“We have managed to transfer religious belief into gullibility for whatever masquerades as science.” (Nassim Taleb, The Black Swan)
Via the Internet and a blog, now called the Montana Post (formerly called Intelligent Discontent), I got to know a man named Don (who goes by the nickname Pogie.) Don frequently assailed critics by quizzing them on their use of sources. If something came from the New York Times, OK. If not, if from something less ‘reputable,’ Don would smugly dismiss both the person and the opinion.
Don’s blog posts repeat one theme only, that Democrats are splendid public servants and Republicans scoundrels. It is unnerving to see this as a “thoughtful” outlook on our landscape. I have traveled only sparingly to his site in these past few years, and only bring it up now to make this point: Don doesn’t think for himself. He relies on authority figures and sources.
I know, this is common. This is how most people process things, even those who read a lot, as does Don. He is, after all, a high school teacher, and this is how he trains his students. He considers himself a thinker, part of an outstanding minority in our land.
That attitude is common in the schools … what is the SAT but regurgitation of ‘correct’ information? What does it teach us other than to look up to authority figures for the right answers? Kids want to get ahead and get into good colleges and so study hard for that test. Also, they are afraid of making mistakes, which are costly.
Mistakes, our best teachers, are to be avoided. Regurgitate! Excel! A student might otherwise learn how to weigh evidence, question authenticity and authoritative sources, and be skeptical. That is not taught, not learned.
So it is no surprise that as I look around me I see the American public as a herd groomed to be milked of its resources like cows, udderly unaware of its state of existence.
I recently finished a book, The Pseudoscience Wars by Michael D. Gordin, a professor of history at Princeton and a very thorough researcher. (More on the profession of history later.) It’s a tough book to get through, and I shy away from its main thrust, that those within the areas of what we call science are qualified to pass judgment on those outside who question their findings. He intimates this idea rather than stating it outright. It may well be that much of what we see around us that is labeled crackpot is just that, but it might also be the case that what comes down from science on high is something else … not crackpottery, but rather fraud.
Grodin centers the book around Immanuel Velikovsky, and gives him rough treatment for personality quirks like mood swings and tantrums. I find it however to be a fair treatment. In general, I like his thrust, as on page 209 where he dismisses peer review as a useful means of weeding out fraud, and suggests a better way … no, he doesn’t. There is no better way. There is nothing but our own brains. Creationism journals are peer-reviewed. Most of what we call science is groupthink, people who rely on a sense of belonging rather than natural curiosity. These are people who punish authentic and original thinkers.
The Miles Mathis Group (my opinion on that source) recently put up a post called Beyond Velikovsky, which I read with great interest. That source claims that Velikovsky was a “project” to give us a false choice between mainstream science and another, equally fraudulent. I don’t necessarily buy that, as Velikovsky was a serious man of considerable intellect and depth. MMG makes the point that a run-in by Earth with a body the size of Venus (Velikovsky’s main thrust in Worlds in Collision), equivalent in mass to the earth, would do more far than cause a deluge. Earth would have been vaporized. Instead, they posit that something catastrophic indeed happened around that time, just not that. Maybe a minor comet. The group misses point that earth went through the comet’s tail, according to Velikovsky, and that there was no collision. So I tend to dismiss that opinion.
We have wondered aloud at this blog about the origins of the families that seem to control the planet, The Peerage, the owners. We cannot know, as secrecy is their calling card. I wonder, however, if they go back in time to the events that Velikovsky examined. It would have been a new beginning. Perhaps that is the knowledge they hide? Did Velikovsky violate the code of secrecy? Is that why he was crucified? If so, the book would not have been condemned as it was. It would not have been published. That is the true power of censorship, not to even know about ideas. Allowing a best seller to be published and then publicly squashed can only mean those ideas were meant to be seen and shot down. So this does have some signs of a project.
Matters of this nature require a base of knowledge and experience far beyond what I possess or have time to acquire. I will probably never know what is true. Instead, I have found the material in Velikovsky’s Earth in Upheaval (1955) to be far more useful. The fact, undeniable, that millions of carcasses of mammoths and other animal were flash frozen in the Siberian and Alaska tundra indicates something very big and very recent happened, possibly a tidal wave that swept them there. Massive glacial erratics are found uphill, in places where they could not have been moved by downward flowing ice. Something big and bad happened, and did so recently in terms of our geologic past. If anything is fringe or pseudoscience, it is uniformitarianism, the theory that what we see around us is the result of billions of years of slow change. If that is bunk, then so too is evolutionary science. How we came to be, how we got here is far more mysterious than they think we know. If it is known at all, it is by precious few and closely guarded.
Regarding Velikovsky’s Worlds in Collision, the 1950 work that created the uproar, there was in the ensuing debate the matter of a typo on page 349 (page 345 of my Doubleday edition) where the ecliptic from one new moon to another was set on the average of 33 degrees 14′ too great. The actual number printed in my version is 3 degrees. I doubt the number “33” appears anywhere, and that the criticism is invalid. If it did appear that way, it was a typo, and in those days, books were heavily pored over by intelligent eyes before being published, unlike today. Velikovsky had years to edit the galleys, and would not have missed that one. What struck me, however, was that damned number, 33, that appears in every major hoax. Was this tempest in a teapot a signalling device? (The book was transferred to Doubleday as a best seller after being available for eleven weeks.)
In my Iconoclast post on Velikovsky, there was quite a bit of discussion about spook markers around this gentleman (plus the fact that “Miles Mathis” had already “written” on the subject, so there). Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, sometimes 33 is just the number that follows 32. Was Velikovsky scamming us, misleading us, distracting and muddying the waters on purpose? If so, to what end? MMG says it is to divert us truth it possesses, but I remain skeptical of MMG’s true purpose being enlightenment.
The image above is the official history of our planet. It is very precise. New geology students are required to not just study it, but memorize it. If Velikovsky was right, this chart is nonsense. But the way science is constructed forces this chart into our brains as reality. Any prospective geology student who doubts it will not advance. There will be no research grants made available for those who question it. Testing is as follows: Memorize, regurgitate.*
Consequently, I am far more interested in the reaction of the scientific community, and of historians, to Velikovsky.
First, the historians: They simply ignored him. I don’t care much for history, don’t believe much of it. Even a professor of history as Grodin at Princeton is suspect in my mind, as to qualify for that position he had to pass judgment by his peers, meaning that orthodoxy is his calling card. I don’t automatically assume his position offers anything more than rigor and hard work rather than original thinking. Entire aisles at Barnes and Noble are dedicated to the work of people writing about the past, and I pass on it.
A mere 6,312 days ago (today is 12/22/18) an event took place that violated the laws of physics. Aluminum aircraft left a clean hole in the sides of steel structures. That cannot happen, and therefore did not happen. But if any historian in any college or university in this country were to state that simple fact, that person would be fired.
I was informed by a book store clerk at the University of Montana ( a blogger, now retired) that scientists in that very institution puzzled and wondered over Newton’s Third Law, violated on that day. It states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. An aluminum aircraft hitting a concrete and steel building at 500mph would be identical to the building traveling at that speed and hitting the aircraft. It would crush it. Not so, said the clerk! The scientists at MSU had added a variable, “v”, or velocity to the Third Law. That changed everything. The jet was going really fast, so it was able to penetrate the building.
In other words, if I throw a baseball really, really fast, it will penetrate a brick wall. Horse shit. I pray he was not right about those teachers and professors. But wait, something else happened around that time.
In 2007 a tenured professor at University of Colorado Boulder was fired from his position for speaking out in an essay about 9/11. He did not question the events themselves, but rather only stated that the attacks were the result of US foreign policy. He wasn’t fired for that, not explicitly anyway. (Don’t kid yourself. He was fired for that.) The whole affair is suspicious, and strikes me as a public execution to send a message. Churchill himself may have been a scapegoat rather than willing participant, as it appears he did not land on his feet. However, the affair was used as an example. His expulsion sent a powerful message to every professor and teacher in the country, tenured or not: STFU. Churchill’s expulsion was used not just to chill academia, but to freeze it.
History is knowledge, and knowledge is power. Therefore, real history is confined to powerful circles, and for the rest of us, or the few who even read, there are the bookshelves at Barnes and Noble. History is bunk. If we cannot even know the truth of an event from a mere seventeen years ago, how can we trust any of it? Historians form a closed circle and write circles around well-known events like the American Revolution and World War II and Nazis Nazis Nazis … all for public consumption, all … not so much fabricated … as written with an eye on peers. Nothing dicey will make its way to print.
Historians insulate themselves from criticism, and so become a band of brothers and sisters who self-gratify and ignore any and all critics. That is why they were silent about Velikovsky, whose work was more a direct affront to historians than scientists. They become what one man, Wallace Thornhill, calls “trivially self-correcting,” that is, they make a show of the scientific method, but fail to use it.
They are smug. For that reason, I don’t care what they thought about Immanuel Velikovsky any more than I care what they might think about goose-stepping, their real life’s work.
Scientists are another matter. They openly and vigorously attacked Velikovsky, and this is where I suspect the MMG might, emphasis on “might”, be on to something. They forced resignations of credible and serious people at the Hayden Planetarium and Macmillan Books. The “national controversy” (I wonder if it was a tempest in a teapot) made the book a best seller, and its impact resonates to this day. Was it staged? If so, to what end? MMG claims that such events are staged to offer us false choices, with the real truth offered us by a man of historical stature in Taos named Miles Mathis. That too is not credible.
We are dealing here with the same issue as with historians, the power of ownership of knowledge. It was no different in the time of Copernicus and Tycho Brahe and Galileo Galilei, if that history is real. In their age the Catholic Church owned knowledge, and did not let anyone upset that reign. Insiders might well have known the these men presented a more accurate view of the universe, but also knew that to acknowledge that was to lose power.
We imagine today that we have advanced beyond such brute-thug behavior. Scientists pat themselves on the back for their openness. The “scientific method” is said to weed out junk and pseudoscience. And yet … 68 years after Worlds in Collision was published, it lingers in the shadows. We seemingly suffer from “presentism,” defined as “uncritical adherence to present-day attitudes, especially the tendency to interpret past events in terms of modern values and concepts.” In other words, we think we are smarter that those who came before us, and not subject to massive and crippling error, as in the time if Galileo. Horse shit.
I no longer trust science. I am not Pogie, and seeing something handed down from a credible source does not move me. I am not insulated or smug, as I know that I can and do make many mistakes. The halls of laboratories and academia are filled with men and women of high intelligence and noble purpose. However, they are all subject to control of others, and the means of control are many … tenure, peer review, groupthink, prestige and money. Do not discount the last. Money rules.
I am going to spend my time in the near future writing about several areas of science that have led me to doubt science as a whole: Theories of evolution, geology, astrophysics and cosmology, AIDS, ZIKA and virology in general, the PSA … I’ll add more as time goes on. I want to offer a differing perspective on the moon landings, as they are so well covered elsewhere that I cannot offer any new evidence. It all appears to be fraud and/or bad science, some of it deadly. Science today is the Catholic Church. It is to be rigidly taught and never questioned.
This blog exists to question reality and search for truth. I am still having fun, as I hope you the readers and our other writers are too. Happy New Year. And Pogie, may your rigid orthodoxy lead you to write 365 new posts on the wonders of Democrats in the coming year. I will read each one! No, wait. I will read but one. Same result.
*This reminds me of a line from a book by John Cleese, that a “lecture” is a magical process by which words on a teacher’s notepad appear on a student’s notepad without passing through the mind of either.