Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Synthetic Beings Await!

A Wolf-Neandertal Created Synthetically

The image depicted at the top shows a Wolf-Neandertal creature, engineered by recovering Neandertal DNA (say from an excavation or Neandertal burial ground) and then splicing it with Wolf DNA. Is this feasible? Not long ago, we had received the news that a team from the Pennsylvania State University - using hair samples from two woolly mammoths - one 60,000 yrs. old, the other 18,000 yrs. old (Neandertals died out about 36,000 years ago) - had realized they could bring back a mammoth by the simple expedient of placing the DNA inside an elephant's egg. The mammoth would then emerge from its elephant mother - though doubtless that poor mother would perish in the process.

In much the same way, some have mentioned recovering T. Rex DNA, say from a prehistoric (Jurassic era) mosquito trapped in amber. The removal of the T. Rex DNA would be a simple thing, and it would only be left to locate a suitable host to ensure its proper gestation, and then birth. Worldwide we hear that such a thing would never, ever be attempted and it is "impractical" - but one thing we know about inquisitive humans is that if a thing can potentially be done, it will be attempted.

Now, the Wolf-Neandertal would require something far more sophisticated than simply a Neandertal DNA specimen being placed inside a female wolf body and brought to fruition. It would require the culturing of a genetic hybridoma - an actual genetic blend of the two differing creatures.

This has been done already to some extent, as with mouse-human hybridomas, though none of these were allowed to get to a stage of mitosis past about 22 divisions. In Vance Packard's notable shocker, The People Shapers, he noted that the Chinese had reached the stage of more than 10,000 mitotic divisions for an ape-human hybridoma, before it became unstable. Evidently, they had planned to augment their three million man army using ape-human fighters.

While the thought of facing a mass of ape-human soldiers is probably appalling, I don't believe it is nearly as appalling as the recent efforts to bring back long since extinct (or dormant) diseases, for "general study and research of course". Most people already know, for example, how the 1918 influenza virus was re-engineered using remnants of the DNA recovered from a dead Eskimo in Alaska (who died from it) and merging it (splicing) with modern forms to complete the genome. The end product is evidently just as virulent and deadly as the original that offed 50 million people. Let us hope that it remains safely locked up in the vaults at Ft. Detrick, MD or wherever they have it now.

More recently, genetic researchers have successfully brought back a bacteria extinct for over 12 million years. Evidently by recovering it from some long dead arthropod's body. One wonders, however, when luck runs out and these "researchers" manage to bring back a virus or bacteria long since dead and for which no human has any resistance.

Just how far can these things go?

Drew Endy (now at Stanford, earlier MIT) talks blithely about being able to design our own offspring. (New Yorker, Sept. 28, p. 61). For example, if one worried about having a kid who would turn out to be a bible-punching believer fanatic, all that one would need to do is to splice out that segment of the genome or genetic code that gives rise to religious ideation. As Endy notes it is pretty straightforward:

"You just decode a genome, take it off line to the level of information- in other words, brak it down to its specific sequences of DNA the way one would break down the code in a software program. We can then design whatever we want and recompile it"

The future is limitless, indeed only circumscribed by the imagination? Want an unusual pet, not just a dog or plain lizard, or snake? Then design a special "pet" with three heads (dog, lizard, snake), perhaps- and the body of a large komodo dragon. what is a pet after all? As Endy puts it (p. 65):

"A house pet is just a domesticated parasite. It's evolved to have an interaction with human beings. Same thing with corn, a crop that didn't exist until we created it!"

What if you wanted to build a super-atheist kid? Again, no problem - as Endy (and his peers) put it, it is just a matter of recognizing the arrangement of the four basic nucleotides (A, T, C, or G) that make up most atheists in their genomes, say like:


then programming it in. At the same time the "believer" components (which are directed mostly from the temporal lobes as Michael Persinger's experiments have shown) are excluded. You have basically "stitched" a super-atheistic human from scratch.

Can millions or billions be made? Sure, since the same decoding and stitching can be mass-produced with powerful effect. One has a particular template, and you just employ it on a vast scale.

Endy notes that in cases like the above, the proteins produced by one code arrangement can act to counteract or mute others. By the same token, they can also be used to enhance others. Say the atheist arrangement works in tandem with a prolific writing or research aspect, then both can be augmented together.

Now, final question:

Do we really want to create a world where atheists or super-atheists outnumber believers and bible-punchers by 10 or 20 to 1? At first one might be tempted to say "YES!"

However, I suspect it'd be an awfully dull planet with no believers to poke fun at, or argue with.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Peter Thiel is Absolutely Correct!

Already barely a year from last year's financial meltdown with the DOW crashing over 700 points, we behold the exact same constellation of factors aligning for a new bubble. And with no effective restraints imposed on "the Street" we may expect their henchmen and innovators to soon trump even the credit default swaps which wrought so much havoc.

Add to this unemployment remaining at 9.7% and you have a nasty mix, indeed, which doesn't bode well. Numerous organs of high finance, from The Financial Times, to The Wall Street Journal, to FORTUNE and even investor-oriented MONEY, have already noted there is no practical basis for the rise in the DOW toward 10,000 we are seeing. After all with so many unemployed consumption is retreating and making do with less, and even big spenders are tightening their wallets or purse strings. So why are investors so caught up in this trap?

One who isn't buying it is Peter Thiel, co-founder of online payment company Paypal, who "thinks the economy is far from recovered and has bet with the bears amid the relentless rally" (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 28, page C1, 'Pessimism Exacts a Price on the Skeptics')

While other Hedge funds have experienced bonanzas in investment, Thiel's (Clarium Capital) "has seen double digit declines". (WSJ, ibid.)

Thiel is not repentant, nor should he be. As he put it (ibid.):

"The recovery is not real. Deep structural problems haven't been solved and it's unclear how we will create jobs and get the economy growing again- that's long been my thesis and it still is".

In the WSJ piece, of course, Thiel is referred to as a "contrarian" but this is misplaced. In fact, Thiel is one of the few sane folks not caught up in the syndrome of "irrational exuberance" that Alan Greenspan first coined in 1997. He is level-headed enough to see the signs and portents don't warrant a market buy in, though millions of lemmings seem to believe otherwise.

What does Thiel mean when he asserts "the recovery is not real"? First, note the clue in his reference to "deep structural problems". The core issue is illustrated in the diagram at top showing two banks with different levels or thresholds of net equity. Bank A is in much better position than Bank B by virtue of it having far less exposure to the toxic debt (actually bets on mortgage debt) known as CDS or credit default swaps.
To refresh memories, these were first clearly articulated in the fascinating (but terrifying!) FORTUNE article: 'The $55 TRILLION QUESTION' (October, 2008, p. 135). Quoted in the piece, a University econ professor (Frank Partnoy) who doubles as a Morgan Stanley derivatives salesman noted:
"The big problem is there are so many public companies- banks and corporations, and no one really knows how much exposure they have to CDS (credit default swap) contracts."
Since most CDS contracts are made "on the fly" in no formal mode, and often by word of mouth on cell phones (ibid.) no one even knows where all the $55 trillion of this toxic waste is buried. As another hedge fund operator (Chris Wolf) quoted in the article put it:
"This has become essentially the dark matter of the financial universe" - comparing it to the dark matter discovered in astrophysics.”
Finally, and most apropos, as the FORTUNE piece observed:
“you can guess how Wall Street's cowboys responded to the opportunity to make deals that: 1) can be struck in a minute, 2) require little or no cash upfront and 3) can cover anything.”

Now, the government's TARP (toxic assets relief program) was designed to eliminate the hidden CDS in all the exposed banks' ledgers, and thereby increase their aggregate equity to make mutual (interbank) and other loans feasible again. The chief fly in the ointment is that barely $100 billion has been allocated to deal with a $55 TRILLION bank black holes incepted by their purchase of these things. To make matters even worse, banks haven't even neen using the TARP money to eliminate their CDS exposure, but to bolster their own bottom lines and ledgers and enhance their individual equity.
But who can blame them? After all no "mark to market" indicators have been forthcoming, so there's no guidance on what any given credit default swap contract should be sold for. Pennies on the dollar? Ten cents? How much? Even ten cents on the dollar (which most banks certainly wouldn't accept, given the losses) means $5.5 TRILLION needed to get back to the status quo of bank equity before the meltdown.
But no one has made any decisions, so banks not only retain TARP money for their own use but are actually starting to make risky loans once more. On the bet that in the heating DOW climate they can make back money faster than under any Fed TARP deal. Thus, like it or not, CDS are still lying around like so many financial "bombs" ready to detonate again. No wonder Thiel isn't buying into the pseudo-rally!
Thiel's worry concerning the extent of job creation is also not irrelevant. Without job creation, and by the literal millions, people won't start major spending again. Since consumer purchases account for 70% of GDP in this country, it means a lower GDP is in the making and quite possibly a long term decline - ushering in the sort of long term deflation we've already seen during the 90s in Japan.
To recap that, after the Japanese market meltdown in the early 90s, and major job losses, Japanese consumers pulled in their purse strings and enhanced savings rates to well over 10-12%. This ushered in a prolonged period of zero or no spending, and deflation. Recall that in deflation prices uniformly plummet. While it sounds superficially good, what it means is that companies can't sell to make a profit, and hence must lay more people off to meet their bottom lines. The more people without jobs the less further spending, and the more layoffs ...and so the vicious cycle goes.
The key point is without consumer spending - fueled by decent paying jobs- companies can have no real growth. This was a point made by William Wolman and Anne Colamosca in The Great 401k Hoax, noting that believable returns on any financial speculative instrument (say like an equity stock) cannot exceed by more than 1% or so what the company's actual growth rate is. If a company is only experiencing 0.3% growth per annum, but its stock is selling with a retrun of 7%, watch out! It's bogus! The Price to earnings ratio (P-E ratio) is out of whack and you are looking at a bubble.
Bubbles get punctured or burst, as we've seen with the tech bubble.
Message here: Pay attention to Pete Thiel's reticence to buy into this market.
And: Caveat emptor!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Can the Cosmos Accommodate a Savior?

In an August , 2007, newspaper column, in my article: The Savior Template, I questioned that the Christian God-Man story was even original. I also showed that all the hallmarks of the Christian Savior Jesus were present in a number of pre-dating ancient gods – including Horus, and Mithras. Church Father Justin Martyr, for example, was so incensed at the Mithraic prophesies (which appeared hundreds of years before Jesus Christ’s arrival) that he wrote:

“Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithra, commanding the same thing to be done”

Referencing Mithra’s conversion of water into wine, his commanding the sea to be still, and the Mithraic Virgin birth. Church Father Tertullian also bears this out in his writings, scolding:

“The Devil, by the mysteries of his idols, IMITATES EVEN THE MAIN PARTS OF THE DIVINE MYSTERIES”

Perhaps even then, those Church Fathers might have been wary of future charges of plagiarism should the content ever come to light.

But is that really needed to dispel the Savior myth once and for all? What about simply contemplating the grand scale of the cosmos, and looking at an Earth “Savior” from that cosmic perspective?

The whole point is that the vastness of the cosmos argues against the selective appearance of a cosmic god-man on one minor planet in one of billions of galaxies. The whole concept violates rational principles, as well as common sense.

Consider: the Sun is a type G2 star. The most favorable for the development of habitable zones and planets like Earth. There are more than ten billion such stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone. There are more than fifty billion spiral galaxies like the Milky Way, each with ten billion estimated G2 stars.

That is 50 billion (galaxies) x 10 billion (G2 stars/galaxy) = 5 x 10^19 plausible planets for life, including advanced life forms. (Already more than 370 exo-planets have been discovered in The Milky Way alone)

Out of ALL these possible worlds, galaxies WHY would the GOD of the WHOLE cosmos come to one backwater world? It makes NO sense and in fact, reeks of anthropocentrism and human hubris. Kind of like a metaphysical BWAA-AHAHAHA! factor. Boo-hoo-hoo my planet can no longer be the center of the universe geometrically or will invent a God-man fabrication and make him the center of the universe by being its one and only "Savior"!

Consider another perspective: from red shift measurements and Hubble’s Law the universe had already existed nearly ten BILLION years before Earth was even formed. What was the deity doing all this time? Sleeping? What about all the other millions of worlds with sentient beings that likely existed before us? Weren’t they worth it for the great God?

People need to understand that human thought has evolved dramatically since the original scrolls were written. We now know things that the ancients of 0- 10 CE never could. Such as the fact the universe is expanding, that it is 14 billion years old, that we inhabit a cluster of galaxies amidst billions of clusters, that we know how stars shine and the equations of stellar structure, not to mention what the Earth looks like from space, and the chemical composition of the most distant galaxies.

This dramatically enhanced knowledge (over our pre-scientific and semi-literate forbears) enables us to easily see the Bible for what it truly is: a collection of human fantasies and legends. As a case in point, even a well-taught first year high school physics student should be easily able to show Genesis portrayal of Earth's origin is malarkey.

We read, for example (Gen.:1: 1-5)

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day”

Now, it is clear that the “light” referred to in the last three sentences is none other than the SUN. However, it is clear from reading each line through that the Earth was supposedly made BEFORE the Sun. (E.g. Earth without form, darkness upon face of the deep).

However, this is physically impossible. We know from modern astrophysics that the solar proto-nebula had to collapse first to yield the SUN. (No planets, since they had yet to spin off the collapsing nebular cloud –and it hadn’t cooled enough to allow it- still hot plasma). As the proto-solar nebula collapsed it also began spinning and gained angular momentum. This angular momentum was then transferred to regions of the nebula that cooled and separated from the whole, and these regions became separate clouds of dust and gas that aggregated into the planets.

Under a combination of electrostatic attraction (between larger charged particles) and gravity (attracting the whole mass from the center of the cloud) each planet was formed as what we call a “planetesimal”.

As more angular momentum was transferred – the planetesimal’s (each one) acquired their own spin (in a period of revolution) and specific shapes. The giant planets (e.g. Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus) garnered more spin momentum than the more dense, terrestrial planets. Thus Jupiter’s planetesimal ended up as an oblate spheroid with diameter of about 88,000 mile and rotating rapidly with a day of ~ 10 hours.

Earth, meanwhile, ended up as a relatively spherical orb with diameter of ~ 8,000 miles and day approaching approach 24 hrs. Mars ended up in a similar shape to that of Earth and a diameter of 4200 miles and day ~ 24 hours. Thus, the Earth spun off about 1.1 billion years after the solar nebula fully collapsed, and it could not have come BEFORE the Sun. Indeed, the absence of the central mass of the Sun, or ~ 10 ^33 kilograms, would have meant the Earth- if formed with no Sun present- would instantly have been hurled into a direction toward the constellation Hercules at 12 miles per second with no central mass to keep it in check. We can compute this exactly using the basic principles of celestial mechanics.

It is clear from this that Gen.1:1-5 has stated a patent impossibility which violates all known laws of physics and dynamics and is therefore WRONG!

It is clear from this that the Bible, whether Revised Standard Version, King James, or any other.. must be in error, certainly in this one passage – and if here then likely in many other places too. If this is so then it must have been written by flawed humans using limited conceptions of space, time and astrophysics explaining why their accounts are not even correct in their general form.

Conclusion: from this one base example, the Bible cannot be a “divinely inspired” book. Rather it is a HUMAN-inspired work with all the errors we expect to see from a work of humans. (One reason why when we write books, book proofs have to acquired first, and attention made to eliminating as many errors therein as feasible)

Clearly then, to hold human knowledge content to the level or standard of 2000 or 1500 years ago is preposterous, self-defeating and a prescription for massive ignorance. It is as preposterous as asserting we must hold to the flat Earth model despite the fact we have prima facie evidence it doesn’t exist. The unsettling fact for the fundamentalist believer is that knowledge grows, increases over time and becomes more complex more inputs are fed into it. It is a non-linear, synergistic process, not one of simple linear additives. Which may well explain why the intellectually-challenged are driven to find all their answers to life's mysteries in one book - since they are unable to confront or parse it from multiple sources.

In the end, we don’t need flat Earths, nor do we need “Saviors” fabricated for the Age of Flat Earths.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Religious Belief & Economic Inequality

Fig. 1: Scale showing successful societies in relation to degree of religious beliefs (from Free Inquiry, Vol. 29, No. 1 Jan. 2009)

One of the most circulated canards about religious belief is that most of humankind is invested in it. We are asked to believe the vast majority – for some reason- find it essential to link up with a religion to make their life meaningful. Of course, this is tommyrot and poppycock, and now there is ample statistical evidence to back it up – starting with a measure known as the ‘Gini coefficient’ which registers the degree of economic and income inequality in any given nation, referenced as a decimal. Or, more often (in non-technical venues) as a plain number between 0 and 100.

In terms of practical applications, a Gini index of zero would denote perfect equality. In terms of western industrial nations, most developed European nations and Canada tend to have Gini indices between 24 and 36, the United States' and Mexico's Gini indices are both above 40, indicating that the United States and Mexico have greater inequality..In the whole panoply of criteria, and the full spectrum of research, the Gini coefficient (the prime indicator of income inequality) is the key factor. To be specific, across the first world (of developed nations) lower economic and income equality correlates with lower religiosity. This pattern is “statistically progressive” according to a recent article in Free Inquiry (Jan. 2009) and “no exceptions are known”.

The warp and woof of advanced, collated sociological research into religiosity and secularism and sociological health as a function of either- is well documented in the aforementioned issue (Vol. 29, No. 1) ‘The Future of Religion’, p. 24. As noted therein, the thrust of this research is that religion is falling like tenpins in all first world democracies, with the exception of the U.S., and that the least dysfunctional societies are the least theistic.

The primary finding that runs likes a thread through all this research is that religious belief and activity is a superficial coping mechanism that is easily cast aside when the majority in a given society enjoy true (not faux) democratic government, and enjoy a secure, comfortable and middle class lifestyle.Those who claim the universality of religion or that it is integral to human nature commit the basic selection effects error, in that they conveniently overlook the data which show broad secularization of western Europe, Anglo-Australia, Canada and other developed nations.

Indeed, in 18 out of 19 of the most prosperous democracies the share of population reporting absolute belief in a god or gods ranges from between as little as a few percent to at most one-half. In some of these nations, mainly in western Europe, two-thirds proclaim to be either atheists or agnostics. Further, this de-Christianization is not accompanied by any offset via New Age spirituality or other spirituality (as seems to be occurring in the U.S)Recognizing how thoroughly most of the first world has been secularized is an important first step to solving the religious belief question. The next step, as sociologists note, is to account for the major exception – known as the “American Anomaly”- the only first world democracy wherein 2/3 of the population professes belief in God, and most hold atheists in low regard…..unlike in W. Europe where most religious are held in low regard.

The core of research (largely statistical) directed at this issue shows the primary reason the U.S. is a statistical outlier in religious belief is income inequality (as measured by the Gini coefficient).
This index has seen inequality increase ever since Bush Jr. was handed his presidency, compliments of the five Supremes, in 2000.

Meanwhile, with its historically lower taxes, fewer public safety nets, more poor than rich (by more than a 25:1 ratio), the U.S. displays a greater disparity than any other nation. Moreover, it displays a much greater social pathology. Understanding the basis of this pathology doesn’t take a genius. As anyone with more than air between the ears can see, on examining state by state budget deficits now exploding – in every case “re-balancing” is being done on the backs of the poor, the disabled, the elderly and the homeless. Loss of health care, loss of jobs and loss of overall security results, as well as increase in drug use, violent criminality and prostitution.

Other factors and pathology –distress indices have already been well documented by Michael Parenti in his book, The Dirty Truths, and these include the U.S. having the highest rates in: teen pregnancies, STDs, infant mortality, suicides, homicides, rapes, incest, child abuse, marriage failure, alcoholism and drug use, as well as industrial accidents and disabling outcomes – establishing a large population of the chronically disabled and poor.

The conclusion is inescapable: given the mass insecurity and economic discomfort – which we’re seeing a lot of in this recession as more and more lose jobs and go to food banks- the victimized citizens will turn to the aid and protection of specious supernatural powers since they can’t expect any relief from government. Fig. 1 shows a graph of major industrial nations as they fall on two axes: the vertical measuring their success by the degree of security and sociological health in the populace, and the horizontal according to the degree of secularity or non-secularity.

As one can readily ascertain, the U.S. is relatively high on the non-secular (religious belief scale) but low on the health-success scale.

British philosopher Nicholas Humphrey, in his superb book Soul Searching, has an excellent explanation for this clinging to God and religion in the U.S.

"Religions and quasi-religions offer remarkably effective medicine for orphaned minds. As Jung said: 'They give a human being that sense of wholeness, which he had as a child, but which he loses when he leaves his parents"

In other words, for the much suffering religious believer in the States - who cannot depend on the government for his sustenance or support, God and religion offer a sweet teat to provide the comfort and nurturance otherwise missing. The irony is that these same sufferers pillory Europeans as having a Nanny state - but at least the Europeans have a genuine entity from which to elicit assistance, as opposed to a phantasm of the mind.

People-citizens without government support, who are unable to pursue learning interests even when unemployed (as they can in Germany and Norway, for example) are trapped on a treadmill that demands they expend energy – mental and physical- even when they have the time to pursue individual research that would disclose the sterility of their dubious faith.

Ireland was long an impoverished Catholic slave state, but since it’s high tech boom, the influence of Catholicism has ebbed to the point the Church could not prevent a pro-choice piece of legislation from being passed a few years ago. Ireland is now typically “Euro-secular”. Spain was reliably fascist until 1975 and the demise of Generalissimo Francisco Franco. Now it is a Euro-secular state that has recently adopted gay marriage.

Meanwhile, the U.S. remains a religious anomaly because its socio-economic system is anomalous and pathological in contrast to Euro-first world norms, for example. In the U.S. by contrast to Germany - where unemployment isn’t catastrophic (since nixed workers are paid up to 80% of their normal wage benefits for nearly two years, 50% thereafter), the unemployed are ususally advised to pound pavements in search for work - rather than study at a college, even to merely improve their name. No surprise then that German unemployed workers are largely much better informed - especially concerning world affairs- than their American counterparts.

Most lower middle class people in the U.S. face serious risk of financial and personal ruin if they lose their insecure jobs and health insurance. (And as we know, in a cowboy capitalist nation like ours, a significant unemployment level is useful for profiteers & corporations since it means their wage costs and benefits packages can be lower. Thus, the army of the unemployed constitutes an unemployment “rent”- a term first used by Alan Greenspan in 1997) . Market specialists and strategists do NOT want employment rates high because they inflate the Employment Cost Index, and also:

"Inflation fears are especially acute ..because unemployment is too low. When available workers become scarce, employers must often bid more for their services and then raise consumer prices to make up for higher costs."
(The Baltimore Sun, p. 1E , Jan. 27, 1997, 'Employment Cost Is a Hot Number').

This addresses the question (asked by many) on why the DOW is still going up despite the unemployment rate hovering near 10%. Short answer, higher unemployment is a necessary fuel to the markets! As Greenspan put it in 1997, "every 1 million unemployed keeps the inflation rate down by 1%".
Personal bankruptcies involving just medical expenses number almost 1.2 million each year. A stat any other self-respecting nation would consider beyond shameful. Meanwhile, the need to acquire adequate wealth as a protective buffer translates into a Darwinian race to the top often built on debt. Until the recession began, the entire U.S. financial system was over-leveraged by 10-20%. It was precisely this, along with making bets on the debt being paid (known as credit default swaps) which incepted the bubble, and later, when the debts couldn't be paid, the collapse. Despite this, even as I write this another asset bubble is forming because no meaningful reforms (with teeth) have been implemented. Wall Street is prepared to carry on like it did before.

Advanced sociological research ) indicates the mere existence of strong income disparity (Gini coefficient of 0.4 or 40, or higher) creates widespread psychological strain. People in such nations, since income can no longer allow for necessities, must go into credit card or other debt to pay- say for medical emergencies.

In this economic morass, susceptible and vulnerable brains will be open to the palaver of religious doctrines and bunkum, as a kind of balm to salve the distress inflicted by a brutish, survival of the fittest society. Fundies, like the irrepressible dandelions on my lawn- especially proliferate, since their messages are at simpleton level and basically translate into "Believe in Jesus and get saved or else". Even if a person is the rankest child rapist, or foul mass murderer, it is no matter- since once the bounty of salvation is conferred, his soul's as pure as the driven snow. Look how Ted Bundy, who slaughtered over 200 women by some estimates, was "saved" at the last minute by none other than the Rev. James Dobson. What would those dead women think - IF there were an afterlife- at the thought of Bundy, with his leering grin - sitting on the right-hand side of God for eternity? Yet this is what the simpleton fundies would have you believe.

That so many in the U.S. middle class feel anxious and fearful enough to enlist the dubious assistance of a friendly “creator” – never mind ‘he’ exists only in their mashed up temporal lobes- is a testament to monumental gullibility, if not severe brain dysfunction. Interestingly, when surveyed, Americans claim levels of satisfaction and happiness similar to those in the Euro-secular advanced societies. This clearly suggests, as noted by the piece, that Americans use religion and their religious (or spiritual) beliefs as a form of self-medication to alleviate the chronic stress attendant on the knavish, neo-Darwinian society they inhabit.

I am sure while advanced Europeans in Germany, France or Norway merely need to go out into the fresh air for a walk to get high and escape their problems, most lower and middle class Americans get it by reading their bibles, or better- going out grabbing an unsuspecting free citizen- and "witnessing" to him or her. Once they have that poor citizen terrified of death and eternal torment in "Hell", I am sure those fundies go back and sleep the sleep of the just. Their problems resolved.

Thus, it is no coincidence that religiosity is low in every first world nation with universal health coverage and high in the only without it. What else can the hapless, beat-down American do – when denied coverage for serious illness – than seek the assistance of his imaginary god, who now also becomes his healer?

The conclusion from dozens of sociological and anthropological journals is inescapable: high levels of national religiosity are largely a symptom of a dysfunctional socioeconomic governance and circumstances engendered by that governance. High levels of secularism are largely a result of healthier, more secure governance and conditions that arise from those enlightened policies. In particular, taxes are relatively high - but are used for the betterment and support of the commonweal, as opposed to funding open-ended occupations, invasions, and tax cuts for the wealthiest. The latter must truly be amazed and secure that so many less well off citizens, who would otherwise be up in arms at their amassed and unholy wealth, are kept under full control through the use of a fantasy belief system.
"Religion is the opiate of the people"? No way, more like the Overseer of the people.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Temporal Nonsense from Anders Branderuds

The relationship between imaginary (it) and proper time (based on description given in 'A Brief History of Time' by Stephen Hawking).

Does Anders Branderuds know anything? Or is he merely another hyper-religious apologist pretender - like the ID’ers and creationists- who use the lexicon of science, but have no clue as to what they are talking about. The most recent example of massive ignorance appeared in his blog regarding time, wherein he conflates operational time (as a definition, and dimension) with time in its most fundamental sense.

He writes:

Time is a physical unit (see the derivation for this fact here):

Everyone knows time is a physical unit, but that doesn’t exhaust its meaning or the extent of its usage. It is also a dimension, referenced to space-time (not “timespace” as Anders puts it), and it is conceivable that “time” as an objective property doesn’t even exist.

For example, the late physicist David Bohm, in his Stochastic Interpretation of QM (developed at a more or less popular level in his monograph, ‘Wholeness and the Implicate Order’) made the case that given quantum nonlocality (instantaneous connections demonstrated by the Aspect experiments) “time” doesn’t exist as a unit of reference or singular property. After all, if two events (say the inverse polarizations of photons, or the inverse spins of electrons) are instantaneously connected- then no time exists for any signal transit. In this case, time as a recognizable property ceases to be.

Bohm invoked a higher- dimensionality cosmos to build upon this theme, for example, positing that mass-energy and space-time are melded in at least a five dimensional entity. (Op. cit., p. 186, ‘Quantum Theory as an Indication of a Multi-dimensional Implicate Order’) What we perceive as instantaneous connections are really manifestations of that higher dimensionality.

Moreoever, the fact that Bell’s theorem shows that NO local hidden variables theory can be correct, means that NO local description of nature can be correct, only non-local. (‘The Arrow of Time and Quantum Mechanics’ by Thomas Gold). Since local descriptions of nature are founded on local measurements of time, this means that such measurements are inadequate.

Other physicists, e.g. Robert Nadeau, Meno Kafatos et al, have correctly observed that since time itself is susceptible to certain formulations of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (e.g. its energy-time presentation) then time itself is uncertain, and if uncertain, no defined units or dimensions can be assigned. This also means time is elastic. It can bend, expand or contract, and even do so under the influence of consciousness. (See, ‘Conscious Mind in the Physical World’, by Euan Squires)

But the variable nature of time, and the fact it can’t be registered as an absolute was already known from special relativity. For example, for a person moving at 60% of the speed of light in a spacecraft, his clock time registers much more slowly in reference to a stationary Earth observer. For example, if four years were recorded for the Terran observer, only 3.2 years would be recorded for the astronaut travelling at 0.6c. At a speed of 0.95c, only 1.25 years would elapse for the traveler while the full four years would go by on Earth. (Anyone can verify these results by recourse to the well known time dilation equations for special relativity, available in any General Physics college text, or by googling).

Thus, despite having the exact same clocks, measuring seconds, minutes, hours etc. in the same way- the two observers (stationary and traveling at some w x(c) value, record differing time intervals. From this it is evident that Anders’ definition of time as a “unit” is over-simplified to say the least.

More astounding, as physicist Squires points out (op. cit., p. 126), the assumed time reversal invariance of quantum theory depends on the construction of the Hamiltionian, H being a REAL function. (For those unaware, a “Hamiltonian” defines a relation between the kinetic (T), potential (V) and total energy (H) of a system, such that H = T + V. One can also obtain the “Lagrangian” which is L = T – V)

However, as he points out (ibid.) there are certain interactions which have a small imaginary part, and which give rise to small effects such as the decays of K-mesons. In these decays, causality propositions or assumptions are violated.

More prosaically, from Maxwell’s theory, we are fully enabled to make use of what are called “advanced potentials” defined in terms of:

V(r,t_a) = f1(r, T_a) and A(r, t_a) = f2(r, t_a)

Where t_a is the “advanced time”, t_a = t + r/c

And the f1, f2 are functions of the electric potential and vector potential,respectively.

In the advanced time, we ascertain conditions for the future potentials based on the past, and are able to use them in appropriate calculations in the future. An evident violation of causality, though admittedly the sort of applications where these may be used are limited (see previous links to Cramer’s offer and echo waves wherein the latter bear some similarity to advanced potentials and Cramer has devised experiments to detect them)

Anders’ quaint time conceptions are also impoverished and limited. He surely doesn’t take into account the different temporal models, definitions available historically. For example, in something called Minkowski space-time, Minkowski envisioned a kind of hyperspace in which events do not just 'happen'. Rather, they already are embedded in the space-time metric (geometry) and one comes across them, like towns along a highway (cf. Whittrow, G.J. 1972, The Nature of Time, Pelican Books, Great Britain, p. 103.) For example, imagine the Minkowski temporal scale:

Past(-τ) <-----*(E1)--------(E2)*-------*(E3)---> Future (+τ)

where E1, E2 and E3 are three events, say: E1 = Explosion of the Hindenburg dirigible, E2 = John F. Kennedy's assassination, and E3 = some future asteroid impact in the 21st century. In the Minkowski hyperspace these have always been on the timeline, which is traversed in the same way one would traverse a space. Thus, one encounters the various events on the timeline as s/he might encounter towns or villages along a highway.

Movement can occur in time or in space, and have a complementary (space or time) equivalent. For example, stay where you are and let one minute elapse on your watch. You have performed a 'movement in time' without a corresponding movement in space. We say you have traversed imaginary space. This imaginary space can easily be computed:

Im(x) = i(300,000 km/s x 60 s) = 18,000,000(i) km

That is, you have traversed 18 million imaginary kilometers or 11.25 million miles in imaginary space. (Im(x) is the symbolic representation for an imaginary space (x) transition). Now, think of a movement in real space, but none in time. Is this possible? Well, I can get out my telescope and observe the Moon instantly - bearing my consciousness upon it - without taking the time to travel there. For all intents and purposes I am there. In this case, an imaginary time interval is the result, and again can be computed:

Im(τ) = (i) 384,000 km/ 300,000 km/s = 1.28i sec

That is, 1.28 imaginary seconds to get there. I note here that this imaginary time interval is equivalent to a real space interval: 384,000 km (space distance to Moon) = 1.28 i seconds. Thus, imaginary time and real space are interchangeable. This has prompted at least one observer of the situation (to do with Minkowski spacetime) to observe (Whittrow, op. cit., p. 104.):

“In other words, the passage of time is merely to be regarded as a feature of consciousness that has no objective counterpart.”

Anders goes on:

Therefore there can be no such thing as time external to the physical universe. Timespace has a beginning.

The problem is that Anders conclusion doesn’t follow from his simplistic reasoning, e.g. that time is a simple operational unit, nothing more. As I showed, time is both much more than this and none of it (if totally predicated upon consciousness) so it clearly can’t be pigeonholed into such an artificial conception. Indeed, to make Anders’ definition work, one would have to assume or embrace the existence of an absolute time – invariable for all observers, which we know had to be abandoned in real science (see: ‘The Road To Reality’, by Roger Penrose, p. 409).

Beyond this, Anders still doesn’t grasp what is meant by the energy-time uncertainty principle, or how it applies to spontaneous inception of the cosmos. In addition no one says that time (as a fundamental property) is “external to the physical universe”. The negative pressure- vacuum bubble was no less physical than the universe it spawned on expansion – when the negative pressure fluctuated and incepted a non net-zero mass-energy effect, which result we now perceive indirectly in the cosmos accelerated expansion.

In his paper, ‘Universe Before Planck Time’ (Phys. Review D, Vol. 28, No. 4), T. Padmanabhan is careful to explicate (Sec. IV) the acausal quantum and classical limits (with alpha = 0, the classical limit, and classical time, limit). As he notes:

“We assume the universe made a transition from a quantum to a classical limit around eta = eta-bar, which is taken to be close to zero. Correspondingly, we take (alpha)^ to be ~0 with alpha(1) >> alpha(2).

“By assuming the universe to be an empty, quantum gravitational spacetime for eta >> eta-bar one can accommodate matter creation in the theory. Continuity of the metric across eta = eta-bar leads to the condition:

1 + 2(eta-bar)^2 = 2 (eta)^2[(rho)^2/ 2(alpha(2) v)]

i.e. (eta-bar)^2 = [alpha(2) v/ (rho)^2]”

Since as he notes, continuity of all derivatives of the metric exists at: eta = eta-bar, then it follows there is no “external” or discontinous region.

Rather than belabor this any more with Anders’ ridiculous arguments, it would be better if he actually read the paper, and paid especial attention to Sec. III, ‘Geometry of the Quantum Universe’. Note the functions used, and how they are treated in the context!

The person stating otherwise needs to refute the mentioned scientific facts for him/her to make his/her position valid. Opinions based on no facts has no scientific value.

Nonsense, because you have not mentioned any valid scientific facts, only what you surmise to be such. You are totally ignorant of the nature of time, the extent of its applicability in different domains, and probably do not even know what proper time is, or how defined. Contrary to your assertions, YOU are the one in possession of no facts, and hence your writings have no scientific value. I am sure they may comfort all the religionists that flock to "Anders' Blog" but they do nothing to validate any of your claims.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Case Not Closed- Or Posner's JFK Follies

(ABOVE): One of the thousands of 'Wanted for Treason' posters distributed in Dallas on the day of Kennedy's assassination.

Having just finished the book, JFK and the Unspeakable, by James Douglass, I was left spellbound and moreover convinced that the JFK assassination case is a long way from closed. What Douglass has done is not merely compile facts from Freedom of Information released documents, but also - via extensive interviews and dredging up arcane government files- shown the moral tenor of Kennedy. He makes clear from the amassed evidence that by his second year JFK stood essentially alone with powerful forces arrayed against him. Forces that questioned every one of his moves....from challenging U.S. Steel (and even denying them defense contracts until they reduced steel prices as they'd originally promised), to opposing the Joint Chiefs in October, 1962 when they pushed for him to attack Cuba with nukes. We now know that no fewer than 95 IRBMs were targeted at U.S. east coast cities and would have been unleashed had JFK been so daft as to follow the Chiefs' advice.

Unfortunately, by standing up to those who advised and pressured him, Kennedy soon came to be viewed as a traitor. He was viewed as a traitor not just by his top military staff (especially after setting out NSAM-263 to pull out of Vietnam by 1965), but also by the CIA - which he threatened to "break into a thousand pieces" after they misled and misinformed him with the Bay of Pigs fiasco, also called 'the Cuba Project' - which had actually been implemented under Eisenhower.

The level and degree of distrust eventually mutated into hate, which could be seen on the streets of Dallas - even hours before JFK arrived at Love Field on Nov. 22, 1963. Shown in the figure, for example, is one of the ten thousand plus 'Wanted for Treason' posters that had been put up around that city. (Bear in mind at the time, Dallas was not only a hotbed of right wing hate and extremism - where Adlai Stevenson had been spit on merely a month before the JFK hit, but also the epicenter of the nexus of Big Oil and the military -industrial complex)
By all accounts, anyone with half a brain who had remotely been following events in Dallas over the previous years would have been appalled at the notion that a "lone nut commie" killed JFK. It simply didn't compute. Not then and not now.
Just days after Nov. 22, 1963, though the media were still rife with the planted ‘Oswaldian-lone nut’ myth of the assassination – a few courageous reporters got the word out about the real culprits: the radical right wing and its ‘better circle’ elitist enclaves. (cf. ‘The Enemies He Made’ in Newsweek, Dec. 2, 1963, p. 35, by Kenneth Crawford). At the time, however, most reporters couldn’t or wouldn’t see the suspicious irony inherent in a lone-pro-Castro gunman being fingered in a city (Dallas) regarded as a ‘citadel of right wing strength’. (cf. Newsweek, Dec. 2, 1963, p. 21)

Indeed, merely four weeks earlier Adlai Stevenson had gone to Dallas for a UN Day meeting, and was attacked – spit upon, and smashed over the head with placards by fulminating reactionary pickets (Newsweek, Dec. 2., 1963, p. 21). It was after that encounter that he warned JFK to reconsider his forthcoming trip.
What was peculiar about this once cow town that circulated ‘Wanted for Treason’ posters all over and in the newspapers, on the day of JFK’s visit? First, as Arthur Schlesinger notes, it was a nouveau riche city – fueled by East Texas oil. (‘A Thousand Days’, 1969, p. 1021, Houghton Mifflin) Second it was primarily white collar, so that unions were scarcely visible or manifest much power. Third, its citizens featured mostly fundamentalist religious backgrounds. Long on authority-regimentation-prejudice, short on any compassion. Fourth, it was a city of remarkably homogeneous tastes, attitudes and values. (Ibid.).
Schlesinger noted(ibid.,) that Dallas’s politics had been perpetuated "in a primitive and angry state" by its major newspaper, The Dallas Morning News. He also recounted how its publisher, two years earlier, had opined that what the nation required was a “man on horseback” as opposed to “a man on a tricycle”. (JFK was often captured by photographers playing with daughter Caroline). Thus, waves of right wing propaganda by this medium helped to fuel the fires of latent rage within Big D’s resident reactionaries.

Little wonder then that they ‘lost it’ when a liberal personage visited, as Adlai Stevenson did. In Dallas there also resided a powerful, right wing Oil tycoon by the name of Haroldson Lafayette Hunt who embodied its values of fierce self-styled individuality and hatred for any humanitarian role for the federal government. (He earned his rep in the 1950s via his radio program "Facts Forum")
Also rife in Big D were a number of fringe right extremist groups, including: The American Political Forum, The Ku Klux Klan, The John Birch Society, The Dallas Committee for Full Citizenship, The Texas White Citizens’ Council, The National States Rights Party and The Dallas White Citizens’ Council. The Left, or random commies, if ever present- would likely have met the same fate in Big D as integrationists met in Mississsippi.

Among the precepts all of these groups had in common at the time of JFK’s assassination:

- Abolition or severe reduction of income taxes, to starve government and ultimately undermine all public spending in favor of ‘privatization’.

- Increased military-defense spending at the same time.

- Fierce opposition to the 1963 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty- particularly its clause limiting anti-missile systems.

- Fierce opposition to all efforts at de-segregation.

- Elimination of both Social Security and Medicare – regarded as “socialist intrusions” into a capitalist nation (“All services to the public should be abolished in favor of personal enterprise”- H.L. Hunt, in ‘Farewell America’, 1968, by James Hepburn, Frontiers Press, p. 248)
To gain an insight into the degree of extremism afoot here, it is well to note that it was none other than H.L. Hunt who also opined that communism began in the U.S. with the introduction of the government- run postal service! (Farewell America, p. 246).
Now, given this background, it boggles the mind that someone could actually: a) believe Lee Harvey Oswald had anything to do with the Kennedy assassination, and b) could actually write a book pronouncing the case closed! Yet Gerald Posner managed to do this, and with his much hailed (and still referred to, Case Closed).
Unfortunately for Posner, people - especially critical thinking ones - did read his book, not to satisfy themselves the case was truly closed, but to assess how closely Posner hewed to known facts - and hence, how valuable his book was as a genuine piece of scholarship. One of the earliest efforts was: THE POSNER REPORT: A Study In Propaganda: One Hundred Errors in Gerald Posner's Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK by David Starks. Drawing on the published reports, and documents of true experts, including:Professor Peter Dale Scott, Dr. Gary Aguilar, Martin Shackelford, Professor Jerry Rose and others, Starks skewers Posner's claims and discloses a hack, barely comfortable in the skin of scholarship who makes "hundreds of errrors".
The Electronic Assassination Newsletter, which collates the research from most JFK assassination experts, documents twelve of the most serious "Posnerisms" here:
Just perusing the list, even if one has not seriously attended to the research, discloses an unnerving lack of attention to detail and a penchant for what appears to be deliberate misrepresentation. Indeed, Posner's entire 'case' in his (1993) book, appears erected on a tissue of lies, misrepresentations, gross distortions and shoddy methodology - the mass of which cannot even redeem it as 'coincidental'. Despite that, he is still the official 'hit man' when the corporate media want to knock down anything that smacks of 'conspiracy', particularly in any of 1960s political assassinations. (Including Martin Luther King's for which we have abundant evidence that a cadre of renegade SOGs nailed him in Memphis, see the superb book, Orders to Kill).
Harrison Livingstone, a long time researcher, (cf. 'Killing Kennedy', 1995, p. 322) described Posner's book as "a fatally flawed, intellectually dishonest effort."
Prof. David R. Wrone, whose review of Case Closed appears in The Journal of Southern History 6 (February 1995), pp. 186-188, observes:
"Posner often presents the opposite of what the evidence says. In the presentation of a corrupt picture of Oswald's background, for example, he states that, under the name of Osborne, Oswald picked up leaflets he distributed from the Jones Printing Company and that the "receptionist" identified him. She in fact said that Oswald did not pick up the leaflets as the source that Posner cites indicates.
No credible evidence connects Oswald to the murder. All the data that Posner presents to do so is either shorn of context, corrupted, the opposite of what the sources actually say, or nonsourced. For example, 100 percent of the witness testimony and physical evidence exclude Oswald from carrying the rifle to work that day disguised as curtain rods. Posner manipulates with words to concoct a case against Oswald as with Linnie Mae Randle, who swore the package, as Oswald allegedly carried it, was twenty-eight inches long, far too short to have carried a rifle. He grasped its end, and it hung from his swinging arm to almost touch the ground. Posner converts this to "tucked under his armpit, and the other end did not quite touch the ground"(p. 225). The rifle was heavily oiled, but the paper sack discovered on the sixth floor had not a trace of oil. Posner excludes this vital fact."
Even more disturbing:
"Posner crowns his theory with the certainty of science by using one side of the computer-enhanced studies by Failure Analysis Associates of Menlo Park that his text implies he commissioned. The firm, however, lambastes his use as a distortion of the technology that it had developed for the American Bar Association's mock trial of Oswald where both sides used it."
Not surprisingly from the above, many in the JFK research community (e.g. H.L.Livingstone, author of Killing the Truth, 1993, Harold Weisberg) actually contend Posner is a paid disinfo flack - possibly for the CIA. Certainly for the corporate anti-conspiracy media mills. His absurd 'research' is used to thereby try to invalidate the whole premise of conspiracy. Despite the fact he's been well and truly exposed as a hack in the 'Posnerisms' cited earlier .
How could such a proven twit have gained so much prominence, and gravitas in media circles? Well, for the reasons I cited in my earlier blog post, associated with managing the Middle Mind (Curtis White's term, from his book). Thus, Posner has proven himself skillful and adept at doing exactly what the corporate media PR mavens themselves demand... manage the Middle Mind, and deliver the parameters for its proper functioning, lest one be suddenly marginalized from it as a loose screw outlier and trouble maker.
But no matter the attention the media gives Posner, or the faux degree to which his slovenly and derelect book is regarded as the "bible" of the JFK assassination, most of us who are serious researchers can agree wholeheartedly with Prof. Wrone's final paragraph in his review:
"Posner fails. I believe that irrefutable evidence shows conspirators, none of them Oswald, killed JFK. A mentally ill Jack Ruby, alone and unaided, shot Oswald. The federal inquiry knowingly collapsed and theorized a political solution. Its corruption spawned theorists who tout solutions rather than define the facts that are locked in the massively muddied evidentiary base and released only by hard work."

For those who may have difficulty wrapping their (middle) minds around this, and backing away from Posner - I endorse getting Douglass' book, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. From the first five chapters, you will immediately perceive the high political value of the hit, and why it was essential for the powers arrayed against JFK to kill him - even as they passed their 'Wanted for Treason' posters all around Big D.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Debunking Anders' Primary Cause Fantasy

This entry deals with Anders’ Blog and his claims that he can prove a “Prime cause”. Let us examine his arguments in turn:

He writes:

The best that atheists can do, lacking legitimate scientific backing or support, is construct or seize upon some fantastic fable that, they conjecture, could possibly have preceded and caused the universe.

This is a total misrepresentation. In fact, what atheists do is point to already published papers in physics journals (such as Physical Review D) which present mathematical formulations for the spontaneous inception of the cosmos- based on treating space-time quantities as conformal quantum variables in conjunction with quantum gravity.

While this does not qualify as empirical “proof”, it does offer a scientific and mathematically validated basis to choose an alternative to an ethereal or supernatural “primary cause”.

In addition, as I noted in my earlier blog article on quantum causality, there are many cosmologists who take the accelerated expansion of the universe, deduced from type 1a supernova data, as indirect evidence for vacuum expansion and spontaneous inception.

Of course, that accomplishes nothing more than creating the need to explain their new fable ex nihilo. Well, one could just as well theorize that the universe was preceded by an assumed ladder; but that isn't an ex nihilo prime cause either.

Not so at all. In fact it terminates any need to “explain” anything more, since the false vacuum bubble is self contained in terms of a zero mass-density continuum defined by the Trace I showed at the end of the preceding blog entry on quantum causality. What this shows is that Anders has no clue, not one, of what he is talking about. Clearly he has not read the article ‘Universe Before Planck Time’ by T. Padmanabhan, and even if he did he likely doesn’t comprehend the serious role played by the variable alpha in connection with spontaneous fluctuation, inception.

Thus, it is absurd to invoke the ladder analogy. He also is probably too invested in Peggs’ Bayesian definitions of probability – which article he cited as attempting ton controvert acausal quantum determinism.

To fix ideas here: let p[S] be the unconditional probability there is a supernatural agent responsible for the creation of the universe. Let p(S-[BB]) be the conditional probability of the existence of a supernatural agent if the Big Bang has indeed occurred. Let p[B,B] be the unconditional probability the Big Bang occurred and p(BB-[S]) the conditional probability that the Big Bang occurred – provided a supernatural agent is responsible for the creation of the cosmos.

According to the principles of Bayesian probability theory (e.g. by Bayes’ theorem) we can write:

p(S-[BB])/ p[S] = p(BB-[S])/ p[B,B]

In terms of strict adherence to Bayes’ theorem, one can only have:

p(S-[BB]) >> p[S]

E.g. IF the Big Bang occurred, there is an enhanced probability of the Big Bang being its source.

However, this is not what they proffer, but instead arrive at:

p(BB-[S]) >> p{BB]

which inverts the prior Bayesian statement by asserting:

the existence of a supernatural being enhances the probability of the Big Bang

The fallacy of the approach inheres in the inequality given by:

p(BB-[S]) >> p{BB]

But this is an arbitrary assumption since we have no knowledge of how a supernatural agent might act and none of its proponents have given the necessary and sufficient conditions for such action.

The end result? If such n-s conditions were at least provided, we might have a better way of setting up the Bayesian probabilities to conform to what they should be and not include any arbitrary assumptions.

It simply adds another stage: explain the ex nihilo origin of the assumed ladder! It's amazing the length to which some pseudo-scientific atheists will go to create ever new diversions, none of which are even a pretense of an ex nihilo cause, to avoid pertinent information, all in the guise of science.

And clearly it is amazing the lengths to which some pseudo-scientist religious apologists will go to try to come up with a creator. But as I showed, this results from a failure in their use of probability theory (choosing a Bayesian version that it is inappropriate).

Further these are not “new diversions”. Nor is there any “pretense” of an “ex nihilo cause”. The cause is explicated mathematically in the paper I cited, and based on a specific treatment. That Anders is unable to understand this is no fault of mine, but he cannot use that lack of understanding to make lame statements and remarks about posturing in a “guise of science”.

It is instead, his job and duty to refute the mathematical underpinning or show its misapplication. This he has not done, and I seriously doubt he is able to.

So take a good scientific look around you, at everything, anything. Explain the existence of anything at all without a Prime Cause.

This, of course, is a specious and false analogy, because it assumes that a cosmic inception would be parallel, or precisely analogous to any process of human creation, or invention. This is the same error William Paley made in his “watch maker” comparison to the universe. However, the universe is not a mechanical contrivance so that mechanical analogies, including those based on human manufacture and invention do not apply.

To grasp this even elementally one need only see the new data from the Boomerang and other detectors (e.g. for Wilkinson Array) which show that the universe is 73% dark energy, and 22% dark matter. Within this darkness there is no scope for order.

I will show two different proofs that demonstrate, most simply, the existence of the Prime Cause, i.e. a Creator. The first logical proof is known as reductio ad absurdum.

In fact, no such reductio ad absurdum is feasible given that the assumptions required (in light of the Padmanabhan paper) commit the ignotum per ignotius fallacy ab initio. But let us see:

1. Assume: There is no Prime Cause

More realistically: assume there is a spontaneous inception via fluctuation from net zero mass-energy state to non-zero state as defined mathematically (by Padmanabhan, for example) and which conforms to mathematical consistency and proof – using conformal quantum variables.

2. There is nothing physical that exists without a cause

False: since the preceding mathematical underpinning shows not only:

a) that quantum mechanics, unlike classical mechanics, can create information out of nothing

b) information inception can occur acausally precisely because the Hilbert space states are different for a vacuum fluctuation than for ordinary QM

c) The outward acceleration of the universe indicates that the observed universe is the result of a fluctuation in the quantum gravity vacuum

d) A net zero cosmology is the most economical one that can emerge from the vacuum state (Ockham's Razor principle of hypothesis parsimony applied)

3. Therefore, nothing physical can exist

But the universe DOES exist, and the net zero vacuum state had to before it, so it exists now. Hence (3) is false. Anders’ problems inhere in adopting an incomplete and pseudo-causal continuum in ignoring the acausal state of the net zero vacuum while attributing the post-fluctuation cosmos - expanding as a result of the negative pressure within the original vacuum- to an unnamed or unexplicated entity (He has given no n-s conditions for it.)

This is exactly why “causal” proofs and efforts are inherently sterile, ambiguous and unproductive.

To obtain a faithfully more exact approach, we can consult Robert Baum’s textbook, LOGIC, pp. 469-70, wherein we see that explicating necessary and sufficient conditions are practical replacements (in logic) for causes. In other words, instead of saying or asserting x caused y, one stipulates that a, b are necessary conditions for x to exist at all, and c, d are sufficient conditions for y to have been the sole effect of cause x.

Baum’s reasoning is clear (ibid.): because “cause” (generic) can be interpreted as proximate or remote, or even as the “goal or aim of an action” and is therefore too open-ended, ambiguous and construed in too many different ways. Thus, “cause” is too embedded in most people’s minds with only one of several meanings, leaving most causality discussions unproductive and confused. If my “cause” and your “cause” in a given argument diverge, then we will not get very far.

Because of this one uses the more neutral term “condition” and specifies necessary and sufficient ones. The latter terms are specifically meaningful in the context of determining causal conditions, and hence, causes. If one eschews them, then one concedes he is incapable of logical argument.

Anders therefore has only to show the necessary and sufficient conditions for his Prime Cause to exist, and we might then take him seriously. Without them, all his efforts are vacuous and less than impressive.

Perhaps the reason he is unable to express such n-s conditions, is that in his heart of hearts he knows this phantasm of his simply can’t pass even basic logical muster. It also confuses chronology with causality ('post hoc, ergo propter hoc') and also commits ignotum per ignotius on a vast (cosmic scale). To remind readers, this fallacy was perhaps best expressed by David Hume:

"No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish."

In this case, the “miracle” Anders writes of is none other than the cosmos originating via a non-physical uncaused (primary) cause. The question is, would its falsehood be more or less miraculous? In truth, its falsehood would be LESS miraculous than the fact of non-physical uncaused cause it seeks to establish. Hence, Anders “proof” commits the Hume fallacy!

4. However, we see, and can touch, all manner of physical things around us that exist

True, but these do not exhaust the full physical set of entities that can exist, but which we cannot see or touch or otherwise detect. EM waves exist in the gamma spectrum but we cannot readily see or touch them without apparatus. One can also have advanced and retarded potentials associated with EM waves. Moreover, John G. Cramer has obtained preliminary evidence for “echo” waves – arriving from the future (the counterpart to his “offer waves”) – see:

5. Conclusion: There IS a Prime Cause

Yes, and it is a physical cause defined by the trace given earlier. Moreover the necessary condition for it to exist is a net zero mass-energy vacuum defined by the trace: Tr G(E) ~ Tr G_o(E) ~ d/ dE {ln Z (E)}

And the sufficient condition for it is that there be a quantity of N x Q-bits that exhibit Poisson statistics and allow for fluctuations , whereby:delta N = [N]^1/2 and delta V ~ G[V]^1/2

Such that:

delta E ~ h/ delta t

leads to an instantaneous local deviation in mass-energy and the explosive origin of a cosmic expansion predicated on negative pressure

6. Q.E.D. (quod erat demonstrandum; which was to be demonstrated)

Nyet, mate. You assumed that which you had to prove and built in a false (actually incomplete) assumption. Also, since causality is only limited here (by virtue of the arguments I provided earlier) it means you have to provide the necessary and sufficient conditions for your entity to exist in the first place. (Like I did). This you haven’t done!

There may be some (..) who argues that #2 isn't necessarily true because things may exist and we simply cannot explain how. (...) This person has gone from pseudo-scientific cultism (banning pertinent information) to logical fallacy: argumentum ad ignorantiam – claiming that ignorance/silence supports their position, thereby avoiding the burden of proof of demonstrating the logical validity of their position.

Not so. We don’t argue (2) isn’t necessarily true (How does one deliver the preliminary basis or QA for relative truth anyway? It is done via giving the n-s conditions for one thing). We say it is rather incomplete, and by Godel’s Incompleteness theorem (II), the logic cannot be complete. The reason is that you have omitted the vacuum-negative pressure basis for a spontaneous inception.

As for “pertinent information” – where is it? You are unable to even provide necessary and sufficient conditions for your claimed entity to exist, and you say WE are ignoring “pertinent information”. This loses the argument via red herring.

Also, the burden of proof is inapplicable for us since your “proof’ is ipso facto incomplete – by Godel’s Incompleteness theorems. Gödel's theorems state that in any consistent system which is strong enough to produce simple axioms (like Anders) there are formulae which cannot be proved-in-the-system, but which can “be seen to be true”. Essentially, we consider the ansatz which says, in effect, "This syllogism is unprovable-in-the-system".

If this syllogism were provable-in-the-system, we should have a contradiction: for if it were provable in-the-system, then it would not be unprovable-in-the-system, so that "This syllogism is unprovable-in-the-system" would be false: equally, if it were provable-in-the-system, then it would not be false, but would be true, since in any consistent system nothing false can be proved in-the-system, only truths.

So the Anders’ QED boils down to "This formula is unprovable-in-the-system" is not provable-in-the-system, but unprovable-in-the-system. His logic is incomplete, because his propositions and facts are incomplete.

If something can exist with no Prime Cause then they must explain how; the burden of proof is on them to demonstrate how or they're just assuming another ladder.

Again, the prime cause offering is irrelevant, since a plethora of definitions of cause exist. Thus, Baum’s (op. cit.) necessary and sufficient conditions- which I provided. Hence, not making any untoward assumptions.

WHERE are YOUR necessary and sufficient conditions for your “primary cause”? If you cannot deliver them you are simply assuming a regression of n-s conditions, which amounts to a regression of causes in the context.

Until they explain how, and no legitimate scientist even entertains that suggestion, their cultist argument is logically invalid by argumentum ad ignorantiam.

No, as with most objects of inquiry in quantum mechanics (especially in the Copenhagen interpretation context) “explanations” are not needed. What is required is that the mathematical prescription or formulation works, it delivers answers. Ours does, and is now finding application in applying negative pressure and its related equation of state to the accelerating cosmos. Where are yours?

By contrast, your “proof” is logically invalid because it is incomplete. It is the one invalidated by argumentum ad ignorantiam.

You expect us to accept some entity for which you cannot even provide the n-s conditions.

Though trivial, it may be needful to explain that the physical world cannot create itself. That would be circular reasoning.

Again, not. It is instead reasoning from quantum logic - see:

as opposed to binary logic, which is subject to Gödelian limits. Your logic is the one flawed since it is predicated on limited binary (either-or) logic so cannot reckon in the vacuum, negative pressure state (acausal) which is nevertheless in a nexus with the accelerating cosmos it spawned.

The only circular reasoning is your own, which asserts there must be a “non-physical primary cause” giving odd examples, and so there must be a non-physical primary cause. To break out of this loop, you need to give the necessary and sufficient conditions for your entity.

Until you do you are merely engaged in hollow, empty rhetoric, incomplete logic and supercilious diversions.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Is the C-word a 4-letter word in the American Mind?

"Those who suffer from conspiracy phobia are fond of saying: 'Do you actually think there's a group of people sitting around in a room, plotting things?' For some reason that image is assumed to be so patently absurd as to invite only disclaimers. But where else would people of power get together - on park benches or carousels?"-

Michael Parenti in 'The Dirty Truths', p. 174

Michael Parenti in his penetrating monograph, achieved a brilliant high point in identifying a Zeitgeist that runs rife through the American mainstream media: 'Conspiracy Phobia'. I was reminded of this only last night, while viewing 'Hardball' with Chris Matthews on MSNBC. The actual topic was whether Jimmy Carter was correct in attributing racism to the recent extreme behavior manifested by the Right - from depicting Obama as a witch doctor in association with his health care reform, to rendering him as a black version of Hitler. And yes, to Joe Wilson's infamous blurtation of 'You lied' during Obama's address to both Houses of Congress.

Then suddenly, the Hardball host turned to his guest, Gerald Posner (of 'Case Closed' fame..or infamy) and asked whether the same sort of dynamic might have helped turn Lee Harvey Oswald into a pro-Soviet assassin of JFK in 1963. Of course, this was a duncie's shuck and jive pat answer question ...since Chris had to know how Posner (of The Daily Beast) would respond.

But in truth and fact, the facts don't line up that way - all available evidence shows Oswald had nada to do with the hit, but was exactly what he insisted he was at the Dallas Police Dept., a "patsy". Readers might wish to check out James Douglass' new book, JFK and the Unspeakable- Why He Died and Why It Matters, and they may also like to check out my next blog entry which will deal with Posner's specific 'Case Closed' claims and others.

For now, I am interested in the more general generic gestalt and issue of why more people, especially in the assumed cognoscenti, insist that conspiracies such as the JFK one are only accepted by tin foil hat wearers or those a short deck from the loonybin.

Parenti doesn't touch on this, only averring (ibid.) that they almost always get it wrong, because - as in the JFK case- they err in "conflating the low political value of the victim with the high political value of the assassination." (Thus deflating the widely held perception amongst media mavens that people so worshipped JFK and "Camelot" it was unfathomable he could be offed by a lone loser....WRONG!!)

The high political value of the actual hit, of course, is emphasized and expanded upon in Douglass' book - for more than five chapters and 200 pp. so I will not reinvent the wheel here. Suffice it to say, JFK stood in the way of powerful forces arrayed against him, from his determination to pull out all personnel from Vietnam by 1965 (dictated in his National Security Action Memorandum 263), to his refusal to bomb or invade Cuba as the Joint Chiefs implored him to do at the height of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, to his late 1963 rapprochement with Cuba and secret meetings with Castro's aid-de-camp, Rene Vallejo. Any one of these would have put him in the sights of the national security state - all in concert rendered him the proverbial 'goner'. It merely remained to find the right patsy to deflect attention from the actual architects. And keep people chasing the wrong information and leads for over 40 years.

A person who does touch on the aforementioned dynamic (though not specifically to do with conspiracies) is Curtis White in his landmark book, The Middle Mind. White's contention, well supported in his book, is that an entire corporate-directed PR structure exists to manage the public mind. To ensure its collective thoughts don't veer too far off the beaten path, or into realms that seriously question or challenge the powers-that -be. As he puts it (p.12):

"We have the lovely pretense of serious inquiry: no one gets hurt and no one has to worry that something undesirable might come of it. Like a demand for real thought. We are free to say anything we like so long as what we say does not suggest...that the ruling order has no right to rule"

Of course, now follow me here, IF one were to assert JFK was felled as part of a coup d'etat, so a national security state ruling power took over, and has remained entrenched, then this would come close to saying the same thing. Rather than most media and especially corporate big boys, CEOs to go that route, it is far easier and simpler to play the 'lone nut did it' fantasy (which one Mensa Bulletin article said was as likely as a human virgin birth) so "no one gets hurt and nothing undesirable will come of it". Say like a REAL investigation, as opposed to the Warren Whitewash, in which most witnesses never even saw (far less delivered testimony to) 3 of the 7 Commissioners, and 200 material witnesses were never called at all.

But let us break from the mold of the "Middle Mind" and scrutinize some myths that have been widely circulated by the corporate media Middle-Mind managers over the past 40 years or so. I will take each in turn:

1-The simplest explanation for something is almost always the correct one.

Which, of course, assumes that the non-conspiracy model will always be correct because it is 'simpler'. This is almost invariably true in the realm of natural sciences- such as physics. But it is dubious that this can be applied to the realm of human affairs. For one thing, humans are enmeshed in complexes of emotions and ideological agendas that can't be quantified like Newton's laws of motion, or simplistically reduced to one cause-one effect relationships. In addition, humans - unlike natural laws, are capable of deceit and misdirection. So, from many points of view, it would be foolhardy to reduce the realm of human behavior - including conspiracy - to the model applicable to simple natural laws. It would require something basically approaching a general denial that humans would or could ever act with duplicity. Which is nonsense.

This sort of bias seems to exclude anything not describable by a serial cause and effect model. The problem is that most conspiracies hitherto exposed (e.g. BCCI, COINTELPRO, Iran-Contra) have invariably been molded from what we call a 'disjunctive plurality of causes'. Constructed more as a kind of parallel architecture - or unfolding of parallel and simultaneous operations, than simple one to one cause-effects. So if one is naive enough to assume the latter model, he certainly will be ill-equipped to deal with an actual conspiracy at any level.

2) The government can't even keep a secret for two weeks, how can it keep something like the JFK assassination secret for over 35 years.

This one's been around for quite some time. It sounds very plausible on the surface, but that is only because its recipients may not have the historical facts at hand to solidly refute it. Such as these notable exceptions:

-'Project Stargate' - the DIA and CIA- sponsored program to 'exploit the paranormal' in psy warfare (London Electronic Telegraph, Issue 521,Saturday October 26, 1996) was concealed at least that long.

-MK Ultra which used LSD in secret experiments on military personnel, kept hidden for overt two decades.

-The massacre of South Korean civilians at NO Gun Ri by U.S. soldiers at the start of the Korean War, kept hidden for fifty years.

- The ZR-Rifle Assassination program, kept concealed over twenty-five years.

- The CIA's Report on its own dereliction in the Bay of Pigs, kept concealed over 35 years.

All of these in concert show how anti-conspiracy canards can and do acquire a life and validity of their own simply through repetition. But they're not any more credible from having been repeated - in the media or other venues - umpteen times!

The fact is the government is quite capable of keeping key operations and programs hidden, and the conspiracies associated with them. Indeed, 'black operations' ('black ops') are totally dedicated to that premise! In the JFK case, it is even more possible- given that no formal documents or papers were probably ever signed off(by the architects) on the hit. Plausible Denial to the googlepoint power. Though as serious researchers have noted, one can examine exactly who profited in its wake ('Cui bono?').

Despite that - we have actual photographic footage (as well as acoustic records) that discloses the physics of this event. To be sure, physics trumps political expediency every time. And - as the House Select Committee on Assassinations found in its 1979 conclusion " there was a conspiracy with 96% probability." This is now - or should be - the officially adopted position of the government. So its refusal to evolve from the now discredited Warren Report leads one to think that it may have been actually complicit in JFK's killing. That would be one prime reason not to sign on to the HSCA conclusion.

3) Conspiracy-theorists claim that the lack of evidence for the conspiracy is proof of the conspiracy itself--a beautiful example of circular logic.

In fact, advocates of conspiracy explanations do no such thing, so this argument is in effect a 'straw man'. The fact is (for the most researched conspiracies, such as JFK, MLK, BCCI, Iran-Contra etc.) we have reams of evidence, lots of it. The question is whether people are prepared to accept this evidence, without political or media benediction. (I.e. waiting for the media or high profile political figures to confer their approval).

In the JFK case, for example, we have abundant physics evidence such as the recent peer-reviewed paper by D.B. Thomas appearing in the British journal 'Science and Justice' confirming the HSCA's acoustic tests were valid, and their conclusion of a "96% probably conspiracy" stands. This is even apart from the unambiguous data that can be gleaned from frame by frame analysis of the Nix and Zapruder films. Showing the kill shot's momentum was totally opposite what would have been expected from the Texas Book Depository. So two shooters were required, the minimalist definition of a conspiracy.

In the BCCI conspiracy reams of evidence were culled from that criminal bank's operations in 73 countries and exposed. But whether anyone could comprehend all aspects of its workings - which were deliberately rendered complex- is another matter. But this goes back to what was noted earlier about human architects not necessarily obeying the simple laws of nature in fabricating their schemes and plans. Indeed, it is clear that misdirection would have to be a fundamental part of any successful conspiracy.

In the Watergate conspiracy, Nixon and his cronies virtually handed the evidence to investigating committees and prosecutors on a 'silver platter' - since they had taped everything! Every word and every plan or scheme, from targeting McGovern supporters using the IRS to illegal wiretaps of those on the 'enemies' list' to breaking and entering into Daniel Ellsberg's place.

Each of these in turn totally confutes the pseudo argument that conspiracies are predicated on claiming a 'lack of evidence' leading to a 'circular argument'. Which brings us to the role of the media in perpetuating an anti-conspiracy mindset, certainly amongst the power-elites and those professionals (lawyers, doctors, politicians, professors etc.)who tend to be included in the so called 'Overclass'.

Almost from the time of The Warren Report on the JFK assassination, the media have been complicit in impugning any and all notions of conspiracy. As if the U.S. is somehow special or untouched by the Machiavellian mindset that produces assassinations, plans, and hidden schemes in other parts of the world. But our history tells a decidedly different story. From COINTELPRO, to Watergate, to BCCI and Iran-Contra we now know that conspiracies are not only real - as real as this computer keyboard I'm using - they are one of the primary ways to get things done.

By the same token, the planned concealment of conspiracy, or the act of pooh-poohing its proponents, has the beneficial effect of protecting key elements or people. People who, if these things were disclosed, might refuse to be a willing source of political news for the media. At the other extreme, as I will show, it is quite plausible that media generating anti-conspiracy themes and columns are doing so because they have themselves been infiltrated (as was pointed out by Kathryn Olmstead in her exhaustive investigative work 'Challenging the Secret Government', University of North Carolina Press, 1996). As she points out (p. 21.):

"According to the Church committee's final report, approximately fifty U.S. Journalists had covert relationships with the CIA, about half of which involved money. Watergate investigative reporter Carl Bernstein charged that the total number of U.S. journalists who worked for the CIA was actually much higher."
Recall that the Church Committee, set up in 1975, was designed to examine the hidden workings and operations of a number of agencies that make up the national security state, including the CIA and NSA (National Security Agency).

Before anyone goes max-snark or apoplectic, it is well to get grounded by noting some of the content in CIA document 1035-960 dealing with critics of the Warren Commission conclusion on the JFK assassination. Of particular interest are the following paragraphs:

"Action. We do not recommend that discussion of the assassination question be initiated where it is not already taking place. Where discussion is active [business] addresses are requested:

b. To employ propaganda assets to [negate] and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose. "

The core message embodied in the above comports totally with the findings of Kathryn Olmstead.

While this is not intended to explain all the variants of media attack vis-a-vis conspiracy, it may well account for a significant fraction. In any case, one would like to the get to the bottom of the knee jerk media reaction to lampoon and savagely criticize anything remotely hinting at the c-word. Of course, the most notorious of all such examples is the assassination of JFK in November, 1963. Since then, the media in concert have been uniformly hostile to any and all reports, disclosures - even released documents, that suggest JFK was killed in a conspiracy. This despite the fact that the HSCA (House Committee on Assassinations) officially found there was a "96% probability of conspiracy." Given the standards of most scientific research, this denotes a QA (quality assurance) that is about as solid as one can achieve - since no scientist in his right mind ever claims 100% proof. There are inevitably 'error bars' and uncertainties.

In one wire service story, 'Study Backs Theory of Grassy Knoll', which came out ca. March 25, 2002, D.B. Thomas' paper- which appeared in the British peer-reviewed Journal 'Science and Justice', was headlined and the conclusions given. Thomas' paper basically confirmed in every aspect the original analysis performed by actual acoustic specialists for the HSCA. Despite being in a peer-reviewed journal and already supported by the exhaustive work of the initial HSCA experts, it was savagely attacked within days in a Washington Post article. This was by Joel Achenbach who employed his usual catch phrases and incisive wit (he writes mainly as a 'humorist') to skewer the study, despite the fact that it's doubtful he actually read it. And what came off his piece was that it merely advanced some sort of 'agenda'.

It seems that the corporate owned media have been fully complicit in spreading conspiracy phobia as a deliberate strategy. Startling? Hardly. Remember that black operations - or 'black ops' (operations conducted apart from any official budget) were formally integrated into the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) during WW II. This continued right on through to the establishment of the CIA, the OSS successor, in 1947. And over this time the establishment media cooperated totally, becoming little more than a propaganda arm of the Pentagon.
Their role now would seem to be to misdirect people, to shift their attention away from conspiracy as a plausible working model for government, business and other interests - and toward some vague 'serendipity' of fortuitous circumstance.

These insights into the conspiracy phobia dynamic alert citizens to the true perspective. In this sense, no one who applies conspiracy where appropriate is trying to 'run away' from reality but to face it. As Michael Parenti notes (op. cit. p. 186), these citizens are effectively "raising grave questions about the nature of state power in what is supposed to be a democracy."

Perhaps, those who promote conspiracy phobia are tacitly admitting that we no longer live in a democracy. Rather than explore that outrageous thought, the corporate mainstream mind managers heel to their PR palaver of dismissing all conspiracies as unthinkable or improbable.

Much easier to focus on assorted lone nuts, than to peel back the sordid facts of how the USA mutated into a Corporatocracy.

For those interested, my own full FAQ on the JFK conspiracy may be found here: