20 February, 2015

New Special Issue: The Unknown Ocean I

This is the 31st Special Issue of the SHAPE Journal, and the first in a three part series entitled The Unknown Ocean - a body of work examining how little we actually know about Reality, and how we will have to change our methods of exploration entirely, if we are to go any deeper.

In pulling together this set of Special Issues of the SHAPE Journal, the writer has a particular objective in mind. He is not looking back at the past achievements of Science and Philosophy, but looking forward to the still-pending investigations into Reality, from a very different standpoint, which he is certain, will transform both of these disciplines. The reason for this is that a major threshold lies before Mankind, which so far they have refused to address, and hence never transcended, and, instead, continue with the old views and methods, which, in themselves, are incapable of transcending that evident impasse.

In all the main intellectual disciplines the old hang-ups are still well entrenched, underpinning both Modern Science and Philosophy. These crucial areas are weighed down with the abstractions, constructions, assumptions and even principles of a now significantly failing past intellectual stance. For these are no longer worthy of delivering a productive and developing standpoint, essential at this time to produce any real progress at all. Science has run out of steam. Since 1927 Physics has only moved backwards towards an even more defunct idealist standpoint.

Yet, the way forward has been, at least, indicated, for the last 2,500 years with both the Holism of the Buddha in India, and the scepticism of Zeno of Elea.In spite of a long period of stagnation, philosophically, finally, only 200 years ago, Frederick Hegel, in his main philosophical undertaking, revealed the inadequacies of our concepts, and why they were inevitably so. But, of course, Hegel was an idealist (an obvious disadvantage in his own primary objective of unifying Philosophy with Science) so that, not even his leading disciples, namely Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, saw that Hegel’s gains in the area of Human thinking just had to be re-established within the alternative, materialist philosophical outlook, and, of course, intimately wedded to Science. But, that just hasn’t happened!

Despite brilliant contributions by scientists like Darwin and Wallace, and the major gains in Philosophy made by Marx, the necessary re-construction of a consequent philosophy among scientists did not occur. And, that has been a major problem. Now, the situation is beginning to change, as this writer, and many others worldwide, begin to question the impasses and anomalies proliferating in all areas of Modern Science, and are endeavouring to construct a new, and sounder basis, and this series of Specials deliver some suggested steps in an advancing a wholly new understanding upon a, so far, unimplemented standpoint in Science and in Philosophy together. It is, of course, a presumptive claim, so he has broken the argument down into three parts, commencing here in the first of these, with a series of essays which establish his premises, before entering those uncharted depths.

19 February, 2015

Building with Other People’s Bricks

Or References, References, References!

Though an academic, I am not a great fan of references.

Indeed, readers of my writings will notice an almost complete absence of these links to other people’s prior work, which may be surprising as such are always considered absolutely essential in the academic world. And, the arguments for these seem to be totally sound: credit where credit is due, a useful path to detailed relevant prior works, and many others.

But, I still wont do it, and the question has to be, “Why?” It is certainly not because I don’t gain from the contributions of others, so why should I be so adamant about it?

It is to do with one's purposes in doing research and publishing the results. In a perfect world where the philosophical ground was totally sound, and, therefore, needed no correcting, such a method would be absolutely correct. But, that isn’t our world, and never has been.

The main problem we face is in our unavoidable, intellectual inheritance – the paradigms and the principles, and even the “banker” facts, entities and methods that are considered to be both necessary and available, are actually never of that assumed, ideal kind. Indeed, clear problems could be, and indeed have been, unaddressed for centuries in the modern world, and for tens of millennia at earlier times in Mankind’s short history. We are, at the same time, informed, and yet also manacled, by our previous understandings.

Now, if all this is true, think what it will mean if we accept the status quo generally, and are only rearranging, or updating, a few of these "bricks". We are very unlikely to come upon the major anomalies in our current position and then attempt a complete overhaul of our assumed bases.

In such head-down work, we are unlikely to be challenging anything crucial: we will have accepted the general stance of our colleagues and be arguing over fairly trivial additions, changes or extensions to that view. But, in saying that I don’t mean they are a waste of time, just that they will never challenge the major cracks in the foundations of our understanding.

I have, in several different disciplines chased the more accepting tasks, but they are always about “small ponds”, and it is the vast oceans that must, in the end, be tackled.

So, what delivers with new knowledge or discoveries in fundamentals?

The primary task must, first, be to always relate new things to the prevailing consensus, in an attempt to integrate it meaningfully. And, in so doing, the purpose was surely to integrate them intrinsically into that foundation to extend and strengthen it in both overall coherence and comprehensiveness.

Yet, is that always a part of most published contributions?

No, it isn’t! Indeed, I was often perplexed by the abysmal standard of so may introductions and conclusions bracketing the books of quite famous scientists (Werner Heisenberg comes immediately to mind, but it is, to be honest, a truly endemic fault).

But, surely that aspect must be imperative? For new contributions to fit together to deliver more than the sum of the individual parts, must be the objective? And, I consider that in what I publish, that has to be my major objective.

Now, trawling through many different sequences of prior contributions, none of which are addressing such imperatives, will certainly not help in that endeavour. Not knowing where each contribution is situated in a clear and overt standpoint, will only deal in un-positioned bits-and-pieces, without overt ground. I used to do this and frankly got nowhere in establishing where all the diverse contributions were grounded. In the end, it became clear that they were grounded in each other, but without the implicit, common ground being revealed. Confronted with anomalies a researcher would NOT be able to find the causes in such contributions: as their sources would always be too particular and head-down to reveal their bases.

So, with such intentions, I have to have my own systems for dealing with new contributions. What I read about only survives if it fits with what has already been turned into a coherent and comprehensive stance, which I or others have been able to muster and reveal.

But, there is also a second and equally important method.

It is one, which is aware of the anomalies present in current theories, and is constantly on the lookout for discoveries that may be appropriate to address these failures. With such a pair of criteria, you could never accuse this scientist of being head-down; he is decidedly head-up!

In saying all this, I must emphasize that this approach is not an example of old theories rejecting all that is new. In a sense that is closer to the truth about the usually employed methods, where defence of your own past contributions can swamp all other considerations. No, this alternative approach is very open to the “New”, because it has a constantly referred to agenda of problems-to-be-solved being applied to all new contributions.

Science, at its best, celebrates new features, which advance the overall understandings of Reality. So, coming across something new the two sets of criteria outlined above, must be applied.

First, does it fill a prior “gaping hole” in our current understanding, and second, does it fit into the already coherent system of ideas.

So, when reading the accounts of new contributions, it is in addressing these two aspects, and hence is never trivial. This is because Mankind simply cannot alight directly upon Absolute Truth. Indeed, the very imperative of fitting in with other prior ideas that inevitably imposes a kind of “fitting approach”.

We simplify and idealise the knowledge we gain from Reality to “make-it-fit” and hence we cannot use past knowledge as the supreme authority in assessing the new ideas. As well as demanding coherence, we must also check both the new and the old against the only final arbiter for a scientist – and that has to be Reality-as-is!

So, two very different sets of criteria are involved in assessing and interpreting new discoveries, and they can pull in opposite directions. Indeed, more often than not they do precisely that, and for very good reasons too.

Hegel in his Thinking about Thought studies realised that our quite understandable urge to fit things together, always necessitated a “bit of tailoring”, and what we achieved in that process not only delivered at least partly useable results, but also inevitably distorted things in some way. In other words, all abstractions are necessarily flawed, and the errors will come out further along the paths of attempted explanations.

It is why we must never be satisfied with merely formal equations, and always go on to explaining things too.

Indeed, he predicted that the mistakes would reveal themselves in a remarkable way.

What would emerge from any agreed set of assumptions and principles would, at some stage, be a pair of seemingly totally contradictory concepts – and, surprisingly, they would both be based upon the very same premises.

Hegel called these Dichotomous Pairs. And, there were two very different ways to handle them; the thinker could simply be a pragmatist, and use each where it fitted best, is one of them.

This eventually split Reality into two subsequent paths of explanation, and if not tackled to resolve the contradictory pair, would create new categories, or even, ultimately, separate Subjects of study – like Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics etc. etc. Keeping studies within such coherent limits meant that explanations could proceed without ever transcending the contradictions.

So, if this is a mistake, what did Hegel offer as a more fruitful alternative?

Surprisingly, he did not suggest what most people attempt to do in such circumstances, which amounts to “finding out” which of the pair is irrefutable “true”, and which is, therefore, entirely false. Hegel realised that such a task was impossible and would not advance the situation one iota. For, in a sense, they were both false, so trying to give one or the other precedence would not suffice. He revealed that such Dichotomous Pairs gave us the chance to reassess the underlying bases for both. The task became to reveal exactly what the common bases for the Pair actually were. It would be hidden in the “taken-for-granted” premises on which the used lines of reasoning were based.

And, perhaps even more surprisingly, it was very often the most basic principles involved, which were the problem. To transcend such a dichotomy meant that those premises must be exposed, criticised and replaced.

Now, such a task would by no means be easy, and in spite of the discovery being, even in Hegel’s day, 2,300 years old from its first recognition (see Zeno of Elea’s Paradoxes), Mankind had not arrived at Hegel’s proffered solution. They had always taken the pragmatic routes described above, and managed to achieve a great deal without tackling this crucial problem. Even after Hegel, 200 years ago, only one group, in that extended period, not only carried on with his methodology, but also switched their overall stance from Idealism (Hegel’s position) to Materialism (which at that time was the stance of almost all scientists). But, that group, who were initially dedicated students of Hegel, were not accepted by the scientific community of that time, primarily because the new thinkers were extremely active in revolutionary circles, and because the Materialism the scientists based themselves on was very different from that of the new group.

The stance of literally all the then current scientists was embodied in the ideas expressed by the French scientist Laplace, which defined a particular form of Materialism – later to be entitled Mechanical Materialism. And, they were more than happy with their current Laplacian stance.

The constant re-appraisal of all premises certainly did not suit them! Once set upon a keen and stimulating ride, they did not want to be always analysing critically what they were doing. They wanted to get places, fast! And, even with their current stance, they still had a whole world of things to investigate by their, then well-established, methods.

So, though the obvious alliance should have been between the new Dialectical Materialists and the and the Mechanical Materialist scientists, that crucial cooperation never occurred. And, to this day, the task is still awaiting completion.

Now, that necessarily extended diversion above had to be made clear, to put the problems of the path towards Truth into some meaningful perspective.

Clearly, there are assumptions and principles (not to mention incorrectly devised and idealised entities) behind everything, and the problem of publishers of research papers becomes almost insurmountable! How can a wide variety of papers be published, which are certain, in some respects at least, to disagree with each other, without that being evident overtly in the individual contributions?

The publishers had to, on the one hand, judge whether the papers should be included or rejected, and on the other, had to, somehow, ensure that the readers of those contributions would be able to find these things, for themselves, by tracing back through the referenced influences of the writers involved. Clearly, sufficient references were the chosen method of ensuring that such a search would be possible – or so the publishers believed!

Nevertheless, that imposed provision wasn’t sufficient! And, the number of academic journals increased to limit the common premises to particular areas, so then, with some sort of consensus within the potential contributors to a given Journal, such worries could be shelved (to an extent!)

Indeed, in research, some years ago, into these references in Journals, it became clear that defined groups arose, which formed “common reference sets”, and, in fact, limited the possibilities of finding new paths via the absolute necessity of agreeing to their group consensus. Indeed, a phenomenon arose of building the new entirely with “other people’s flawed bricks”

And, this meant that, in these already existing groups of researchers, the underlying premises would not be evident, not only in the initially encountered paper, but also in the majority, if not the complete set, of the references quoted.

The new findings of a researcher, which did not conform to these common set of premises, would not be likely to be included, and if it was, the stance would have to be discerned by a study of the references, or alternatively, be included by the writer in his paper.

It is, of course, the latter policy, which the writer of this paper always follows. It is the writer’s job, not only to proffer new evidence, but also to establish the ground for it, if it in any significant way, differs from the usual consensus.

It is what this writer is doing now!


In this saga of academic references, some mention has to be made of the so-called “Scientific Reporters”, who regularly inhabit scientific magazines.

These people do not seem to do any science themselves, but instead (somewhat like theatre critics) trawl around the current offerings in academic journals, to reveal the alternatives being proposed to current problems. And, with such “commentators”, the whole thing is put together entirely with “other peoples bricks”. And, therefore, like Lego, various different “possible” structures are (very briefly) defined.

No real conclusions are ever made, and they are usually terminated by leaving any final judgements to be delivered by future, well-defined experiments for posterity to construct.

It’s a nice job, if you can get it, but it doesn’t usually solve much, does it?

Consensus or Truth?

The Purpose of Academic Journals

(Originally published 2010 in response to an article in New Scientist)

In both the editorial and in a Special Report in New Scientist (2764), the issue of the moderated publication of scientific papers was addressed. The main emphasis in both these contributions was about the relative ease or difficulty involved in getting your contributions published in Journals, and they concluded that it is much easier to do so in the USA than elsewhere. Their main figure is shown below.

The main discussion around this figure is interesting and worthy of study, but there is another quite different and significant slant on the data presented which was not addressed in the New Scientist article. That unrevealed content is just how the consensus in a particular research area gets both established and maintained. It will, of course, be initially generated in conferences and with department discussions, but such collaborations are both too local and too personal to achieve any significant weight and momentum.

Surely then, the main areas for the establishment of a consistent view must be via the Journals and their implicit imperatives evident from what is accepted for publication. It will therefore be, both in what are the commonest positions, but also in how such “agreements” affect what is expected of researchers attempting to get their “foot in the door”.

A colleague of mine in submitting research for his Doctorate was returned to the task several times to “inflate his references”. Without solid evidence of his having addressed ALL the “relevant authorities”, his contribution would not be accepted.

NOTE: Now I have to add here that I have known this colleague for 40 years, and in a long career, he is by far the best teacher I have ever come across, and his methods are both exemplary and innovative. His thesis was on his remarkable contributions in his specialist teaching area, and as usual was a masterful and significant effort, but in spite of all this he was directed to “do it right”. He had to establish his credentials within the relevant body of contributions worldwide before his work was accepted.

Now this seems eminently reasonable, but when I am reading anything, I do not constantly have to make sure that “all possible alternatives have been included”: establishing value is not done by a measure of comprehensive attention to all accepted alternatives.

In contrast I have been writing in my current areas of research for some five years, and include very few mentioned references to other contributors in the same field, and there are very sound reasons for doing this.

The most important process involved in integrating externally sourced ideas into your own coherent World View, cannot be by mere additions. If it was the constant adding-in would make the overall result not more understandable, but indeed a great deal less! The only purpose of including new ideas is that they correct, or extend and deepen what you already understand. NOTE: I didn’t say “know”, but “understand”!

And such a process isn’t a map with flags showing all the places you have visited, but an ever more understandable and coherent part of a general World View. You don’t mention all your teachers and exactly what they taught you in establishing your overall understanding, do you?

If a researcher is presented with an impressive network of mutually referring authors and their contributions in the chosen field, each with an individual slant, and many cross-qualifying or rejecting arguments, it becomes very easy to be sucked into a closed network of assumptions and arguments.

In my recent work on Zeno, I came across an anthology of writings on this remarkable Greek philosopher gathered together by Wesley Salmon, and was duly swamped with a thousand possible lines to follow. But chasing all of these was NOT the way to go forward: only a way to join the club! 

So. I did what I always do, and alighting on something which evidently threw new light on my current concerns (and even difficulties) , in this case Plurality, I set about first understanding what was meant by this philosophical term, and then integrating it into my own work.

But such a process should never be merely a selective rationalisation! Nothing could possibly be gained by such a blinkered undertaking.

Though, from my earlier comments, it may seem that I was cherry-picking, taking only what I could massage into my previously constructed fabric of ideas that would only be possible if you were merely constructing your own personal world. That couldn’t be further from constructing a World View, which attempts to explain all things: to be both coherent and comprehensive!

You can rest confidently on the work of many others, as embodied in the prevailing consensus, or you can attempt to actually understand, piece by piece and as a coherent and holistic whole all that you can choose to experience or access. Such is a much more demanding mistress! You don’t merely collect and remember. You have to inter-relate and begin to understand the necessity of these relations.

When very young, you have no choice but to take on the consensus penumbra of the work of others. You simply do not have sufficient experience or techniques to wrest everything for yourself from this complex World. But as time passes, you begin to be troubled by inconsistencies, gaps and evident uncorroborated assumptions, and you begin to make connections on your own account. But, of course, even then, you find yourself at a major disadvantage, and have to establish your initial small truths and build outwards.

Indeed, you are very soon aware of the flaws and indeed weaknesses in your own position and constantly seek to remedy them whenever and from wherever you can. Whatever it is that you are reading, it will always present considerably less than is the result of your own constant efforts and the supreme arbiter for anything you consider has to be YOURSELF!

So instead of such an approach being local and superficial and definitely NOT to be trusted, with these criteria and approach, the opposite is the case. If you can’t satisfy yourself that you understand something, then you don't. Such imperatives will always be much more objective than those which test your ideas merely by their closeness with some scarcely understood consensus.

Finally, let us be clear just how permanent is the already acquired core of ideas to which new material can be inserted and integrated. It is open for abandonment, at any time, if something better can replace it.

As a long term student of Emergences, I am aware that all “conclusions” will only be temporary stabilities and that every one of them will in time be undermined and dismantled in the process of an Emergence, which will establish a wholly new and higher Level on its conclusion. Knowing this, you can't defend your personal position to the death, but, if it is proved to be wrong, you then undertake its replacement by something wholly better.

The yawning slide into Postmodernist eclecticism was ever presented before my feet, in this large Anthology, if I had succumbed and attempted to check out, and deal with, the vast numbers of ideas contained within Salmon’s offering. There is a method of travelling which says you cannot know in what direction the Truth lies, so you must find the best place from which to survey the maximum of the surrounding landscape, before you make a move. That position is best achieved by my integrating method.

It doesn’t necessarily take me in the optimum direction, but it does ensure that when I achieve my next temporary summit, I will make the most well-informed decisions as to where to go next.

I feel I have to ask what the purpose of an Anthology such as Salmon’s is for! It certainly aims to be “comprehensive”, but in the classical philosophical way, that presents ALL the options (within a general consensus) and seemingly makes no real conclusions, and takes on no resolving responsibility. As a teacher I know that the latter must be addressed. Otherwise no real help is involved, and hence as a contribution no real progress is proffered.

It is a contribution in Philosophy not unlike that of Tycho Brahe’s contributions in Cosmology: which delivered no answers, only facts? So, if the researcher in his chosen area does NOT address this “consensus body of ideas”, you will be rejected out of hand!

As your “lack of required ticks” on the checklist of necessary mentions grows, it becomes increasingly clear that you do not qualify as a serious researcher, but are more of a self-indulgent selector of “conducive scraps” and will be rejected as “unworthy” of inclusion.

You will be assumed to be wrong, merely because you do not supply comments or arguments to everything across this significant consensus.

It turns out to be an easy way of rejecting the majority of contributions. The assessors use the criteria of the consensus to judge whether you are worth considering. Now this is a very surprising criterion!

It's like saying that the Truth is that opinion held by the most people involved in that particular area of study. “You must be wrong because most people do not agree with you!”

The position of mine expressed here may seem to be a very unfair damning of a system of peer-review that has grown up over many years to make the assessment of contributions both fair and “disinterested”, so such comments as I have stated here may seem untenable. But, let us be clear, most scientists while wanting to find their own special area, will, at the same time, find security in settling into the most widely-held basic consensus position. They will basically agree with the consensus (to ensure acceptance), while vigorously seeking barely-trod outposts to establish their own "unique" contributions.

The imperative ensures, on the one hand, a highly conservative and conformist position, while on the other hand, specialising to an extremely thinly-spread area.

For a new member of any group of scientists working in a given area, such a heady and hard-to-integrate overall range of material will, of necessity, demand a great deal of work, merely including the minimum number of meaningful mentions to inflate the final references list to acceptable proportions. The new man will be sucked into the current debate and also, and significantly, into the hidden, but universal assumptions of the group. One has to ask, “With such a forming environment and demanding schedule of legitimising work, will, of necessity, put our freshman on the right road, or will it do the opposite – and wed him to the prevailing consensus, with little chance of breaking through to a better position?"

My contention is that it will, most certainly, and for the vast majority of fresher scientists, lock them into the prevailing consensus.

Important aside: In quite another area, I have been researching the trajectory of qualitative developments of all kinds – not only in the ideas and theories of Mankind (both in Science and further a-field), but in self-evolving Reality itself. And what has become very clear is that such growing changes are NOT merely incremental extensions or additions, but, on the contrary, and most crucially, occur in rather rapid changes of a quite revolutionary nature, generally termed Emergences.

And, after more than a decade of studies in this area, I have discovered that the significant changes are never, ever the results of progressive, incremental developments within our agreed consensus. Quite the reverse is true, in fact, and the initial phase of such an Event is always an initial major crisis, which results in an inevitable cataclysmic dissolution of any previous stable and continuing state. The whole edifice collapses because the structure was based on and maintained by things which though for a period did keep things stable, they were always temporary and are never eternal systems.

The dissolution is then followed by a seemingly chaotic interlude, which turns out to be the only climate in which real, innovatory changes can ever occur, yet also by their “youth” and simplicity, will just as inevitably generate their own immediate challenging, and fairly quick demise. But such a trajectory does not end there. Indeed, what follows is a regular oscillation of developments, both forwards and backwards, though each new temporary stability lasts a little longer than the last, until finally a new, and persisting Level appears which seems to be the end of the process. It certainly is the end of that particular Emergence. The reason for its “success” is always its self-maintaining features, which oppose all other contending possibilities, whether dissolutionary or progressive.

Thus the most remarkable thing about such a New System is that it was born of relatively-free significant change and innovation within chaos, yet to persist it had to become intensely conservative, with a whole galaxy of processes tuned to suppress ALL new qualitative change of any type that pressed in any direction at all.

Now, these trajectories are so strong and universal, that they will certainly apply to scientific bodies of Theory in a given area, just as they seem to apply to everything else. So this must change our prejudices about the generally accepted positions (the consensus) in any particular area, and, of course, the academic journals with their peer assessments will unavoidably be a vital part of this conservatism.

They will suppress non-conformist contributions out of necessity! 

Indeed, it is not far from the truth to state that, “The consensus is always wrong!” Now, this means that to be too strongly determined by the weight of general opinion conforming to a consensus, will certainly have the effect of “drawing your best-teeth”, and in the end, turning you into another member of the “agreeing group” – and hence easily accepted as a “serious contributor”, because you are aware of the consensus and embrace its “collective wisdom”, while thoroughly investigating your own small (usually comparatively non-challenging) part of the general area.

The reader may well get quite angry with all of this (and as with the avid defenders of flawed Democracy – “as the best there is”), and may well demand to know what alternative this critic has to the universally applauded peer-assessment system agreed to by everybody else.

And that would be a very valid point to make. Without some tested and agreed consensus, anybody could say anything and your subject would be more like one of the usual TV channels than a serious concentration of “truth”. I can only make two points to counter such a sound defence:

ONE: I do read what is going on in a remarkably wide range of areas of study, and

TWO: I refrain from being determined by the evident implicit consensus. In other words I take a sceptical position to the consensus, by noticing its evident inconsistencies and philosophical immaturity. I consider it my task to attempt to improve in some way on the current consensus.

It just has to be incomplete, and even erroneous, so my task is to both reveal and correct it where these things occur.

The most significant developments that I ever make come from criticising my own contributions; now this may seem contradictory for my criticisms are supposed to be with the generally agreed consensus.

But, where do you find them? You find them within your own ideas: you cannot avoid them! All knowledge and theories are social (NOT individual), and even when you consider that you are having totally original thoughts, you are mistaken. The bulk of what you “know” is second hand, and cannot be otherwise. But to address such things as they appear “out there” is almost impossible. But, within yourself there is some sort of integration. Without it you would merely be a repository of unconnected “facts”. If you have always tried to understand what you have been taught, read or even found out for yourself, you will have integrated each new morsel into a rich and complex system.

What better place to correctly dig out the socially-passed-on flaws?

So, by now, after a lifetime of doing this, I read both new publications and crucially, my own past papers. And in this latter activity, I always find errors and inconsistencies, that require correction or removal, and my co-ordinating and understanding producing principles are coherence and comprehensiveness.

After a lifetime as a teacher, I realised that NO TRUTH is possible, if localised only within a single specialism. The seeker for Truth must be a polymath, he/she must study all areas of serious research – the search for real understanding has to be completely interdisciplinary.

Now, notice how different that is from my earlier description of “joining the consensus”, while “finding your own niche”. That trajectory only leads to conformism and narrow specialisms, whereas what is required is the widest range of areas and the attitude of the revolutionary. Do you agree?


Now I cannot terminate this paper without a word about the diagram from New Scientist that triggered it off. I include it again here, so the comments will at least be adjacent to their subject.

This diagram was provided along with the article The Stem Cell Wars [New Scientist 2764]. Have a good look at how the various contributors are related by cross references. On the non-US side literally all of them refer to a single source (Yamanaka), while on the US side, apart from Yamanaka, there are a series of key contributors who refer to each other as well as who seem to be referred to by a large proportion of the rest of US contributors. You would be hard pressed to consider that the non-US side amounts to a consensus, but what about the US side, some 17 different individuals form a network of cross references. To supply informed peer-assessors would doubtless draw upon this network to judge new offerings.

How do you think that this might affect a determining consensus?

18 February, 2015

Interesting debates from the States

Dr Glenn Borchardt and Mike Gimbel talking about Dialectical Materialism and Physics

Science as Religion - Einstein Wrong?

Recently discovered this guy's work... some parallels with my own?

10 February, 2015

"Empty" Space

re-posted via Temporal Illusions

Trees of Life

The Role of Marxism in Science & Thought

Occasionally, realised links crop up in the most surprising of seemingly unrelated places. For example, though any Marxist would see a definite link between Hegel’s Dichotomous (Contradictory) Pairs in Thought and Darwin’s Evolution of Life on Earth, they would not expect the same descriptive diagram to throw light upon both, but that is certainly the case.

When considering Darwin’s famous scribble of the Tree of Life, with all its bifurcations and extinctions as a product of Natural Selection, who would have guessed that an almost identical figure could be as revealing a descriptor of Hegel’s studies in Thinking, and his recognition of Dichotomous Pairs as results of expiring sets of assumptions and principles?

Yet, we should have guessed that something like this was possible, for, such Pairs are both based upon the very same premises, yet cannot both be true, and hence, deliver an immediately, terminating possibility of staying pragmatically, with such opposites, and using each only when it fitted certain situations, OR, alternatively, and much more productively, go on to exposing the errors embedded in their common premises, correcting them, and thus allowing a transcending of the impasse to a better, and further developable set of ideas.

Yet, as even these simple diagrams show, the two descriptive diagrams are certainly very similar, AND, crucially, the extractions from one, informed by the fossil record and current studies of still living species, could surprisingly also throw light upon the problems encountered in Thought, and particularly in Formal Logic. While, in the opposite direction, extractions, from the developments and extinctions in Thought, could better inform our ideas in evolution.

Now, it is true, these comparisons could be seen as both trivial and man-devised, delivering only how clever the deviser had been. But, what has been described here and illustrated by these diagrams, are merely only the first step, in a thorough-going, and profoundly informing, investigation.

For, how is it that Marxists were able to study Social Development in human History and thereby be able to recognise the universality of revolutionary events, as true, not only in societies, but also in absolutely all developments in Reality?

It is the most profound contribution of Marxism to Human Thought! But, we can also put it in a very different way.

Is it not precisely because most scientists are not philosophical Marxists that Modern Physics has got into the unholy mess it now resides in – not to mention the many spin-offs from this, such as Modern Cosmology? Do you, for a second, believe in the Multiverse?

No, to ban such crossovers is counter-productive and guaranteed to lead into the mire!

Admittedly, clever, man-devised analogies, without any profound content, will regularly be put forward, but the proof of the pudding is always in the eating. Really profound cross-links will immediately begin to reveal new and important understandings, and lead to obvious progress.

For example, the epiphanies experienced by this Marxist were in very surprising areas of study. For I have been both an educator and a researcher all my adult life, and in my fifties and sixties I was involved in developing Multimedia aids for teachers of Dance Performance and Choreography, along with an expert in the field of Dance Education. Who would have thought that, philosophically, the only solutions to the many problems presented by effective Access and Control to exemplar video and film footage would demand a Marxist approach?

And, later, when my sight was failing, and I looked to the scientist Ramachandran, with his studies of Blind Seeing and Visual Neglect, to find ways for me to cope with my deteriorating condition, that I should begin to understand what the actual Eye-Brain system was doing in delivering effective vision.

Only in the last month (January 2015) I read about studies in the conception of Time by the human Brain, which gelled very well with my own work of 12 years ago upon Seeing.

Now, in case my readers will dismiss these gains as unimportant, I feel that I must bring in my “Big Guns”. After a lifetime as a physicist, and throughout that time an opponent of the famed Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory, this scientist found that he was able to apply his now further developed Marxist philosophical approach (coming, of course, from the above mentioned researches), to Wave/Particle Duality in its prime citadel – The Double Slit Experiments, and managed to explain all the anomalies without any resort to the Copenhagen stance. And, following this, I am now involved in a detailed study of the real, concrete contents of what is usually supposed to be purely Empty Space.

Indeed, in retrospect, I think I can say with confidence that the failure of the self-proclaimed Marxists, to have tackled ANY of these questions, is a measure of just how far they have strayed from what Hegel, Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky had put into our hands. The failure of Marxists is because they were no longer continuing to develop Marxism in the many areas that required such an approach. They were NOT Marxists.

03 February, 2015

Issue 37 of Shape: Redshift

The famed Redshift, found by the astronomer Hubble, when searching the Universe for galaxies, was interpreted as a Doppler-like Shift, due to these galaxies receding away from the observer (Hubble himself), and if this were true, it would give a reliable measure of the distance-away from him that these sources of light actually were. But, what if is wasn’t a Doppler Shift at all, but something else?

Read the issue.