Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org &
Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Epistemology / Reality /
2000 11 15
My current reading of Stephen Jay Gould’s Full House is already spilling over into my daily work at Macroinformation. Gould’s text inspires a series of thoughts in me that has to go somewhere, but doesn’t (yet) belong under Macroinformation. Gould reports that current biological science can demonstrate that bacteria constitute not only the greatest mass weight of life on earth (perhaps life in the universe as well) but also represents its most common and stable mode. Life as we (now) know it doesn’t require oxygen, but does require access to some matter in liquid form. Bacteria have been recently discovered which get all the energy they need to exist from rock (even deep rock getting a seepage of water). Life starts small, then diversifies. There’s room for growth toward larger: no room toward smaller. Thus, in a bell curve statistically digesting examples of life, points may appear over a range of sizes, but the earliest points are on the small side; most of the points will be on the small side … Some points will be on the large side representing stochastic growth … Putting small on the left side of the X axis, the statistical mean, the median, and the mode will appear at different points along the X axis, but all toward the small side. Were we to find a galaxy to be a living organism, that would move the mean value way to the right, the median somewhat to the right, but the mode only a little bit to the right. Gould says that bacteria form the principle mode of life.
Makes sense to me and instantly reminded me of Sir Fred Hoyle’s report in The Intelligent Universe that a pair of German scientists had found something that sure looked like fossil bacteria on a meteorite. If that’s what it was, and the meteorite was genuinely that, alien to earth, and the marks were really fossils and really bacteria, and really alien, not earthly contaminations of the meteorite, then life wasn’t unique to earth — and science, religion, philosophy, politics … everything … has to be rethought. Good.
I was born as infantile and jingoist and ignorant and egotistical as the next creature, but I’ve become somewhat cosmopolitan, like and approve my direction, and would like it objectively validated. The German scientists’ meteorite was a gift from god (not God, that jingoist), from nature, from the universe, from truth (not the Truth costumed and rigged by the priests). Naturally, Science, these days involving money, sometimes fairly big money, has its own priesthood, its own magicians and cheaters. Capital S Science, comprised of what my son (and the Simpsons) calls Scienticians, defrocked and excommunicated the two scientists with the cosmopolitan evidence. Hoyle, a dissident despite his stature, was criticizing his fraternity. I found Hoyle’s book in the Flemington NJ library were I was going daily to be able to plug my laptop into an electrical source and try to write a few more pages of my third novel, Dark Beacon. I was living in my car, parked along the Delaware River, forced to come north from Florida where I survived winters the same way in order to get current plates for my Jersey registered car. (Why Jersey? Because that’s where I was when I registered it. Correction: how could I have forgotten? That’s where my one and only mail box was: a PO Box in Belle Mead. I had to get my mail at least once a year. How else would I know if I had found a publisher?) This involved capitalizing a deposit on car insurance (a deposit never to be seconded unless someone financed me), state fees, somehow cheating my way through the state car inspection … selling another lithograph, putting gas in the tank, and getting the hell back to Florida (compromising there only because the road stopped short of the semi-tropical). A starving, unpublished writer living in his car, wrecked years before but still drivable (the insurance from the driver who smashed me having gone into the writing, not into the car) isn’t in a good position to research the news about the long buried Germans: forty plus years of burial by excommunication had passed, the year then being 1988 or so. My next bit of evidence comes in Gould’s 1997 book. He says that some report of bacteria in a meteorite turned out to be ragweed: earthly pollution of the alien rock.
Was Gould referring to the rock of Hoyle’s Germans? Didn’t say. Gould rocks the boat only a little bit; Hoyle rocked it a lot. So: what thoughts did Gould’s reference spawn from pk?
These: Civilization has always had a huge budget for propaganda: part of its huge budget for defense. Civilization has never had any budget for truth, never will. Some truth has worked in through cracks in the defense budget. That is, you need some truth if you want your bomb to explode, your arrow or rocket to hit its mark. The Church of Galileo’s day was profiting from Galileo’s tide charts which were based on his astronomy but persecuted the astronomy itself directly. The church wanted ships bearing their cargo to arrive on time but didn’t want to know how they arrived on time. They already “knew”: it was all already in the Bible (or in their voluminous, hugely extra-biblical interpretations of the Bible).
Now we have a church of Science, utterly distinct from lower case science: the “real” science. The church of Science excommunicated evidence of extraterrestrial life in the early 1940s. In 1997 Harvard’s Gould reports a false alarm of evidence of extraterrestrial life from the distant, unidentified past: it turns out to have been ragweed pollen. Gould also reports the speculations of a colleague that since bacteria can live on nothing but rock, bacteria may be common throughout the universe. Maybe if Galileo hadn’t been resurrected directly, the Church would itself have discovered the Galilean moons: at its convenience, centuries later, and all within the fold of faith. Maybe the Communists would have eventually “discovered” democracy: their own totalitarian version (unlike the egregious version of the US).
In the twelfth century, the church burns some heretic. Six centuries later, they prove that it really was a false teaching. Fine. How come they didn’t prove it at the time? What right does Science have to bury evidence and then say half a century later, it’s OK, it was false evidence?
I don’t believe in God. I believe in god. I don’t believe in the Church. I believe in life. I don’t believe in Life. I believe in the universe. And if the universe ever becomes Capitalized, I’ll stop believing in it. I don’t believe in government however it’s spelled. I believe in science. I emphatically disbelieve Science. It’s hard enough to trust science. It comes after all from costumed liars: kleptocratic human beans. Cheaters. Magicians. “Well-dressed” meaning another well-camouflaged predator.
humans are fine; it’s Humans I can’t stand. institutions are necessary to social man, but what we get are Institutions.
Institutions cheat. It’s obvious from their architecture. Look at the current mess in US Democracy: Tue, Nov 7, 2000 to the present Tue, Nov 14, 2000, a whole week later. American citizens are discovering what any imaginative mathematician should have told them in 1776: how can mass democracy be offered without an infallible counting system? The same way Churches always offer everything: without falsification. Citizens are also discovering what passed right by them in school: the Constitution has no provision for popular elections determining anything important. The people elect the priests: the priests do the real electing. And the priests are only very indirectly, and after long (mostly insuperable) delays, accountable to the public.
So what’s new? After long and nearly insuperable delays, all priests are accountable to any public: it doesn’t matter what’s written as law. Eventually, every tyranny is accountable to the public: though the public concerned is long dead by then. (You want to know the one thing that doesn’t cheat? The fossil record!)
Notice: I’m talking about time, how Logic has never assimilated time. That’s how the banks have cheating built in. Notice also that my point about time-cheating is identical to what my Feb. 1972 letter to President Nixon exposed in his promises to end the war in Vietnam.
Furthermore: I admit: When I founded FLEX in 1970, I echoed Illich in saying that software could be written for mainframes that would reference and cross-reference — map — the public, the public as resource. Had (Illich or) I proved it? Did I have a system already working? Had I proved that my working system was expandable? would still work at large scales? Had I proved that I was pure and would stay pure? Had I proved that no one impure could wrestle the administration from me? No. Of course not. I was proposing that we give it an honest try.
Age thirty in 1968, it was ludicrous to watch the students’ blissfully inexperienced confidence that they were naturally superior to their elders. Tell me that you’re innocent when you’re eighty, not when you’re eighteen.
The magician ostentatiously shows a box, ostentatiously invites examination from the audience. The audience has no way of knowing if the electee is really audience or an assistant to the magician costumed as audience. It doesn’t matter because the magician holds the box and directs the electee’s examination of it. That’s not a scientific examination. Further, the audience has no way of knowing if the box being examined is the same box that the trick will be performed with. Neither does the audience know if the trick is in the box. Red herring upon red herring.
That’s what I like about Einstein’s experiment with light bent around a star during an eclipse. It would be very hard for Einstein and the Scientists to rig the star or the light or the eclipse. Proper experiments should take place as far from Civilization as possible. Ballots are put in boxes. The voter doesn’t get to examine the box. The box is taken out of public sight. Any number of priests and priests’ assistance handle the box. The opportunities for manipulation are infinite. And even if it were public, why trust the Public? This is the same Public that grabs a continent by genocide, by sneak attack, by making treaties and breaking them … that deforests, that overpopulates, that injuriously impacted the biosphere from millennia before Civilization and Agriculture accelerated the job, that wears cloths: more boxes, more hidden evidence, hidden manipulation, more illusion …
The gospels tell the story of Jesus preaching among the people, doing OK, then, at Passover, going to the Temple of Jerusalem and preaching among the priests. Whammo. Herod has him arrested. Pilate examines him: within the architecture of civilization; not by light bent around an eclipsed star. It’s sub rosa. It doesn’t matter what verdict Pilate gives: there’s no falsification, no path of evidence traceable by anyone, at any time, into an infinite future. (And please: realize: I’ve already got an assortment of notes at Knatz.com admitting that Jesus may himself have been a cheater. The story hangs regardless.)
A recent piece here suggests that nothing should be allowed built without a bond proving ability to tear it down, to restore the status quo ante … Civilized decisions that affect the biosphere should be scientifically responsible. That is, the decision makers should have a laser bullet pointed at them, powered by an atomic battery, infinitely tamper-proof, a bullet that will shoot them dead the second any shenanigans are detected by a tamper-proof AI. Shoot them dead and all their relatives. Revoke all their deeds. Restore the status quo ante or have descendants indentured in lieu of punitive damages.
(Fact is, they do: they just don’t see it. With or without God there is a tamper-proof intelligence that doesn’t miss a thing, is illusion-proof … coming up just below.)
Could justice ever be scientific? In sixty-two years I have heard of two systems of justice I like. The one I’ve known about since childhood is the Teutonic Ordeal by Water. The accused is bound securely and thrown into the cold Jutland river. The accused necessarily drowns: that’s irrelevant to the justice. The people watch the river. If the corpse bobs up within three days, the river rejected it: guilty. If the corpse does not reappear in that time, then the river accepted the body: innocent.
That’s not quite as good as bending light around an eclipsed star, but it tends in the right direction. Now: let’s ignore for the moment the teleological question of the river’s or the eclipsed star’s objectivity. My applause is based strictly upon neither being human.
(Before leaving the Teutons, I would like also to approve the ancient Teutonic law with regard to harming trees. I am not a law historian, and am only partly and coincidentally Teutonic. Perhaps Teutonic law protected only the sacred oak among trees. But even if they only protected the oak that’s still better than protecting nothing. Those Teutons didn’t have writing that I know of, but still: let’s say a Teuton carves his initials in the bark of an oak. (He probably didn’t have more than one “initial” either: one name and a jillion aliases, secret names, magical names …) he’s caught: or accused and judged and condemned: same difference. The defacer of the tree is stood next to the defaced tree. His belly button is cut out, still attached to his entrails. the belly button is placed over the tree’s wound. The condemned is marched around the tree, binding the belly button bandage in place with his intestines. A human has enough intestine to wrap most oaks a good several times. I also don’t know what happened next. Maybe the other Teutons had to help him manage the last few wraps. Maybe they had to carry him. Maybe they had to carry him for the first wrap. But I’ll bet that once the wounded tree was wrapped, the convicted defacer would have neither energy nor ambition to unwrap it. As I said to the last person I told that story to: that’s why the Teutons still had forests. Which reminds me of another favorite law, but I’ll put that below. This digression has gone on long enough.)
The other admirable justice in my inventory of two I didn’t learn about until this year: but I know it now thanks to Piers Anthony, Geodyssey, vol. IV: Muse of Art.
The Cambodians used to have a Celestial Judgment. Oh, they had secular courts too. But for cases not suitable for the secular courts, a plaintiff could request a Celestial Judgment. Anthony describes it beautifully.
Two towers are built near together. Little dwellings open at both top and bottom are erected atop the towers. The dwelling is too small to move around in. There’s no floor to lie on and no room to stretch out if there were. One can stick one’s head out the top if one can stand the sun, or the rain, or the wind. Inside, the shelter is only partial. It’s a torture chamber with no lock. One enters it voluntarily. Both parties of a dispute have to agree to undergo the ordeal or there is no ordeal. Ladders are inserted into the dwelling. The disputants ascend the ladders to the torture chambers. They can have all the water they want — if friends, family, slaves, or volunteers will bring it to them. Similarly they can have a little food: the amount restricted by the Celestial Judgment tradition.
The verdict is arrived at very simply and unequivocally. If one contestant dies, the survivor wins. Whoever survives the ordeal longer wins.
Boy, I wish we had it. I wish I could challenge the Churches. I say you do not represent God. I say further that even if you do, God is not god. Let’s go to the tower. If I yield first, if I go mad and fall down the ladder, then you keep the tithes, the glory, the authority … I wish I could challenge the universities and Science itself. Your repress ideas. You confuse thinking and stymie thinkers. You cheat the same way the shaman have always cheated. I wish I could challenge the Governments. I say you do not represent the people, your magic show is false … I wish I could challenge the People. I say you are not really the people … If I yield then you can go on claiming to be the center of creation, the apex of complexity, God’s darling, the purpose of life, the target of evolution, proof of progress …
No, evolution and the fossil record are the one thing that doesn’t cheat. So far. The best I can tell. Judgment Day? It’s already with us, always has been. Just wait … and look at the fossil record.
The fossil record will be better yet when an intelligence develops a way to tell which mutants failed to spawn species by their inherent unfitness and which mutants just got ganged up on by the unfit majority.
2001 04 06
Just saw Jane Goodall explain to eager-beaver-perpetual-neophyte-PBS-intellectual Alan Alda how science is routinely retarded by social resistance to truth. Sure: we always see that we used to do that; how come we still don’t see that we routinely do that?
|Science is the only human enterprise not routinely rigged so that certain truths are excluded:
contrast church, state, academe, family, the press, law …
Favorite Law #2:
I get here and learn that I’m confusing two stories: one law, one retribution. I’ll tell both:
A city in South America suffered terrible noise pollution as more and more people walked about with ghetto blasters at their ear. (No wonder the guy who invented the transistor said that he wished he hadn’t. He should have read Jacques Ellul on the ambiguity of technology before he was born. Is that the same fool who wrote that sophomoric book on the Bell Curve? Geniuses can be as stupid as anybody else.) A mass murder appeared. The common thread was that the victims where all carrying portable radios. The blasters disappeared from that city. God bless the vigilantes. (Reminds me of that wonderful Bunuel movie where the guy is convicted in court of shooting masses of people from a tower. Guilty, announces the frowning judge. Then the court anoints the felon, brings him flowers …)
Go figure. This is the “law” I somehow had mixed up with the radios:
I heard that there was a politically independent island off China, Taiwan or one of those, where the punishment for littering was life imprisonment. Oh, horrors, those slanty-eyed barbarians. Not at all. They didn’t have to build more prisons than they had room on the island … they didn’t have to tax 800% of your income to finance it … there was simply no littering. No one was imprisoned for littering. They believed the law was serious and cured themselves of careless habits.
An extension of James Burke’s thesis explains why nations descended from Napoleonic politics can’t do the same. Napoleon took a census. Scared the bejesus out of the neighboring monarchies who were not familiar with large numbers: hadn’t a clue what their populations amounted to. Ever since, Western nations have to hold onto their precious populations. Keep them in hot houses, in hospitals if necessary, but keep them alive. Jails don’t count. Unless the citizens in question are ethnic: in which case jail is the only right place for them.
(You could still draft them from there if necessary.)
(Ah. Now I think I understand my confusion. The second story is the one I’d had in mind: a strict law, strictly enforced: tends to discourage violators. By the time I got to the note I had associated the radio story. When I went to access story #1, story #2, served itself to me. Huh? That’s not a law story. Then I re-associate story #1. Ah, the life of the thinker.
(Makes those bacteria look pretty good.)
2004 08 28 I just notice in a field guide to trees that the English also had laws protecting oak trees of old. In England the punishment for harming the oak was proportional to the tree’s yield of acorns. (Acorns were a food to more critters than just squirrels.)
2013 05 07 The Celestrial Trial material has been moved around: Legitimacy, IonaArc … here.
2015 06 22 Jan and I are reading Tom Wolfe on the history of solid state electronics. William Shockley and the transistor figure large in it. And eugenics! Wow! Taboo topic! Science impossible in forbidden areas. (Science pretty night impossible in any area supervised by authority.) And don’t forget, ever, for a second: just cause someone, Shockley, is a genius, doesn’t mean he isn’t also an idiot. And just because his engineering is important doesn’t mean that science could touch him.
It’s always the Nazis and the morons who run things, mislabelling as they go.