Archive for the ‘Epistemology’ Category


November 20, 2016

Should we fear the opprobium of those who are scared that others may become afraid of our thoughts? This is the latest hilarious twist of “identity politics” in the USA. “Identity politics”, also known as tribalism, in times less twisted by unhinged euphemisms. In other words, should we bow to the worst of the Middle Ages’ theological ways and means? Quite the opposite: it is high time to fight back against intellectual fascism of the basest kind, the kind which claims to defend the sheep, by preaching it to bleat, rather than teaching the sheep to learn to think. Creating thinking means learning to debate, unafraid of all and any possible logic. But for that one has to be in the right mood. So what is the proper mood for more advanced thinking? Here it is, and even “Scripture” agrees with us:


Those who are afraid of getting afraid, maybe, perhaps, can now stop reading: they belong to what fails, and will always fail. That includes the lack of reading comprehension, which they delve in. Those robust enough to read the Book, can hang on. Our predecessors wanted it darker, because it was the only way to greater greatness. And greatness, is not just what we are. But greatness is what we need. 

Greatness is not just what we became, and are. It is what we, humanity as it stands today, needed to survive. We evolved into greatness. (Slogan for humanity: ‘make humanity great again!’)

We wanted it darker, otherwise, we would never have gone where those who did not become our ancestors  didn’t. They didn’t get there because they both did not want to, and thus, could not, dash through the dark. And feel the pull of the dark.

When our predecessors wanted to understand what others didn’t even suspect, they have got to have wanted it darker.

There is glory in the human species, only because we wanted it darker. It’s written in the scriptures, and yes, it’s no idle claim. We wrote, because we wanted it darker. Bacteria only search for more sugar. We searched darkness, through more darkness. Darkness is sugar for intelligence aspiring to ultimate greatness.

The Gate May Be Golden, But Surviving Is The Only Manifest Destiny Of A World Around A Star

The Gate May Be Golden, But Surviving Is The Only Manifest Destiny Of A World Around A Star. We Want It Darker, Be It Only Because We Need A Rest From The Light, And Need To Go To The Bottom Of Things.

Some have meekly whined that philosophers (yours truly, Patrice Aymé, much later Slavoj Žižek) went to the Dark Side by demolishing the Democratic party, this horror of the demonic side, hidden in the light of its self-glorification. However, only philosophers who love to understand the Dark Side with undisguised enthusiasm, sanctifying thoroughness, could expose the viciousness of the Democratic Party.

And thus helping to get Trump elected, over the twitching bodies of countless, half-wit, rich, politically connected entertainers, globalocrats, and wealthiest people in the world. (A difference between me and Slavoj Žižek is that The Guardian or the New  York Times interview Slavoj Žižek, whereas they censor all and any of my comments relentlessly; those pseudo-left, plutocratically owned, Main Stream Media have, correctly, perceived that I am  better informed, and thus much more dangerous, than the relatively meek, much more predictable, very official Žižek ; The Guardian is financed by Plutos like the holy  Gates conspirators. The same Plutos have owned, mostly, the New York Times, since the Nineteenth Century…)

Ah, and yes, Trump is supposed to be the Dark Side. Little do these little ones know. What Dark really is. (There is a whole tradition, dating to Rousseau, to refuse to look at the Dark Side, and, instead, of accusing civilization; De Sade excoriated Rousseau for his criminal naivety; in this, and many other related matters pertaining to the Revolution of 1789, De Sade would be proven right. Sade was right about the Revolution, because he was a specialist of the Dark Side, and thus could easily predict how the calculus of Evil would turn out, in consequence of apparently innocuous strategies full of goodness, but, also, full of long-term idiocy!)

The Romans knew well how dark darkness was: right from the start, king Tarquinus Superbus threatened their freedoms. Thereafter, over the centuries, in many wars Rome’s very existence was called into question (Gauls from the Paris area even conquered Rome around 390 CE).

When finally Rome became master of the world, ‘man is a wolf for man‘ (Homo Homini Lupus) had become a motto never to be forgotten. Judeo-Christian ideology then augmented Rome, and spread, far out of the Roman empire, even before the Roman state morphed into the Frankish state.  It is fascinating that Jews and Romans came to the same conclusion. But they were war people, that’s how they survived. And why they merged: made for each other (the Franks were even more war-like, allowing them to gobble everybody happily, in a digestive consensus).

Countless thinkers and philosophers have been tortured to death, through the ages. Just because they wanted it darker, they had to want it darker, and the commons hated them for it. (The superiority of the West mostly originates from just enough original thinking squeaking through to save the progress of civilization.)

The truth always starts dark, and in the dark. The Enlightenment always starts the hard way, in the Dark. It is the first thing they have to do: creative thinkers stop fearing the Dark Side. They have this in common with little children.

Thus, Dark Side tourism is necessary for depth. So what? No Dark Side, no humanity. (Actually this propensity and necessity, this breathing of fear, is why people love horror stories, scary movies, cliffhangers, dangerous sports, bad news, etc.)

Notice that this interest for all things dark, is a much greater vision than the well-known observation that the Dark Side is necessary for goodness to triumph over evil. Carpet bombing with flowers did not deconstruct Nazism, right. Eradication of evil, is no evil. One just want to make sure.

But physical power of evil is not all what there is to destroy. Even worse is the power of evil ideas.  We will destroy evil ideas, we can only destroy them, by bringing the fury of light, on the darkest dark.

Let’s spell it shockingly enough to leave a trace: To put it roughly, changing one’s mind, and the minds of others, is all about destroying brain tissue. One has to wreck the old mind, to build a better one. This is really about the most delicate circuitry being wiped out, and setting up a new one.

Too much light brings blindness, thus darkness. We have seen this in the US election: sixty million Americans, including millions of Obama lovers, wanted to “shake things up”. At any cost. The 60 millions who voted Trump had finally seen through the darkness, because they had not been afraid of the dark: they wanted, they had got ready for darker explanations of what was really going on. One has to love conspiracies, to bring them to light.

Blinded by this undeniable light, many Clinton fanatics went completely berserk, heaping insults on their fellow Americans, in the name, they claimed, of the goodness which defined them. Enraged Clinton supporters are pushed, by the light, into ignominous darkness. Enlightened into a darkness they are ill-trained to handle properly. Why? Because they never visited darkness before, they denied its very existence, at least inside themselves. They denied it, because they did not want it. They did not want to consider it so much, they did not see it grow into themselves and their hearts, or from the policies the “Democratic” Party supported sometimes for more than 40 years (like invading Afghanistan). 

So why do we want it darker? Not just because there is no light without dark. Not just because no ying, no yang.


Now that I got accused of blatant Nazism, antisemitism, xenophobia, OCD, and exuberant SSitude, by crazed pseudo-progressives, let me add to the torture of my moaning victims, by rolling out a Cohen, (Hebrew: כֹּהֵן, kōhēn, “priest“), to my rescue.

Indeed, the late, great, Leonard Cohen came partly to some of the conclusions in the present essay, in his last work, released a few weeks ago: You Want It Darker. One point Leonard Cohen makes is that the Judeo-Christian scriptures depicted an intrinsically very dark picture of the human condition. Hey, don’t look at us funny: the divine condition itself is strikingly dark, so this is essay is not just a justification of man, but even god! (Yes, I am an “atheist”. Of sorts. In practice, though, and hard-core atheists don’t understand this, god exists, it’s a useful abbreviation). Here is Leonard Cohen latest, and last, title track:

“If you are the dealer, I’m out of the game

If you are the healer, it means I’m broken and lame

If thine is the glory then mine must be the shame

You want it darker

We kill the flame

Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name

Vilified, crucified, in the human frame

A million candles burning for the help that never came

You want it darker

Hineni, hineni

I’m ready, my lord”

All right, full stop, let me provide readers with a text explanation many are going to need. Hineni, Hineni means: “Here I am, here I am”… in Hebrew.; “Hineni” was supposedly uttered by Moses. And also for Abraham, when god felt like killing his child.

“We Want It Darker” is serious psychobiology, it does not get any more serious. It is evolutionary, it is how we were made: with an irresistible attraction for what is out there in the dark. Curiosity may kill the cat, but curiosity enabled us to set a trap for the cat. By forgetting this, mad bull has lost his way.  

Back to Leonard Cohen, and his song, We Want It Darker:

“There’s a lover in the story

But the story’s still the same

There’s a lullaby for suffering

And a paradox to blame

But it’s written in the scriptures

And it’s not some idle claim

You want it darker

We kill the flame”

“It is written in the scriptures and it’s not some idle claim” You want it darker.” Yes, we want it darker, and please kill the flame. Kill that light from out there, and let’s please concentrate on what we are. What you are, yes.

Watch those ridiculous protesters in the streets, finally waking up to the fact they need to help the president of the USA, with healthy protests. Where were they, eight years ago, when Obama needed their help? To protest against the pro-plutocratic policies which were forced (let’s say) onto Obama? When a lonely and misdirected Obama was sucking at the teat of hedge funds, to better prepare him for his presidency of shoe shining? And nobody protested? (OK, I did, but I am nothing.) Why did the protesters not help Obama to stay honest and true? Why so keen to help keep Trump honest, with their unhinged Dark Side?  

They say with undiscerning grammar: ‘Trump Hate’. But that’s rather ambiguous. Where were they, for all these long years, when Obama was doing nothing? What did they advocate when a dictator started to ravage Syria? Or when billions were sent to health care plutocrats, in the guise of “covering everybody”?

Instead of protesting then, they were blinded, blinded by the light from Obama’s brown skin, and Michelle’s magnificently empty, astounding rhetoric. We want it darker, turn those lights off, and reflect on what has been really going on: a globalocracy on a worldwide satanic rampage. And even the poles are melting.

Leonard Cohen’s We Want It Darker:

“They’re lining up the prisoners

And the guards are taking aim

I struggled with some demons

They were middle class and tame

I didn’t know I had permission to murder and to maim

You want it darker

Hineni, hineni

I’m ready, my lord”

Here Leonard Cohen alludes to a precise historical facts, or how the Jews stayed supine, while the Nazis roamed. Jewish silence, or even collaboration, made Hitler’s full folly possible, historical evidence shows. Hannah Arendt wrote: “the Zionists could, for a time, at least, engage in a certain amount of non-criminal cooperation with the Nazi authorities; the Zionists too believed that ‘dissimilation’, combined with the emigration to Palestine of Jewish youngsters and, they hoped, Jewish capitalists, could be a ‘mutually fair solution.’  At the time, many German officials held this opinion…” What happened? Nobody wanted it darker. It was kept pleasant. Germans were told Jews were removed “for their safety“.

Cohen also alludes to the fact that big time murderers get away with it. That’s why the God of the Jews in the Bible gets enraged against King David. God had ordered David to massacre a tribe, and David had refused to do so. Why can’t you kill, when ordered to do so? By superior principle (“God”)? This was an important principle God tried to teach to David (and the Abraham, and to all Judeo-Christians and Jews following the “Scripture”): there are circumstances when you have permission, and even when you ought, to murder and aim.

Evolutionarily, massacring lesser human beings has been much of how humanity progressed (hence the God of the Bible insistence upon it; Mayas, Aztecs, Incas, and 99% of the world’s known religions would agree…)

However, now we know more. Not all of evolution happened that way by a long shot: ethologically driven epigenetics played an important role… for example in the disappearing act of Neanderthals (which vanished inside ourselves, I have suggested, and the most recent science increasingly confirms).

What “scripture” guessed was that the Dark Side was not just an essential characteristic of humanity, but also essential to the human condition. This is found in the Hebrew Bible, and in the older Homer. Actually the general orientation in that sinister way is found in the even more ancient Hindu scriptures and the roots of Zoroastrianism, the root of all Indo-European religions (and by “Indo-European” here I mean the region, not just the languages).

Before the pseudo-scientists start to cackle away in derision for all this mythology, let me point out that those who spent millennia concocting logic with myths did not get it all wrong. The Dark Side phenomenon is essentially evolutionary. “Evolution” is not nice. It just is. It just is God: The One who created us.

If you want it funny, watch all the Clinton fanatics crying ignominiously, all over the world, after the defeat of their demiurge. I went to harass a few with the most courteous presentation of serious data, rolling out graphs, just to see them become even more dishevelled, haggard, disconsolate. Yet, they stopped crying, as they left their dream to enter the nightmare of reality. It’s not just that I like it Dark, but I study stupidity. As it is a part of darkness which needs to be enlightened.

But let’s reconsider what happened to the Jews under Nazism. Hannah Arendt (& others) accused the “Judenraten”, the Jewish Councils, to have helped the Nazis (I discovered this independently by reading original literature; I was pretty surprised by it; I learned of Arendt’s views decades later; she missed some documents I think even more important).

Zoroastrianism viewed the human condition as a struggle to help the God of Light against the God of the Dark Side, thanks to Truth.

Well, in truth, the God of Truth needs Light and Dark to write upon the world, with the world. The world is a book for the mind.

The philosopher Isaiah Berlin, a Latvian-British Jew, was dismayed after the creation of Israel: ‘They listened to Hitler, they did not listen to us.’ Yes, well, thank you, my Lord.

Berlin could have guessed why he had made a darker interpretation of his own writings. “Moral conflicts are an intrinsic, irremovable element in human life”. “These collisions of values are of the essence of what they are and what we are.” he wrote in “The proper study of mankind” For Berlin, this clashing of incommensurate values within, and between, individuals, constitutes the tragedy of human life.

There are all sort of philosophers: some are giants straddling across the stars, like Giordano Bruno. Most of them are smaller fry, like those who brandish the ‘human good’ like the measure of all things. It’s not. They forget that knowledge often precedes goodness.

Israel did not listen to the fry ready to get fried, because, it decided that, to survive, and, even better, to be reborn, it wanted it darker:

The Jews, waiting for Hitler like others for Godot, had forgotten that they had permission to murder and to maim. Israel now knows this. It was in the scripture, all along, and no idle claim. Philosophers of the possible want it darker, ever since their ancestors crawled on land through the mud.

The pseudo-progressives who claimed to “be with her“, are part of a vast movement which want to interdict anything which could make themselves, or someone else, afraid. This includes, naturally enough, all and any critical thinking.  So now Donald Trump will do the thinking.

Meanwhile, the Artificial Intelligence Industry (AII) has depicted itself as goodness incarnate (old slogan of Google: ‘don’t be evil’). They scream, all over:’We Want It Lighter!’. Lighter taxes, certainly: Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, have been cheating massively with the taxes they owe, worldwide (this will change with the reign of Trump).

Not only those companies, the most powerful in the world, under Obama, and the richest, are viewed as intrinsically good (thus harboring no interesting darkness), but view themselves as such. Hence the silly-colonization(Silicolonization) of the world, above all laws, has proceeded, in plain sight, and not seen. The globalocracy has persuaded everybody that there is no darkness anywhere having to do with themselves: in particular all and any tribalism (such as Wahhabism), is fine.

They all supported Hillary Clinton, and proclaimed themselves to be ultimate good, light personified. Thanks to control of the Main Stream Media by global plutocrats, all over (the paymasters of Clinton), they wiped their blind supporters in a frenzy. For them, the Dark Side is not interesting, it’s an object of horror. Thus, who they were imprinted to support, Clinton, her Goldman government, her plutocrats, and her globalocrats, were all goodness, and Trump and his supporters, and ideas, all Darkness, something to refuse to consider at all cost.

It’s revealing how the hatred of pseudo-liberal posers has thus no limit: they are all light, them and their celebrities, and their Silicon Valley fascist corporations, and their opponents, ultimate evil. As all and any people in such a mood, their hatred has no limit. It goes all the way to genocide. Hollywood actor Michael Shannon wants all Trump supporters to die: “But if you’re voting for Trump, it’s time for the urn.” Michael Shannon has just a high school education (no college), but is “worth” eight million dollars. (As many of the rich celebrities out there, he then is offered the supplementary power of being taken seriously, advertised widely.)

At this point, some may say:’Oh, but didn’t you want it darker? Is not a would-be genocider like Shannon, right up your alley?” No. Michael Shannon understands so little, he sees monsters all over, where, if he could see through the Darkness of those who own and created him, he would just see only transparent logic. Shannon and his ilk are afraid to learn that all they made their mental circuitry from, all they are, are lies. If they had wanted it Darker, they would have been more suspicious of the bromine of the Main Stream Media. (As indeed happened to many people who voted for Obama, and, still loving Obama as a person, voted for Trump, as they were rightly suspicious of the motives of Obama calling them to vote for Clinton/Goldman Sachs…)

Yes, we want it darker, because we are not afraid to look into the dark. Take Turkey: I am not afraid to consider the darkness, I look at what is happening there now (although I have Turkish friends who loved Erdogan, and now we avoid the subject). I know what is going-on in Turkey means: if I look at the Caliphate in Turkey, I will look deep in the dark, and questions like favoring a coup in Turkey will, eventually, arise.

(Or even expelling Turkey from NATO, and war.) I know Islam is not a religion in all ways wonderful. And I am not afraid to look inside Islam: because I like it dark. If you want to rape a child in Turkey, the ruling AKP Party suggests now that you only have to marry her: a proposed Turkish bill clears men of statutory rape if they marry (18 November 2016). As the BBC puts it:

“A bill which would allow men accused of raping underage girls to be cleared if they marry the girl has been preliminarily backed by Turkish MPs. The bill would pardon men only if they had sex without “force or threat” and if they married the victim. Critics say it legitimises rape and child marriage, and lets off men who are aware of their crime.

[OK, there are 3,000 children from underage unions, in Turkey, each year. Right now, fathers go to jail. Not good.]
Violence against women in Turkey has increased in the past decade – 40% of women report sexual or physical abuse. Statistics also show the murder rate of women increased by 1,400% between 2003 and 2010.”

Evil, the power of Pluto, Pluto-kratos, has grown and ruled ever more, because all too many did not want it darker, and thus, they averted their eyes, wishfully. Because those who do not want to harbor ill-feeling, and see it as it is, dark as it is, cannot think it, as it is.

Whereever it is very dark, it’s good to look carefully. Take the iceshelves around Antarctica. Yes, it’s dark down there in the ocean, below half a mile of ice, 500 miles from the shore. There, in the dark, much is happening: all too much warmth, 100 millions of climate in question. But we have to ask, and we have to look.

If Obama had wanted it darker, he would have the desire to break a few shells, and made an omelette: his presidency would have amounted to something, perhaps even something digestible. Instead, most of its ineffectual, slow and paralysed presidency is going to be vomited all over the south lawn of the White House starting in two months, and one day. Doing anything serious in plain sight, requires serious destruction, in plain sight (annihilating weddings in Yemen by drones does not qualify).  When president Johnson wanted to pass the Civil Rights Act and other “Great Society” laws LBJ turned off the lights, and used the Dark Side (LBJ did not have thoughts which were dark enough about Vietnam, with catastrophic consequences).

Consider terror. Right now, it’s associated to Literal Islam: a bomb here, a shooting there, collapsing buildings, here and there. Small terror relative to the one a dictator getting excited with nuclear tipped ballistic missiles would bring. Thus a deeper problem. Fighting terror is a great idea. Fighting savagery would be an even greater idea. But for that, one has to look first at darkness in the eye.

The will to see only goodness out there, the will to be afraid of fear itself at the cost of reality, is a will to idiocy, and, thus, in the end, a will to full immorality, degeneracy, despondency, annihilation…. (For annihilation, see the Democratic Party.)

The will to refuse to want it darker brings forth impotence, and hatred. And even the threat of extinction. Sea ice finds difficult to form this year, in part because scientists refuse to want it as dark as they should have wished for (and I predicted that Antarctica ice system may significantly collapse in our lifetime, because I wanted my predictions as dark as they needed to be).

Yes, the preceding has to do with epistemology, the logic of knowledge. There is no knowledge acquisition, if we are not drawn, not just to the unknown, but to the dark. The most powerful epistemology is born from the darkest mood.

Pragmatically, people who do not want to look at reality, who orders the only reality they deign to perceive to be rosy, are bound to moral impotency. They’re the ultimate nihilists.

We Want It Darker. We Need It Darker.

Patrice Aymé

Deep Science Is Always Born Philosophical

February 12, 2015


Philosophy, and science have the same longing, truth. They go at it in, roughly, the same way. However, the data set philosophy uses, even in its mature form, is much more general. This makes philosophy more “meta”, and thus indispensable to create anything really new in science, be it even a new lab method.

So the debate “Philosophers and Physicists” in Scientia Salon is tongue in cheek.

Einstein offered philosophical considerations in domains far from physics. Yet, if one knows him well, one can see how his general philosophy positively impacted his scientific work.

Epistemology, the study of how we come to have knowledge, is a meta-discipline.

Newton: Mathematician, Physicist, “Natural” Philosopher

Newton: Mathematician, Physicist, “Natural” Philosopher

Yet, epistemology is essential to establish new methods in science. A recent example is datation using genetic material: the practice became more precise, because how we came to the previous knowledge was questioned, and then modified into better knowledge.

Edge science is nearly always entangled with practical epistemology. This makes scientists at the edge of science philosophers of science in a practical sense.

Whether the philosophical method has been useful in Twentieth Century science should not be a debate: Frege, Russell, Poincare’, etc., were also full blown philosophers. Many, if not all, of the top, fundamental physicists, used the philosophical method. The Foundational debates were all deeply philosophical always (as early as Aristotle, Averroes, Tycho, Bruno, Galileo, Newton, Laplace, Gauss, Riemann, Maxwell, Mach, Cantor, etc.).

The fight between Einstein and his sponsor Planck about the photoelectric effect was philosophical.

Bohr defended (his view of) Quantum Mechanics with philosophy (thanks to Born’s interpretation it became permanent).

Better: Karl Popper engaged in a correspondence with Einstein about Non-Locality. Out of that came the Popper experiment and the EPR.’s_experiment

Can philosophy be practical? In science? Sure. Even in mathematics: for philosophical reasons, the Dutch topologist Brouwer rejected some infinite methods in mathematics. This brought, half a century later, mathematics that could be used in ATMs and other machines.

Science is after truth. Philosophy is also after truth. Both are also after defining what truth could be, and what propositions may be formulated and which ones may be provable.

Introducing only observables in physics was attributed to Einstein by Heisenberg, in a heated exchange about the Copenhagen Interpretation, where Heisenberg accused Einstein to have taught him that way.

But Einstein had got the notion from Poincare’. As found in Henri’s “La Science et L’Hypothese” plus Poincare’ papers on what Poincare’ called the “Principle of Relativity”, complete with the constancy of the speed of light, which, latest news, is not really constant (as I expected).

Philosophy is also after truth.

Even the truth that there are no truths about some matters.

Science also excels at the truth that there are sometimes no truth about some matters… and science has learned to overcome that: for example there is no definition, stricto sensu, of elementary particle. Elementary, yes, particle, no… But that does not prevent physicists of discovering them, at least in Feynman diagrams.

The difference between the notion of truth in philosophy and in science is just a matter of degree.

Buridanus established the erroneous labeled “Newton’s First Law” in a treaty he wrote about Aristotle. That same Buridan taught students, and established with them the basic idea of graphs, and what became the Oxford Computing School.

Aristotle, fully admirable and experimentally oriented in biology, was spectacularly wrong about inertia. That became a big deal as his students Antipater, Craterus and Alexander established a fascist political paradigm that was to reign until, well, Buridan’s time.

Thus truth in philosophy, politics, society and science are entangled.

This stays true to this day: “High Energy Physics” was long well financed, in part because the leaders of the military-industrial complex cannot fail to have noticed that they need “high energy”.

So why all the recent aggressivity of second, third, of even lower order physicists against “philosophy”? Simply because incoherent Quantum Field Theory and complete flight of fancy (SUSY, Strings, Inflation Now, etc.) have ruled physics, under the chimp like mood “shut up and calculate”, in recent decades.

Many philosophers of science have directed sharp critiques at this contemporary elite thinking in physics, and their judiciousness has made physicists furious (because they feel threatened, they remember the cancellation of the SSC).

Some insist upon labels. So and so was employed officially as a philosopher: ‘what did he do, I did not read him, I can’t read him, so why does it matter to scientists?’

Feynman was a practical philosopher. He needed his philosophy for his physics. Actually some of his “proofs” in physics use a special, Feynman-made notion of “truth”. According to Feynman-truth, Feynman discovered some things. But somebody with a different notion of truth would view physics differently (Feynman would agree with what I just wrote; actually he basically wrote this, in particular cases, say about E = mc^2, or “virtual””particles”).

French philosophers of science such as Bachelard and then his successor, Canguighelm, were actually scientists: the former as a physicist, the second was a Medical Doctor.

In turn, the one some would view as a glorified parrot, Thomas S. Kuhn, used Bachelard’s notion of “epistemological rupture” (coupure or rupture épistémologique) as re-interpreted by Alexandre Koyré to develop his theory of paradigm changes.

Wikipedia lists nearly 1,000 French philosophers (and they miss quite a few!) Many of these were of a scientific or mathematical background.


Here is an example: I claim the Multiverse error is based in a philosophical subtlety, which was missed by everybody. I feel that Planck nearly spotted explicitly the nature of the error, and it’s Einstein, his protégé’, who instigated it (this is rather ironical, as, in the end, without realizing it, Einstein came to be opposed to himself in the debate on the Foundations of Quantum Physics).

A lot of the progress in science, and even technology, has to do with questioning how we know what we think we know. That’s essentially philosophical. The more fundamental the scientific questions, the more one has to question how it is that we got to these conclusions.


Here is another example: the end of Cretaceous mass extinction. Alvarez, the geologist son of Alvarez the Nobel in physics, asked his dad how one could prove that there was an impact. The dad answered: Iridium, it’s rare on Earth, but found on asteroids. So Alvarez went to look for Iridium, and found it, thus demonstrating there was an impact.

However, I scoffed. I knew there had been other impacts. I also knew there was the Deccan Traps hyper-volcanism at the same time. The numbers, about the magnitudes did not fit. So, philosophical question: how sure were we that the Iridium did not come from the center of the Earth? I did not see the Alvarez and their followers even consider the question.

Yet, it was impossible they were not aware of it. So this was fishy scientific logic.

Science is about certain knowledge. How do we get there? By making alternatives impossible. The asteroid extinction conclusion cannot pretend to be science, because a (more probable!) alternative was not excluded.


By the way, latest news show that my point of view is winning: yes Iridium can come from the core, yes the extinction’s chronology seems volcanically driven.

In other news, Coel, one of the scientist-professors-commenters and writers at Scientia Salon, said, basically, that scientist are practical epistemologists.

Coel also made a broadside against those who are ravaged by superstition to the point they demand respect for their superstitions, by confusing respect and tolerance (a point I long made).

Should we entertain those fanatics (= those who come from the fanum, the temple), we would have to respect Abraham the would-be child killer, because we are tolerant? Of what? The veneration for those who bind children to offer them to gods, or dogs?

Knowledge, and the search thereof, is more united than it looks.

Knowledge died in Antiquity because epistemology died. And that died, because fascism (“Hellenistic Kingdoms) blossomed.

Patrice Ayme’