Abstract; Some of the interaction between plutocracy and science. As it turns out, well established science is very revolutionary, and plutocracy may have interest to swipe this under the carpet by promoting anti-science (as revolution is contagious!).
There is something called TED talks where authoritative speakers, often with commending, not to say commanding, British accents, distill a wisdom compatible with the reigning oligarchies, and a clipped delivery. Although the subjects vary, the tone seems to be always the same.
“TED” stands for “Tech, Entertainment, Design”. Anti-plutocrats should be aware that TED banned a talk where Nick Hanauer pointed out that “rich people don’t create jobs”. TED did not find Hanauer entertaining. Thus we know that, by design, TED applies the technology of eradication to some “ideas worth spreading”. [After getting lots of flak, after this essay was first published, TED reversed itself, and then published Hanauer’s talk. At least for a while.]
“Ideas worth spreading” according to TED, are those of plutophiles and plutocrats. So TED gave its ‘grand prize’ to the pseudo-Christian “Bono” of U2 (for becoming a Facebook billionaire?), or to Bill Clinton (for authorizing banks to invest in financial derivatives, instead of the base material world they used to belong to, before their elevation to the derivative universe?).
In a book called “Science Set Free” (USA), or: “Science Delusion” (UK) Dr. Sheldrake challenges notions about science that many take for granted: Sheldrake itemizes what he calls the 10 “dogmas” of modern science, then tries to challenge them in his own special way.
Rupert Sheldrake was invited to give a TED talk. He is a Ph.D., a biologist, author of more than 80 scientific papers and 10 books. A former Research Fellow of the Royal Society, he got a Ph.D. in biochemistry at Cambridge U. He was a Fellow in Cambridge, and Director of Studies in biochemistry and cell biology.
Here is the default world view of science educated people hold, according to Sheldrake. Every of these scientific dogmas is questionable, he says. As I will show, and it’s spectacular, little does he know…
1. Nature is Mechanical.
2. Matter is unconscious.
3. The Laws of Nature are fixed.
4. The total amount of matter and energy is constant.
5. Nature is purposeless.
6. Biological inheritance is entirely material.
7. Memories are stored inside your brain in material processes.
8. Your mind is inside your head.
9. Psychic phenomena are impossible.
10. Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that works.
(Sheldrake believes in his own weird and unnecessary theory. He does not understand the way units relate in physics, so he went on a flight of fancy from there. He wants young giraffes’ (!) minds to be educated by a mysterious force out there, not realizing that the environment itself is doing so, in subtle and mighty ways.)
What fascinated me, when I came across Sheldrake’s amusing list above, is that the most established recent science itself has thrown many of these dogmas down. So Mr. S. is blissfully unawares of the true state of science. Indeed:
1) Nature is Mechanical: we are machines, “lumbering robots” (Dawkins)
What’s outrageous about Dawkins, and many other leading thinkers, is that they do not seem to have a full vision of science. Question: What’s mechanics? It is certainly not about mechanical robots, in the classical mechanics sense. One has to realize that mechanics is Quantum mechanics. And nobody under-stands that. quantum systems have one thing in common with conscious system, namely that they are not completely predictable.
2) Matter is Unconscious: lots of philosophy of mind in the last century is about proving that we are unconscious.
Right, well…Question: define conscious. Are sleep walkers conscious? Is an electron conscious when it decides to do whatever it’s doing with the 2-slits it seems aware of? Consciousness cannot be experimentally defined.
3) Laws of Nature are fixed:
Remark: this is under constant check by physicists. When on the moon, the acceleration of gravity, a “law”, has changed. The reason for the suspicion is the fact the universe itself is evolving. Also Conventional Big Bang theory creates universes from nothing; that’s probably why it’s false.
Einstein himself admitted that his theory of gravitation threw down the constancy of the speed of light (be it only because gravitation can make light go around in circle, or come to a stand still).
4) The total amount of matter and energy is constant.
First we should know how to detect all the matter and energy, before we assert such a thing. The whole riddle of Dark Matter and Dark Energy is that we can’t do either. So, by astronomy’s own reckoning, right now, we miss 96%, we fail to detect or explain, 96% of the matter and energy out there (WMAP). The WMAP seven-year analysis gave an estimate of 72.8% dark energy, 22.7% dark matter and 4.6% ordinary matter.
This science is so official that the discovery of Dark Energy has already been rewarded by several Nobel Prizes.
5) Nature is purposeless.
Question: Are we part of nature? Some of us have purpose.
6) Biological inheritance is entirely material.
Question: What is material? Is information material? Is a photon material? If it is, and it is, then information is material. Much of biology is a mix of the inherited, and the informed. Both come from material processes.
7) Memories are stored inside your brain in material processes.
8) Your mind is inside your head.
We don’t know what “inside the head” means, because we don’t know how many dimensions the universe really has. Some contemporary physicists have tried to depict gravity as a leak, in three dimensions, of a stronger phenomenon, in higher dimensions. It goes without saying that the same could apply to minds.
9) Psychic phenomena are impossible.
I don’t know what a “psychic” phenomenon could be. Control of object by pure thinking has already been achieved in the lab by animals, including Homo.
10) Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that works.
Well the placebo effect really exists, and that’s pretty spiritual (as it’s all in the mind!). Speaking of revolutionary science…
ARE REMEDIES FOR THE PLUTOCRATIC PLAGUE GETTING FINALLY APPLIED?
It’s not clear the placebo effect will save plutocracy, though. The illusion that bankers and oil men created for us the best of possible worlds is fraying fast. (In spite of desperate counterattacks such as those orchestrated by Sheryl Sandberg, a creature of Larry Summers, soon to be adressed appropriately on this site.)
Real, mechanical, old fashion remedies against the plutocratic plague are on the way. The European Union ordered Cyprus to levy a 10% tax on plutocrats’ bank holdings. Otherwise, the EU will let Cyprus go bankrupt. It goes without saying that Cyprus’ days as a tax haven are over, should Cyprus’ Parliamentpass the law it has been ordered to pass. Meanwhile, ATMs are blocked.
In other anti-plutocratic news, France and Britain threatened to send sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles to the rebels fighting the major plutocrat Assad. They gave what boils down to an instructive ultimatum to the rest of Europe.
By instructive, I mean that many countries that were clueless when confronting Hitler, are now incited, by France and Britain, in a pedagogical manner, to learn to assume some anti-fascist standing. For some of these countries, it’s like learning to walk. It’s an occasion for them to learn. Obviously, France and Britain will act, and Obama’s admirable USA, quite differently from Roosevelt’s despicable, cowardly and greedy USA, will follow.
Even Conservative PM Cameron had his fill with (Assad’s) outrageous plutocracy, so he offers to roll out the missiles. Nice.