling concerns the sins towards them or their Catholic Church, but not what are done to others: only God is the main absolver of sins and it is man’s consciousness and true remorse that count to God.

It happened that the Princes and feudal lords in Northern Europe and Germany were frustrated with the Popes and clergies’ businesses at their expense for taxing the added values in the economy by selling absolution at a large scale.

For example, bishops purchased their ranks and thus borrowed heavily and had to repay their dues at the expense of the population, a business that transferred lot of money that the Princes and Barons treasuries relied on.

Consequently, it was the political personalities that carried the schism to Catholicism to its extreme breakage point under the banner of Martin Luther.           

Montesquieu published in 1748 “De l’esprit des lois”.

He relied heavily on the writings of the English philosopher Locke and the constitution in effect in Great Britain. Political liberty cannot be secured without the separation of the three authorities legislative, executive and legal.

Political liberty is this peace of mind in the general opinion that security is maintained of not being forced to do what the laws prohibit and to be able to do what we want within the limits of the laws. During the American Revolution (1789) the article 16 in the US Declaration stated “No separation of authority (power) no Constitution“.

The executive should have the right to block or veto a written law if it could not execute the law and many executive branches in democracies have this privilege.  (My personal opinion is that the missing link in democracies is for not permitting the legal body of judges to blocking any legislative law that is too mechanical in nature and denies the judges their common sense and experience in judging cases or might over burden the legal body if the executive branch decides to be zealot in exercising certain laws for party political interests and at election times, laws that limit or hinder the judges’ prerogatives for judging cases on their own merit and proper duration)

Rousseau published in 1762 “Du contrat social” which set fire to most social and political movements fed up of monarchies and oligarchies up to the 19th century. As in any association, each citizen put in common his individual person and his power under the supreme guidance of the general will and this act of association form a collective moral body which translates into every associate receiving his unity, his will and his life. Under this social pact anyone who refuses to obey the general will should be set free from the agreements binding the members of association.

This new generated public person who used to take his City name is now called citizen in a Republic and subject under the State laws. The general will of the citizens that share common interests tends always to benefit the public good and it is under these common interests that the citizens should be governed although the general public can be cheated out of its will by renegade governments.  The extreme opinions in the two tails in the will of all the citizens cancel each other and what remains is the general will of the population. (Any citizen who refuses to join the general will, in election results for example, should not benefit in the various interests as those who are bonded by the pact).

Emmanuel Kant (1724-1804), the German philosopher, published his philosophical work “The foundations of the metaphysical morals” which made it impossible to consider the natural gifts as having real impact on moral values. 

Only the good will (I prefer to define it as compassionate enthusiasm) of an individual can be considered absolutely “good” on the moral level. What makes us worthy of happiness is solely our good will to change and act according to our limited natural gifts.  The natural gifts of intelligence, talents, capacity to decide, stubbornness in our tasks, inherited money, excellent health and so forth can be catalysts to enhancing our good will but no one should be considered as having good morals or a god moral person simply because he inherited natural gifts.  The ancient moral structure or ethics endowed the aristocratic class natural privileges because by nature people are unequal in gifts and thus virtues reside in the upper classes.

Adam Smith published in 1776 “Investigation on the nature and causes of the wealth of Nations”.  He stated that individuals have the tendencies to invest whatever capital they own within the areas of their residence so that they could have better control over their business because they are aware of the people they can trust and the environment that can use their skills and products and the functioning of the legal system.

This process of increasing the added value of their businesses in the local commerce or inner commerce in general is like “an invisible hand” at work for increasing the wealth of the whole economy.  When the State risks to orient or guide a individual in the manner of investing his capital it is meddling in pointless exercises since the investor is better positioned to know the kinds of activities he is fit to undertake.  Smith relied heavily on the liberal scientific economic principles of the School of Physiocrates but three economic revolutions carried his manuscript as their Bible; mainly, the French Revolution in the political debates, the industrial revolution seeking justifications for their capitalist system and the scientific revolution.

Smith warned against freight commerce where the capital of an investor is divided among foreign countries and never under his control. Thus, a businessman prefers to deal within the inner commerce over external commerce and by far over freight commerce.  Many contradictory economics schools of sciences that earned Nobel Prices such as the School of Chicago, the School of Vienna and even Amartya Sen tried to interpret a few of Smith’s economic principles and his metaphor of the invisible hand.

Charles Darwin performed two revolutions in 1859 by publishing “The origin of species” and in 1871 by publishing “La filiation de l’homme” or “The lineage of man”.  In the first manuscript Darwin wondered how come the natural organisms manage to keep a stable balance with this abundance of procreation. 

Thomas Malthus published in 1798 his “Essay on the principle of population” declaring that resources were not increasing at the same rate of population and that if procreation is not restrained then earth would become the theater of mortal struggles.  In nature, many species procreate considerably in the eventual process that many would die or be eaten before they reach adulthood. Darwin reached a resolution that this stable equilibrium is the mechanism of selection among species that endow the capable with additional minor advantages that permit them to overcome the rigor of an environment, individual, social and atmospheric, a natural process of adaptation for survival of a species. 

Darwin never mentioned in this manuscript that man is descendant of chimpanzees or other species. The second manuscript claimed that incremental progress in civilized associations among humans have instituted a mechanism that offer privileges to the sick and less gifted at the expense of individual rivalries so that to preserve the social instincts of altruism and solidarity among the communities.  Darwin foresaw that as the number of men start sympathizing with animals in extension to their social instincts then this sensibility would expand through imitation and education and end up being incorporated in the general public.

Sigmund Freud in his “The subconscious and its interpretation” announces that man is not a free willing person and master of his ideas but all his actions and thoughts are guided by fantasies generated in his subconscious; hazard is thus non existent because everything can be explained by the workings of the subconscious and discovered through the technique of free association of ideas and whatever you utter during your waking hours.  Slave of the automaton of the senses and of desires, everyone secretes a world of his own, woven by his phantasms and thus “everyone is basically crazy”.  The conscious world is a precarious common denominator of compromises that people opt to live within treachery, misunderstandings, routine and identification.

Albert Einstein published in 1905 a short and succinct article, labeled later as the theory of restrained relativity, which changed for ever the perception of time and space and established a new modern physics.  Einstein had stated that time is intrinsically related to the observer in movement and that only the constant speed of light is independent of movement and its directions.  Classical physics conceived time and space as independent of matters and observers; past was past and the future was to be realized everywhere in the world.

Einstein stated that an observer in a train who is totally in the dark has no means of knowing whether the train is at rest or in uniform movement (a movement that excludes acceleration or deceleration).  Scientists thus had to exclude the notion that two events can possibly happen simultaneously and depends on an arbitrary reference. (I read that gravity is fundamentally a distortion in the time-space canvass and not related to the mass of a particle/planet in the cosmic universe). The concepts of “passage of time” as the flow of a river and our separation of past, present and future are plainly illusions. Einstein’s general relativity theory modified modern physics in many areas such as particle accelerators, black holes, Big Bang, and the GPS positioning system.  (If these new concepts are true then I may hypothesize that the metrics of time based on an atomic clock may not be valid on another galaxy because the speeds of the other galaxies are different from ours).

Werner Heisenberg was 23 year-old when he published in 1925 “On quantum mechanics”.  Heisenberg realized that classical mechanics used by Max Planck, Niels Bohr and Louis de Broglie that relied on the values of exact position, the orbital period of an electron and speed of a matter were not observable quantities in atomic and sub-atomic particles and thus not suitable to be applied.  Heisenberg then endeavored to formulate abstract equations using observable quantities such as the frequencies of light emitted when an electron jumps from an orbit to the next and the energy required to shifting orbits which is the square of amplitudes of the wave and represented by the probabilities of jumping orbits. 

This mathematical concept of a new mechanics has lead to many interpretations such as it impossible to simultaneously measure the location of an atomic particle and its speed or moment and that the physical world is not realized in one deterministic copy but the superposition of innumerable worlds. (I once read that the new quantum mechanics theory was the consequence of chaos in philosophy: deterministic views, in the aftermath of the First World War, were suspect in the perception of people of the new calamitous world)



adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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