A gene for religiosity?

PSI Blog 20170809 A gene for religiosity?

I am always interested in finding out why indeterminists use the assumptions they do. So I just reviewed a book, “The God Model,” by Phillip Shirvington, that surveys all the prominent religions and comes up with the idea that natural selection may have favored a part of the brain that causes folks to be religious.

He writes:

“So, to summarize, it is proposed that the common thread running through all religions is the existence of a faculty enabling access to what is believed to be a God in the mind of the individual, derived from code in the human genome, emplaced there 15,000-200,000 years ago, during which our ancestors evolved after having acquired human form. This faculty in the mind is the basis of religious experiences by believers, which in turn underpin institutional religion of all kinds…”

Readers should know that I believe that religion evolved in response to the need to instill and enforce loyalty in defense of a particular social organization. The destruction of the unfittest eliminates disloyal elements, protecting the organization from disbandment. In science, we do the same thing, rejecting publications and individuals that contradict the established paradigm.

Most of the text would be useful in a course on comparative religion, outlining the assumptions used by organized religious sects. For instance, some believe that the universe is material per the First Assumption of Science, materialism (The external world exists after the observer does not), some believe that it is an illusion (immaterialism), and some believe in a mixture of both. And, of course, as I have maintained elsewhere, nearly all religions oppose the Fourth Assumption of Science, inseparability (Just as there is no motion without matter, so there is no matter without motion).

Now for the strange part. A gene for religion? The evolutionist, Dawkins, came up with the term “meme” for ideas that evolve, being passed from generation to generation, sort of like that old “telephone” game in which a statement passed from person-to-person gets messed up in the process. Thank heaven that he never gave a genetic cause for any of those memes—they were all cultural. On the other hand, Shirvington might have something there. Again, he writes: “evidence in this book suggests religiosity is a least partly genetically determined.” He points out that primates without the prefrontal brain capability that humans have do not display religious behavior. He doesn’t exactly say there might be a gene for religion or that there is a special spot in the brain for religiosity.

Instead, I tend to believe Sapolsky’s interpretation that religion is a mental illness. Schizophrenia, for instance, is known to be inherited. It seems in this disease, one half of the brain can talk to the other half as if they were two people. Thus, reports by folks who have “talked to god” have a certain reality to them. Others, who have been properly indoctrinated in religious matters also might display their mental illness as religious behavior. He does have a great explanation of where the idea of heaven came from: We have a tendency to visit our deceased relatives and friends in our dreams. Heaven is therefore just an extension of those dreams. Shirvington puts a lot of stock in ordinary folks who report dramatic religious experiences. Of course, the elation felt when one is “born again” is little different than the dithyrambosis or eureka moments felt by scientists, adventurers, and gold seekers. Also of course, those not exposed to any religious dogma are unlikely to exhibit religious behavior no matter what their genetics—an obvious falsification of Shirvington’s theory.



Universe Alternatives

PSI Blog 20170802 Universe Alternatives[1]

Occasionally, I try to review reformist attempts to ameliorate the current deplorable state of physics and cosmology. The title of this book caught my eye when it was sent to me gratis. The book was published by the author 20 years ago and not much has changed since in the reformist community. Billy Farmer, a medical doctor, sent over 750 free copies of this book to physicists and cosmologists, with no effect whatsoever. Billy passed away in 2003.

Sorry to disappoint, but Billy’s attempt does not propose more than one alternative to the Big Bang Theory. What it really means to say is that there are alternative interpretations of some of the data used to support the Big Bang Theory. Like many of us, Farmer believed that the universe had no beginning, although, like other reformists, he is equivocal: “the expanding universe concept [will be] replaced by an overall static model that will most probably be envisioned as being unlimited in both size and age” (p. i). Now, the universe is either infinite or finite; one is either pregnant or not pregnant—choose one.  The universe is either eternal or it is not. This is the first sign that Farmer’s “alternatives” are not likely to be much more than reforms.

Nonetheless, he spares us the oxymoronic “multiverse” nonsense, and does have a few good ideas. In particular, is his “denial of ‘empty space,’ which implies that some phase of a single universal entity should occupy the entire universe volume” (p. 106). Unfortunately, he uses the annoying “single universal entity,” to avoid the stigma attached to the proper designation: aether. His timid justification is that the “ether” of the Michelson-Morley Experiment[2] was incorrectly assumed to be fixed. In fact, the MMX result was lower than expected only because aether was entrained around Earth just like our atmosphere.[3] I agree that nothing in the universe is fixed per the Fourth Assumption of Science, inseparability (Just as there is no motion without matter, so there is no matter without motion).[4] In other words, the fixed “ether” was falsified, but the “aether” consisting of particles in motion was not.

My greatest disappointment with this book was Farmer’s adoption of “universal entity cohesion” as the driving force responsible for things coming together. It is as if he never heard of Newton's Second Law of Motion and its observation that force describes a push, not a pull. Like Newton and others who promulgated the attraction hypothesis, Farmer presents no physical mechanism by which an actual pull could be performed. That is because there is none.

His theory has another fundamental flaw in that it picks on the galaxy as the fundamental microcosm most likely to be recycled endlessly. I have to admit that I once entertained the same idea. Actually, all microcosms tend to be recycled as long as the univironmental conditions for doing so are present. They follow the Sixth Assumption of Science, complementarity (All things are subject to divergence and convergence from other things). None of the “recycled” microcosms are exactly the same as the original, but similar microcosms are produced until the univironment inevitably changes. This also means that the “age of the eternal universe” can never be determined. Each portion of the infinite universe will have a different age, with each portion coming into being via convergence and going out of being via divergence.

All in all, Billy’s reform was admirable, but like other reform attempts it was close, but no cigar.

[1] Farmer, B.L., 1997, Universe alternatives: Emerging concepts of size, age, structure and behavior (2nd ed.): El Paso, TX, Billy L. Farmer, 129 p.
[2] Michelson, A.A., and Morley, E.W., 1887, On the relative motion of the earth and the luminiferous ether: American Journal of Science, v. 39, p. 333-345 [http://galileoandeinstein.physics.virginia.edu/lectures/michelson.html; http://www.anti-relativity.com/MM_Paper.pdf]. [Often referred to as “MMX.”]
[3] Borchardt, Glenn, 2007, The Scientific Worldview: Beyond Newton and Einstein: Lincoln, NE, iUniverse, p. 202. [http://www.scientificphilosophy.com/].
[4] Borchardt, Glenn, 2004, The ten assumptions of science: Toward a new scientific worldview: Lincoln, NE, iUniverse, 125 p. [Free download at http://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.13320.21761].


Playing the Big Bang Theory game

PSI Blog 20170727 Playing the Big Bang Theory game

All games have rules. If you don’t play by the rules, you might get sent home forthwith. The more I study it, the more I get the feeling that the Big Bang Theory is just a game. No real scientist could be serious about such a fabrication. Nonetheless, here we are, enduring the last days of the last cosmogony.

Those playing the game seem to know the rules well (e.g., the universe had an origin; Einstein is always right; mathematics determines what is possible, etc.). The winners maybe don’t get $200 million dollar contracts, but there are awards and prestigious academic positions aplenty. Folks standing on the ground outside the paradigm, like myself, just don’t get it. The logic escapes us.

Now, in preparing his forthcoming book “Notfinity Process,” PSI member George Coyne already has come up with 61 problems with the Big Bang Theory. Generally, it only takes a few such falsifications to disprove a theory, but like relativity itself, this is a tough nut to crack because of its association with religion. At the moment, the Big Bang Theory seems as everlasting as the universe. I am sure that George will come up with ever more problems before the theory meets its eventual demise. I hope he keeps his list up-to-date on a special webpage. It should be a great resource for future historians of science.

Typical of one of the problems that go to the heart of the matter is the one about the “universe from nothing,” which we already lambasted in a Blog by PSI member Rick Dutkiewicz.[1] Like Krauss’s “Universe from Nothing,”[2] there have been numerous defenses of the Big Bang Theory. One of the most famous was the ad hoc proposed by Alan Guth, an MIT professor, who wrote “The Inflationary Universe” back in 1984.[3] The math had not been working out well, so Guth simply jiggered it enough to keep the theory going.

Guth is famous for saying "The universe could have evolved from absolutely nothing in a manner consistent with all known conservation laws."[4] Like the rest of us of a practical nature, George wonders about “the mathematical or cosmological difference between ‘nothing’ and ‘absolute nothing.’ If there is a difference then it must be possible to compare various amounts of "nothing" from a small amount to a very large amount.”

Of course, all that Guth stuff is nonsense, but George persists in asking “What conservation law is Guth referring to that supports his claim?”  

According to George’s excavation, Guth assumes that “gravitational energy is negative, and because it is in balance with the positive energy of matter, he concludes it is possible that the Universe evolved from ‘absolutely nothing’ without violating any known conservation laws.”

As George says, “To argue that the BBT agrees with all conservation laws depends on accepting that energy exists as a positive substance in matter and a “negative” one in the form of gravitation. However, even if one were to accept that premise, it still does not account for how matter emerges from nothing.”

This is an excellent example of how regressive physics has gone wrong. Energy is not a substance, it is a calculation. Even NASA promotes the idea that the universe consists of energy as well as matter. But according to progressive physics, the universe only consists of matter in motion. There is no energy “substance,” so repeating that old shibboleth will not help the universe to pop out of nothing. We are stuck with the Fifth Assumption of Science, conservation (Matter and the motion of matter can be neither created nor destroyed). Physicists should pay more attention to thermodynamics and give up trying to objectify energy. Looks like the whole theory is a game about nothing.

[1] Dutkiewicz, Rick, 2012, Dutkiewicz Blasts Krauss Interview on “A Universe From Nothing”: The Scientific Worldview: Blog 20120620: Berkeley, CA, Progressive Science Institute [http://thescientificworldview.blogspot.com/2012/06/dutkiewicz-blasts-krauss-interview-on.html].
[2] Krauss, Lawrence M., 2012, A universe from nothing: Why there is something rather than nothing: New York, Free Press, 224 p.
[3] Guth, Alan H., 1998, The inflationary universe: The quest for a new theory of cosmic origins, Basic Books, 384 p. [https://rebrand.ly/robot9b7e].
[4] Ibid, p. 12.


Quantum Mechanics Crashes into Infinity

PSI Blog 20170719 Quantum Mechanics Crashes into Infinity

Another good one from George Coyne:

“Here is an article by Steven Weinberg from Jan 19, 2016

Chapter 1 The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics

Here is an excerpt:

"The trouble is that in quantum mechanics the way that wave functions change with time is governed by an equation, the Schrödinger equation, that does not involve probabilities. It is just as deterministic as Newton’s equations of motion and gravitation. That is, given the wave function at any moment, the Schrödinger equation will tell you precisely what the wave function will be at any future time. There is not even the possibility of chaos, the extreme sensitivity to initial conditions that is possible in Newtonian mechanics. So if we regard the whole process of measurement as being governed by the equations of quantum mechanics, and these equations are perfectly deterministic, how do probabilities get into quantum mechanics?"

[GB: Thanks George for the nice illustration of the regressive quandary that mathematicians get into when infinity raises its ever-present head. Remember that neomechanics is simply the addition of our assumption of infinity (The universe is infinite, both in the microcosmic and macrocosmic directions) to classical mechanics. This is consupponible with our revised assumptions of causality (All effects have an infinite number of material causes) and uncertainty (It is impossible to know everything about anything, but it is possible to know more about anything).

The upshot is that any measurement anyone could make always has a plus or minus. Only an infinitely long equation could make perfect predictions, which, of course, will never happen. As quantum mechanists have found out, the infinite subdividability of the universe pertains to even the smallest of microcosms. The Infinite Universe always provides yet another collision from yet another microcosm that contributes to the variability that we are forced to present as the margin of error. Infinite subdividability makes it impossible to have “equations [that] are perfectly deterministic.” In the Infinite Universe, there always are still smaller microcosms whose motions we cannot determine precisely. That is how “probabilities get into quantum mechanics.”]



Worldview hysteria and conversion disorder

PSI Blog 20170712 Worldview hysteria and conversion disorder

Figure 1 Brasoveanu’s view of modern physics.[4]

Jesse writes:

“I am now fully on board with your view that there is no point in debating the regressives. I had the misfortune of discussing with a few pHd physicists on Quora and they started ad hominem's immediately. They got quite hysterical.

I pondered that awhile. I believe it has to do with what I am now calling "Foundational Wordview" (FW) that I loosely define as: "Any assumptions that are made by individuals that highly influence how they view and interpret phenomena in the world."

These FW's can be in any field and pop up in very unlikely places. Many religious people hold them (many don't). Many climate change people hold them. Many physicists hold them. Many politically active people hold them.

I have found that if you test the FW's of most people, it initiates a "Fight or Flight" response that is dramatic. It is basically hopeless to engage in conversations with these people because they either run away or fight you. There is no listening involved. It's an interesting field of study in it's own right. How are these formed? Are there any people without them (I keep trying to think if I hold any)? Has anyone figured out how to shatter them?”

[GB: Thanks for the comment Jesse. As you imply and Wikipedia confirms, the use of an ad hominem is a sure way of losing a debate: "Argumentum ad hominem is now usually understood as a logical fallacy in which an argument is rebutted by attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.”[1] Being on the eventual winning side of the arguments you mention, we do not need to resort to name calling. Most dissident physicists have come across hysterical behavior involving those topics.

Ironically, hysteria is now called “conversion disorder,” in which “The sensory and motor manifestations of conversion disorder take many forms and are designated conversion reactions because the underlying anxiety is assumed to have been “converted” into physical symptoms.”[2] Maybe we should redefine “conversion disorder” to indicate the response we get when especially emotional types are confronted with Infinite Universe Theory. So far no physical effects have been reported by those who have read any stuff from the Progressive Science Institute (other than dithyrambosis, which, as you found out, can lead to lack of sleep and spousal boredom due to equations and lengthy words).

I agree that more work needs to done on what you call Foundational Worldviews. I touched on this in previous books, such as “The Ten Assumptions of Science,” in which I traced it to the philosophical struggle between determinism and indeterminism. How one gets to either view depends on the univironment, which, in this case, amounts to the person and the environment. My ever-popular Blog on scientific curiosity gives us a hint.[3] The gist is that, in science we determine the truth by interacting with the external world via observation and experiment. Children who have had their hands slapped enough times tend to stifle their curiosity. Religions are notorious for discouraging curiosity, which might lead to philosophical confusion and eventual unbelief. Cloisters keep us from venturing too far afield in search of beliefs without contradictions.

About Foundational Worldviews you ask: “Are there any people without them (I keep trying to think if I hold any)?” Of course, everyone has them, except that they tend to become increasingly deterministic with increasing contact with the infinite variety of the external world. You can begin to find out what yours are by studying "The Ten Assumptions of Science."

You ask: “Has anyone figured out how to shatter them?” Well, that is exactly what we do at PSI. There is no way to replace a powerful paradigm without replacing the foundational assumptions of that paradigm first. That will not be easy. The bigger the fish, the harder they fall. The connection between cosmogony and religion appears almost everlasting. The “shattering” you write about is serious philosophical and economic business. Nonetheless, it is proceeding apace with every step out of the indeterministic box. Cosmogonists are now talking about oxymoronic multiverses and parallel universes. The Internet spreads deterministic information with light speed. Once having learned something about the Infinite Universe, it is hard to unlearn it. Ultimately, however, it all comes down to this: horse, water, drink. You cannot teach someone who does not want to be taught. With regard to the traditional indeterministic beliefs that underlie cosmogony we only need to ask: How is that working out for you?]

[4] Not all mainstream physicists are happy with modern physics and cosmogony. In addition to presenting this amusing cartoon at a conference, Dan has written a reformist book proposing a unification of SRT and QMT: Brasoveanu, Dan, 2008, Modern Mythology and Science, iUniverse, 94 p.


Boundaries and existence in the Infinite Universe

PSI Blog 20170705 Boundaries and existence in the Infinite Universe

In response to George Coyne, who wrote: 'In order for anything to exist it has to have boundaries,' henk wrote:

“Does a cloud have a boundary and if yes, how to describe that? I can see a boundary from the ground but not flying in the clouds.”

[GB: Boundaries exist because of what we describe in the Ninth Assumption of Science, relativism (All things have characteristics that make them similar to all other things as well as characteristics that make them dissimilar to all other things). Microcosmic boundaries consist of submicrocosms, each of which contains subsubmicrocosms ad infinitum. The macrocosm that surrounds each microcosm also consists of “submicrocosms, each of which contains subsubmicrocosms ad infinitum.” As you point out in your cloud example, boundaries are not absolute even though indeterminists often like to think that they are. A cloud, of course, has a boundary whether you are able to see it or not. There is a gradual to somewhat gradual transition between the cloud (a microcosm) and its environment (its macrocosm).

You asked how to describe boundaries. I will give examples from earth science. Geologists confront the vagueness in boundaries anytime they deal with nature directly. However, engineers, working at their drawings in the office, sometimes consider boundaries to be absolute. This can be a problem in the assessment of earthquake fault hazard. I once saw a fault map drawn by an engineer. It was a series of straight lines instead of having the curves, en echelon segments, slight changes in strike, and other vagaries that nature provides.

Another example:

The evolution of soils results in layers useful for determining their ages. However, soil layers are notorious for sometimes having vague boundaries that torment beginning students. This is how we describe boundary thickness in soil science: 


 henk: So, if the universe exists as a thing it must have boundaries? Why?

[GB: Of course, your very astute question involves the two opposing fundamental assumptions one can make about the universe: 1) that it is finite or 2) that it is infinite.

If the universe was finite, then like all things, it would have xyz dimensions and would have a beginning and an ending, as assumed in the Big Bang Theory.

If the universe was infinite, it would have different rules:

1.    It would have no dimensions.
2.    It would have no boundaries.
3.    It would have neither beginning nor end.

A finite object has a necessary boundary because it is a microcosm, an xyz portion of the Infinite Universe surrounded by its macrocosm (the rest of the universe). The boundary is formed by the interactions between the submicrocosms within and without as in your cloud example. A clearer example would be a helium balloon, which has a more definite boundary. It holds its shape as long as the pressure inside is similar to the pressure outside.

A microcosmic boundary is determined by deterrence—collisions with supermicrocosms in the macrocosm. It is what happens when Newton’s First Law of Motion operates in the Infinite Universe. All microcosms traveling under their own inertia eventually collide with one or more microcosms—such is the boundary. As an aside, we often speak of “determinism,” which speaks of the things that lead to deterrence, not necessarily of whether we can actually “determine” anything. In other words, henk, we have boundaries because the universe is infinite. In the Infinite Universe there is no place that a microcosm could go without running into another microcosm, which temporarily slows its further motion, constituting a boundary. The Infinite Universe “itself” has no such boundaries because it is endless, continuing on forever. The perfectly empty space of the idealist cannot exist and thus nonexistence is impossible.]


Regressive physics does not know what energy is

PSI Blog 20170628 Regressive physics does not know what energy is

Thanks be to George who gave us the heads-up on the usual difficulty that regressive physicists have with defining energy:

“GC: Hi Glenn

This is from The Physics Hyper Textbook http://physics.info/motion/:

The term energy refers [to] an abstract physical quantity that is not easily perceived by humans. It can exist in many forms simultaneously and only acquires meaning through calculation. A system possesses energy if it has the ability to do work. The energy of motion is called kinetic energy.’

Based on this definition, energy is abstract matter, which means it is an idea of an abstraction for all things (i.e. matter.) That suggests that the word "energy" refers to a thought, which can be quantified. That makes no sense.”

[GB: George, I love these regressive faux pas that you keep digging up! I really get a kick out of this guy’s definition of energy as “an abstract physical quantity that is not easily perceived by humans.” You bet. That is because energy does not exist despite his confused belief that ‘It can exist in many forms’. He gets a bit closer when he mentions calculation, because that is all that energy is, a calculation. It is neither matter nor motion, but a way of understanding those mechanical phenomena through calculation.]

GC: “Do you know how it is possible that so many people can be so idealistic that they easily accept that motion can occur without matter?”

[GB: George, remember that such idealism is a necessary part of indeterministic philosophy. Without it, the idea of a “soul” would be intellectually impossible, as I discussed in this Blog:

I must admit that when I was religious I did not think twice about how one could “go to heaven” after dying. I never thought about how this physically could happen. It didn’t seem to involve the material body lying there in the casket. I think we all just thought that the “spirit” (i.e., motion) that folks displayed was simply what made the heavenly trip. After all, that was the great expectation we shared with family and friends. How wonderful that would be! We could visit our departed relatives and live with them for an eternity! It is all that anyone ever talked about when someone died. As believers, we wanted to believe.

We tended not to believe the Fourth Assumption of Science, inseparability (Just as there is no motion without matter, so there is no matter without motion). After all, even if you had physics, the evil mechanistic view (that the universe consists only of matter in motion) had been abandoned by Einstein and followers. It was said that mass could turn into pure energy, which like the imagined soul, could miraculously leave the atom, travelling through perfectly empty space as matterless motion.

All this shows why relativity and its regressive ideas got so popular and why Einstein is always purported to be right. Both relativity and religion are founded on the same indeterministic assumptions. Even though the most accomplished scientists are atheists, they live in religious countries and most probably were once believers. Those assumptions we were born with and are surrounded by don’t just disappear. They hang around as unconscious presuppositions.[1] Working physicists and cosmogonists don’t have time to bring those presuppositions into the light of day. They remain as the foundation of cosmogony, which will not be rejected until they are abandoned. As Kuhn maintained, paradigms do not change until the underlying assumptions change.[2]

So George, that “abstract physical quantity that is not easily perceived by humans” is akin to the soul we were all taught to believe in. We cannot escape from the myth that the universe exploded out of nothing without finally realizing that energy is nothing but a calculation.]

[1] Collingwood, R.G., 1940, An essay on metaphysics: Oxford, Clarendon Press, 354 p.
[2] Kuhn, Thomas S., 1962 [2012], The structure of scientific revolutions (With an Introductory Essay by Ian Hacking) (50th Anniversary ed.): Chicago; London, The University of Chicago Press, 264 p.


Steve Patterson on “It Doesn't Take a Genius to Challenge Orthodoxy”

PSI Blog 20170621 Steve Patterson on “It Doesn't Take a Genius to Challenge Orthodoxy”

Thanks be to Rick who gave us the heads-up on this great 9-minute video by young philosopher Steve Patterson, who is “creating a rational worldview.” It is especially apropos to this Blog site and for anyone who is concerned about all the nonsense that goes for physics and cosmology these days:

Although it is mostly about the low regard that academics have for anyone questioning their ideas. I especially liked his statement that:

“I think the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics is laughably nonsensical, embarrassing, and stupid.”

Right on Steve! I also saw his video on the Tai Chi master who was defeated summarily by a nonmaster who had to go into hiding for being so “disrespectful.” I subscribed to his YouTube channel and took him up on the Patreon support. 

BTW: Patreon lets you use PayPal to provide as little as $1 per month to outstanding artists and writers. This could be an excellent way for dissidents to get financial support from those who have not fallen for regressive physics and cosmogony.


“Gravitational waves” once again confirm the presence of aether

PSI Blog 20170614 “Gravitational waves” once again confirm the presence of aether

In PSI Blog 20160217 LIGO: Gravitational attraction is dead I commented on the initial discovery of “gravitational waves,” which were supposedly predicted by Einstein. I pointed out that the attraction hypothesis was dead because we were not “attractive” enough to pull anything toward us. I also pointed out that the discovery amounted to a confirmation of the existence of aether.

Some dissident physicists doubted that the experimental data were valid. Now, this third detection seems to confirm the first two. Astute reader Arus wanted me to comment on the latest result, which was the subject of this BBC report:

The reporter writes that “It is the third time now that the labs' laser instruments have been perturbed by the warping of space-time.” Now, in GRT space is perfectly empty and spacetime is too. So, the “perturbing” does not make any sense. “Perturbing” can only occur when something collides with something else. The report says that “two times the mass of the Sun were converted into deformations in the shape of space.” That would be remarkable for space that is devoid of anything at all. That was Einstein’s original view, but most dissidents know that he recanted it in 1920:

“Careful reflection teaches us that special relativity does not compel us to deny ether. We may assume its existence but not ascribe a definite state of motion to it ..." "There is a weighty reason in favour of ether. To deny ether is to ultimately assume that empty space has no physical qualities whatever."[1]

The popular press, as reflected in this “Einstein is always right” article, does not seem to know that. Instead, they push the usual stuff about sensing “the distortions in space-time” and the view that the collisions of cosmic bodies might “vibrate the very fabric of the cosmos.” Of course, all that is happening is the vibration of the aether that pervades the entire universe. Empty space could not have vibrations, which must involve compression and expansion of a medium (see figure).

There is one detail about this “gravitational wave” we need to address. The BBC says that “Einstein's general theory of relativity forbids any dispersion from happening in gravitational waves as they move out from their source through space towards Earth.” In fact, Bangalore Sathyaprakash, a LIGO team member said: "Our measurements are really very sensitive to minute differences in the speeds of different frequencies but we did not discover any dispersion, once again failing to prove that Einstein was wrong..." This is typical of most “Einsteinisms” (right for the wrong reason). Dispersion or refraction occurs when aethereal wave motion encounters high concentrations of baryonic (ordinary matter). That is what happens when light travels through water, bending the image of the submerged end of your fishing pole. The speed of light in water is 225 million m/s, while it is 300 million m/s in air. The frequency of light in water is the same as it is in air—only its wavelength decreases.

Let me sum up. LIGO is simply detecting the result of a cosmic collision, which has converted some microcosmic motion to macrocosmic motion in the aether. It has nothing to do with gravitation other than that the resulting wave motion is being transmitted by the aethereal medium, which is responsible for the local pressure differences that cause gravitation.[2]

[1] Einstein, Albert, 1920, Ether and the Theory of Relativity: An address delivered on May 5th, 1920, in the University of Leyden [http://bit.ly/AE20ether]. 
[2] Borchardt, Glenn, and Puetz, Stephen J., 2012, Neomechanical gravitation theory, in Volk, Greg, Proceedings of the Natural Philosophy Alliance, 19th Conference of the NPA, 25-28 July: Albuquerque, NM, Natural Philosophy Alliance, Mt. Airy, MD, v. 9, p. 53-58 [http://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.1.3991.0483].


BS for detecting loyalty

PSI Blog 20170607 BS for detecting loyalty

In last week’s Blog I repeated my claim that the evolutionary purpose of religion was to instill and enforce loyalty. But how does one know whether that process has been successful? This question is important, not only for understanding religion and its wars, but also for understanding the current paradigm that binds regressive physics and cosmogony. Remember that in science, a paradigm is a set of theories, experiments, and interpretations that are used to advance a particular discipline.[1] A mature paradigm sponsors what Kuhn called “ordinary” science. To be financially rewarded in that discipline one must be loyal to the paradigm. As in religion, disloyalty can result in rejection or banishment. Unlike religion, it seldom results in imprisonment or execution (with rare exceptions such as Galileo and Bruno).

As one observing the current mainstream paradigm from the outside, I have been amazed by the utterly ridiculous and contradictory nature of many of its claims. For instance, long ago I was taught the First Law of Thermodynamics, the conservation of energy, which I have restated as the Fifth Assumption of Science, conservation (Matter and the motion of matter can be neither created nor destroyed). Thus I have always seen the idea that the universe exploded out of nothing to be borderline crazy. I think that I am now getting a better idea of why such contradictions do not seem to bother the mainstream. I have long known that religious folks tended to be immune to contradictions and that they generally thought that the universe was itself contradictory. I got a better focus on it after reading Matthew Yglesias’s pertinent essay on this website:

He referred to a famous essay by Prof Harry Frankfurt of Princeton in which he explained it this way:

It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose. [2]  

Yglesias points out that bullshit has two purposes: 1) it is used to test loyalty and 2) to isolate followers into a distinct tribe. For “tribe” you can insert most any religious sect or hysterical group you wish. You also could insert “modern physicists” or “Big Bang theorists,” who comprise the current mainstream paradigm. This helps to explain the craziness (explosion of the universe from nothing, massless particles, 4D expanding universe, waves that are particles and particles that are waves, attraction, immaterial fields, matterless motion, etc.). Spreading any of these, especially to the public, proves your loyalty to the paradigm.

Frankfurt’s analysis also helps to explain the vehement reactions commonly used to defend both religious sects and mainstream physics. Trolls with too much time and loyalty roam the Internet guarding against suggestions that the current paradigm might be out of whack. In the mainstream, the censorship of the word “aether” is paramount, while massless particles, wormholes, and Einstein’s glorification are dirigeur.

In scientific disciplines other than physics and cosmogony contradictions and paradoxes generally are anathema. Nonetheless, contradictions appear where data and knowledge are missing. They often indicate the frontier in science. Any apparent contradiction provides grist for the next graduate thesis. All disciplines have their loyalists, of course, but in my experience the use of BS in defense against contrarian ideas is relatively mild—unless you dare to mention anything about climate.

To sum up, I go back to the original question… Is mainstream BS in physics and cosmogony a good test of loyalty? The obvious answer is clearly YES. Believers want to believe. Folks naïve enough to fall for BS are not particularly interested in details. You can find this out yourself by asking pertinent questions about the contradictions and the “facts” used to support them. For instance, you can ask most any physicist about whether those clocks flying around Earth proved Einstein right. Of course that experiment proved nothing at all. The raw data show that some of the side-by-side clocks sped up and some slowed down. The bogus manipulation of the unpublished raw data and the “Einstein is always right” conclusion was borderline fraudulent.[3] Those who teach that conclusion actually believe it along with the idea that the universe is four dimensional. They are not lying anymore than the ministers of all the other religious sects you oppose. They are simply spreading BS.

[1] Kuhn, Thomas S., 1962 [2012], The structure of scientific revolutions (With an Introductory Essay by Ian Hacking) (50th Anniversary ed.): Chicago; London, The University of Chicago Press, 264 p.
[2] Frankfurt, Harry, 1986 [2005], On bullshit:  [http://www.csudh.edu/ccauthen/576f12/frankfurt__harry_-_on_bullshit.pdf].
[3] Borchardt, Glenn, 2011, Einstein's most important philosophical error, in Volk, Greg, Proceedings of the Natural Philosophy Alliance, 18th Conference of the NPA, 6-9 July, 2011: College Park, MD, Natural Philosophy Alliance, Mt. Airy, MD, v. 8, p. 64-68 [http://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.1.3436.0407].


Instill and enforce loyalty

PSI Blog 20170531 Instill and enforce loyalty

We all need to respect religion—or else. As I maintained over a decade ago when I reviewed Dawkin’s “The God Delusion,” the evolutionary purpose of religion is to instill and enforce loyalty.[1] Dawkins had failed to emphasize this all-important factor, suggesting that religion was merely vestigial in nature. Religion is vestigial alright, but it continues to dominate the globe, with 90% of our 7.5 billion population being affected. Now comes a much-needed book that mostly gets it right: Adam Wadi’s “Atheism For Muslims: A guide to questioning Islam, religion and God for a better future.”

After much apologizing to his family, friends, and an institution likely to take offense, Wadi gets on the right foot by telling us that, in general “Religion creates this sense of belonging and purpose in people with the goal to achieving one outcome: submission” (p. 27). He says that the definition of “Islam” is “one who submits to God’s will” (p. 124). He then goes through the Qur’an, using numerous quotations to demonstrate how nearly every page instills and enforces loyalty in a way similar to a book that made the scene 600 years earlier. Both holy books continually warn believers and nonbelievers that they are to ignore the contradictions and to do as they are told. Any criticism (blasphemy) or traitorous rejection (apostasy) is not to be tolerated. Above all, believers are to be “god-fearing” in the same way they are to fear the power of the King, Queen, or der Führer.

Loyalty makes a social group extremely powerful. There is nothing like a couple, family, tribe, state, or nation that is on the same page, defending its policies to the death, if necessary. In a world still dominated by feudalism such loyalty remains critical in protecting against the inevitable invaders. That is why capitalism also needs to harness religion for its necessary expansion. Soldiers who do not expect to experience living after dying are no match for those that do.

Wadi admits that he is unlikely to dissuade many of his more tentative readers to atheism, particularly those facing the possibility of severe punishment. Rather, he wishes to give hope to folks who already are taking that path. In the spirit of a true educator, he has outlined the reasons for belief as well as disbelief. He points out that both holy books cagily provide believers with support for dreams that surely will come true if they only follow orders properly. As Wadi says “After all, that’s all religion is, people choosing the stories they most want to believe in whether they are true or not.” “Eye for an eye” and “turn the other cheek” need not be a contradiction. Just choose whichever suits the occasion.

I learned a lot about Islam from Adam’s explication. For instance, I was unaware that much of the Qur’an was based on the old and new testaments. I had always thought that the reformation started with Luther five centuries ago, but it actually started with Muhammad nine centuries earlier. The Qur’an claims to be complete, perfect, and unchangeable: “There is no changing the words of God; that is the mighty triumph” (Qur’an 10:65). But as in Protestantism, there have been many reforms. For example, the Sunni sect forbids images of Muhammad (the last prophet), while the Shia sect often permits them. There is no mention of the promised 72 virgins in the Qur’an (that is part of a “reform” or interpretation called the Hadith). The Qur’an condemns blasphemy, “but doesn’t specify a punishment for it in this life, only the next” (p. 289). I learned that Muhammad was a pacifist in Mecca and only became a militarist when he moved to Medina. His popularity grew as a result, with growing populations embracing its utility (i.e., “instill and enforce”) for expanding throughout the world.

Wadi: “If Islam is indeed true, you’d think its followers wouldn’t have to use fear and intimidation so much to get children to practice it devoutly” (p. 226).

This is the line he got while growing up Muslim:

“Here’s the way it is. Everyone else is wrong. They’ll likely burn in Hell for not following the rules, regardless of how good a person you think they are. This is how it’s always been. So you should be fearful if you don’t believe it too. Otherwise God will punish you and you’ll burn in Hell forever” (p. 226-7).

One other quote is worth the price of the book:

"We are not living in the most dangerous time in human history, we're living in the most fear-mongering time in human history” (p. 43).

I like that quote because it reflects Pinker’s data showing exactly that.[2] Fear-mongering is good for sales, whether for anti-virus programs, alarm systems, or religion.

Here are some other great quotes from the book:

“From a scientific standpoint, human life has absolutely no meaning to it, regardless of what any religion says.” “So, it’s not religion which gives us meaning, it’s us that gives religion meaning” (p. 318).

“There’s a myth that people who don’t have a religion have nothing to live for. But it’s the opposite. We have nothing to die for. We have everything to live for.”

“Religion and science have both given us opposite accounts of the world we live in.”

“I’m quite conscious of the fact that you can’t reason people out of something they didn’t reason themselves into.”

Not everyone gets everything right. Here are some quotes not in tune with univironmental determinism:[3]

“I am agnostic when it comes to the belief of whether or not there is a higher power out there…”

“We all have the free will…”

He gives an interesting, partially factual, 60-step description of the evolution of the universe, without realizing that today’s cosmogony is religious.[4] Hubble did not discover that the universe was expanding.[5] He merely observed that cosmological redshifts correlated with distance. Wadi repeats the conventional view that most of the universe consists of “dark energy.” Like most every regressive physicist and cosmogonist, he does not realize that energy does not exist—it is a calculation.

Despite those few quibbles, “Atheism for Muslims” is a good read, especially if you would like to find out what Islam and the Qur’an are all about.

[1] https://thescientificworldview.blogspot.com/2007/07/evolution-of-religion.html?m=0omenon. 
[2] Pinker, Steven, 2011, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined: New York, Viking [http://stevenpinker.com/publications/better-angels-our-nature].
[3] Borchardt, Glenn, 2007, The Scientific Worldview: Beyond Newton and Einstein: Lincoln, NE, iUniverse, 411 p. [http://www.scientificphilosophy.com/].
[4] Borchardt, Glenn, 2017, Infinite Universe Theory (coming soon): Berkeley, CA, Progressive Science Institute.
[5] Sauvé, Vincent, 2016, Edwin Hubble... and the myth that he discovered an expanding universe, Accessed 20161030 [http://tinyurl.com/j6txbl5].